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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 (email@example.com, 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.