Students are collaborators and co-creators of knowledge in my classroom. Undergraduates, including non-majors, are capable of extraordinary scholarship and insight. In my classroom, I hold students to high standards, because I truly believe this about them. My classroom teaching comes from a standpoint of trusting students – trusting that they are knowledgeable, that they are capable, that they have passions and ideas they are waiting to be asked to contribute. Below: RIT students (BIOL475) researched and designed interpretative signage for the live coral tanks in the Wallace Center, which were installed as a temporary exhibit for a year.
Innovation and Flexibility
Educational research shows that many students learn best with teaching methods other than traditional lectures. I incorporate a variety of active learning methods in my classes, even those coded as ‘lectures’ in traditional classroom settings, including case studies, flipped lessons, think-pair-share, role playing, data for problem-solving, and scavenger hunts. These activities are routinely mentioned as highlights of their semester by students and garner feedback such as: “this is the most exciting class I have ever taken” and “none of my other classes do anything like this.”
Additionally, my courses are focused on students developing their portfolios, with flexibility to pursue their interests. I work to provide opportunities for students to create and publish peer-reviewed scholarship, public scholarship, or art. Integrating creation of knowledge into my classroom teaching is an act of inclusion. Pushing research into courses makes research experiences, especially initial exposure, much more accessible for students from diverse backgrounds. This could ‘hook’ students who may not have imagined research or humanities in their future.
Example of semester projects that center student portfolio development:
I have a lifelong learner approach to innovation in teaching, continually taking professional development to improve from and with wonderful and brilliant colleagues. I’ve participated in several Teaching & Learning Circles through RIT Teaching & Learning Services. I’ve also participated in the RIT HHMI Inclusive Excellence classroom teaching strand, RIT HHMI Inclusive Excellence research supervision strand, and the RIT/NTID Access and Inclusion project.
My approaches to teaching have been recognized by peers. In 2017, I was invited to present to the New York State K12 Master Teachers program, on how to incorporate active learning and data-driven problem solving into high school classrooms. In 2018, I was invited by RIT Teaching & Learning Services to give a lecture on case study approaches in classrooms, to promote active and inclusive learning. You can watch it here (in spoken English with ASL interpretation on screen). Also in 2018, I led a CURE (course based undergraduate research experience) Teaching & Learning Circle for colleagues through RIT Teaching & Learning Services.