I love seeing students learn new concepts and develop their critical thinking skills, so I’ve definitely appreciated all the programming that CAFE has to offer. I’ve participated in many of its workshops, a couple of its reading groups, and I even served as the facilitator for its first faculty learning community (FLC) in 2020-21.
Because of the pandemic, the 2020-21 school year was quite a challenge. It forced us all to rethink how to engage and motivate our students. Accordingly, that was the central question that our faculty learning community (FLC) took up: “How do we improve student engagement and motivation, and how can we use technology to help us with that?” Our group met once every few weeks to discuss various readings on these topics, and by the end of the school year, each member of the group had come up with a couple of ways to improve their classes based on what we’d learned. In my case, I created a video (with the help of faculty in pharmacy, engineering and psychology) to help professional ethics students see the value in studying ethics. Additionally, although I had been hesitant to use online discussion boards in my classes, I created a discussion board assignment that went over well with my students.
Serving as the facilitator for the FLC was very rewarding. I enjoyed getting to talk about pedagogy with fellow faculty members, and the work I did on my discussion board assignment turned into a conference presentation at a large, national philosophy conference. Even more importantly, the time we spent together made me a better teacher, and it helped me develop friendships that I wouldn't have developed otherwise. I know that those relationships will help me continue improving my teaching in the years to come.