Faculty fellows to develop UO’s first core education runways

Classroom scene

A new faculty learning and leadership community, also known as a Community Accelerating the Impact of Teaching, is being formed to develop the UO’s first core education “runways.”

The Teaching Engagement Program, Office of the Provost and the Division of Undergraduate Studies are creating a community of up to 12 faculty fellows who will each develop and pilot a year-long, inquiry-driven seminar. Organizers are planning to offer the seminars during the 2019-20 academic school year.

“Faculty learning communities are a tried-and-true model for faculty teaching development,” said Lee Rumbarger, assistant vice provost for teaching engagement and the director of the Teaching Engagement Program. “At UO, we’re trying something a bit different: forming groups around important, interesting questions and inviting faculty to pilot courses, develop resources or trainings, and make recommendations for institutional change informed by their experiences as teachers.”

Currently, first-year students face an array of courses to choose from when they enter the university. The new core education runways are intended to create a more structured approach to students’ first-year experience.

“Engaging students in problem-based learning across disciplines, guided by a faculty member, exposes them to the kinds of integrative and critical thinking skills that will be so important for their academic and work lives,” said Ron Bramhall, associate vice provost for academic excellence. “The big question approach is designed to help students see the relevance of required core education courses by using problem-based questions to show how different disciplinary approaches interact to provide a more complete picture of a problem.”

Each runway seminar will focus on a research-driven “big question” that ties together core education courses and links to one of six broad themes currently called: industry and innovation, identities and social structures, sustainability and the natural world, healthy communities, human stories and expression, and global connections.

Fellows will work together to develop a standardized syllabus template that identifies learning goals, such as collaborative learning, that will be shared between all seminars. They will also have the opportunity to work with faculty members teaching composition to connect their curriculum with writing courses and learn about strategies for teaching first-year students. The faculty community will meet over the course of the 2019 calendar year.

This will be one of three communities for the 2018-19 academic year. The others are the Teaching Excellence and Evaluation community, which is developing and piloting new teaching evaluation instruments and frameworks, and the Difference, Inequality, and Agency community, which will support faculty members who are developing courses to meet UO’s new US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency and Global Perspectives requirements.

To apply for one of these faculty fellow positions, visit the Teaching Engagement Program website.

By Jesse Summers, University Communications