Reviving our research agendas

Returning to research and creative activities over the summer is critical for those of us with heavy teaching loads. On the plus side, these can be satisfying sources of rejuvenation and renewal. This morning’s “ProfHacker” in the online Chronicle of Higher Education offers some concrete tips:

Doing some bibliography searches, free-writing in an idea notebook, or reviewing your last set of research notes even for just 20 minutes each day can help restart your creative and critical processes.

What strategies do you use for making the most of summer? Read the full post here: How to Restart Your Research This Summer


Why do I teach?

Maybe we should start a faculty essay contest. . . how would you answer this question?

Today’s piece in the New York Times by Gary Gutting offers some very thoughtful reflection. Here’s a snatch:

The fruits of college teaching should be measured not by tests but by the popularity of museums, classical concerts, art film houses, and book discussion groups, and publications like Scientific American, the New York Review of Books, The Economist, and The Atlantic, to cite just a few. These are the places where our students reap the benefits of their education.

Read the whole piece and join the conversation: Why do I Teach?.

When something isn’t working in our classes

It’s that reckoning moment at the end of the semester: how did the students perform? What went well, and what was frustrating or disappointing? Maryellen Weimer posted an interesting reflection this week in her Teaching Professor blog about facing the reasons WHY:

Finding out why some aspect of instruction isn’t working is easier when others are involved. You may want to solicit feedback from students. You may benefit from input provided by colleagues—those who can offer wise pedagogical counsel. Finally, this task must be approached with a firm belief that the vast majority of things that aren’t working in our courses can be fixed. The “vast majority” doesn’t mean all and “fixed” means made better (generally significantly better), but not perfect.

We’ll be taking some time to reflect with colleagues at the Faculty Development Retreat on Friday, May 10.  Please contact to reserve a spot if you haven’t already done so!