Teamwork

Molecule structureAs winter term gets underway, many U-M instructors are teaching in new GSI-faculty teams. How can you build productive collaborations from the start? 

The CRLT Occasional Paper on "Teaching Effectively with GSI-Faculty Teams" highlights many benefits--for professor, GSIs, and students--of effective relationships among professors and grad students who teach together. As the literature on GSI-faculty relationships makes clear, though, such teamwork can sometimes pose significant challenges. U-M faculty have reported, among other issues, grappling with how to coordinate the work of all members of a teaching team, handle student complaints, and respond to various challenges to instructor authority.

It's probably obvious but bears repeating: Establishing clear team guidelines and routine communication patterns early in the term can help prevent such problems--as well as provide structures for addressing them productively if they do arise later in the semester. Read more »

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This Occasional Paper summarizes the literature on GSI-faculty relationships in order to offer strategies for both GSIs and faculty to construct effective working partnerships. The nature of GSI-faculty teams varies widely across the University of Michigan, by factors such as size (some faculty supervise many GSIs, while others work with only one GSI), GSI responsibilities (such as grading, holding office hours, leading discussion sections, and studio or clinical work), discipline, and instructor identity.  As a result, this research is contextualized by recommendations drawn from the 2003 Provost’s Seminar on Graduate Students as Teachers, at which over 162 faculty and GSI attendees from fourteen UM schools and colleges strategized about ways to proactively cultivate effective GSI-faculty relationships and address problems when they occur.

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In this CRLT Occasional Paper, we describe specific classroom strategies and teaching behaviors that have been demonstrated to improve the success of a diverse body of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses. We also provide practical advice to individual faculty members who are seeking to implement these teaching strategies. Extensive research on why students leave STEM fields suggests that individual faculty can play a key role in supporting and retaining a diverse student body in STEM. Although underrepresented groups may have the most to gain, retention-conscious teaching practices are likely to have a positive impact on the persistence of all students in STEM.

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This Occasional Paper describes some of the differences that Millennial students bring to the classroom and outlines four principles for teaching Millennials successfully. To illustrate how these principles inform specific teaching strategies, we highlight examples of innovative teaching by U-M faculty.

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