The Conference Notebook – A tool to help you get more out of the professional conferences you attend.

By Amy Strage, PhD  San José State University

Excerpted text: “A word about the purpose of this workbook.  Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend many, many professional conferences.  In some instances, I contributed to the formal program in some way.  In others, I had the good fortune to just be there just to learn.  In virtually every instance, I did my best to immerse myself in the moment, attending sessions, engaging in animated and thoughtful conversation, taking notes, collecting business cards and handouts.  But all too often, the conference “high” dissipated quickly as I returned to business-as-usual.  As I look back, one thing is quite clear: regardless of my role or responsibilities at the gathering, I benefitted much more from the experience when I had (read “made”) the time to prepare and follow through.  Isn’t this exactly what we encourage our students to do, to get the most out of their educational opportunities?

Main advice provided (I recommend reading the whole posting for full benefit):
I – To ensure that you get the most out of the conference, PREPARE, DO YOUR HOMEWORK, AND BE INTENTIONAL… “Short exercises in advance of the conference
II – To ensure that you get the most out of the conference, REACH OUT… DON’T BE SHY NETWORK …” Structure to identify key contacts

III – To ensure that you get the most out of the conference, REFLECT AND FOLLOW THROUGH…” Structure to align intent with follow up
Thank You Note (You’ve probably already thought to do this, but in case it’s slipped your mind…)
Happy Conferencing and Networking!

Track Your Resistance

Text by Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD, president and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, from the posting of August 1, 2016 in her Monday Motivator series.


Time to visit the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)?

New faculty receive a fair amount of information about teaching during orientation. However, once in the classroom, you learn first-hand about Michigan Tech students, teaching expectations, what works and (frustratingly) what doesn’t.  You may also be pushed to expand your teaching repertoire with opportunities to teach a larger class, a technology or project-based class, or even to teach online. 

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (ctl@mtu.edu, 487-3000), on the second floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library, helps with all dimensions of your teaching endeavors. We provide resources and support as you implement specific teaching methods or use new teaching technology in new, exciting ways! 

Walk-in consultations are available Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, or you can schedule an appointment to discuss a topic of your choice. You can request a recorded or live observation of your classroom to get feedback and suggestions, or if you know of some new technique you’d like to try out, the CTL can provide resources, references, equipment, and ideas. From the very low-tech (effective whiteboard use, syllabus review, or paper response systems) to “flipping” classrooms, to effective teaching in an online course, instructors in all disciplines find the CTL to be a valuable partner. 

Many newer faculty find it difficult to allocate the time needed for effective teaching, especially to effectively assess student progress without being overwhelmed by grading. The CTL can help you explore informal, time-efficient methods of in and out of class response and grading systems. Its close partner, the Michigan Tech Testing Center (techtesting-l@mtu.edu, 487-1001) helps provide computerized or bubble-sheet exams, as well as assisting with management of the increasing number of students who need accommodations or makeup exams.

At least twice each month during academic terms, the CTL also holds instructional developmental events (“Coffee Chats” and “Lunch and Learns”.) If you haven’t yet been to one, I strongly encourage you to sign up and attend. Even if the topics aren’t a perfect match, these events provide a great chance to network with a large number of excellent instructors from across the university to get ideas and support.  And the free food certainly doesn’t hurt!)

Your relationship with the faculty you meet at these events and the CTL is unique in that it’s purely supportive. Many instructors use the CTL staff to help interpret end-of-term course evaluations to focus ideas for improvement, or even to discuss departmental challenges. You can document your observation, teaching innovation, or professional development events as part of your continuous teaching improvements. The CTL can help document your efforts as part of your T&P packet, or your work with the CTL can remain entirely confidential, at your discretion.

There’s no question that teaching today is challenging and demanding. Many students carry high expectations, and it’s often hard to meet them, especially given the other demands on your time. Rather than trying to shoulder this burden alone, I encourage you to collaborate with the CTL! Let us know how we can help you to continue to improve your teaching and effective interactions with students.

Michael R. Meyer
Director – William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning
Michigan Technological University

Use Prerequisite Exams to Help Get Your Course off to a Good Start

Text drawn from R.M. Felder and R. Brent, Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide, pp. 60–61.

