From Intuition to Intention

Wordleby Debie Lohe, Director, Reinert Center This week, with move-in underway, most of the campus is focused on the arrival of new undergraduates.  It’s easy to do that: they’re fresh and new and starting a journey that will take them to unexpected places.  For us here in the Reinert Center, though, we’re thinking more about the arrival of new faculty and graduate students, those brand-new to teaching and those veterans who are about to embark upon their first courses here at SLU (or have just done so this week).  They, too, are fresh and new and beginning a journey that may take them to unexpected places. As I prepared to speak with new faculty at orientation yesterday, I found myself struggling with the usual challenge: how to tell them just enough about the Center – who we are, what we do, what we value – to interest them, without providing too much information and detail about specific services and programs. So, how did I do it? I decided to read a series of statements, asking new faculty to reflect on which ones represented them and their experience.  See if any of these applies to you:

You’ve never taught before in any setting.

You’ve served as a TA or lab assistant, but haven’t taught your own course before.

You’ve worked with students and patients in a clinical setting, but haven’t taught in a formal classroom.

You have taught before (in a classroom, lab, clinic), but no one ever taught you how.

You teach as you were taught.

You teach by instinct and intuition.  (Mostly, you get it right.)

You’ve been teaching for years, but you’re bored and need re-energizing.

You keep hearing that you should use technology in your teaching, but you aren’t sure why or how you would make that work for your discipline.

You wish you knew more about teaching.

You wish you knew more about the research on learning.

You wish you could teach more efficiently, grade more efficiently, and still engage more students in more meaningful ways.

You wish you knew more about who the heck “today’s students” are because they are not who you were as an undergraduate or graduate student.

If any of these applies to you, you may find it helpful to come and talk with us. What do we do here in the Center? The shortest answer I can give is this: We help you to identify what you do by intuition and ways to do it more intentionally. To find out more about how the Center might support you in your growth as a teacher, read more about our services and programs here and find out about this semester’s upcoming events here.  If you do nothing else, consider subscribing to The Notebook; it’s a way to stay connected to the Center, to see what’s on our minds, and to add your own voice to the conversation. And please join us for our Faculty Open House next week (8/28/13, 3-5 pm, Pius Library, Suite 221), our annual welcome reception for new faculty.  (Click here to let us know you’re planning to stop by.) We hope to see you soon.

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