Getting Your Students the Help They Need, When They Need It

September 19, 2005
Associate Professor Rich Miller, English, College of Arts and Sciences

This discussion showcased the support services available to your students on campus. Representatives from Second Language Services the Ballotti Learning Center, the Counseling Center, Sawyer Library, English Department’s Writing Center, and the Law School’s Academic Support Program were available to answer questions, and explain about the proper time for using these services and techniques.

Noted Educator Attends Center’s Inauguration

October 14, 2005
Guest Speaker: Kenneth Bain

Kenneth R. Bain, founding director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at New York University and author of the award-winning book, What the Best College Teachers Do, was on hand as Suffolk University officially launched its Center for Teaching Excellence on Friday, Oct. 14, 2005.

In addition to the NYU Center for Teaching Excellence, Bain founded centers for teaching excellence at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt University. In the 1970s and early ’80s he served as director of the University Honors College at the University of Texas --Pan American. He also was founding director of that institution’s History Teaching Center, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities to promote greater collaboration between history teachers on the secondary level and research historians. Later he served as director of the National History Teaching Center, which had a similar mission on the national level.

His scholarship centers on the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, but he is internationally recognized for his insights into teaching and learning. He has won four major teaching awards. A 1990 national publication named him one of the best teachers in the United States.

The Art of Planning Backward: Organizing Your Course around Student Learning Outcomes

October 24, 2005
Assistant Professor Janet Fisher, Academic Support, Law School

Ken Bain tells us, “The best teachers plan backward; they begin with the results they hope to foster.” This hands-on session will explore how to plan backward by writing student-learning outcomes, and how to use those outcomes to design and lead an effective course.

Vampires, Virtue, and Your Syllabus

November 14, 2005
Associate Dean Susan Thayer, College of Arts & Sciences

The syllabus can be a wonderful tool for effectively communicating with students or it can be a daunting downer. This session explored the virtues and vices of the syllabus by discussing how this document fits into best teaching/learning practice, how it can excite students at the start of a course, and how it can scare students to death. Techniques for crafting online syllabi were explored, and attendees had the opportunity to compare their favorite syllabi with virtue and vice examples.

Dealing with Difficult Classroom Moments: Becoming an Expert In Not Knowing

December 1, 2005
Professor Magid Mazen, Management, Sawyer Business School

Your syllabus is ready and course material set. The trappings are on and the class is moving along. Students are in and you are doing what you’ve always loved, teaching. Then, suddenly...wam…a difficult moment—out of order, unplanned, public, requires moment’s response, and definitely not on the syllabus. What to do? Where to turn?

Because most traditional teaching assumes that teacher should have all the answers, control and structure have become the unquestioned mechanisms for classroom management. Yet, theses important mechanisms can also have serious side effects, including intimidation and defensiveness which brew difficult classroom moments over the course of the semester. Is there a perspective and practical advice to harness these moments, and the anxieties in which they are wrapped, into a balance between control and openness? How to do it? Does it result in greater learning?

The purpose of this session was to raise awareness and recognition of difficult classroom moments and to discuss different experiences in handling them.

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