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.

Please see the schedule below for topics, dates, and times. Participants are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions, contact the ATL at atl@baylor.edu or by phone at (254) 710-4064.

SET Schedule for Spring 2020


Culture Shock: Teaching International Students
Jeff Hamilton (Center for Global Engagement), Xin Wang (Modern Languages and Cultures), Daniel Barish (History)
Tuesday, January 28, 2:30-3:30
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

Baylor University is committed to recruiting and supporting international students. In line with the strategic priorities in Illuminate, Baylor plans to increase the number of international students to approximately 8% by 2023. Because of language and cultural challenges, international students sometimes struggle academically and suffer emotionally. Guided by faculty perspectives on teaching international students, this session will cover topics including communication with students and techniques of structure, simplicity, and samples. Finally, we will address Western academic practices that international students may have difficulty understanding.

Watch, too, for a special series "Connecting with International Students in the Classroom" on Feb 25, Mar 31, and Apr 14 (Tuesdays), 2:30-3:30pm.


Can We Teach Empathy? Pedagogical Grappling with a Slippery Concept
Christopher Richmann (Religion, Academy for Teaching and Learning), Felicia Osburn (Biology, Academy for Teaching and Learning)
Tuesday, February 4, 3:30-4:30
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

Empathy is a nebulous concept that is nonetheless touted in our curricular goals and striven for by many instructors. Unfortunately, lack of a shared definition and reliable measures hamper efforts to foster empathy and determine whether this goal is realized. In this session, participants will be guided through our research journey in defining, assessing, and intervening to improve student empathy in an introductory religion course. Participants will brainstorm the elements of empathy, uncover areas in their courses where empathy enhances learning, and experience and reflect upon activities associated with empathetic development.


How I Changed My Course for Diversity and Inclusion
David Moseman (Religion), Elise Edwards (Religion), Tara Foley (English), Stephen Sloan (History), and Kristi Humphreys (English)
Monday, February 10, 4:00-5:00
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

Teaching “for diversity and inclusion” overlaps greatly with effective teaching more generally. Furthermore, research shows that students who feel a sense of belonging are more likely to persist and succeed. Connecting diversity and inclusion broadly to a range of student backgrounds and life experiences, this SET will explore the content, teaching behaviors, and learning activities that capitalize on diversity and foster inclusion. A panel of faculty will share their recent approaches, successes, and challenges, while inviting participants to think concretely about ways to teach inclusively.


The Generation Z Triad: Teaching Post-Millennials
Jeff Lee (Physics)
Friday, February 14, 1:00-2:00
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

Some conventional wisdom implies that Generation Y (the so-called “Millennials”) are those individuals born between 1981 and 2000. However, recent research has suggested that a new generation began in 1995 and that today’s undergraduates and young graduate students are predominantly this generation. They are not the Millennials—most of Generation Y has graduated. Rather, this is the first generation of true “digital natives.” They are Generation Z, and they bring a new paradigm.

This talk will address one of the central questions about Generation Z—what has led to the widespread concern about “microaggressions” such that students sometimes require “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”? I suggest that much of the seeming inexplicability of this new paradigm is rooted in three deeply-influencing and inescapable factors - a so-called “Generation Z Triad.” I will examine this “perfect storm” of three influences as well as the pressures and choices that educators, from grade school to grad school, face when teaching the progenies of Generation X.


Implicit Bias in the Classroom
Stacey Sinclair (Princeton University; Phi Beta Kappa)
Thursday, February 20, 11:00-12:20
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

A special SET co-sponsored with Phi Beta Kappa. Lunch will be provided for all who register by 8:00am, Monday, February 17. 

Dr. Sinclair will give a brief overview of recent research that suggests that a subtle form of prejudice, measured via millisecond differences in response to images of white and black faces, still pervades society. This implicit bias can also affect classroom dynamics. After sharing her research, Dr. Sinclair will invite people to discuss their strategies for avoiding the potential challenges of implicit bias in their own teaching.


The Classroom Component of Digital Humanities: Low-Tech Methods for High-Impact DH Pedagogy
Kalani Craig (Indiana University Bloomington)
Tuesday, February 25, 11:30-1:00
Location: The Visualization Studio in the Graduate Research Center @ Poage Library

A special SET co-sponsored with the College of Arts & Sciences and Baylor University Libraries. Lunch will be provided for all who register by 8:00am, Wednesday, February 19.

We’re all knee-deep in the digital world when we work on our own projects–whether it’s reading the digital copy of an article, snapping smartphone photos of related work, or collaborating with editors over email. These same digital tools can help our students bridge the gap between the work we do every day in our classrooms and the lives they live outside our classrooms. This workshop will explore the balance between new technology and instructor comfort level as we look at several classroom-based digital-humanities activities that provide students with hands-on experience in mapping, data mining, network analysis, data visualization, and 3D rendering. We’ll also engage participants in several white-board and sticky-note versions of these activities that use analog methods to enhance understanding of the digital world in which our students move. The goal is to suggest that computational approaches to humanities can be done at any comfort level, provided you’re willing to experiment.


A Noteworthy Next Class: Making Learning Objectives Work for You
Amy James (University Libraries)
Tuesday, March 24, 2:30-3:30
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)
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 upon 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.
Teaching with Special Collections
Baylor University Libraries Teaching Fellows
Tuesday, April 7, 3:30-5:00
Location: The Visualization Studio in the Graduate Research Center @ Poage Library

The Baylor Libraries 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 2020 fellowship.


Lessons Learned from Teaching Online
Kayla Rhidenour (Communication) and Dan Hanchey (Classics)
Monday, April 20, 4:00-5:00
Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

The Baylor Libraries Teaching Fellows Program offered a library fellowship that focused on redesigning a traditional face-to-face course for delivery completely online. With this fellowship, the faculty fellow worked with an Online Teaching and Learning Services, Instructional Designer throughout the process. In this session, the Online Teaching Library Fellows will discuss their experience redesigning her course; delivering course to students only in an online format, and possible improvements for the next course offerings. Attendees will leave the session with ideas for teaching online and prepared to apply for a summer 2020 fellowship.