Gradstep 2010:
Whole Teachers

Saturday, January 23, 2010
Divinity School
9:30AM - 3:30PM

Click here to register for GradSTEP 2010

Held in January each year, GradSTEP provides several workshops and discussions on teaching, learning, and professional development issues across the disciplines. All Vanderbilt graduate and professional students, as well as post-doctoral fellows, are invited to attend.

The profession of teaching stands at the intersection of personal and public life.  As scholars, we pursue personal interests in the service of public good.  As educators, we shape our students’ habits of understanding, their personal attitudes and beliefs.  Through the classrooms we construct, we contribute to our students’ conceptions of community and citizenship.  We are instructors and mentors, experts and colleagues, researchers and friends.   More than just a job, teaching is a lifestyle.  How do effective teachers balance these different roles and expectations?   As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, global environmental problems and ever-shifting technological landscapes call for innovative approaches to teaching across the disciplines.  How might we re-imagine our classrooms in light of these pressing concerns?  This year’s GradSTEP theme suggests a holistic approach to the art of teaching, emphasizing personal, community, and environmental sustainability as key components of professional development.

Schedule of Events

9:30AM - 9:45AM Registration
9:45AM - 10:30AM

Opening Remarks by Dr. Bonnie Miller-McLemore,
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University

10:30AM - 12:00PM

Session I (Choose One - see below for descriptions)

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Lunch & Conversational Tables

During lunch participants will have the opportunity to discuss pedagogical hot topics. In order to help the organizers determine which topics are most prevalent to attendees, registrants are being asked to select their top three choices. See below for a list of topics.

1:00PM - 2:30PM

Session II (Choose One - see below for descriptions)

2:30PM - 3:30PM Wine & Cheese Reception provided by the Graduate Student Council

Opening Remarks by Dr. Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University

Her research in the areas of religion, psychology, and culture, pastoral and practical theology, and women and childhood studies focuses on understanding the person and lived theology in the midst of common struggles, such as illness, dying, working, and parenting. She teaches courses on personality theory, self-psychology, women and religion, families and children, pastoral counseling, spirituality and pastoral care, pastoral and practical theology, and methods in religion and science. In both teaching and research, she seeks to bridge common divides between belief and practice, academy and congregation, head and heart.

Session I Workshops (10:30AM - 12:00PM)

There are five workshop options for each session of GradSTEP 2010.  Participants will select one. Options for Session I are as follows:

Effective Presentations with a Twist
Facilitator: Maria Ebner, Graduate Programs Assistant, CFT

Designing and delivering presentations that are well-prepared, well-organized, communicate ideas clearly, and engage students is no easy task. For many people, presenting can be a daunting and unpleasant experience. It needn't be so. Effective presentations are within everyone's reach. In this session, we will discuss elements of effective presentations, including preparation, public speaking skills, and the power of visual communication. We will look at new presentation tools using concepts of interactive mind mapping, such as Prezi. This new way of visually showing and moving people through information can be a powerful tool in our academic and professional lives.

Integrating Classroom and Community
Facilitator: John Morell, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

This panel will reflect upon possibilities for promoting civic engagement through innovative, community-centered course design.  Participants will gain insight into the benefits and limitations of service learning as a pedagogical tool and will leave with resources for implementing community-centered classrooms.  Among other questions, we will consider: How do community-centered models of learning disrupt traditional pedagogical approaches?  Can service learning reinforce the disciplinary knowledge and skills that we want our students to acquire in the classroom?  Is “service” the best description for the kinds of collaborations and projects we imagine constructing with the community? 

Laying the Foundation for Success: Course and Syllabus Design
Facilitator: Deanna Matheuszik, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

The elements for a successful course are put into place long before the first day of class. This workshop will discuss topics such as writing a course description, defining course objectives, choosing texts, creating a class schedule, scheduling assignments, determining when and how you will assess student learning, crafting lesson plans and selecting course-appropriate teaching methods, as well as setting out student and instructor responsibilities.

