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Faculty Present at 2013 Lilly Conference

Faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Religion and associated with the Teaching Center and the Office of General Education recently contributed four presentations at the 33rd Annual International Lilly Conference on College Teaching.  Each of the four presentations is associated with research that flows from ongoing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects and collaborations.

Computer Science Professor Joyce Crowell, Psychological Science Professor Pete Giordano and Religion Professor Steve Simpler presented “Taming the Professor: How Students Manage Professors.”  They are members of the Belmont Faculty Improvement Group (FIG) that has worked on a variety of SoTL projects for more than two decades and has presented at several other Lilly conferences. Their 2013 presentation focused on how students try to manipulate such things as course assignments, grading, or due dates. Participants discussed ways to create hospitable classrooms that diminish adversarial relationships while upholding academic standards.

In an interactive panel presentation entitled “Getting Students to Care in the Common Core Classroom: Service Learning as an Engagement Strategy,”  English Department faculty members Jason Lovvorn, Linda Holt and Charmion Gustke examined how service learning can be an effective student engagement strategy, particularly for core-curriculum classes. All three faculty members have multi-year scholarly research experiences with service learning pedagogy. As a conference panel, they each offered reflections on how service learning promotes student engagement in the classroom. The presentation provided conclusions and evidence regarding how service-learning outcomes square well with the goals of most core curricula.

Alison Moore and Rachel Rigsby, both chemistry faculty members and general education leaders, presented “How the BELL Core Does Multi-Disciplinary Learning Communities as the First Part of a Sophomore Year Experience.” Their presentation included recent observations from collaborative research that combined administrative and teaching experiences for both faculty members. In addition to laying out the basic framework and signature courses of the BELL Core at Belmont, they identified how learning communities have been incorporated as part of Belmont’s larger Sophomore Year Experience. This session explored both the logistical details of including learning communities in the core curriculum and the pedagogical pieces that make them successful academic experiences.

“Some Effective Activities and Strategies for Ending a Course,” presented by Mathematics and Teaching Center Professor Mike Pinter and Giordano, was designed so that participants would be able to implement ideas immediately as they conclude their fall semester courses. As output from their collaboration on SoTL topics that developed during service for each as Belmont’s Teaching Center director, they have presented regularly at the Lilly Conference over the last decade. To outline the significance of a good course ending, their 2013 presentation included pedagogical, cognitive, emotional and practical considerations for ending a course in ways that promote student learning. After hearing about approaches and activities used in some Belmont mathematics and psychology courses, participants had time to generate their specific course-ending ideas.

At the Lilly Conference, faculty scholars of teaching and learning from across the United States and several international educational institutions share innovative pedagogies and have vibrant discussions about questions and challenges associated with teaching and learning. The theme for the 2013 conference, held Nov. 21-24 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, was “Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning.”

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