Respond to the Seminar: From Dualism to Relativism: Structured Debates and Controversy as a Catalyst for Critical Thinking

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Date: Wednesday, April 5th
Time: 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presenter: Scott Dust, Management, Farmer School of Business

Drawing on Perry’s Scheme of Cognitive Development, we propose that engaging in a two-part (research paper and in-class structured debate) experiential assignment will facilitate students engaging in relativistic as opposed to dualistic critical thinking. This assignment applies a pedagogical approach called constructive controversy, which requires students to make an initial conclusion about an ambiguous question (whether shared or hierarchical leadership is superior) and then experience conceptual conflict by engaging with others with opposing conclusions. Students selected their position (in-favor, not in-favor, neutral) at three time-points throughout the experience: (a) pre-assignment, (b) post-paper, pre-debate, and (c) post-debate. In support of our predictions, trends in the findings illustrate that students are likely to change their positions to neutral, or change their non-neutral positions to the opposing position at various stages throughout the assignment. Implications to pedagogical scholarship and future research directions to address limitations and build upon this work are discussed.

Respond to the Seminar: Service-Learning Applied

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Date: Wednesday, April 5th
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presenter: Tammy Schwartz, Teacher Education, and Director, Urban Teaching Cohort; Joseph Schroer, Educational Psychology; and Jessie Weasner, Assistant Director, Office of Community Engagement and Service

What does Service-Learning look like in practice? How have professors created mutually beneficial partnerships? What are the nuts and bolts of syllabus and course construction? These questions and more will be answered through this hands-on syllabus workshop. Examples of existing, exemplary S-L courses will be shared, along with syllabi from “alternative” fields. Drs. Schwartz and Schroer will work with you to hone your Service-Learning course components for maximum student engagement, so bring your syllabus!

Respond to the Event: 2017 ATS Symposium

Date: March 31,2017

Location: 320 Laws Hall

10:05 am – 10:50 am (2 concurrent sessions)
Crafting Large Lecture Courses Taught in English in Order to Support and Engage a Majority Student Population of Native Chinese-Language Speakers
Michael Hatch, Art

Comparing the Effectiveness of Backward Design Approaches With Different Amounts of Metacognitive and Deliberate Practice
Aaron Shield, Speech Pathology & Audiology

11:05 am – 11:50 am (3 concurrent sessions)
Evaluating the Influence of Active Learning Techniques in a Non-Traditional Classroom on Student Learning in an Introductory Course
Claire McLeod, Geology & Environmental Earth Science

How Metacognitive Instruction and Practice Change College Students’ Learning Behaviors and Performance
Elizabeth Richey, Educational Psychology

Phenomenon-Based Science Instruction
Scott Sander, Teacher Education

12:05 pm – 12:50 pm (3 concurrent sessions)
Creating a Reusable Learning Object to Complement an Advising-Heavy Bachelor of Integrative Studies (BIS) Course: An Instructional Design Model
Michelle Buchberger, Interdisciplinary & Communication Studies

The Effect of Cooperative Listening Practices on Student Critical Listening Analysis and Social Presence in Face-to-Face and Online Delivery Methods
Elizabeth Hoover, Music, and Emily Prochaska, Bachelor of Music in Performance

An Alternative Delivery Method to Traditional Case Studies: A Progress Report
Mary Kovach, Commerce

The Student-Teacher Relationship Is the Focus of the New Journal on Excellence in College Teaching Issue

A new issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching is now available online at the Journal website:

Volume 28, number 1 (2017) focuses on How Do Students and Teachers Learn to Understand Each Other? The Journal editors describe it in this way:

“. . the relationship—the understanding—between students and teachers is one of the most important elements of learning. In higher education, students are expected to move from early dualistic expectations of teacher/experts to give them the answers, to becoming independent learners who see their instructors as peers and are able to judge evidence on their own. But it takes more than proximity for students to feel understood and respected by their teachers so that they can progress along the cognitive learning path. Some of the problems that keep students and teachers from the trust they need to develop involve personal biases, cultural ignorance/misunderstanding, and slow development of personal identity as separate knowers.
The articles in this issue of the Journal discuss a variety of findings about factors behind personal biases; results of coursework intended to aid students to develop multicultural competencies; how students see professors as beneficent, detrimental, or engaging; how majority-culture students are taught about minority-culture issues; and how developing graduate teaching assistants try to build interpersonal relationships with their students through self-disclosure.”
(From “A Message From the Editors,” pp. 1-2).

