CRLT Blog

Mark your calendars for the 18th annual Enriching Scholarship Conference: May 4-8, 2015!

Teach Tech logoHosted by the Teaching and Technology Collaborative, Enriching Scholarship is an annual week-long series of seminars and workshops on integrating technology with teaching, learning, and research. If you are interested in adding to your technology toolkit or learning about great uses of technology in teaching at U-M, you have nearly 100 sessions to choose from at this year's conference. Registration is free and open to the University of Michigan community.

All around campus this term, groups of faculty are meeting to exchange and develop ideas about inclusive teaching practices. In this pilot year of the Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching initiative, funds from the office of the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs are supporting ten different projects designed to spark faculty exchanges about how to cultivate learning environments that welcome and support students of all backgrounds and identities. This year's faculty participants represent over two dozen departments and programs, and their topics of focus range widely, from the effects of religious identity on student learning, to female underrepresentation in particular fields of study, to the dynamics of stereotype threat in science courses.

A full list with brief descriptions of this year's projects can be found on this Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching page.

GSIs across campus are being recognized for their excellent teaching this month. CRLT warmly congratulates winners of Rackham's Outstanding GSI Award and the College of Engineering's Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs. Selected from large pools of nominees, all of these instructors have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, creativity, and overall excellence in their teaching.

The four Towner awardees were honored at the College of Engineering's Student Leaders and Honors Brunch on Sunday, March 15. Rackham will be hosting a public awards ceremony to honor its twenty prize-winners, along with outstanding faculty mentors, on April 13. For more information, including the names and departments of all of the winners, see this Rackham page and this College of Engineering page

How do U-M undergraduates choose their courses and majors? CRLT recently investigated this question for five LSA departments by analyzing Registrar data, surveying students, and conducting student focus groups. Our findings can help faculty and programs across the university successfully inform students about their offerings and increase the numbers of students who take advantage of them. A summary of the results and recommendations can be found here.

Some of our key findings about students' selection processes include:

  • Above all, students use the online Course Guide (rather than printed publicity such as posters) to learn about course options. They look to departmental websites for information to help guide their decisions about concentrations. 
  • Other people strongly influence students' course and concentration choices. These include their academic advisors (especially in the first and second year), their peers, and their parents. 
  • While meeting a requirement is reported as the primary reason students choose a course, the second is an "interesting topic" -- often defined as an interdisciplinary course or a class that makes connections to future professional/educational plans.

What practices do these findings suggest if you're interested in recruiting students? Some include: