The eight essays in Campus Conversations provide some of the best scholarly work emerging from individual faculty learning communities in a statewide program called the Chancellor’s Learning Scholar (CLS) program.
The CLS program began in 2018 as an initiative designed to include large numbers of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) about 12,000 fulltime teaching faculty in the USG’s statewide student success efforts. The approximately 2,000 faculty who have participated in the first two years of the CLS program learned about the eight pedagogies of student success which can help engage students more deepl, thereby retaining them and deepening their learning.
These pedagogies include small teaching (based on the Jim Lang book), inclusive pedagogy, Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TiLT), course design, high impact practices (HIPs), brain-based learning, academic mindset, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).
As teaching and learning scholarship, each essay has its origin in the topic for which the learning community was formed. The collection demonstrates the range of topics and many of the ways in which USG faculty have explored and applied these pedagogies to their own institutional contexts and courses.
The essays selected for inclusion in this volume also embody different responses to the outcomes of the program as set out at the inception of the program.
Jeffery Galle is associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, faculty development, for the University System of Georgia. As an English professor, an administrator, and an author whose work focuses on innovative teaching, Galle has derived immense joy in creative work with students, staff, and fellow faculty.
Denise Pinette Domizi is director of faculty development for the University System of Georgia. She works to promote and support innovation and research in teaching and learning at the twenty-six public colleges and universities in the state of Georgia.
Preface: Jeffery Galle
Introduction: Jeffery Galle
Chapter 1: Organic Asynchronous Discussions: An Alternative Online Discussion Structure to Increase Student Engagement and Critical Thinking
Beth Rene Roepnack
Chapter 2: Strengthening Faculty Community: Intradisciplinary Reciprocal Mentorship to Support Innovative Teaching
Ashley J. Holmes, Michael Harker, Gina Caison, Mary E. Hocks, Melissa McLeod, and LeeAnne M. Richardson
Chapter 3: Interdisciplinary and Interactive Teaching and Learning Practices: The Intersections and Impact of Course Design and Student Success
Molly Zhou, Alicia Alderman, Samantha Blair, Erik Elakman, Baogang Guo,
Leslie Harrelson, Angela Nava, Jane Sample
Chapter 4: Jump Starting Your Inclusive Classroom
Chapter 5: Incorporating Brain Based Learning and Growth Mindset in Mathematics and English Instruction to Improve Students’ Learning
Veena Paliwal and Ashley Dycus
Chapter 6: Using the Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework to Explore Teaching and Learning Practices at an HBCU: Three Case Studies
Juliana Trammel, Melanie Smith, Phillip Omunga, Jessica Sparks
Chapter 7: “small change → BIG DIFFERENCE" = See it for yourself" – Step wise incorporation of active learning techniques in course design
Shainaz Landge and Kania Greer
Chapter 8: Cultivating Academic Agency and Mindset at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Marcus Johnson and Rachel Price
Campus Conversations is a wonderful exploration of systemness in action on the ground – chronicling the combined power of a cross-campus student retention effort and connected faculty learning communities in transforming how systems and campuses can collectively strengthen support of student learning. USG continues to break new ground in the student success arena.
As a faculty member and administrator in the University System of Georgia (USG) for over three decades, I have had the privilege to observe an evolution in the USG faculty and staff that is nothing short of record setting. From the campus centers for teaching and learning (CTLs) and the network of those centers’ directors, the USG supported annual conference on teaching and learning, faculty learning communities (FLCs), and, the latest expression, the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (CLSs) has evolved an unyielding commitment to improving education through greater transparency, equity, effectiveness and accountability. This book, as Jeff Galle says in the Preface, is but the “tip of the iceberg” of the intellectual capital that this collective body possesses, yet this “tip” is an impressive one indeed and careful readers will take away some ideas and techniques from these essays that have the potential to completely transform their teaching.
There has been exciting work in the field on scaled solutions for increasing student success, with new research and innovative practice being implemented at the institution, system and state level. Georgia has been a leader in this movement. But, before now and the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (CLS) project, most of the reforms have focused on structural changes to policies and/or on strategies for improving student experiences outside for the classroom. The CLS project is the only example I have seen of a scaled approach to improving instruction in classrooms across a system. This project and the faculty development work on CLS has once again positioned Georgia as a national leader in the student success movement.
Faculty learning communities are essential to not only promoting collegiality at colleges and universities, but also in providing planned opportunities for faculty to share the best-practices, challenges, and successes in the classroom. The case studies found in the book provide research-based applications of pedagogical strategies that can serve as a recipe book for others attempting to either establish learning communities or try a new approach to teaching. This book is a must-read for faculty, faculty developers, and college administrators trying to adopt different ways of enhancing student learning in higher education.
If true education is about the formation and development of the individuals who come to us as our students, success depends on the ability to engage with students in ways that enable formation and development to occur. These essays provide answers, or more appropriately, practices, classroom practices, that faculty can use to increase successful engagement with students. Guided and informed by classroom experience in a major public university system and from a variety of disciplines, this book provides a buffet of options from which faculty can choose based on discipline, students, and course content and nature, as well as the individual faculty member’s teaching style.
Some may claim that faculty have the duty to teach; students have the duty to learn. This is true, but faculty have a duty to make learning possible. The Neo-Confucian scholar Wang Yangming (1472–1529) expressed this when he wrote, “The exemplary [teacher] . . . delivers lessons “responsive both to the specificity of the occasion and the distinctiveness of the student . . ..”
These essays provide valuable and productive models of exemplary teaching that enable us to respond to the specificity of the occasions in which we teach and the distinctiveness of the students whom we teach.