CRLT Blog

Dr. Haithcock

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Michael Haithcock is well-known beyond U-M as a great conductor. He has garnered widespread acclaim for directing the world-class University of Michigan bands, he has commissioned and recorded numerous new musical works, and he is much in demand as a guest conductor.  Given this high profile, it might be easy to lose track of the fact that he's also an outstanding teacher of student musicians right here at the University of Michigan. As a teacher of conducting and director of student ensembles at U-M since 2001, Haithcock has gained a reputation as a professor who devotes extraordinary amounts of time to his individual students. He meets one-on-one with every member of the Symphony Band each semester, attends the senior recital of every band student, and writes scores of recommendation letters annually.

In the wake of the recent vandalism in Haven Hall and the run-up to Election Day, many U-M instructors are thinking right now about how they can most productively address potentially controversial topics in their classrooms. Our website features many resources to help you...

  • Introduce potentially controversial content
  • Facilitate productive discussion of sensitive topics
  • Handle “hot moments” in class
  • Address conflicts between students

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A list of resources on these topics and more. You can also request a consultation with a one of CRLT's professional staff if you want to discuss additional strategies for creating effective inclusive learning environments in your classroom.  

What strategies have you found productive for inclusive discussion of hot topics? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Imagine sitting in a fluid dynamics course as an undergraduate biomedical engineering student.  What teaching techniques could your instructor use to keep you engaged?  Students of Professor Joe Bull can tell you quite a bit about that question--and about great teaching in general.  In 2012 Professor Bull was honored with an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, an award that recognizes outstanding undergraduate education at University of Michigan. 

Bull’s students might tell you that...Photo of Joe Bull
  • he organizes each of his lectures around a practical problem that they can readily recognize as relevant to their everyday lives. Whereas many initially dread a course based around, say, the principles of biofluid dynamics, they quickly come to enjoy his clear lectures about how blood moves through chambers of the heart.
  • his lectures are sometimes a "choose your own adventure" game, as he comes in with more than one outline prepared and decides upon the direction based on the questions students pose.
  • he uses technology to stay connected with students. For example, during a term with demading travel obligations, he did not want to decrease his accessibility to students, so he used Google+ Hangouts to hold office hours.

Materials from last week's 10th annual Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) conference are now going up on CTools and CRLT's PFF Conference webpage. We're excited to be able to share videos of panels, session handouts, presentation notes, and supplementary materials from the wide range of sessions featured at this year's conference. As materials are added to the sites over the coming week, participants can review what they learned at the conference, and anyone can find out about sessions they weren't able to attend. (For copyright reasons, some resources will only be available on a CTools site open to those who registered for the conference.) 

At the conference, co-sponsored by Rackham Graduate School, The Career Center, International Center, and CRLT, job seekers Conference participantsgained insight into faculty worklife and learned about what it takes to get an academic job at different types of institutions--and to be successful once there. Presenters included faculty and administrators from liberal arts colleges, community colleges, smaller regional universities, and major research institutions, including U-M.