Center sets faculty workshops, book club

University of the Incarnate Word faculty needing help developing teaching statements for their annual and third-year reviews as well as tenure and promotion files will benefit from two April workshops.

The Center for Teaching and Learning at UIW has scheduled noon “Writing Your Teaching Statement” workshops on Tuesday, April 4, in the Special Collections Room on the second floor of J.E. and L.E. Mabee Library, and Wednesday, April 5, at the School of Osteopathic Medicine at Brooks City Base.

Dr. Barbara Millis, a retired educator who formerly headed the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas-San Antonio, will lead both workshops.

Millis has written and presented widely on the process of writing a teaching philosophy, said Dr. Susan Hall, director of the UIW center. The speaker’s most recent books are “Cooperative Learning in Higher Education” and “The Course Syllabus: A Learning Centered Approach.”

“Being able to write a clear and engaging (teaching statement) is a practical skill,” Hall said. “But a teaching statement is useful in a deeper way, too, since it prompts us to think about the nature of learning and how we organize courses to support learning.”

If a UIW faculty member has “an existing teaching statement that you find less than inspiring, learn from Barbara Millis how to revise it into something that better reflects you and your beliefs,” Hall said, adding that lunch will be served at both workshops at 11:30 a.m.

The UIW center also has a book club that will meet at 10:30 a.m. March 3, March 24 and March 31 in AD 212 focusing on social psychologist Claude Steele’s book, “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do.” Book clubs are limited to 10 members who will get a free copy of the book when they register for the book club.

Christopher McCollum, an instructor in theatre arts, will be the facilitator for the “Whistling Vivaldi” book club that will look at Steele’s pioneering research on “ ‘stereotype threat,’ the notion that awareness of a negative stereotype about ourselves is likely to depress our performance in that area,” and his contention that stereotype threat is “particularly dangerous for minority students, often prompting weaker performance in college than the students’ actual preparation would suggest.” Steele’s book will suggest practical strategies for lessening the impact of stereotype threat in classrooms.

Since the spring semester started, the center has been offering a number of workshops for faculty in AD 212, but a few still remain.

Some incentives include free breakfast, lunch, wine and cheese, and an occasional stipend depending on availability.

The center workshops left include:

   “Rethink Your Use of Writing — and Live to Tell the Tale,” noon Feb. 27, with lunch, and 4:30 p.m. March 1, with wine and cheese. Since this workshop supports UIW’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), the first 10 faculty members will receive a $100 stipend. Four faculty members, who attended UIW’s Writing Academy, will share their plans for using writing more intentionally in a course. In implementing their plans, these colleagues have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when reconsidering how writing contributes to a course. Participants will learn strategies for using writing to support student learning of key content and respond to that writing efficiently and helpfully. The sharers – all assistant professors — include Dr. Zenon Culverhouse from philosophy; Dr. Lourdes Fortepiani from optometry; Dr. Brian Foutch from optometry; and Dr. Doshi Piper from criminal justice.

   “Writing Student Learning Outcomes: Three Relatively Painless Steps,” 4:30 p.m. March 7, with wine and cheese, and noon March 24, with lunch. Hall, director of the center, will show participants how to use the SMART approach to writing student leaning outcomes. They will also learn to select appropriate assessments for a given outcome and discuss strategies for using the assessment happening in individual courses in program reviews.

“Informal Writing,” 8 a.m. March 21, with breakfast, and 10 a.m. March 24. Dr. Amanda Johnston, director of UIW’s Writing and Learning Center, will focus on informal writing activities, often called “writing to learn,” that are designed to help students learn course material. The focus is more on the thinking that is prompted than on the quality of the product that is produced. These short activities are lightly graded, if at all. Participants will learn several informal writing activities that can be easily adapted and implemented in many disciplines. Participants should select material that students find difficult, and leave the session with an informal writing activity geared to it. Since this workshop supports the QEP, the first 10 faculty members to register for each session will receive a $100 stipend.

“Where Does Math Touch Your World?,” 8 a.m. March 29, with breakfast, and noon March 30, with lunch. Three mathematicians from the School of Math, Science and EngineeringDr. Joleen Beltrami, an associate professor, and two assistant professors, Dr. Craig McCarron and Dr. Suleyman Tek – will discuss mathematical concepts and skills students need to succeed in courses. In addition to an opportunity to share their needs, participants will learn what is emphasized in introductory math courses and the issues involved in successful transfer of skills from one course to another.

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