The articles in this issue are:

What Do I Want My Professor To Be: Popular, Social, Lenient, or Effective?
D. M. Mattar & R. El Khoury

Sentiments and Perspectives of Academics About Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
J. Fong

Investigating the Development of Graduate Students’ Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs Professional Preparation
S. V. Iverson & C. L. Seher

The Student Perception of Faculty Scale: Development, Testing and Practical Application
T. S. Mueller

“Kitchen Table Prejudices” in the Diverse Classrooms of Today: Some Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Majority Students About Minority Issues
C. Asmar

Educational Interventions to Raise Awareness of White Privilege
K. A. Case & D. Rios

GTA Self-Disclosure: Motivations for Sharing Private Information With Students
N. G. Webb

For those who are not aware, the Journal is a peer-reviewed venue published four times a year at Miami University by and for faculty at universities and two- and four-year colleges to increase student learning through effective teaching, interest in and enthusiasm for the profession of teaching, and communication among faculty about their classroom experiences. It answers Ernest Boyer’s (1990) call for a forum to present the scholarship of teaching and learning. The Journal provides a scholarly, written forum for discussion by faculty about all areas affecting teaching and learning, and gives faculty the opportunity to share proven, innovative pedagogies and thoughtful, inspirational insights about teaching.

We invite Miami faculty and staff to use the Journal as a resource for teaching and learning. On the website, click “Issue Archive” to access all issues of the Journal published since its inception in 1990; to locate teaching and learning topics you wish to research, click on “Search Archive.” This electronic version of the Journal is provided by funding from the Committee for Teaching Excellence for all Miami faculty and staff.

For information about submitting manuscripts or other inquiries, click “Submitting Manuscripts” on the website ( or contact Gregg Wentzell, Managing Editor, at the Center for Teaching Excellence, 317 Laws Hall, on Miami’s Oxford campus (telephone: 529-9265; e-mail:

Enjoy reading, and watch for the next issue of the Journal (volume 28, number 2, 2017), due out in summer 2017.

2017-18 FLC Applications Due April 10th!

2017-18 Faculty Learning Communities: Call for Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Accessibility and Inclusion in the Classroom—Accepting Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Developing Informed Digital News Consumers in the Era of Misinformation—Accepting Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Using Anti-Deficit and Asset-Based Models to Foster Student Success at Miami University—Accepting Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Inclusive Excellence: Designing and Implementing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Course for Faculty, Administrators, and Staff—Accepting Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Mentoring and Advising Undeclared Students—Accepting Applications

Faculty Learning Community on Publicly Engaged Scholarship and Teaching—Accepting Applications

Empowering Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) Faculty and International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at Miami—Accepting Applications

For information and applications on all FLCs, visit the FLC website at:

Applications are due April 10th – Don’t delay!

Avoiding Student Shaming

In the latest Inside Higher Ed. (March 29, 2017), Joshua Eyler (Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Rice University) argues against the proliferation of what he calls “student shaming” articles in publications such as the one in which he writes—those pieces that blame students for appearing to be unprepared, unmotivated, or otherwise unengaged with learning.

As Eyler states, these articles “convey a powerful message to readers, especially any student readers: Despite the stated desires of faculty members to help students, here is what we really think.”

Eyler has two main complaints about these sorts of written public criticisms of students that carry over to teaching culture in general: First, they cast the academic profession in a bad light by making the faculty-student relationship seem adversarial—faculty find themselves in conflict with students who refuse or seem unable to do what they are expected to do; and second, they reveal a lack of awareness or an unwillingness to explore why some students may not perform as expected. While it may not be possible (or necessary) to know every nuance of our students’ lives or what baggage they carry into the classroom that could be affecting their behavior or performance, perhaps faculty should look to their own teaching methods and/or reach out to struggling students before placing blame.

