The latest news in higher education and around ACUE
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January 16, 2020 

Faculty See Student Engagement and Retention Improve at City College of San Francisco

When it comes to improving classroom attendance and student engagement, sometimes the simplest strategies are the most effective. At least that’s what Indika Walimuni, ACUE-credentialed instructor of physics and computer science at City College of San Francisco (CCSF), said. He wanted to be an effective instructor but didn't know where to start. Following his experience in the Effective Teaching Practices course, Walimuni tried some new tactics.

“I made an effort to engage my students in a way that promotes inclusivity and diversity, while incorporating more mentoring into the classroom. I also started asking for a lot of feedback from my students—right from the beginning of the semester.”
And he quickly started to see the effects.
“My retention rate was around 60% before I started implementing some of these practices. It then improved to close to 90%,” he said.

This article explores the impact of Walimuni's experience, as well as that of his colleague Megan Sweeney, a political science professor who noticed a similar trend in her own classroom.

Read article

Embracing My "Nerdy Introvert" to Effectively Teach

Jessamyn Neuhaus is a proud combination of geek, introvert, and nerd. What drew her to academia, after all, is the joy she derives from working and researching in complete solitude. 

But what does that mean for her role as an educator? In her book Geeky Pedagogy, Neuhaus grapples with her inner nerd and explores how scholars can embrace their introverted characteristics when teaching students. At the same time, she argues that all educators—introverted or not—must recognize their inherent limitations and understand that “emotions and positive interactions play a huge role in effective teaching.”

In this interview, Neuhaus discusses living with extroverts, how embodied identity affects teaching and learning, and why she avoids terms like “the best teachers."

Read the Q&A

News in brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
President Speaks: 12 College Leaders, 12 Ideas for Higher Ed
Leaders from institutions of all different types and sizes describe how their campuses are addressing challenges facing higher ed. Issues include prioritizing students’ mental health, personalizing education, improving students’ social mobility, and keeping small colleges relevant. (Education Dive)

The Problem of Self-Care in Higher Education
“Teaching is as intellectual as it is moral,” Douglas Dowland writes. He suggests that instructors encourage students to tap into moments of vulnerability in class and demonstrate that they care about students, not just in terms of their coursework but as people. (Inside Higher Ed)

What College E-sports Arenas Mean for Community in the Digital Age
Many colleges are transforming spaces like libraries and dorm halls into e-sports arenas. Some higher ed leaders believe this will instill a sense of community among gamers, which, in turn, will set them up for academic success. They’re also focusing on inclusivity, particularly in terms of encouraging women to participate. (EdSurge)
The Future (Revisited) of Online Education
According to Steve Mintz, online education doesn’t need to be a pale imitation of “real” education — it can be engaging and interactive, too. Making an online course successful, he writes, requires giving the course a problem and focus of inquiry; having presence as an instructor through feedback, outreach to struggling students, and more; and sharing comments with students, among other methods. (Higher Ed Gamma)
Mentoring Project Deepened Student Learning, Commitment
A University of Houston study found that pairing graduate students with professionals in their field resulted in deeper learning and passion for the work. “By taking the students outside the classroom, they saw the relevance and meaningfulness of what they were learning,” said Consuelo Waight, author of the research paper. Waight has been asking her students to find mentors in the business world and keep a diary of their observations for more than a decade. (University of Houston)
Can a Different Approach to Testing Help Students Remember What They Learn?
During his career in software, Kirk Fischer noticed gaps in new graduates’ knowledge. Now an associate professor of accounting, Fischer tries to instill important concepts in students’ long-term memories by replacing midterm exams with weekly quizzes and assignments. While grades didn’t improve as much as Fischer had hoped, students did seem to enjoy the course more. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)

Teaching in Higher Ed: From Weeding Out to Belonging

On episode #292 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, Bonni Stachowiak talks with three ACUE-credentialed educators at Northern Arizona University about their successful redesign of Bio 181, a "weed out" course that once experienced 30% of students dropping the course. Guests Ana Araya-Anchetta, Mar-Elise Hill, and Flower Darby tell the story behind their work, offer practical insights about what went into the course redesign, and disuss the positive impact it's having on students' exam scores and DFW rates. 

Listen to the podcast

Conference News

To date, ACUE has published 12 efficacy studies demonstrating that students are learning more, earning higher grades, and completing courses in greater numbers—more equitably with their peers—when taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty. A recent and independent review of these studies by Drew Allen, Michael McPherson, Linda Nilson, and Mary Deane Sorcinelli commended the “range, depth and rigor...that reinforce the link between faculty development, teaching improvement and student learning.” 

We’ll be discussing these findings at AAC&U with Mary Deane in January, CHEA’s accreditors conference in January, and AERA in April. If you’re there, we’d love for you to join the conversation.

Photo of the Week

Newly Credentialed Faculty at Bergen Community College

Welcome, New Partners!

We are excited to welcome our newest institutional members, Ball State UniversityTarleton State University, and Universidad Central del Caribe. We look forward to working with you to credential your faculty members in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that drive student engagement and learning!
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