The Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning has had two teaching mentors since 2018–19 whose job it is to share innovative practices and strategies with colleagues.
We are delighted to announce that our Teaching Mentors program continues through the 2021–22 academic year. This year, we will have Caroline Melly (Anthropology), who will continue as a teaching mentor for learning differences and disabilities, along with Patty DiBartolo, Caroline S. Wall Professor of Psychology, who is assuming the role as teaching mentor for inclusive and equitable pedagogies (replacing Liz Pryor who is on sabbatical this year). We are excited for Patty's new role, especially since she has been active in the Sherrerd Center as a past advisory board member and her experience makes her particularly valuable as a Sherrerd Mentor. The teaching mentors program exists to help all members of our community with their teaching, so if you wish to schedule a meeting with either of our teaching mentors, please fill out the registration form.
Sherrerd mentors Caroline Melly and Patty DiBartolo are available to faculty who teach to talk about anything related to your teaching. A conversation can happen once or can be ongoing through the year or semester. Please know these conversations are confidential and not evaluative. The conversations are an opportunity to talk with a colleague about some aspect of the teaching-learning process. Conversations may be philosophical or operational or anything in between. Topics may include sequencing a course or lesson, getting students to be more aware of their own learning, assessment, grading, designing group activities, establishing norms or making sense of student feedback.
Teaching Mentors for 2021–22
Caroline Melly will continue to serve as a teaching mentor for learning differences and disabilities. She hopes to help us increase accessibility in our courses and to raise awareness about learning differences and disabilities, with an emphasis on the online sphere.
The structure for these conversations is a work in progress. We imagine most to be one-on-one but they could include another colleague (or even two). The whole idea of “conversation” suggests a discourse that develops over time. Therefore, we imagine most (but not all) to be more than one-time events. We imagine many topics for the conversations; for example, designing learning activities, improving collaboration and discourse, thinking through assessment strategies and measures of student learning, supporting a “meta-discourse” with students about pedagogy and learning. The hope is to ground these conversations in our best understanding of how people learn.
Patty DiBartolo steps into the role of teaching mentor for inclusive and equitable pedagogies for the 2021–22 academic year. She hopes to foster awareness of the promise of liberatory education, one that challenges systems of domination while cultivating hope. This work is challenging yet imperative and made just a bit easier when shared and affirmed by others. With her colleagues, she seeks to transform gaps, challenges, and frustrations in our learning spaces into “place[s] of possibility” (hooks, 2003/2019, p. 74) where each of us engages in “dialogue with a world beyond itself” (hooks, 1994/2020, p. 11). In her consultations and teaching circle conversations, Patty will share principles of equity mindedness (identity, community, agency and competency) that open up possibilities for more just and effective teaching strategies so that we can collectively disrupt systems of domination at work in our classrooms, disciplines, and scholarly spaces.