As Eyler says, “Our students are human beings. They deserve to be treated as human beings, with empathy and positive regard for what they may be going through. That does not mean that we abandon our standards or that student accountability should take a backseat. But it does mean that, before we blame or shame them, we could at least try to find out what is driving their behavior.”

Eyler offers faculty something to think about when they are tempted to call out students when conversing with colleagues or they carry their frustrations with students into the classroom. Instead of giving in to these temptations, seek out ways to create opportunities for greater mutual learning.

To read the entire article, go to

Eyler, J. (2017, March 29). Against student shaming. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Mid-Term Formative Assessments That Instructors Can Administer Themselves

Alternatives to the SGID: Instructor-Administered Mid-Term Evaluations
for Formative Assessment

The Small-Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) ( has become widely known and used at Miami as one of the multiple measures of teaching effectiveness:

“Implementing the SGID involves about 30 minutes near midterm. The instructor leaves the classroom, and after the facilitator introduces and explains the process, the class members form small groups and reach consensus on the following questions: What do you feel are the strengths of the course? What suggestions for improvement can you make? After several minutes of discussion, the groups report to the entire class. The facilitator, following clarification with students, summarizes the suggestions. The students are polled to measure their agreement with the statement being summarized. The facilitator then organizes the data into a report for the instructor, and the two colleagues review the results of the SGID and consider strategies for improvement. The instructor discusses the results with students and indicates changes (if any). The instructor later determines how effective the changes have been, perhaps using a standard student evaluation form.” (from the CTE website)

While the SGID offers many possible benefits, including increased communication between students and instructor and the opportunity to make mid-course adjustments that may result in improved student achievement of course learning outcomes, other formative methods exist that instructors may wish to explore.

The Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains

Those instructors seeking alternatives to the Small-Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) to provide formative feedback on their teaching effectiveness may wish to consider the Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains (SALG) ( The SALG is an online, customizable survey that instructors may administer to students themselves while retaining student anonymity.

To see the CTE seminar presented by Ellen Yezierski, Chemistry, on the SALG, go to

Two Miami Instructors’ Methods of Formative Assessment in Their Classes

For a number of reasons, including a desire to improve our courses, to give students a voice, and performance reports, formative assessment is of value. There are, of course, many ways to conduct formative, indirect assessments in our classes. These can include student interviews, Small Group Instructional Diagnoses (SGIDs), Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs), or mid-term surveys. In this blog entry, two Miami faculty members report on their experiences using mid-term feedback surveys.

Beth Dietz (Psychology–MUM) uses a mid-term survey based in part on Tom Angelo’s (2014) “Teaching Feedback Form.” The survey consists of 4 parts: (1) Questions about Yourself (e.g., ”I am self-motivated to learn this course material”; “I invest enough time and energy to meet/exceed course requirements”); (2) Questions about the Course (e.g., “The objectives and the criteria for meeting them are made clear”; “The level of intellectual challenge is high”); (3) Questions about the Instructor (e.g., “The instructor clearly connects the course objectives to course activities, assignments, and assessments”); and (4) Summary Questions (e.g., “The course increases my desire to continue learning about this material”). All but the last two questions (which are open-ended questions asking what students would change and what they would keep the same) are based in Likert scales, which allows for ease of analysis and reporting. Beth administers this form electronically (using Google Forms) and gives students a few days to complete it. Then she provides the responses to students (which is easily accomplished using Google Forms) and initiates a conversation about the course. Because the questions tend to be more formative than summative, the discussion with the class is generally helpful. Most of the time, it has led her to make some changes to the course (for example, students wanted more guidance in their writing, so she started “walking” them through sample papers and even creating video “walk-throughs” that students could watch outside of class to reinforce what they heard in class). But it also created opportunities for Beth to explain the pedagogical rationale for why she would not make suggested changes, such as reducing the amount of writing or eliminating group work. She believes that this assessment accomplishes several goals: 1. It lets students know that she values their feedback, 2. It opens the door for a productive dialogue with students, and 3. It provides her with valuable feedback leading to changes that, ideally, improve student learning.

