CRLT Blog

US flag in the Diag

*updated November 7, 2018

During U-M's Veterans Week, it's a good time to reflect on the needs of our students who have served in the military. Did you know that record numbers of veterans are enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities--and many of them are here on U-M's campuses? Since January 2014, the university's tuition policy has allowed students who have served in the military to qualify for in-state tuition. If you teach at U-M, odds are good you've had or will have student veterans in your classroom.

How might your awareness of veterans in the classroom make a difference in your teaching? The research on student veterans suggests several strategies and cautions for teaching inclusively with veterans in mind. Here are a few:

We are teaching in tumultuous times. In the wake of a week that saw a massacre of Jewish worshipers at a synagogue, a grocery-store shooting of African-American shoppers after an intended attack upon a church congregation, and a series of pipe bombs aimed at the media and political figures, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our nation and neighborhoods. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.

In STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are frequently the launching point into the professoriate. However, given the demands of their research commitments, many postdocs have very limited teaching experience when they begin applying for academic jobs. U-M Canvas website featuring the Postdoctoral Short-Course page "EXAMINE: How Do People Learn [in STEM]?" To enable postdocs to build their skills in teaching in the sciences, CRLT and Rackham Graduate School collaborated to create a unique opportunity for U-M postdoctoral scholars: the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering (PSC). The purpose of this short course is to prepare a select group of advanced postdoctoral scholars from a variety of disciplines in the sciences and engineering to teach effectively as future faculty members. This course is offered free of tuition to UM postdocs in STEM fields.

Have you been approached about team teaching, but are nervous about the process of sharing a classroom with other instructors? Have you participated in a team-taught course, and want to learn new strategies to make it even more successful in its next iteration? Are you looking to learn more about the benefits of team teaching for both students and instructors? Are you curious about team teaching, but unsure of how to plan for, structure, or evaluate such a class?

Faculty team teaching a GSI colloquium in English

We welcome faculty and GSIs across campus to explore our newest Occasional Paper, Teaching in Teams: A Planning Guide for Successful Collaborations. Many team-taught courses seek to promote students’ development of higher-order thinking skills by enabling them to interact with instructors who have different sets of expertise and perspectives (Bacharach, Heck, & Dahlberg, 2008; Bierwert, 2011; Helms, Alvis, & Willis, 2005). And for instructors, team teaching enables instructors to encounter new content knowledge, as well as new perspectives on their own expertise (Bacharach et al., 2008; Plank, 2011; Shibley, 2006). As Dr. Laura Olsen (MCDB) shares: