Tag: pedagogy

Lawrence receives $500,000 grant to improve inclusive, individualized teaching and active learning

As the composition of college classrooms have become more culturally and cognitively diverse, the way professors teach needs to change to remain as effective as possible for all learners.

Supported by a $500,000 grant from the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Lawrence University begins a program this fall focused on inclusive, integrative and project-based pedagogy across the humanities and humanistic social science disciplines.

Professor David Burrows
David Burrows

David Burrows, who spent 12 years as Lawrence’s provost and dean of the faculty before returning to his teaching roots this summer as a member of the psychology department, will direct a Task Force on Pedagogy that will be charged with implementing the activities funded by the grant over the next four years.

“There is greater diversity in the student body because of the life experiences that are critical to their preparation” said Burrows. “It’s that some students come with a one set of background experiences and other students come with a different set of experiences. We need to create a college experience that is sensitive to these differences.”

As a result of those individual learning differences, more individualized teaching and learning programs are necessary says Burrows.

“If we talk about inclusive pedagogy as part of an inclusive institution, we have to have a pedagogy that works for every student at Lawrence so she or he can learn what they need in order to graduate,” said Burrows. “Inclusive pedagogy really means increasing the individuality of the teaching experience so that every student can be successful. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

At the heart of Lawrence’s inclusive pedagogy initiative will be three main components: technology to devise learning programs specific for each student, “active learning” practices and using ideas about best practices from outside experts.

“Using digital resources will enable students to start at the place where they come in and work their way up at their own pace,” said Burrows. “That’s an individual mastery system as opposed to assuming everyone is starting at the same place.Students with Professor Jake Fredrick

“We’ll put a priority on ‘active learning’ in which students engage with each other, discussing implications, applications and the meaning of course materials as opposed to being passively talked at. This enables them to incorporate new learning into previously established ideas and concepts.”

According to Burrows, active learning features more group discussion and more student-initiated activity. A substantial amount of the basic learning may take place outside of the classroom with class time spent discussing the implications of things. In conjunction, classrooms will be redesigned to better facilitate group discussions.

The grant also will allow Lawrence to bring in outside experts who can share their ideas and practices.

“We want to have people who know about the science of learning and some new things that have been tried speak to us and conduct workshops so that we can become experts in these things,” said Burrows.

The inclusive teaching initiative lends itself easier to some disciplines than others and will initially focus on Lawrence’s signature program, Freshman Studies, and what Burrows calls “gateway” courses, those that are lower level or introductory courses. He pointed to psychology, anthropology, history, English and some economics courses as those “well suited” to this approach, but said it also can be effective in a piano or other music performance classes.

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“Inclusive pedagogy really means increasing the individuality of the teaching experience so that every student can be successful.”

                   — David Burrows, director, Task Force on Pedagogy
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Freshman Studies and the gateway courses were chosen for their institutional-wide impact, with a large portion of the faculty exploring ad adapting inclusive teaching approaches.

Burrows sees the teaching transition presenting challenges for both students and faculty.

“These kinds of active learning strategies are more effective with students, but it also means they’re working harder,” said Burrows. “They’re doing a lot of the basic acquisition work outside of class time, using digital technology to understand the basic principles of the material and then spending class time talking about it.

“I think it will present some interesting challenges for the faculty,” Burrows added. “These things are heavily dependent upon uses of technology and today’s students come already used to group discussions, sitting around looking at a monitor, they’re used to gaming and digital technology. Faculty are less used to that, although the faculty who are early in their career will likely be more comfortable with these sorts of things.”

While the adaptation of various forms of active learning is gaining momentum nationally, Burrows said Lawrence is excited about carving its own niche in the field.

“We’re not alone, but we will be among the early adopters for schools like us. Liberal arts colleges tend to have smaller classes and rely on more standard kinds of instruction. I think we are distinctive in the sense that not that many schools have jumped on this particular wave.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence surprises provost, faculty dean with honorary degree

To his surprise, and delight, Lawrence University Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday at the university’s 168th commencement.

DAve Burrows receives honorary degree from President Mark Burstein
Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows (l.) receives congratulations from President Mark Burstein after being awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Lawrence’s 168th commencement.

Burrows announced last year that he would leave his current post to return to teaching this fall. He has served as Lawrence’s provost and dean of the faculty since July 1, 2005.

In awarding Burrows with his surprise honorary degree, which had been a well-kept secret, Lawrence President Mark Burstein praised him for leaving an “indelible mark on the intellectual character of Lawrence.”

“Your energetic championing of the liberal arts ideal that illuminates the educational mission of this college, and your devotion to lifelong learning have transformed this university and our graduates,” said Burstein. “There is no corner of this campus that has not been shaped by you, a shape that goes beyond buildings and maps and offices to the life’s blood of any institution of higher education: its intellectual character.”

Burrows officially leaves his position as Lawrence’s chief academic officer June 30. He will return to the classroom this fall as a professor of psychology.

As part of new duties, Burrows will lead an initiative to foster collaboration with faculty to develop ideas and programs for liberal learning pedagogy. Significant advances have been achieved in understanding how individuals learn and Burrows’ efforts will help Lawrence take advantage of these developments.

During his tenure, Burrows oversaw the hiring of 75 new faculty members and was instrumental in developing Lawrence’s Senior Experience program. He also played a leadership role in designing and launching the Lawrence Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences program for emerging scholars who recently finished their graduate degrees.

Head shot of Lawrence Provost David Burrows
David Burrows

A native of New York City, Burrows joined the Lawrence administration after spending eight years as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs at Beloit College, where he also taught in the psychology department.

Prior to focusing his career on college administrator, Burrows spent 25 years in the classroom as a cognitive psychologist: eight years on the faculty at the State University of New York at Brockport and 17 years at Skidmore College, where he also served as associate dean of the faculty for three years.

Beyond the campus borders, Burrows is a member of the board of directors of the Appleton Education Foundation and is a former chair (2012-14) of the board of directors of the Fox Valley Literacy Council, for which he still serves as a board member.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Toronto.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Diversity conference focuses on effective, inclusive teaching methods

Amid increasingly diverse classrooms, Lawrence University is sponsoring a conference focused on inclusive pedagogy.

Head shot of Derald Wing Sue
Multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue

Lawrence’s inaugural diversity conference — “Teaching All Students Well: Preparing an Educated Citizenry for Wise Participation in a Diverse Democracy” — will be held Aug. 17-18 on the Lawrence campus.

The conference is organized by Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, and the professional development committee of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs.

The conference is designed to help all educators strengthen their individual learning communities through effective and inclusive teaching methods.

Highlighting the conference will be a keynote address by multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education in the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sue also holds an appointment with Columbia’s School of Social Work.

The author of 19 books, Sue has written on topics ranging from cultural diversity and psychology of racism and antiracism to multicultural competencies and racial macroaggressions. His most recent books are 2015’s “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues in Race” and 2013’s “Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling and Therapy.”

Sue was honored by the American Psychological Foundation in 2015 with the APF’s Gold Medal for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest, an award that recognizes distinguished careers and enduring contributions to the application of psychology in the public interest.

Registration for the conference prior to June 19 is $135. From June 20 to Aug. 11, when registration closes, registration is $175. Any non-Lawrence student can attend for $25. Registration includes a networking reception, lunch and conference materials.

Interested parties can register online to attend the conference. For questions or additional information, contact Michelle Lasecki-Jahnke at 920-832-67454 or  michelle.l.lasecki-jahnke@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.