August 21st I attended my first GenEd Faculty Assembly as Director. Over 60 faculty and graduate students came to meet with their fellow Gen Ed instructors, share their instructional strategies, and gather new ideas for the coming semester. My role was limited to delivering opening and closing remarks and facilitating one of the breakout sessions. And the breakout sessions were great! My only problem was deciding which of the three workshops to attend each session.
Breakout Session 1
- New Instructor Session, Debra Blair, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Area Coordinator for Race and Diversity and Human Behavior
- Diverse Students, Inclusive Teaching, Robin-Renee Allbritton, Education
- 5 Apps You Can Easily Integrate Into Any GenEd Classroom, Alisha Nypaver, Music Studies, Area Coordinator for GenEd Arts and Online Sections
Breakout Session 2
- An Introduction to the GenEd Program-Wide Learning Goals, Patricia Moore Martinez, Spanish and Portuguese
- Addressing Information Literacy in the GenEd Classroom, Caitlin Shanley, Temple University Libraries
- Out of Class Workload: Are Your Assignments Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?, Jon Nyquist, Earth and Environmental Science, GenEd Director
- Taking the Classroom from “You” to “We”: Creating a Space for Sharing Experiences, Chad Allan, Secondary Education
Breakout Session 3
- Addressing the Full Range of Learners in the GenEd Classroom, Simmee Myers and Pete Watkins, Center for the Advancement of Teaching
- What Happens in First Year Writing? Reinforcing Writing Skills Across the GenEd Curriculum, Anne Layman-Horn, First Year Writing Program
- Connecting the GenEd Experience with Career Readiness, Laura Craig, Associate Director, Temple University Career Center
But probably my favorite part of the Assembly was the student panel. Four Temple seniors agreed to field questions from faculty about the student perspective on GenEd. Here are some examples:
Question: “What types of assignments to you dislike the most?”
Answer: Mandatory discussion board posts and group work where they fear they will have to carry the load for slackers.
Question: “What types of assignments did you like the most?”
Answer: Debates! Which allowed them to express their opinions and encouraged them to dig deep into their chosen topic. OR: Letting students set direction and lead the class for the day.
Question: “What what their initial impression of GenEd starting as freshmen?”
Answer: Did not initially see the value of classes outside their major.
Question: “What changed their minds?”
Answer: Instructors who were passionate about their subject and helped student make connections to things they cared about.
The student were only scheduled for 40 minutes, but faculty would happily have asked questions all day. Clearly, instructors are hungry for student feedback. We need more instructor-student dialog in the future!
The credit for organizing this event goes to Associate Director of GenEd, Dana Dawson, and the GenEd Finance Accounting Coordinator, Annabelle Jellinek. That everything went so smoothly is a testament to their hard work.