When you teach a course that builds heavily on previously-taught material, you have a dilemma. Should you assume that all of the enrolled students start out with a solid grasp of the prerequisites? You’d better not! Some students may have taken the prerequisite courses years ago and have long since forgotten what they learned, or some of the prerequisite content may be really hard or was rushed through so few students really understood it. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend the first three weeks of the course re-teaching material the students are supposed to know. The question is, how can you help your students quickly pick up whatever they’re missing without spending a lot of valuable class time on it?


Review Panel Information

by Dave Reed, ddreed@mtu.edu
The American Statistical Association has worked with NIH and NSF to encourage statisticians to participate in the panel review process.  The first link below is a Google Form for nominations to be on NIH panels.  The second link is to an NSF page where people can volunteer for panels, and the third is a link to a general document that describes the process, how to get involved, and things to consider when reviewing a proposal.  The first is specific to statisticians, but the second two are general and are suitable for all disciplines.

NIH Funding Review Panel Nominations

NSF – volunteer for panels

Serving effectively on funding review panels:  advice for statisticians new to the process


Incorporating STEM Education & Outreach into your Research & NSF Broader Impacts

Joan Chadde, jchadde@mtu.edu Director for Science & Environmental Outreach

Greetings, members of the ECM community! We hope your spring semester is off to a great start. As you continue to look for potential National Science Foundation or other state and federal agency funding, you will likely come across the need to incorporate K-12 education / outreach in your project proposal.

I’d like to introduce you to the work of the Center for Science & Environmental Outreach (CSEO), which has a wide range of experience developing and delivering K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs, along with many environmental education programs. These are for students and teachers in Houghton County, the western U.P., statewide in Michigan, the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes region, and some programs are even disseminated nationally, such as the Family Engineering Program!

Established in 1991 and wholly grant-funded, the Center offers programs focused on enhancing the teaching and learning of STEM for K-12 students, teachers, and community members. The Center’s diverse programs include Outdoor Science Investigations Field Trips, Family Science & Engineering events, After School STEM Classes & Summer Camps, Water Festival, Girls & Engineering and other programs to increase under-represented students in STEM, K-12 teacher professional learning, and Western UP Science Fair & STEM Festival. Programs are created and delivered by the Center’s education staff and we also partner with Michigan Tech faculty who wish to conduct modules/short courses/etc. with our target audiences. The Center’s programs engage ~15,000 students, teachers, and community members annually so it is a great place to broadly disseminate your hands-on / interactive ideas!

And the good news is that you don’t need to figure out logistics!  The Center has a menu of education / outreach ideas with an estimated cost for each. These ideas should pique your creativity and then you can set up a meeting with CSEO staff to customize an offering to your research broader impacts.

The Center is located at the Great Lakes Research Center where it takes full advantage of the learning lab/classroom and other spaces to deliver a wide range of programs. There are 4 full-time staff with a range of experiences, from science, social studies, environmental education GIS, technology, geoheritage, citizen science, and organizing large and small events. The Center’s expertise way outpaces the links on this page: https://blogs.mtu.edu/cseo/

CSEO Overview and Outreach Menu


What’s Holding You Back (in your Research and Writing)?

This valuable post on Tomorrow’s ProfessorSM eNewsletter by Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD, president and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity begins with “At this point in the term, it’s an ideal time to stop and evaluate your progress… by gently asking yourself several important questions:
  • How is the term going so far?
  • How much writing have I completed? 
  • Have I developed a daily writing routine?
  • How am I progressing towards the goals on my strategic plan? and
  • How do I feel about my answers to the previous questions?”
The post goes on to provide practical advice to classify the areas that hold you back so you can intentionally make adjustments for the rest of the semester.  “Most academics’ productivity is blocked by some combination of what Julie Morgenstern describes as technical errors, psychological obstacles, and external realities.”  The technical errors are easiest to fix; those and external realities are usually cited to others for lack of progress.  In my own career, I’ve found my own psychological attitude to be the key challenge and also to undermine my ability to deal with external realities and technical errors.  This is a wonderful post to read and discuss in your ECM meetings this month.   Have a great, productive and rewarding semester! – Adrienne

Diverse Dialogues: “Thinking Outside the Box: Understanding Identity and Intersectionality”

by Amy L. Howard, Center for Diversity & Inclusion

What does diversity mean and why does it matter?

Join us at noon Monday, February 12, 2018 in MUB Ballroom B1 for our first Diverse Dialogues to engage in meaningful campus dialogue around topics of diversity and inclusion. Bring your own lunch, light refreshments and beverages will be provided.

