Faculty members invited to 'Duck In' to colleagues’ classes

Faculty members have an opportunity to sit in on their colleagues’ classes as part of a week highlighting inclusive teaching practices across disciplines.

The program, called Duck In, takes take place Monday to Thursday, May 15-18, with a celebration and discussion at 10 a.m. Friday, May 19.

Duck In is an opportunity for faculty members to share their practices and strategies for fostering inclusive classrooms, and to see their peers in action.

Duck In was last offered six years ago and proved popular, so the Teaching Engagement Program  decided to bring it back this year. Almost 200 seats in 25 courses are open across five schools and colleges and the four divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences.The program is an early example of programming supported by a nearly $500,000 Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to bolster UO’s inclusive teaching efforts.

“Our goal is to break down isolation around teaching and create space for people to share their knowledge,” said Julie Mueller, a faculty consultant in the teaching program in the Office of the Provost. “People who are sitting in on courses can see the practices that host faculty members are using to address common goals and challenges, and get ideas to apply in their own classes.”

While the content taught varies from course to course and department to department, many teaching-related moves that matter are similar across contexts, particularly when it comes to being inclusive and helping students feel they can succeed.

For several years, the university has defined good teaching as professional, inclusive, engaged and research-informed, Mueller said.

“People don’t always have a completely clear idea of what each of those ideas mean for their own practice, so it can be helpful to see someone else teaching to get an idea of their strategies,” she said.

Highlighting inclusive teaching practices is important because “we want all our students to know that they belong and thrive in our classes,” said Lee Rumbarger, associate vice provost for teaching engagement. “Duck In is a joyful way to come together as a teaching community to consider how UO’s commitment to inclusive teaching is manifested in the many daily choices faculty make.”

Examples of inclusive teaching practices include structuring courses so students engage with content actively and frequently both in and out of the classroom; being transparent about the purpose, task and criteria for success on activities; and relating course content to students’ interests or other courses they might take.

Another practice is building classroom community and making big classes feel smaller by having students work in collaborative groups.

To see a list of open classes and to claim a seat, visit the Duck In website.