Jenny Ross, associate professor of physics, will speak on “Getting Together: Easy Ways to Improve Teaching in Your Department” at a STEM Education Institute seminar on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. in 138 Hasbrouck Lab.
Sustainability in teaching innovation is one of the biggest challenges facing educators today, says Ross. Often, an enthusiastic and energetic faculty member will make changes to a course, such as flipping the class or other modern teaching methods only to be switched out of the class after a few years. If the new instructor does not want or feel comfortable with such innovations, the positive changes will be lost. This is a huge waste of effort for all involved and results in negative progress for changing to more modern, evidence-based teaching methods. The department physics has sought to improve sustainability in teaching innovation through increased communication among faculty. A peer mentoring group focused on teaching in the department and meets every other week for lunch to discuss teaching and how true changes can be made to the curriculum and individual courses. The essential part of sustainable change is buy-in from a majority of the department through a combination of administrative support and grass-roots initiatives for change.