This guided conversation will allow individuals to discuss the meaning of diversity and explore the multiple diversities that exist. Individuals will work to identify the relevance of their own cultural and social identities and leave with an enhanced understanding of how to embrace diversity in order to work more effectively across difference at Tech and within their respective communities.

The Diverse Dialogues series aims to provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to have conversations about relevant issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice and much more. They are designed to be an informal, yet guided gathering to allow participants to educate and learn from one another. While each dialogue in the series has a centralized theme, we want to encourage participants to determine where the conversations go. This series is meant to start the discussion on difficult topics and implore individuals to push their awareness, knowledge and action related to themes of diversity and inclusion.

 


Industrial Sponsorship of Research: Making and Cultivating Contacts

 Industrial Sponsorship of Research: Making and Cultivating Contacts

Greetings, members of the ECM community! We hope your spring semester is off to a great start. As you continue to build your research portfolio, we wanted to take a moment to provide an introduction to how funding from industry can be one potential tool in your funding “toolbox.”

As you consider pursuing funding from industry, it is important to recognize that industrial funding differs from other types of project funding in a variety of ways. In particular, understanding the following types of issues will help immensely as you pursue industry-funded projects:

  • Publishing restrictions: Many industry sponsors request pre-publication review and/or a publication delay.
  • “Hands on” project sponsors: Industry sponsors tend to work very closely with researchers – visiting labs, talking regularly, asking for more frequent deliverables and reports.
  • Logistics: Industry funding often comes in smaller amounts, for shorter-duration projects, often with quick turn arounds needed from idea, to proposal, to funding.
  • Confidentiality: In many cases, projects are subject to non-disclosure agreements. Some projects may restrict what types of personnel can participate.

Faculty from many disciplines across campus regularly work through these issues successfully with industry sponsors. However, it is important to seek clarity on any potential areas of concern prior to project implementation and to propose realistic projects where your team can meet deliverables. Industry funding can often lead to long-term partnerships between a sponsor and a faculty researcher; however, one “failed” project is likely to burn bridges with more than just one industry sponsor.

What is the best way to proceed with industry funding? Industry funding is usually driven by personal relationships. Some practical tips to build these relationships include:

  • Seek out collaborators on campus who receive funding from a relevant industry. Perhaps start as co-PI on a collaborative project to enable you to develop a reputation for success and to develop personal contacts in the industry.
  • If applicable, attend conferences that include industry representatives. Proactively seek out people to develop personal connections.
  • Consider a sabbatical in industry if your interests align.
  • Use every opportunity you have (e.g., Michigan Tech’s Career Fair, departmental or college/school advisory boards, alumni events) to develop relationships with Michigan Tech alumni and friends who can either work with you directly or make introductions to their industry colleagues.
  • Train graduate students to conduct work relevant in industry; keep in contact with graduates from your group and leverage their growing networks.

Getting your first industry contract can be intimidating, and it can take some time. However, faculty across campus find these connections rewarding and – in many cases – a significant contribution to their funding portfolio.

If you are interested in learning more or pursuing industry funding for your projects, some additional resources can be found in the Michigan Tech Research Development toolkit. The “agencies” link (top right) has an “industry” tab with additional information and resources. Note that because these resources are limited to the Michigan Tech community you must be logged into your Michigan Tech Google account to access the site.

If we can be of assistance to you as you continue your career at Michigan Tech, please contact either of us.

Jim Desrochers, jtdesroc@mtu.edu Associate Director of Industry Relations

Peter Larsen, palarsen@mtu.edu Director of Research Development


Canvas Introductory Workshop series offered

Tom Freeman from The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will offer the three-part Canvas Introductory Workshop series for instructors and instructional staff looking to get started using the Canvas Learning Management System. The series begins January 9, 2018 The three workshops in the series are:

  • Canvas 101: Introduction to Canvas
  • Pages & Modules in Canvas
  • Assignments & Grades in Canvas

The series gives instructors and others who will be building and administering Canvas courses the basic information necessary to create a basic Canvas course. Each workshop is conducted in a 50-minute block between five minutes after and five minutes before the hour, and offers attendees an opportunity to work hands-on in Canvas during the workshop. Participants are encouraged to take Canvas 101 first, and then take the next two workshops as they fit your schedule after.
Those interested in attending can find out more and register on the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop.