25th Annual Writing and Teaching Retreat

Joy, Steve and I attended a 3-day Writing and Teaching Retreat for faculty, organized by the CTLR and held at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. We led a session called “Undergraduates as Researchers,” brainstormed with faculty in syllabus workshops, and gave individual and small-group introductions to the course hub, Moodle, and other curricular technology.

Here are just a few take-aways from the event:

  • During our session on undergraduates as researchers, several faculty members agreed that determining whether or not a source is appropriate for use in a paper is one of the most important skills for student writers to learn; it also is one of the most difficult skills to teach.
  • In a session on oral presentation skills, we learned that simply taking a deep breath as you approach a podium can help you speak more clearly.
  • When working with first-year seminar faculty, some in the CTLR like to share this advice:  “You are creating the students you want to see in your other classes.”
  • Both students and faculty won’t always ask for help, even if they might need it. “We don’t know what we don’t know,” one faculty member pointed out.
  • When planning a class or a workshop, start at the end (ask, “What do I want the students to have learned?”) and work backwards. This should help you decide which content to prioritize.

One more thing: The Mountain Top Inn is a really nice place!

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