COFFEE CHAT: Making a Difference: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions – Dr. Linda Vanasupa (Guest Speaker) (Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 10:30-11:30 am)

Dr. Linda Vanasupa, a Tech alum with experience as a Materials Science Professor and Chair, is now the Founding Co-Director for the Center for Sustainability at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. She received the 2016 Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN) Leader in Engineering Education award this summer.   In this session, co-hosted by the Jackson CTL and WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), Dr. Vanasupa will focus on how instructors practice under noble conditions and ultimately profoundly condition the learning that takes place in their classrooms. She will provide an honest reflection on a career once guided by the “making a difference” ideology.  Participants are invited to hear stories of the unintended consequences of success: the ups and downs, emergence and transformation.  Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, October 10. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Students on the Autism Spectrum (Tuesday, October 18, 2016, Noon-1:00 pm)

In this collaborative CTL and Student Disabilities Services event, participants will first explore traits typical of students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and why such students might be more common at Michigan Tech.  We’ll then explore instructional strategies that best serve the needs of these learners.  Staff from Michigan Rehabilitation Services will join the luncheon to offer a broader perspective related to both education and employment. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, October 14. Click here to register.

COFFEE CHAT: The Other Half of Evaluating Teaching (Thursday, October 27, 2016, 3:30-4:30 pm)

Senate policy indicates that “no more than 50%” of the evaluation of teaching used for tenure/promotion and raises should come from end-of-term student ratings of instruction. In this Coffee Chat session, we’ll discuss how “the other half” is currently accomplished in various departments, and suggest some alternatives for future departmental consideration.  (The Provost, Deans, and Chairs have already seen these, and agree that it’s best for each department to decide whether and how to have this discussion.)  The Provost’s goal is to consider ways to move the focus from “judgment” to continuous improvement. Please join us as we kick off these conversations!   Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, October 24. Click here to register.






COFFEE CHAT: Testing Center Scheduling Process (Thursday, September, 15)

The Michigan Tech Testing Center has grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years, prompting changes in staffing, software, and process. The changes have tried to better serve instructors, offer more flexibility to students, and allow a broader array of sponsored exams. In this Coffee Chat on Thursday, September 15, from 3:30-4:30pm, we’ll discuss the new registration process implemented this fall and get feedback about how the Testing Center can continue to improve. Refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, September 12. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Academic Integrity Student Survey Results (Tuesday, September 20)

In spring 2016, the Academic Integrity Committee surveyed Michigan Tech students from all levels and majors. In the more than 1500 responses received, students rated a variety of behaviors in terms of seriousness, and indicated how often they were observed.   In this luncheon event on Tuesday, September 20 from noon to 1pm, we’ll review aggregated responses and comments.  We’ll then highlight some surprising lessons for instructors regarding current student expectations in a learning environment. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, September 16. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: How Students Learn –  Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Thursday, September 29)

 A Pretty Model is, in Itself, More Engaging and Inspiring than Copious Content Extracted from our Minds:  Teachers often overrate the importance of their content and underrate their influence.  However, students forget much of the content that they memorize.  Thus, attempts to teach students all that they will need to know is futile.  Rather, it is important that students develop an interest and love for lifelong learning.  Inspiring and motivating students is critical because unless students are inspired and motivated our efforts are pointless.  Once students are inspired and motivated, there are countless resources available to learn more about a subject.  During this luncheon session, September 29, noon to 1:00pm, we will discuss the background and use of three strategies that are documented to inspire, engage and motivate our students. This event is co-sponsored by the Jackson CTL and the Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology.   Click here to register.

PEDAGOGY WORKSHOP: How Students Learn – Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Thursday, September 29)

Shock and Awe Pedagogy: “Building” Bonds and Brains: The success of shock and awe pedagogy may be attributable, in part, to a powerful emotional connection.  Basic emotions including shock, anger, fear and sadness are shared by all humans.  When we experience emotion in our lives we tend to remember the experience.  In fact, the more emotional impact an experience has, the more intensely we remember its details and the more likely it will be stored in long-term memory.  In this workshop, September 29, 2:00 to 3:15pm, participants will be assigned to small groups based on similar expertise and develop and share one memorable pedagogical experience based on a model, humor or shocking performance. This event is co-sponsored by the Jackson CTL and the Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology.   Click here to register.

KINESIOLOGY AND INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY DEPARTMENT SEMINAR: How Students Learn – Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Friday, September 30)

Too Much Content, Not Enough Thinking, and Too Little Fun: Henry Ford, stated “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is why so few people engage in it.”  This is also true in the classroom where the content driven curriculum leaves little time for thinking.  In this setting, information is transferred from the notes of one person to the notes of another person without going through the minds of either person.  That is, we spend too little time thinking about the information.  This is important because active processing of information, not just passive reception of that information, leads to learning. Specifically, we understand the information we think about because understanding is the residue of thinking.  Therefore, in this seminar, September 29, 3:00 to 4:00pm, we will discuss strategies to create a joy, an excitement, and a love for learning.  By making learning fun, our students will be impatient to run home, study, and contemplate–to really learn. No registration is required for the Friday KIP Department Seminar to be held in 101 ATDC.




Examining a Teaching Life

E-learning folks and others –  the article referenced (heavily) in this post was written by Christa Walck in 1997.  MaryEllen Weimer identifies it as “one of a very few pedagogical articles worth re-reading.”    I went out and found the article, and I heartily agree!

Maryellen Weimer is the head of the umbrella organization that runs “The Teaching Professor” newsletter we circulate, author of a number of books that have been at the center of higher-ed conversations on teaching – including “Learner Centered Teaching” fairly recently.   Her praise is no small compliment.

Kudos to Christa for this work, which is not only being recognized as excellent, but also has such staying power!

Examining a Teaching Life


From: Faculty Focus
By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD


COFFEE CHAT: Writing Good Letters of Recommendation (Tuesday, April 12)

Most all instructors at Michigan Tech will be asked to write many letters of recommendation for students applying for jobs, internships, further schooling, or scholarships. How do we best convey what we know about the student? What if we don’t know the student very well? And what can we say that will make those reading the letter take notice? In this coffee chat, on Tuesday, April 12, from 3:30-4:30pm, we’ll discuss this topic with members of the Career Services Corporate Advisory Board  what they value in letters of recommendation. Also we will discuss how best to ensure that our letters have the intended impact. Refreshments will be provided to those who register by Friday, April 8Click here to register.

Lunch and Learn: Active Learning Classroom Open House and Luncheon (Thursday, April 14)

Since William G. Jackson’s gift three years ago, the CTL has been exploring options for a larger bring-your-own-device active learning classroom. With help from Information Technology, the advice of a diverse group of instructors, and inspiration from many other institutions, we finally started construction in January. The classroom, located in Rekhi Hall G05, should be ready for “Beta Testing” this summer and for full use by fall.
On April 14 from noon to 1pm, come and check out the capabilities of this 60-seat space and learn how you can apply to teach your flipped, active-learning, or group-focused class in it. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Monday, April 11. Click here to register.