Jennifer Blue (Physics) uses an even simpler mid-term evaluation. (Note: She started doing this nearly 20 years ago, upon the suggestion of another teacher; she’d love to hear from anyone who has a citation for this method.) Students pull out a blank piece of paper and fold it into quarters. In one quarter, they write what the professor has already been doing to help the student learn. In the second quarter, they give suggestions of things the professor could change to improve student learning in the course. In the third and fourth quarters of the paper, they repeat the process, but this time they focus on themselves: What has the student already been doing to help himself or herself learn? What could the student change to help his or her learning in the rest of the course? Jennifer usually gets good suggestions from the students, and she is also impressed with how well the students can reflect on their own actions. On this anonymous evaluation, students are honest about what they have and have not been doing to help themselves learn. The class can have a productive discussion of the shared responsibility for student learning.


Angelo, T. (September, 2014). Doing assessment as if deep-learning matters most. Paper presented at the Drexel Assessment Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Yezierski, E. (2016, February). Using the Student Assessment of Learning Gains: A path to teaching excellence. Seminar presented for the Center for Teaching Excellence, Miami University.

Respond to the Seminar: Qualtrics: Beyond the Basics

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Date: Wednesday, March 15th
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presenter: Lisa Sheard, Technical Services Specialist, Center for Teaching Excellence

Learn to use some of the more powerful tools of Qualtrics survey software. Users will be guided through the use of testing, triggers, quotas, embedded data, display logic, piping, and customizing the look, feel and functionality of your survey. Not only will this workshop help you make survey creation easier, it also will assist you in accurately gathering data and making sense of your results. Users should already have a Qualtrics account and know the basics of survey creation before attending.

Respond to the Seminar: The Green Zone: Providing Safe Spaces for Military Students

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Date: Tuesday, March 14th
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presenters: Adam Rose, Airforce Veteran; Political Science, and Phillip Carr, Army Veteran; Kinesiology

The Green Zone (GZ) program is “modeled on the ‘Safe Zone’ program designed to provide ‘safe spaces’ for LGBT students. The premise of the GZ program is that knowledgeable and supportive contacts throughout the institution will create a more veteran-friendly environment, which in turn will have a positive effect on the success of these military students. Safe Zone program assessments have indicated that the model can positively impact the climate for students to whom they are directed” (Nichols-Casebolt, 2012).

This workshop offers faculty and staff the opportunity to create a safe environment for their students who have served, are preparing to serve, or currently are serving in the United States Armed Forces. The workshop will inform participants of a number of issues their students may face and how to address them. This training is not meant to give staff or faculty members the answers to problems some students may have, but it allows participants to identify themselves to students as offering a safe space for their concerns.

Article on Microaggressions Focuses on Their Definitions and Impact

In his “MICROAGGRESSIONS TRILOGY: Part 1. Why Do Microaggressions Matter?” Ronald A. Berk (Professor Emeritus, Biostatistics and Measurement, and Former Assistant Dean for Teaching at The Johns Hopkins University) explores the phenomenon of microaggessions in higher education. Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights, invalidations, and insults to an individual or group because of their marginalized status in society” (Sue, 2014, qtd. In Berk, 2017). As this definition indicates, the insidious thing about a microaggression is that the person who commits it may not even realize what s/he has done. Yet the consequences to the victim can be devastating.

The article includes the “Top 10 Consequences of Microaggressions in the Workplace,” which in academia can include feelings of isolation, tokenism, lowering of self-esteem, devaluing of an individual’s work, and resulting unfair treatment when seeking advancement.

As Berk shows, the significance and consequences of microaggressions can be enormous, not just to the victims but to the campus culture as a whole. The article is of interest to everyone in academia.

To read the entire article, go to Berk Microaggressions Part 1.

Berk, R. A. (2017). Microaggressions trilogy: Part 1. Why do microaggressions matter? Journal of Faculty Development, 31(1), 63-73.