When 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Jan 29, 2021
Where Virtual
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DEI/Education Lecture: "The orthodoxy of teaching excellence"


Professor Trevor Harding
California Polytechnic State University, Chair, Materials Engineering

Centers for teaching and learning hold an important role in universities across the U.S. as they aim to help faculty, graduate students and other instructors improve upon their teaching.  By and large, the approach employed by these organizations is one of praxis – or the practice of teaching.  The underlying assumption is that if developing teachers are provided with the right teaching tricks, tips and methods, they will become good teachers over time.  And there is some validity to this.  But do these workshops create great teachers?  The kind that inspire students to achieve more than they thought themselves capable.  The kind of teachers that alums seek out when they infrequently return to campus because that teacher changed their lives?  I say no.  Praxis gets us only so far.  It cannot tap into the emotions, dreams and unique humanity of each student.  It cannot sustain the teacher over a career spanning decades, nor help them remain positive, student-centered, and un-jaded.  In this talk, I will present my own thoughts on the orthodoxy – or belief systems – of excellent teaching.  We will cover a large landscape including epistemology, positive psychology, and engineering culture.  It’s a big ocean of ideas, and we will only dip our toes in, but hopefully you will be inspired to dive in on your own.