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Innovations in Conversations About Teaching

Beyond the Workshop

Edited By Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones

Centers for teaching and learning all face the same dilemma: In a context where faculty are not required to partake in our services, how do we provide transformative learning experiences to which faculty willingly give their limited time? The answer, Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones propose, is to move away from a workshop model of faculty development and toward a model that supports the kinds of connections among faculty that lead to self-sustaining growth and development. This edited book provides a breadth of innovative alternatives to fixed-schedule faculty development workshops that faculty are rarely attending due to the increasing complexity of their professional lives. The audience for this book is higher education administrators, faculty, and staff responsible for faculty development related to teaching and learning. Each chapter provides a detailed description of a faculty development initiative in practice that provide opportunities for creativity, adaptability, and collaboration among faculty. Public, private, and community colleges, small and large, research-focused and teaching-focused institutions are represented. The editors have taken on this project because this is the resource they wish they had when they began their work as directors of the teaching lab at their institution.

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2. You Just Have to Be in My Class: Open Classroom and Teaching Partners at Nazareth

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Maria B. Hopkins and Melissa Johnson

I solve the problems in front of me with just thinking deeply about what I do and who my students are, and I don’t think of it as techniques I could share. I don’t know how to tell someone how to do what I do, you know? And so sometimes when I see some of the calls for [leading presentations about teaching at the college] I think that way, that I don’t know how to tell somebody what I do. I just do it. I’ve been doing it for so long … and I’m also a very intuitive type, so I kind of just absorb stuff from the environment and work it into [my teaching] so it’s hard to figure out what is it that you would share with somebody else … You just have to be in my class (italics added).

This quote is from Mary, a teacher educator from Nazareth College who participated in a focus group interview on the effectiveness of the programming of our teaching center at Nazareth, the Teaching Innovation and Integration Lab (TIIL). Mary’s experience represents that of many faculty members for whom knowledge and skill related to teaching have evolved over years of practice. Rather than receiving explicit instruction through a workshop or any series of faculty development offerings, the ability to teach well is cultivated through a career of trial and error. As faculty, we embody the work of scientists and construction workers as...

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