2011 Pedagogy Cohort Proposal

The below is our original proposal to Brian Conniff, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Scranton. We had previously discussed the idea of creating this group with him, and he was in general support of it from the start. We list below our plans for the group from its first inception.


Dr. Brian Conniff
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Scranton
Scranton, PA 18510

Re: Creation of a transformative pedagogy cohort

Dear Dr. Conniff

At an institution like The University of Scranton, teaching and pedagogy takes the highest priority for members of the faculty.  Our university is driven and sustained by quality education delivered to quality students.  In order to capitalize and build upon that priority, a number of faculty (the undersigned) are seeking resources to enhance the classroom experience for both faculty and student.  Below, we list some of the things that we feel are important to improving that experience, as well as some of the goals that our cohort expects to achieve by the start of the Fall 2012 academic semester.

Regular Pedagogy Lunch Meetings
One of the most valuable parts of a cohort such as this is the free-sharing of ideas.  We would like to have lunch meetings once or twice a month to discuss our experiences, experiments, and ideas regarding pedagogy.  At these meetings, we will also plan the group’s activities and check on each other’s progress.

External Speakers
We would like to bring in experienced pedagogy researchers who are studying methods that we will consider incorporating in our classes.  We would be interested in working with the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) in making these events open to the university community.

Peer Classroom Evaluation
We feel that one of the most useful things to improve our teaching is honest, constructive, peer evaluation of our classroom performance.  We plan to arrange regular classroom visits from other cohort members to evaluate our teaching methods.

Videotaped Class Sessions for Evaluative Purposes
Similar to the peer evaluations above, we would like to evaluate our own teaching styles from a third-person perspective.  We plan to record at least one lecture per group member each semester and view it as a group to provide constructive criticism.

Conference Attendance
There are a number of conferences available which focus specifically on teaching and learning.  We hope that each member can attend at least one conference focusing on novel teaching methods during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Books and other Pedagogy Resources
There are a number of physical, electronic, and/or technological resources that can be used to transform the classroom into a more interactive and useful learning environment.  We are seeking support in each of these ways for materials that would be guided by our conference attendance and pedagogy research.

Resource List/Wiki
We feel it is important to document our progress and will be creating a wiki or similar resource page to make it available to any other interested persons in the university community.

Produce a Usable Classroom Product
We expect each member of the cohort to create usable course materials.  To have the greatest impact on the teaching and learning culture of the university, we plan to focus on some part of the core requirements taught by our respective departments.  By creating a course (or module for said course) based on a novel pedagogy, we can share that with other individuals for evaluations and/or implementation.

Implementation and Evaluation of the Novel Pedagogy
By the start of the 2012-2013 academic year, we expect to have course materials developed for implementation.  Before we can finalize our classroom product and give it to other members of our departments for use, we need to evaluate it properly.  We intend to collaboratively evaluate each other’s classroom product upon implementation during the 2012-2013 academic year.

2011-2012 Budget Estimate
Conference Travel     $XXXX
Speakers Travel     $XXXX
Speakers Honoraria    $XXXX
Lunch for cohort     $XXXX
Books for cohort     $XXXX
Total    $XXXX


Jeremy Sepinsky
Tara Fay
Kathryn Shively Meier
Patrick Clark
Jessica Nolan
Jennifer Cutsforth

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