The following stories were written by faculty members as part of their work in the Writing Across the Curriculum seminar.
Missing the Bells of High School
Education Specialties Department
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and…whatever. It's actually closer to 2 a.m., and I’m staring at a pile of not one, not two, not three, but FOUR assignments I simultaneously collected from my classes, roughly 200 pages of text. As snoring echoes from the next room (my husband, the dog, or both), I sigh, arm myself with my favorite green pen, and begin to read again.
Why would I do this to myself? [Read the Full Story]
Competing for Our Students' Attention
Communication Arts Department
When we instructors were students, we were all guilty of being off-task from time to time during a class. Maybe you thought there wasn’t any harm in jotting a note to a friend. Perhaps, in more recent years, you stole a quick glance at Facebook during a lull in the lecture.
No big deal. But... [Read the Full Story]
The Challenges of Active Reading
The question for most students is, even when they get the rare opportunity to read the material, do they find this experience valuable and rewarding? How often do they feel that they truly benefitted from the activity of reading? Not too often. [Read the Full Story]
I Play Favorites
Don’t tell my students, but I tend to play favorites – not with the individuals attending my classes, but with the poems, plays, and works of fiction I have carefully selected to populate my syllabus. In the crowd of assigned reading, there are always the texts I love, the texts I like, and, inevitably, the one or two texts I dread spending time with and teaching. [Read the Full Story]
The author of FAILURE volunteered to read her poem first, and I could tell from her shy smile that she was proud of it, although she read the following so softly I had to lean to hear her clearly. The rest of the class nodded in admiration or whispered awesome. They looked at me. I looked down at the poem, where the underlined, capitalized and bolded title screamed accusingly. [Read the Full Story]
University and Technical Educations: Are They the Same?
Economics and Finance
A remarkable, largely unnoticed, transformation has taken place in higher education. I am referring to a blurring of the lines of distinction between the university experience and the technical school experience. This transformation has important consequences for students, parents, tax payers, those that hire recent graduates and all of society. [Read the Full Story]
Where in the World is the Tripoli Shore?
Every semester I give students in my introductory Physical Geography class a blank map of the world and ask them to label some of the world’s major physical features. One time, a student drew Iraq as a big island in the middle of the Atlantic, and another drew the U.S. with an ocean where Mexico was supposed to be. [Read the Full Story]
You Knew the Job Was Dangerous When You Took It
All the coffee shop chatter in the world that takes place between starry-eyed grad students couldn’t prepare any of us for the ultimate challenge – our own, self-imposed, workload as faculty members. [Read the Full Story]
Successful Applicant Will Have Experience With…
“Why do I have to study this stupid cell biology? I’ll never use this stuff. I want to be a zookeeper!” I hear it at least once a semester, students moaning about the required coursework for a biology degree. They don’t realize that the skills they’re learning might genuinely prove useful in later life—no matter what field of biology they enter. [Read the Full Story]
In a Flattening World, Will Interdisciplinary Research Thrive?
We can now connect via telecommunications with colleagues in from Texas to Thailand, but can we communicate across academic disciplines? What will the next generation of students, citizens and scholars need to adapt to an ever-more complex and interconnected world? [Read the Full Story]
I Love My Office, Even Though It Smells Like Dead Mice
The hallway outside my office smells like dead mice. About three weeks ago the Registrar’s office, one floor up, was fumigated, and the mice went into the crawlspaces and walls to decompose. I told my students coming for writing conferences to follow the smell of dead mice and they’d find me, in the basement, waiting for them. [Read the Full Story]
Wanted – Manager of the Wind
I have a hair trigger on my sociological imagination: I was listening to Ira Flatow on NPR’s Science Friday and heard that there is no 'leakage' associated with genetically modified (GM) crops; incidents in which GM species ‘volunteer’ in places they were not planted is 'a management problem . . . not an ecological problem'. [Read the Full Story]
The One Shot
Imagine this: your task is to fit all of your accumulated professional knowledge into a single 50 minute instruction session. That’s it; you will get no more classroom time with your students. So then, what do you teach and how do you teach it? Will it be relevant to your students? Will they get it and, more importantly, will they use it? [Read the Full Story]
Is it Cultural Difference or Individual Difference?
Health and Sport Sciences
It was the very first day of class in US. The first mission I had was to locate the right place to find my professor. I entered a building and kept looking around to find a room for a meeting with my professor. My entire sensory system was sending all kinds of signals, telling me, ‘Yoojin, this is not a place in which you used to live.' [Read the Full Story]
I Don't Read Books
As a teenager, I worked on a bookmobile; during my college years, I clerked and shelved books at two campus libraries; after college, I became an academic librarian and earned a Ph.D. in English, but I haven’t read a book in years. [Read the Full Article]
Do They Like Me Enough to Give Me Tenure?
Health and Sport Sciences Department
It may not be something you immediately think about, but it’s eventually something every new faculty member faces – it gives you flashbacks to elementary school when you wondered “Do they like me?” [Read the Full Article]
“Finding” Time to be Active in Your Busy Schedule
Health and Sport Sciences Department
How many times have you said, “I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day”? Our professional lives are so busy with lectures to prep, classes to teach, research to conduct, office hours to hold, committee meetings to attend and students to advise – not to mention the demands of a busy personal life. [Read the Full Article]
Help For A Drowning Colleague
Health and Sports Science Department
It’s Monday. I wake up, make coffee, and begin my day of planning as usual. But half-way through creating case studies on bacterial infections of the skin, I find myself interrupted by a drowning colleague seeking counsel on how to teach a new class. Under most circumstances, I would advise for a moment or two, and quickly return to my task at-hand. But this situation is quite different. This drowning colleague is my husband. [Read the Full Article]
Philosophy: Entertainment for Everyone
The other day I realized that this need for entertainment might have reached a level that interferes with my role as an educator. A student in one of my upper-level classes asked me why I had not scheduled a movie on the syllabus. While I do not think that showing a relevant movie (and subsequently discussing it!) would be out of place even in an upper-level philosophy class, I find the expectation of a “movie experience” troubling. [Read the Full Article]
I Hated History, But Now I Teach It
I hated history classes in high school. Truth be told, most college students love or hate a subject because of their high school experiences. I had mostly mediocre teachers in high school. I know because I also had a few stellar teachers, and they taught me the difference. The truly great teachers were not the popular teachers or the easy graders, they were the teachers who actually taught you something and made you want to learn. They respected your intellect no matter how great or small, and they found a way to reach you. I try to keep this in mind as I enter the college classroom because I now teach history. [Read the Full Article]