Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Small Teaching Update

Last week I finished my final campus visit for the spring semester, with the opportunity to give a keynote speech and a workshop on my new book, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, at Columbus State Community College in Ohio.  This represented a nice almost-homecoming for me, as I was able to be in my home state of Ohio (I grew up in Cleveland) during the final games of the NBA championships series.  I'm not much of an NBA fan, but it was a pleasure to see the Cavaliers give to so many Clevelanders the championship they thought they might never live to see.

Since the publication of Small Teaching, I have been very humbled and pleased to receive many such invitations to give keynote speeches, lectures, or workshops on the book to faculty on college campuses around the world--close to three dozen invitations in the past three months.  I count travel as one of my great pleasures in life, and so I relish the opportunity both to speak about the book and see new places. The next few months include trips to Colombia and Budapest, both of which I am incredibly excited about.  The docket also includes much-anticipated visits to Salt Lake City, Santa Monica, Baton Rouge, and more.

Giving the keynote at St. Joseph's University's
conference on teaching and learning in June 2016
One of the reasons that these events have been so enjoyable to me has been the opportunity to observe faculty brainstorming ways to put the small teaching strategies in action in their own courses.  This happens especially when we have time to settle in and let people collaborate in an interactive workshop environment.  I have heard people express many good ideas that made me think immediately: "I wish I could go back and put that one in the book!"  And it has been especially joyful to see when the small teaching model empowers people to make a positive change to their teaching.

But I still work full-time at my own institution, both directing our center and teaching courses in British literature, and this fall will be spending a month in Colombia on a Fulbright Specialist grant to help three universities there create a MOOC on teaching and learning in higher education for Latin American faculty.  All of these obligations mean that I have, at this point, accepted as many speaking invitations as are feasible for me throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, right through May of 2017. My own students and institution have to take priority in my life--not to mention my family, who seem to like to have me around at least some of the time.

So my apologies in advance to folks who were thinking about inquiring about a Small Teaching workshop or keynote next year--please keep me in mind for the 2017-2018 year. I am still very open and available for local events (within a 2-3 hour drive of Worcester), but nothing that involves an overnight stay.  I'm also very open and available to meet with faculty reading groups via Skype (or whatever video conferencing software you might use).  I had an opportunity to do this with the faculty at Indiana State in late May, and I very much enjoyed it.

I hope folks continue to enjoy Small Teaching.  If you see me out and about in the world, please come up and introduce yourself--I am always happy to talk teaching with faculty.


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