Seminars For Excellence in Teaching

Since 2008, the Academy for Teaching and Learning has hosted a series of one-hour Seminars for Excellence in Teaching (SET) to help colleagues meet the historic expectations of excellence in teaching at Baylor. For new Teachers of Record (TOR), SET satisfy SACS requirements for professional development in teaching. For more experienced TOR, SET facilitate the sharing of ideas and insights about teaching and learning today and encourage participants to renew their commitments to inspirational teaching. SET are also a valuable resource in the preparation of graduate student Teachers of Record.

All members of the Baylor community are invited to attend SET in accord with our core commitments to seek learning and apply knowledge and to pursue excellence through continuous improvement.

All Spring 2021 Seminars for Excellence in Teaching
will be conducted online in Zoom.

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Teaching Large Courses Online

Lyndsay DiPietro (Academy for Teaching and Learning)
Yvette Garcia (Religion)

Thursday, January 14

Large courses present distinct pedagogical and logistical challenges. Teaching large courses online can be even more challenging, especially in terms of instructor-student and student-student interaction. Although experts generally recommend online courses be no more than 20 students, pandemic realities have confronted many instructors with larger online courses. This session will provide guidance for engaging students both synchronously and asynchronously, managing administrative load that comes with large online courses, and developing a sense of community and connection for students. Presenters will offer examples from and foster idea-sharing for both humanities and STEM courses.

Helping Online Students Feel Like They Belong

Dana Dean (Biology)
Leslie Hahner (Communication)
Renee Michalski (Psychology & Neuroscience)
Lance Littlejohn (Mathematics)

Friday, January 29

In fall 2020, about 10% of Baylor undergraduates were taking all their courses online. These students report lack of a sense of community and belonging–leading to lower retention and added learning challenges. These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that minority students are over-represented in the online-only group. Many Baylor faculty, however, thoughtfully and intentionally help foster connections for online students. This SET is devoted to learning from those instructors whom Baylor’s online-only students consistently identified as helping them succeed and feel like they belong.

Teaching Freshman During the Pandemic

Danielle Williams (English)
Eric Holleyman (Religion)
Melanie Nogalski (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core)

Tuesday, February 9

This year, freshman embarked on a college experience that nothing could have fully prepared them for. Not only are they missing much of the traditional “college experience,” but they face challenges for learning and interacting with faculty in crucial moments of their higher education experience. Unlike their more advanced colleagues, they did not have the experience and relationships from previous years to help them navigate the strange world of college during a pandemic. What does all this mean for teaching freshman? In this session, a panel of faculty with roles dedicated to freshman success will share what they have learned from working with freshman in the classroom, advising, and first-year writing.


Snapshots of Learning and Community in the Time of COVID-19

Christina Iluzada (Information Systems)
Tony Talbert (Curriculum and Instruction)

Wednesday, February 24

What did students experience when they had to transition abruptly to online classes in spring 2020, and what can their perceptions teach us about community in online classes and learning during the time of COVID-19? This presentation will describe our mixed methods multiple case study, which analyzes students’ perceptions of their in-person flipped class experience that became an online-only experience during the spring semester of 2020, due to COVID-19. Each of the four cases presented will highlight students’ sense of course satisfaction and cognitive learning in their in-person class compared to their online class.

Teaching with Special Collections

Baylor Libraries Special Collections Teaching Fellows

Tuesday, March 9

The Baylor Libraries Special Collections Teaching Fellows Program encourages the use of rare books, archives, and other special collections materials in Baylor graduate and undergraduate curricula. In this session, fellows will present lightning talks on how the use of special collections materials enhances teaching and learning in their courses. Attendees will leave the session with ideas for incorporating special collections into their own courses and prepared to apply for a summer fellowship.

Special Collections Teaching Fellows 2019:

Armstrong Browning Library

  • Jennifer Hargrave, Ph.D., Department of English

Baylor Collections of Political Materials at the W.R. Poage Legislative Library

  • Stephanie Boddie, Ph.D., Diana R. Garland School of Social Work

Baylor Libraries Digital Collections

  • Lorynn Divita, Ph.D., Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Chad Houk, Doctoral Candidate, Center for Christian Music Studies

Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society

  • Adrienne Harris, Ph.D., Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Charles Ramsey, Ph.D., Baptist Student Ministries

Moody Library Special Collections

  • Nathan Hays, Ph.D., Department of Religion
  • Mikeal Parsons, Ph.D., Department of Religion

The Texas Collection

  • Daniel Watkins, Ph.D., Department of History

A Noteworthy Next Class: Making Learning Objectives Work for You

Amy James (University Libraries)

Thursday, March 25

Instructors can find themselves in a mid-semester rut. Daily class sessions can run on “autopilot” and lose connection with course goals. This SET will focus on making your next class great by creating clear, session-specific learning objectives. Participants will learn how to work backward to design learning objectives based on what students should know or be able to do by the end of an individual class session. The focus will be on taking the big picture methods for creating course goals and making them applicable to each class period. Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm and get feedback on objectives for your next class.

The Balancing Act: Teaching While Juggling Issues of Diversity at a Predominantly White Institution

Laila Sanguras (Learning and Organizational Change)
Kevin Magill (Curriculum and Instruction)
Lakia Scott (Curriculum and Instruction)
Brooke Blevins (Curriculum and Instruction)

Tuesday, March 30

Although teaching courses centered on issues of diversity is more important today than ever before, it is not without challenges. In today’s racially and politically polarized nation, faculty colleagues from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction embrace these opportunities to spur meaningful dialogue and effectuate change through culturally sustaining pedagogies. This session features a panel discussion about teaching diversity courses under three different perspectives (White male, White female, and Black female), but with the same goals: critical inquiry, social justice and advocacy, and education for freedom. Following the discussion, the presenters will share specific ideas for how to support, recruit, and retain both students and faculty of color.

How Can Writing Support Learning?

T.J. Geiger (English)

Tuesday, April 6

Even as instructors frequently use writing as evidence of students’ performance in a course, student writing also generates artifacts of promise—evidence of learning in process, signs of things yet to come. Writing itself is an opportunity for learning. Drawing on insights from research about writing across the curriculum, learning transfer, and meaningful writing experiences, this SET will present instructors with ideas and practices for using writing to support student learning in low-stakes ways and in formal assignments. Participants will also consider how writing may serve as a form of engagement.

How Students are Living and Learning during the Pandemic: A View from Faculty in Residence

Beth Barr (History)
Mona Choucair (English)
Rishi Sriram (Educational Leadership)
Jason Whitt (Honors College)

Thursday, February 18

Rescheduled due to the week of ice and snow!

Thursday, April 15

Faculty often focus on courses, curricula, and other formal aspects of educational experience, but much of student success and wellbeing correlates to students’ experiences outside the classroom. Like the formal learning experience, extra-curricular life has been upended by COVID-19. Baylor’s Faculty in Residence (FIR) are in a fortunate position to experience pandemic adjustments alongside students, witnessing how their lives have adapted and how their learning has been affected. In this SET, a panel of FIR will describe what they’ve learned from living with students and reflect on implications for teaching and interacting with students.