Teaching Relationships: Boundaries, Roles, and Effective Communication
Facilitator: Kezia Shirkey, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

Your role as a teaching assistant is not always clear.  Maybe you know you should not be doing the professor’s laundry, but what should you be doing?  This workshop will discuss appropriate roles as a TA in the classroom, grading, and in office hours.  We will talk about how to communicate needs, concerns, and boundaries with your professor and your students.

What’s up with Kanye? Role Playing Hot Moments in and outside of the Classroom
Facilitator: Chris Paris, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

Incivilities manifest themselves in both direct and indirect ways in the classroom. While most students do not vocally challenge the authority of the professor, many check out mentally and focus their attention on laptops and other media. Still others save their hot moments for after class or during office hours when they create confrontations by complaining about grades or others issues. In this highly interactive workshop, volunteers will role play hot moments in and outside of the classroom. The group will discuss ways to guard against such behaviors by creating course policies and by making their students a part of the governing process of the class. Both those who would like to role play these events and those who would like to contribute to the discussion are welcome to attend.

Conversational Lunch Table Topics

  • Science Fiction and Learning
  • The Ethics of Teaching and Teaching Ethics
  • Class in the Classroom
  • Politics and Activism in the Classroom
  • Video Games and Learning
  • Engaging Students in Large Lectures
  • Professional Development via Online Social Networking
  • Generations and Learning: Boomers, Gen Xs, Millenials
  • Teaching Material You Don’t Know
  • Pull Yourself Together! Emotions in the Classroom
  • Minorities in Your Classroom
  • Which Technology for which Assignment?
  • How Technology can Save You Time in the Classroom
  • Using Technology to Assess Teaching and Learning

Session II Workshops (1:00PM - 2:30PM)

There are five workshop options for each session of GradSTEP 2010.  Participants will select one. Options for Session II are as follows:

Ethics around Facebook: To Friend or Not to Friend
Facilitator: Rhett McDaniel, Educational Technologist, CFT

Have you been considering “friending” students and not sure how to keep them separate from others on your Facebook account?  Are you currently using social networking tools, like Facebook, to connect with your students?  This short session will help you learn how to avoid some of the pitfalls when developing and maintaining your professional persona online.  We’ll also touch on how to maintain boundaries and set clear expectations for students who may be accustomed to the instant availability of resources via the Internet. This workshop is part of the DigitalVU Month series.

Teaching with Technology in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Facilitator: Deanna Matheuszik, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

PowerPoint, Classroom Response Systems, blogs, wikis, podcasts, Twitter, video clips, surveys, social bookmarking and timeline tools—the possibilities for using technology in and outside the classroom are endless. This workshop will describe various technological tools available to teachers and discuss how to integrate them into both lecture and discussion-style courses in ways that enhance student learning.

Toward an Ecological Pedagogy
Facilitator: John Morell, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

This panel will consider the place of environmentalism in the classroom and the implications of ecology for interdisciplinarity.   Topics include: place-based learning, fostering partnerships with organizations outside of the academy, developing resources on sustainability pedagogy, and supporting interdisciplinary teaching.

Tranquil Teaching: Caring for Yourself and Finding Balance
Facilitator: Kezia Shirke
y, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

As graduate students, we have many roles to juggle: student, teacher, researcher, friend…  In this workshop we will discuss strategies for self-care including relaxation and mindfulness techniques as well as how to structure your activities to make sure you give yourself time.  These techniques can be helpful in unwinding from a day, getting ready for a class, or focusing and staying calm when feeling stressed or anxious in any part of life.  The workshop will also include a panel of professors and graduate students who will share their experiences of how they have managed to find balance.

Understanding Your Teaching Evaluations and Student Feedback
Facilitator: Chris Paris, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT

Student evaluations can run the gamut from effusive praise to excessive criticism. Some teachers choose to focus on the positive reviews while others cannot stop thinking about the negative ones. In this workshop, participants will learn to make better use of student feedback by determining what they can learn from both types of comments. Discussions will focus on effectively interpreting students remarks, developing the humility needed to improve teaching, and taking steps to maximize the likelihood of getting productive feedback at the end of the semester.

Wine and Cheese Reception (2:30PM - 3:30PM)
provided by the Graduate Student Council

Click here to register for GradSTEP 2010

For information on past events, please see our GradSTEP Archive.



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