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Indiana University awarded $150,000 grant to improve graduate students' teaching skills        

Candid photoThe Teagle Foundation has awardedIndiana University $150,000 over 39 months to develop a model interdiciplinary approach that prepares graduate students to be reflective practitioners who base their teaching on appropriate learning theory and revise it based on evidence of student learning. Jennifer Meta Robinson (Communication and Culture), Miriam Zolan (Biology), April Sievert (Anthropology), and Melissa Gresalfi (Learning Sciences and Cognitive Science) will apply scholarship of teaching and learning principles to discipline-based graduate education. Internal support is provided by the Graduate School and Instructional Support Services. Six other grants of up to $150,000 were awarded to Brown University, Columbia University, Rice University, Tufts University, The University of Michigan, and Yale University.

The IU grant will be used to convene The Collegium on Inquiry in Action. The Collegium brings together four departments from different knowledge domains and diverse teaching and teaching preparation approaches to integrate efforts to develop teaching in a research university context. The IU Collegium, much like the Roman original, will assemble small, specialized teams to ask questions, generate new practices, and share emerging information about the success of those new practices. Composed of departmental teams of graduate students and faculty members, the Collegium will collectively consider how to support graduate students so that their teaching is framed by the theory on what works and based on evidence of how their students are learning. The teams will work within their disciplinary contexts but share across departmental lines with their colleagues in the full Collegium. In the end, graduate students participating in the Collegium, and those they reach through strategic dissemination of the most promising practices, will be prepared to teach in faculty positions around the country with real-life practice in bringing the best of learning and pedagogical inquiry into action.

Key questions guiding our discussions include:

  • In our fields, what questions do we care about?
  • What assumptions do we make about what matters?
  • Why do we tend toward the research methods we use?
  • What are the traditional, “signature” ways of teaching in our field?
  • What does those teaching methods typically emphasize?
  • Who tends to benefit from those traditional methods?  Why?  Who tends to be less successful? Why?
  • Are there indications in the learning literature of other ways of teaching to meet our field’s goals that may be more satisfactory?
  • How can we apply learning theory to foster better student learning?
  • How will we know if these changes are working?  

The Teagle Foundation    

The Teagle Foundation was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle (1878-1962). The Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, marshalling the intellectual and financial resources necessary to ensure that today's students have access to challenging, wide-ranging, and enriching college educations.