Faculty Roundtable Series announced

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2:38 p.m., Feb. 18, 2011----A spring University of Delaware Faculty Roundtable Series, “Speaking of Teaching,” has been announced. The series will meet from 2:30-4 p.m. on Friday afternoons, Feb. 25-March 18.

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The first three sessions will meet in Room 208 Gore Hall, with the March 18 session set in Room 205 Brown Lab. Sessions have also been planned for the month of April. More information on these sessions will be available soon.

The co-presenters of the opening session on Feb. 25 are Provost Tom Apple and Lynnette Overby, faculty director of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning. Susan Barton, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, will present on March 4; Mary Ann McLane, professor in the Department of Medical Technology, will present on March 11; and Steve Dentel, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will present on March 18.

For registration information, see this website. Registration is not required but would be appreciated.

A theme of this semester's discussion is the importance of student involvement in the learning process. All of the featured presenters integrate student engagement in their classes, which enables students to collaboratively solve problems and to learn beyond the classroom setting.

This series features faculty from many different academic disciplines, which reinforces the idea that this style of teaching can be used in any college classroom.

Friday, Feb. 25 -- Apple will begin the series with opening remarks, and three faculty members will give 10-minute descriptions of their work with students and community partners. The session, entitled “Becoming a Public Scholar: The Merging of Research, Teaching and Service,” will focus on University of Delaware professors who have a compelling desire to foster positive change in the world. Professors will describe their ability to provide disciplinary, real-world experiences for students while simultaneously helping communities and encouraging scholarship.

Friday, March 4 -- Barton will discuss integrating collaborative teaching with service learning. Her session, “Students of Our Environment: Active, Collaborative Teaching Across Colleges,” promotes learning by doing. Students in her honors colloquium have this opportunity, and they are encouraged to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

Friday, March 11 -- McLane's session, “PBL in a Non-PBL Setting,” will include the use of problem-based learning in settings that do not foster this method of teaching. McLane seeks to answer the question, “How does a teacher get the best aspects of problem-based learning when the topic, time or room is unable to promote it?”

Friday, March 18 -- Dentel will describe his experiences working with students in Engineers Without Borders, which is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides adequate sanitation, clean drinking water and resources to meet individuals' basic needs. Engineers Without Borders is an example of problem-based learning that compensates for the “drier” material often associated with teaching math or science in the classroom.

Dentel says, “The ability to formulate and solve a problem in mathematical terms provides little reward for the student who needs real-world connections.”

Instead, Dentel believes a strong link between technical curricula and real-world applications fortifies the learning experience and motivates students who could possibly lose interest in the subject.

The Faculty Roundtable Series is sponsored by the Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education (ITUE), Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS), Office of Service Learning and Office of the Provost.

For complete details about the presenters, see the website.

Article by Rachel Lipman

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