Innovative Teaching Award

Each year, the Hunsaker Teaching Chair works in conjunction with the Faculty Review Committee to select an Innovative Teaching Award based on nominations from faculty peers. Recent recipients include:

2011: Daniel Klooster, Professor, Environmental Studies and Director, Latin American Studies.

Professor Klooster developed two sets of teaching innovations.

First, in his May Term 2009 and 2010 course “Community-Based Learning Encounters with Latino Immigrant Communities,” Klooster introduced students to the challenges day laborers face as they attempt to earn a living, the social problems informal day labor gathering areas create for neighborhoods and cities, and some of the solutions to these issues.

Klooster led field trips to the Pomona Day Labor Center and the Rancho Cucamonga corner, invited guest speakers, and made available various readings and media that could be useful in addressing the issue. The richest part of the classes, however, was visits to day labor corners. This class spent more than 40 hours on the San Bernardino corner, presenting Know Your Rights materials and teaching key English phrases and worker vocabulary through games like lotería, a form of bingo that we played with vocabulary cards. The course got students to think about globalization and immigration. http://www.youtube.com/watch.

Secondly, Klooster worked with out LENS facilitators David Smith, Catherine Walker, and Diana Sinton, to create virtual field trips using physical geography and social data. This facilitated students’ spatial learning of Latin American geophysical, population, and development issues. A virtual field trip to Colombia makes use of Professor Klooster’s videos loaded into YouTube and then geo-referenced in a Google Earth project. In this environment, students recorded observations of scenes ranging from a tropical snowstorm at 5000 meters above sea level to scenes of the high-mountain páramo landscape, cattle pastures, and the lush vegetation of a coffee farm. Students visualized each the relative location and altitude of each scene along the side of a mountain. http://www.youtube.com/watch.

2010: Barbara Murray, Professor, Chemistry Department and Anthony Suter, Assistant Professor, School of Music

“I teach my year long organic chemistry course using a method called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). This method has the students learn in groups with me acting as the facilitator, not the lecturer. There is almost no lecturing because I believe that the students learn the material better by constructing the scaffolding in their brain themselves rather than their trying to absorb my personal construction.

"From the beginning (I started teaching this way in 2003), the students have been very positive about the class. The goal is to make the students in the groups realize that they can learn better if all members of their group learn. They are not competing against each other, but raising the entire group up. There are grades given for both group work and individual work. This method particularly helps the lower half of the class; I have far few students failing since I started using POGIL, and at the same time, the class average on the national ACS final exam has stayed the same.”

2009: Jennifer Tilton, Associate Professor, Race and Ethnic Studies for Community Service Based Coursework in the San Bernardino Juvenile Hall.

The innovative teaching award recognized the work my students and I did in a community service learning class called Childhood and Juvenile Justice that brings 15 University students together with 15 students on probation into a shared classroom to study whether there is a cradle to college and a cradle to prison pipeline. Students work together in small groups and pairs over the semester to explore the similarities and differences in our paths from childhood to adulthood and how our experiences in schools, neighborhoods and the juvenile justice system shape our life paths and opportunities.

We also ask how these structures and systems can be reconstructed to provide equal opportunities for all America's children. Students learn from each other and from critically examining their own life experiences as they engage in creative writing and interactive workshops. We create a shared publication at the end of each semester that represents our collective experiences, creative expression and analysis of growing up in America.

Spring 2008: Renee Van Vechten, Associate Professor, Government.

Janet Beery, Professor, Mathematics.… for innovative teaching over a 20-year career. Her largely paper-and-pencil explorations for Calculus I are tame by comparison with the computer- and applications-based “Calculus in Context” curriculum she and her mathematics colleagues Rick Cornez, Allen Killpatrick, and Mary Scherer introduced during the 1990s.

