“The Case for Inclusive Teaching” – The Chronicle of Higher Education

In a recent edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kevin Gannon makes a compelling case for inclusive teaching practices as a tool for increasing success for colleges and universities.  We are seeing a continued slide in enrollments – a particular challenge for tuition-driven institutions.

Put simply, everyone’s fighting for a piece of the same shrinking pie.

But on the other side of that process, we are also seeing worrying “disparity in persistence and completion rates for African-American and Hispanic students”.  He notes data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s recent report on college completion that …

“When examined by race and ethnicity, Asian and white students had much higher completion rates (68.9 percent and 66.1 percent, respectively) than Hispanic and black students (48.6 percent and 39.5 percent, respectively). Black students represent the only group that is more likely to stop out or discontinue enrollment than to complete a credential within six years … Among students who started in four-year public institutions, black students had the lowest six-year completion rate (46.0 percent). The completion rate of Hispanic students was almost 10 percentage points higher (55.7 percent). Over two-thirds of white students (71.7 percent) and three-quarters of Asian students (75.8 percent) completed a degree within the same period.”

What makes this case different is a call to bring inclusiveness into the academic realm by making a commitment to inclusive pedagogy.  Of course this approach doesn’t address the deeply embedded structural disparities of our society.  Yet, I see hope in providing a space where we as educators can make a difference – by using evidence-based pedagogies that have been shown to close the completion gap.  I encourage you to read the column!

If you are looking for more reading or places to start in your own courses, check out this growing resource list for inclusive pedagogy and course design. If you have a resource to add, please leave a comment on the document.

Source: The Case for Inclusive Teaching – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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End-of-Semester Reflection Potluck

Please join us on Friday, December 1, 2017, at noon in Chappell Hall, Room 113, for a reflection potluck.  We’ll discuss our semester experiences with upcoming syllabi in mind.  Please let me know if you would like to attend by emailing me at sandra.godwin@gcsu.edu, by Monday, November 27, and I will respond with details about what to bring.

All the best,


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New Issue of Liberal Education on Creating Inclusive Classrooms


Creating Inclusive Classrooms: Perspectives from Faculty Development

This issue explores the role of faculty development in creating educational spaces that welcome students of all identities and encourage dialogue across perspectives. Also included are articles on intersectionality and liberal education, racial divides in the contemporary United States, student engagement in the 2016 election, cocurricular arts programming, and the public narrative about teaching and learning.

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Certificate in Course Design for Essential Learning, Registration Open!

Certificate in Course
Design for Essential Learning

A credential for faculty who teach General Education courses

January 9-12, 2018
Stetson University
Deland, FL
Logistics | Registration

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson University is thrilled to announce a new Course Design Institute and Certification Program. If you are devoted to developing students into liberally educated, global citizens who can think creatively and critically about complex issues through General Education courses, please consider attending this dynamic 4-day certification institute. Included in the registration fee ($900), is an optional credential for teaching General Education courses (see below).

Faculty and instructional staff that teach interdisciplinary courses, General Education and/or first-year seminars may be particularly interested in obtaining this qualification.

This program provides a credential that can be used as documentation of excellence in course design. Faculty and instructional staff that teach interdisciplinary courses, general education and/or first-year seminars may be particularly interested in obtaining this qualification.

This certificate initiates with a 4-day face-to-face course design institute at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. Here faculty will have the time, resources, and intensive support to build courses anchored in research that:

  • are intentionally designed around a dilemma, issue, or question.
  • focus on general learning outcomes.
  • incorporate high-impact practices.
  • are inclusive of all students.
  • assess student learning authentically and transparently.

Dates & Location

The institute will take place from January 9 through 12, 2018, at Stetson University. Stetson University’s DeLand campus is located approximately half-way between Daytona Beach and Orlando, just off of I-4 in the Sunshine State of Florida. [MAP]

Registration Rates

Registration is now open. The early-bird rate ($900) expires on December 1st, 2017 . Registration fee includes breakfast and lunch each day, an opening reception, and all institute materials. The institute is limited to 40 people, so register early!

