Hello, colleagues:

I hope this newsletter finds you well and that the summer has provided equal parts diving into/catching up on research and sitting on your back porch with friends and family and simply enjoying yourself. It’s been quite the couple of years. We all deserve some breathing space.

Sometime during the next few weeks, I hope to send you an e-mail listing the Harte Center events for the coming months, but for the time being, here are a number of resources faculty (and others) might find useful as you put together your syllabi for the coming term.

Take care, all!
Paul Hanstedt
Director of the Harte Center for Teaching and Learning


Table of Contents: 

1. Creating accessible syllabi
2. Example of a liquid syllabus
3. Visualizing Inclusive Teaching
4. Leading Difficult Conversations
5. The Key to Solving All Teaching Problems
6. Syllabus Statements for Harte Center Resources

Creating accessible syllabi
This resource comes to us courtesy of Mackenzie Brooks. Simply put, it is a top to bottom resource for creating syllabi that not only talk about accessibility, but that are themselves accessible. An excellent resource, one that may well change the way you approach your syllabi for the rest of your career.

Creating liquid syllabi
Not sure what a liquid syllabus is? Fair enough. Essentially it’s a more fluid, more detailed website that serves both as a syllabus and as a tuning fork for the semester: a liquid syllabus allows you to set a tone that goes beyond the often-legalistic formality of a traditional syllabus. The example that I’m providing here comes from Dr. Lindsay Masland who teaches at Appalachian State (and who has given me permission to share this material). There’s a lot here that’s noteworthy–her tone, for instance, how she addresses course learning outcomes, or how she explicitly asks students to actively question what they’re learning in the course. What’s particularly striking, though, is how Dr. Masland constructs her students as thoughtful, active participants in the learning process (as opposed to many traditional syllabi, which don’t really construct students as much of anything). Give it a look. This is a rich, thoughtful approach to setting the tone for a course even before it begins.

Visualizing Inclusive Teaching
This resource comes from Dr. Tracie Addy, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lafayette College and co-author of What Inclusive Instructors Do. This resource provides concrete examples of what inclusivity can look like in a variety of education settings–from first-year seminars to STEM labs to lecture courses. The site provides multiple possibilities for each setting, allowing space for instructors to adapt practices that suit their sense of themselves in the classroom.

Leading Difficult Conversations
This resource comes from Georgetown University’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. Leading class discussions of potentially volatile topics has always been a challenge, even prior to the current political chaos. GU’s site provides some broad initial strategies for laying the foundation for difficult conversations and then dealing with those conversations as they’re happening. The site also provides an array of resources from other universities, from granular practices to theoretical explorations of the implications of academic freedom.

The Key to All Teaching Problems
With a nod to George Eliot’s Edward Casaubon (once a literary geek, always a literary geek), we’d like to offer a site that seeks to solve many of your instructional challenges. While itself admitting that it will never replace one-on-one consultations (or even mailroom/photocopier conversations) this site is actually a pretty handy resource for getting us all to think through some of the challenges we often encounter in our teaching–everything from students being rude in class to students underperforming on exams to students not doing a particularly good job of engaging critical thinking. This site is essentially a “build your own adventure” walk-through from problems to causes to solutions. Will it ever replace going out for coffee (or ice cream, or both) with yours truly or one of the faculty teaching scholars? Probably not. But it’s nevertheless an interesting and valuable tool worth a look.

Syllabus Statements of Harte Center Resources
Finally, we encourage all instructors to include in their syllabi a statement about the student support resources available at the Harte Center. Below are three options, ranging from short and sweet to less short and still sweet.

Option 1: 
The Harte Center for Teaching and Learning (Leyburn Library, 1st Level) is designed to support students at all stages of their learning, from the first year to senior year, and engage all topics in all fields. For more information about various tutoring programs, the Writing Center, and other academic support, visit the Harte Center website. And if you’re looking for space to collaborate or to study on your own, just come on in–the doors of the Harte Center are always open!

Option 2: 
The Harte Center for Teaching and Learning (Leyburn Library, 1st Level) is pleased to offer a range of high-quality academic resources to the student community. Academic Coaching, Peer Tutoring, and other services are available to support your academic growth and development. The Harte Center’s resources are not only for students who are struggling but for those who would like to enhance their studying and learning to maximize their success in college.

To explore the range of resources available, please visit the Harte Center’s website.

Option 3: 
The Harte Center for Teaching and Learning (Leyburn Library, 1st Leve) is pleased to offer a range of high-quality academic resources to the student community. Whether you are experiencing challenges with your studying and learning or just want to perform better in college, academic coaching can help. Students benefit from academic coaching in many areas, including study strategies, time management, note taking, and exam preparation. In addition, peer tutors are available to support you with the academic content of your courses. Upper-division students are available to tutor in most lower-level courses at the University, free of charge. To explore these and other academic resources, please visit the Harte Center’s website.

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