Updated September 27, 2018 at 1:48 a.m.
In an effort to foster more inclusive classrooms and improve student engagement in lectures, Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning has introduced a series of workshops for faculty members and graduate students on discourse-based learning, race, and identity, according to a CTL report released earlier this week.
Founded in 2015, the CTL offers workshops and tools for faculty and graduate students to inform better teaching practices. Following a 9-month search, the CTL hired Catherine Ross into the position in 2017 with the main focus of expanding the center’s partnerships with students and departments. The center offers orientations, multi-day immersive institutes, and as teaching grants for faculty members to redesign the structure of classroom lessons.
According to the report, the newly revamped center has held 230 workshops for Columbia faculty and graduate student instructors over the past year, serving over 1,000 faculty members.
This year, the CTL launched Workshops To Go, a service that provides departments with customized faculty training on any topic related to enhancing student engagement and understanding. The initiative encompasses three main areas: “Teaching Large Classes,” “Learning Through Discussion,” and “Inclusive Teaching.” According to the report, the CTL held a total of 34 customized workshops across all of the University’s departments.
CTL’s Workshops To Go also provides sensitivity training through racial and identity inclusivity workshops such as “Exploring Inclusive Teaching in Our Astronomy Classrooms” and “Inclusivity Issues in the STEM Classroom.” Departments may additionally request diversity and inclusion workshops that are not part of CTL’s Workshops to Go. Currently, there is no University policy which requires faculty to undergo any diversity, inclusivity, or sensitivity training.
The CTL report additionally highlighted classrooms’ success in exploring blended learning and “flipped classrooms,” pedagogical techniques that integrate face-to-face and online learning to promote more student-faculty discussion rather than lectures. These initiatives also intend to foster more inclusive environments for students through the implementation of technology, specifically supplemental interactive simulations, content-based videos, and pre-assessments posted online for students to review before class.
Since 2014, CTL has awarded grants between $5,000 and $20,000 for faculty members to develop novel pedagogies and technology-based learning strategies. The Provost’s Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery Grants have funded 81 course redesigns for graduate and undergraduate classes and 30 other teaching and learning projects, the report said. Out of the 12 spring 2018 grant recipients, five are undergraduate instructors.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Center for Teaching and Learning did not have a director for nearly a year. The center did not have a permanent director; an interim director was put in place for nine months. The previous version also incorrectly stated that the Provost’s Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery Grants have funded 12 course redesigns; however, the grants have funded 81 since its inception.