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.

In STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are frequently the launching point into the professoriate. Yet many postdocs have two or fewer terms of teaching experience when they begin applying for academic jobs. CRLT and Rackham Graduate School have collaborated to create a unique opportunity for U-M postdoctoral scholars to build their skills in teaching in the sciences: the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering (PSC). 

CRLT is currently accepting applications for the fifth offering of the PSC. The course will take place on Monday mornings, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, March 11th through April 22nd.  Applications are due November 1, 2012.
Photo of Chad HershockThe PSC was developed and is primarily taught by CRLT Assistant Director, Chad Hershock. In order to flexibly accommodate the demanding research obligations of U-M’s postdocs, he developed the course using a “flipped class” model.  Before each of the seven sessions, participants watch short video podcasts and complete preparatory, online assignments to establish basic mastery of teaching and learning concepts.  During face-to-face meetings the postdocs engage exclusively in hands-on, experiential learning, practice applying the concepts, and participate in reflective discussions.  Both online and during class, the instructors model research-based teaching strategies, so that participants may experience these approaches from the perspectives of their future students.  Short-course topics include:

As teachers at an institution committed to "global engagement," how can U-M instructors best facilitate students' international experiences and connections? And how can we enable students to make meaningful differences in the world? Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Kathleen Sienko has been a campus leader on these questions, developing programs that take students around the world as well as programs that enable students here in Ann Arbor to make and mobilize global connections utilizing the resources of the internet.