There’s No “New Normal” Yet

Is it just me, or did August 1 hit really hard this year?

Welcome to the Fall semester, which is here whether we’re ready or not. (*leaves computer to go outside and shriek*).

OK, now I’m ready.

We know this fall will likely involve challenges and unpredictability, even if those may differ somewhat from the challenges and unpredictabilties of the last 18 months. One thing is certain, though: as much as we hear about going “back to normal,” that horse has left the barn. “Normal”-as unsustainable as it was for many of our students and ourselves-is gone, one of the many empty spaces left in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

Continue reading “There’s No “New Normal” Yet”

Helping Students Learn From Failure

This week, we’re reposting an entry from Fall, 2017, on the ways in which we can help students learn from failure and adversity, as a prelude to this week’s Conversations on Teaching sessions on Helping Students Learn From Failure. It’s a tough topic, and in this immediate post-midterm context, some of our students may be struggling and frustrated without necessarily seeing a clear path forward. By suggesting ways in which we might help students learn from failure, what we’re really after here is restoring motivationFailing grades are one of the most significant “de-motivators” out there, and getting students to realize that there is still time to rescue their grade—but more importantly, to learn and be successful in the larger sense—is crucial. If you’re looking for ways to help students make this step, consider joining us either Wednesday afternoon at 4:00, or Thursday at 10:30 AM. We hope to see you there! Continue reading “Helping Students Learn From Failure”

Thinking Beyond Diversity

Over the last few years, reading the Chronicle of Higher Education has proven to be an emotionally volatile experience. What often leads higher education news are gloomy forecasts regarding the end of any number of things we hold dear: the Humanities, small liberal arts colleges, or—on a bad day—higher ed as we know it. But there’s often at least a partial antidote to these end-is-nigh pronouncements contained in the back pages, particularly the perspective and advice columns from folks actually working in classrooms, interacting regularly with actual students, and thinking deeply about teaching and learning on an everyday basis. Continue reading “Thinking Beyond Diversity”

Midterm Course-Correction

Midterm grades have been posted, and if your email inbox is anything like mine, you have students wondering how they can get back on track, or in some cases on track to begin with. Or, perhaps, you’re not hearing from the students who should be emailing you. Either way, it’s an appropriate time of the semester to think about ways in which we might intervene with either individual students or an entire class to help nudge them back onto the track for success this semester. Continue reading “Midterm Course-Correction”

Assessing with Equity in Mind

A couple weeks ago, this blog argued for creating an “Equity Mindset” when it came to our work with our students and one another. This week, I’d like to dive into one of the more interesting—and difficult—aspects of equity work in higher education: Assessment. Continue reading “Assessing with Equity in Mind”