With its world-class musical, theater, and dance performances, the University Musical Society (UMS) is often touted among faculty as a signal benefit of living in Ann Arbor. But did you know that UMS can also be a rich resource for your teaching? Thanks in large part to a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, UMS has been devoting significant resources toward the goal of infusing performing arts into the curriculum across campus. Their initiatives to support U-M teachers in connecting their courses to particular performances include:

  • The guide "Arts in Context: UMS in the Classroom" (this season's is available here in pdf) provides detailed guidance about each performance, including a list of disciplines with which it might intersect, some key topics or themes, resources for exploring and contextualizing the performance, and even reflection questions to guide student responses. The guide also highlights some themes that are shared across several performances, helping faculty think about clusters of events that might be incorporated into their syllabus.
  • Campus Engagement Specialist Shannon Fitzsimons is available to meet with faculty individually to design ways to incorporate one or more UMS performances into their courses. You can contact her at skfitz@umich.edu or 734-764-3903.
  • UMS's student ticket programs reduce the cost to students to attend performances; group discounts are available as well. 
  • The Arts at Michigan program provides $500 grants to support arts-related learning activities in courses across the curriculum. Funds can be used to buy student tickets to UMS performances integrated into a course. 
  • The Faculty Institute on Arts Academic Integration provides more extensive training and resources for faculty fellows who seek to incorporate performance and arts-based learning into their teaching.
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How do our interactions with and through computers shape our experiences of teaching and learning? What new kinds of student work become possible with digital tools and environments that allow online collaboration, integration of text and video, or access to huge amounts of data? How might those tools reinforce or subvert social dynamics in and beyond the classroom?

Graduate student participants in the new GTC+ certificate program are finding a place to explore such questions about the role of digital media in their college teaching. Developed collaboratively by CRLT, the Institute for the Humanities, and Rackham Graduate School, the certificate both structures and documents professional development in teaching with digital media for students already pursuing the Rackham-CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate.

The GTC+ program includes an online introductory workshop, opportunities to learn about digital pedagogies, and a consultation about course and assignment design. An electronic portfolio provides a space to gather and reflect upon those components. And a networking requirement facilitates interaction with other instructors about teaching with digital media. Read more »

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"I couldn't have gotten tenure without good student evaluations, which CRLT-Engin helped make happen. Thanks!"

"Engineering education research activities are clearly flourishing at U-M, and your leadership is one of the major reasons why!"

"To me, one of the great things about CRLT-Engin is that it quietly and consistently gives faculty opportunities to reflect on and improve at teaching, such that the opportunities are there when faculty are ready for them."

Faculty testimonials such as these show the powerful impact that the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) has had during the 10 years since its founding. Started in 2004 as a partnership between CRLT and the College of Engineering, CRLT-Engin has focused on supporting excellent teaching as well as furthering engineering education research at U-M. The center is staffed by consultants with expertise in both engineering and educational development, and it provides what one faculty member describes as "a space in which engineering education research is supported and celebrated"--and the insights of that research are translated into more effective teaching across the College. As another faculty member testifies, "On several occasions CRLT-Engin encouraged me to do what I thought would be impossible; I trusted their advice and implemented active learning in my large class. Now I do many things differently than before, with greater effectiveness and more enjoyment for students."  Read more »

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Students and faculty return to campus this fall amidst significant turmoil around the world. Whether it’s protests against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, or the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, distressing events far from home and close to it are likely to be on students’ minds—and therefore to enter your classrooms, whether you anticipate them or not. Because these issues in so many ways relate to differences in social identity and power—and because so many of our students have personal or family connections to places experiencing crisis—these events may also influence ongoing conversations about the campus climate here in Ann Arbor. 

None of these are simple or easy topics to talk about. Over many years, CRLT has developed guidelines for discussing difficult topics to support teachers in facilitating such conversations in classrooms across the curriculum. If you want to raise such topics in your classes in order to explore connections between course material and contemporary events, you can find strategies for planned discussions of high-stakes topicsOther resources offer you ways to prepare for and respond to challenging conversations that emerge when you haven’t planned for them.

Some strategies highlighted on these pages--useful for either planned or spontaneous discussions--include:  Read more »

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Registration is now open for CRLT's fall seminar series on teaching and learning. The programs offer U-M instructors opportunities to gain new perspectives on teaching at Michigan, share ideas across disciplines, and improve teaching skills. 

Our offerings include workshops for both faculty and graduate students on key skills like leading discussions and "flipping" a class. The series also features sessions on inclusive teaching: a six-session seminar for graduate students and postdocs on Diversity and Inclusive Teaching (co-facilitated by CRLT and IGR), as well as a workshop exploring the intersection of diversity and technology. Full details about these programs and more can be found on our Upcoming Events list. Read more »

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