Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?
Welcome to the fall semester! After almost 18 months of unprecedented teaching and learning, it is wonderful to be back on campus and moving to establish a new normal of academic excellence at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
For the past 6½ years, the anonymous “SIPsquad” has been bringing you “by faculty, for faculty” suggestions about teaching practices and strategies for class activities, assignments and assessments for immediate use in your daily practice. The Strong Instructional Practices also make connections between teaching and accessing general University support systems, effectively bridging academic affairs and student affairs to promote well-rounded pedagogy and methodology and a robust student experience. The SIPs are designed to be easily digested and immediately implementable by faculty members in any discipline.
As the academic year drew to a close last spring, the SIPsquad took time to reflect on how teaching and learning had radically changed over the course of the pandemic. With this in mind, the SIPsquad has developed a schedule of topics to discuss this fall to support faculty in this first semester back on campus after pandemic restrictions.
Take a SIP of this: SIPs for a new normal
The context to which we are all returning is complex, and the responsibilities of faculty are more multifaceted than ever. Our profession has been drastically altered by the pandemic, and this past year has starkly reminded us of the ever-present equity issues in higher education. Our current situation requires that faculty members “unlearn” and retool to provide students and ourselves with what we need to thrive.
The SIPsquad realizes that big changes to course content or methodology may feel daunting this semester. Faculty members are working hard right now and may not have time to spend more than a couple of minutes tweaking any given activity or approach. With that understanding, SIPs will be designed to highlight faculty/instructor voices and reflect real-time teaching and learning concerns that our MSU Denver community is wrestling with. We will offer a “5-30-1” approach that will provide suggestions for things you can do if you have five minutes, 30 minutes or more than an hour to dedicate. We hope that in this way, all faculty members can find at least one way to positively connect with their teaching and implement short- and long-term alterations to their already-highly effective pedagogy.
Distance and separation have put a strain on our teaching community over the past 18 months. The SIPsquad looks forward to coming together again in our unique, urban, Hispanic-Serving Institution, nontraditional and commuter community so that we can once again learn from one another while we support and challenge one another in our love for teaching and mission to educate.
This semester more than ever, the SIPsquad wants to hear your voice. What are the challenges you are facing? What kinds of support do you need in the classroom? What issues affect teaching and learning for you and your students?
Drop us a line at the Well. You can click the red button to submit a draft SIP or volunteer to write a “guest SIP,” or you can simply drop us a line at email@example.com with any thoughts or ideas you might have. We look forward to collaborating with you this fall!