During the late 1990s, she designed and taught with mathematics majors who themselves intended to become teachers or professors a hands-on elementary mathematics history course, “Mathematics through its History,”  has taught this course several times during the past decade, always with math majors as teaching assistants and most often during Interim or May Term. Prof. Beery has worked with teams of high school teachers to produce classroom materials for AP Calculus and for teaching elementary mathematics from a historical perspective. She edits MAA Convergence, an online journal on mathematics history and its use in teaching. At the sophomore-level, she has introduced courses in discrete structures and graph theory, and her Great Theorem Research Paper assignment for her department’s combined number theory and history of mathematics course. The course itself was originally introduced by her colleague Prof. Scherer. Prof. Beery also has posted a few of her classroom explorations and structured proof-writing activities for her department’s upper division Abstract Algebra course.  Finally, her restructuring of her department’s “Senior Research Seminar“ the course in which mathematics majors complete the program’s now over 60-year-old capstone requirement, has improved senior research projects and helped students complete them on time.

Spring 2007: Julie Townsend, Associate Professor, Johnston Center for Integrative Studies for “Salon des Arts”

The Salon has historically been a place for performers, artists, and intellectuals to discuss art, music, dance, politics, and philosophy. This class revisits the “salon” as a community space to practice and discuss art and ideas. Students in this class design and produce three salon events over the semester. Programs, based on a theme or on a process, might include spoken word, visual arts, performance, music, the presentation of papers, etc. Students produce the programs as well as present their work. Invited speakers and artists might include faculty members, fellow students, and community members. Activities for the class include: choosing the salon themes, reading up on the topic, soliciting proposals or inviting participants, arranging for the salon space, designing and distributing flyers and other PR materials to potential saloniers, attending to media requirements, arranging for the “atmosphere,” and running the program.

Spring 2007: Daniel Kiefer, Associate Professor, English, Director, Proudian Honors Program for Excellence Across the Curriculum

2006: Kelly Hankin, Associate Professor, Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, for Lunafest

Professor Hankin writes, “In the fall of 2005, I taught an innovative course at the University called “Lunafest: Film and Social Change.” Sponsored by the makers of the Clif and Luna nutritional bars, Lunafest is a national touring film festival featuring short films by women filmmakers and narratives about women’s lives. In addition to promoting and supporting women filmmakers—a marginalized group in both the mainstream and independent film industries—the goal of the Lunafest film festival project is to raise money for progressive women’s organizations, including their partner The Breast Cancer Fund. Lunafest film festivals are organized entirely by host institutions, which must be either non-profit groups or college campuses. Because Lunafest provided the opportunity to integrate student and academic life, I seized upon the opportunity to use a classroom format to organize a Lunafest film festival here on our campus. The course was an adventure, and I am extremely proud of it for the following reasons:

The class allowed students to be at the center of bringing something novel—a national touring film festival—to the campus. #

  • It engaged students in a truly collaborative classroom experience.#
  • It helped many students bridge the “theory/practice” divide by putting the abstract theory they discovered in other classes—including my own—into real world practice. #
  • By requiring students to interact with the larger campus and the Redlands’ community, it fostered confidence building and leadership qualities. # #
  • Culminating in a successful film festival, the class helped further the “town and gown” mission of the University, bringing two populations together for an evening of provocative stimulation.

2006: Michael Groher, Professor, Communicative Disorders

2005: Nephelie Andonyadis, Professor, Theater Arts, for her work teaching design. Andonyadis writes, “ I teach design within a liberal arts setting, which models a kind of depth of process, that supports creative process, analytical thinking, ownership of original work, and collaboration in ways that are very, very specific to theatre, but can be applied to many other situations. Design is problem solving, in a way that does not always look like problem solving from the outside. Sometimes, it looks like making things up. But, inventing a world in which very particular text and specific action can occur is a mighty powerful and rather specific thing to do. In order to engage in this admittedly narrow field, one must work hard and invest a lot of time into details of execution and follow through. Whether one continues in this field or not, that level of engagement with a project teaches commitment, perseverance, risk taking, articulation of original thought in ways that differ from many other courses – and in my mind anyway, a way of asking questions with others in a room where individual ego is set aside for the sake of the collective. Perhaps another aspect of teaching design here at Redlands that is innovative is the connection to Cornerstone Theater Company. Because I have a long time working relationship with the company, and continue to work with my collaborators there, I am able to immerse the students - almost just drop them into – a collective working ensemble that dares and risks in new ways with each project. ,


Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.
Thurber

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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