Optional Post-Institute Credential in Teaching General Education Courses

During the year following the institute, participants interested in obtaining a teaching credential will be divided into small interdisciplinary learning communities. Participants will develop a portfolio that demonstrates evidence of student learning to earn a credential in teaching General Education courses. The facilitators will be available to provide support, feedback, structure, and virtual meetings as well as a carefully curated bibliography of resources.


  • Julia Metzker, Executive Director for the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson University
  • Cynthia Alby, Professor of Teacher Education at Georgia College and Lead Instructor for Georgia’s Governor’s Teaching Fellows program
  • Caralyn Zehnder, Lecturer in Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founding member of ICb-G, the Innovative Course-building Group
  • Alicia Slater, Chair and Professor of Biology and University Director of Curriculum and Assessment at Stetson University

Travel & Logistics

Click here for information for planning your trip to sunny DeLand, FL!

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NCSCE Accepting Pilot Project Proposals to Connect Indigenous and Western Knowledge

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) at Stony Brook University has received a grant to establish and advance robust partnerships between indigenous peoples and local formal and informal educators to improve educational outcomes for all students, promote cultural understanding, and foster long-term collaborations on issues of common concern. The project will extend the successful Hawai’i SENCER State strategy to Alaska and four state pilots. Local environmental and health issues will provide context for inquiry-based learning that transcends perceived conflicts between indigenous, local, and “Western” knowledge systems.

SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities), which connects civic issues to STEM content, encourages the incorporation of different perspectives, pushes students to critically analyze preconceptions, and actively engages learners in authentic research.

To learn more or submit a pilot proposal, visit NCSCE.net

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How are grades motivating students?

If you know me, you’ve probably heard my rant about grading and learning.  One doesn’t necessarily beget the other.  I recently signed up for the Chronicle’s new Teaching Newsletter and was pleased to see that today’s edition has a piece about the link between grades, feedback and student motivation.  Sadly, students report that their motivation stays the same or declines during college.  If that weren’t depressing enough, it appears that grades are contributing to this trend by either by refocusing a student from learning to obtaining the grade or (even worse) demotivating the student because high marks seem out of their reach.

The following quote from the newsletter is heartening:

There’s more to motivating students than how you grade, of course. Students’ motivation is closely tied to their sense of a course’s intrinsic worth, research has found. That’s something professors can cultivate by giving students autonomy, for instance by letting them tailor assignments to their interests. Motivating students isn’t just a warm, fuzzy thing to do: Gains in motivation predict retention. And whatever else happens to this year’s freshmen, colleges definitely want them back as next year’s sophomores.

Source:  Dan Berrett and Beckie Supiano in the Teaching Newsletter.

Beckie Supiano is collecting examples of strategies for helping students stay motivated to learn.  Send yours to her at beckie.supiano@chronicle.com.

If you would like to sign up for the Teaching Newsletter, you can do so here.

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How to assess anything without killing yourself…really!

This quick read contains some very wise advice about assessment from Linda Suskie’s blog, A Common Sense Approach to Assessment and Accreditation.  My favs:

#8. If you know almost nothing, almost anything will tell you something. Don’t let anxiety about what could go wrong with assessment keep you from just starting to do some organized assessment.

#10. Aim for just enough results. You probably need less data than you think, and an adequate amount of new data is probably more accessible than you first thought. Compare the expected value of perfect assessment results (which are unattainable anyway), imperfect assessment results, and sample assessment results. Is the value of sample results good enough to give you confidence in making decisions?

#11. Intangible does not mean immeasurable.

Read the rest here: How to assess anything without killing yourself…really!

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AAC&U Releases Report on National, Large-Scale Look at Student Learning

AAC&U has recently released preliminary results from their ambitious project to measure student learning using the VALUE rubrics across many types of institutions.  You may not find the results surprising but you are bound to find them compelling.  A couple of nuggets from the summary by Inside Higher Ed are quoted below

Download the report

First data, based on analysis of work at 92 colleges, finds much success in writing, some success in critical thinking and more limited success in quantitative skills.

Assignments themselves were important, too, as early results point “in several ways to the importance of the assignments in students’ abilities to demonstrate higher, second-order quality work,” reads the report. “What institutions ask their students to do makes a difference for the quality of the learning.”

Read the article

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AAC&U News: Creating Signature Work Through Shared Experiences


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