Addressing the changing conditions and educational landscape at our university


A. Review the original seminar description and what we actually got up to during the semester -- see wikipage

B. Building on your reading, thinking, talking during the seminar, compose five statements, questions, and/or reservations that are important to you concerning the challenge of "addressing the changing conditions and educational landscape at our university." Post these statements below or bring them to the session on a sheet of paper.

C. For a preview of step #4 below, see example of clustering and naming for a similar activity addressing "the challenge of bringing into interaction not only a wider range of researchers, but a wider range of social agents, and to the challenge of keeping them working through differences and tensions until plans and practices are developed in which all the participants are invested."

Session goals


more instructions to be given during the session
1. Pass around the sheets of 5 statements etc. Digest and make notes on what you read with a view to representing not only your own views but also those of others.
2. Future ideal retrospective -> Post-it individual brainstorming (3-5 WORDS IN BLOCK LETTERS) -> Pair-discussion
3. Photocopy assembled postits.
4. Individual grouping, naming, and synthesis.
5. Plus-delta review in relation to the session goals.

After the session

1. Syntheses copied and distributed.didn't happen (other than PT's version)
2. Products and process kept in mind as you proceed beyond the seminar.

five statements, questions, and/or reservations that are important to you concerning the challenge of "addressing the changing conditions and educational landscape at our university."

1. How many ways can we name thee, coercion in the name of accountability, and in naming the beast(s), turn ourselves in a direction we want to go?
2. Making sustainable pedagogically justified choices about how and when to take up new technological tools is made more complex by increasing numbers of digitally native students who are socialized (with all the skills and constraints that brings) in many tools already.
3. Reliable, small, intentional groups spaces (and times) are needed for affirmation of our aspirations is a necessity if we are going to choose our struggles or, at least, survive the ones that are dropped on us.
4. How can we flexibly, authentically evaluate the content and process implications of our experiments in knowledge-building (a la Scardamalia et al.) and adjust (or oscillate) appropriately?
5. The more we learn, the less we know about how to name, negotiate, navigate the chaotic currents of change.

1. changing conditions are really the constant at UMB – this seminar has reminded me not to be become too comfortable with where the university is now, b/c it will change drastically soon enough (as it has in the 5 years I’ve been here)
2. ‘educational landscape’ needs to be unpacked and the university's approached critiqued – I see this landscape as inseparable from our work as service providers at the Uni, yet even when we are asked to be serve in ways that are theoretically connected to our teaching, I feel that our experiences/expertise is largely ignored by bureaucratic administrative approaches. … it's not (mainly) about education anymore.
3. Refreshing to have a chance to experience new teaching techniques and technologies with colleagues who have tried them, and for whose students they generally seem to ‘work.’
4. The most valuable discussion technique I learned this semester was the ‘dialogue process' because it promotes quite (not active) listening and promises us each a turn to respond. I don’t think the promise of a chance to respond is there in unmediated discussions I’ve experienced at UMB. I also think, unfortunately, I think the dialogue process is only useful in relatively small (under ten??) groups.
5. Our small group discussions have been very helpful for my sense of support and camaraderie about the individualized struggles to keep up with pre-tenure scholarship and service requirements

Donna DeGennaro
1. As changes move forward without reflection, what do we gain and what do we lose?
2. In a changing world (not only university) what counts as meaningful experiences for our students? What should learning look like?
3. How is the vision of the university articulated, embodied, and implemented (as opposed to visualized) and how do we work collectively toward this?
4. Are we captive to outside structures or do we have the opportunity to help transform them? Related to this, is it possible to channel our energies away from institutional dysfunction and toward productive ends?
5. How can we create a culture of teaching|research|practice and have more opportunities such as this to share ideas and strategies?

Gene Gallagher
1. I enjoyed interacting with the other seminar participants and sharing some of the joys and difficulties of teaching.
2. I became more aware of the benefits of problem-based instruction, but I would like to read a more formal description of different ways of tackling problem-based pedagogy/
3. I have become more of an advocate for differentiated instruction, but I must develop a method of assessing whether differentiated instruction has benefits that can be quantified. This is difficult given the small class sizes associated with graduate courses at UMB.
4. I found the dialog process session to be interesting but don't see much potential for incorporating it into my classes.
5. I was very intrigued by Scardamalia & Bereiter's Knowledge Building technique and think that it might be possible to incorporate this approach as a replacement for the unsatisfactory threaded discussions that I use in all of my graduate courses. I am limited by software at this point to create the CSILE/Knowledge Forum cognitive maps.

Mickaella Perina -
1 -The seminar provided a valuable opportunity to re-assess teaching techniques and explore new pedagogies and a variety of potential benefits associated with using technology in classes. Discussing leaming assessments were also of special interest.
- Sessions on problem-based leaming and leaming through discussion were excellent opportunities to re-assess my own pedagogy since I use case-based leaming in my classes on a regular basis as well as some version of leaming through discussion.
- Sessions and discussions on understanding by design, visualization techniques and graphic representations and dialogue process were occasions to explore new
pedagogies; to have inputs from colleagues who enjoy using them with their students was great.

2- On various occasions we had productive discussions about the interface of technology, teaching and leaming. But I still think such inquiry focusing on both undergraduate and graduate teaching is a challenge and I wonder if (and how) we could have assess the particularities of both undergraduate and graduate teaching differently. For instance it seems to me that technology is yet an additional skill that must be taught before it can help with teaching and leaming, this is a difficulty that may be less of a concern at the graduate level.

3- 1 am still concerned about how structural changes at our university will affect leaming and teaching. It seems to me that there is currently a crucial need for support (such as a writing center or on-going advising for our students) and I think it will only increase with the changes that are announced (and may not be satisfactorily addressed).

4- Aspects of faculty development were formally discussed in one session but the topic came up in several sessions. The idea of a Center for the improvement of Research was new to me but very appealing. I wonder if and how proposals for a center for the improvement of Research and for trans-disciplinary or interdisciplinary research workshops can be discussed further.

5- In the end assessing the academic component of the university's Strategic Plan appears inherently challenging given the very nature of a plan that allows for (if not requires) changes and adjustments. Such assessment could be regarded as a daunting task but we were able to discuss not only ways in which we can adjust, adapt and respond to changes but also ways on which we can initiate changes, build coalition and engage in activist scholarship which allow for a more positive attitude. The session with Peter Kiang was very interesting in that respect.

Synthesis of post-its into 7 clusters:
Political culture (solidarity) in resisting external mandates

Facilities, infrastructure & respectful conditions put into place
Continuing technological innovations, based on wise choices

Student life trajectories respected & supported in development
Culture of sharing about teaching & risks taken or innovations pursued

Listening & reflection becomes the norm
Culture of discussion & collaboration in research development & teaching evaluation