The Teaching Collaborative
Tips, tricks, and techniques are not the heart of education—fire is. I mean finding light in the darkness, staying warm in a cold world, avoiding being burned if you can, and knowing what brings healing if you cannot. That is the knowledge that our students really want, and that is the knowledge we owe them. Not merely the facts, not merely the theories, but a deep
knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves, in others, and in the world.
The Roanoke College Teaching Collaborative seeks to develop an institutional culture that is collaborative, forward-thinking, and responsive to the needs of a life lived on purpose, engaging faculty, staff, and administration in continuous and productive dialogue about the lives of our students—and our own professional lives—both in and out of the classroom.
This collaborative begins with the idea that the development of our students begins the very first moment they come in contact with the college—that at that very moment, their view of education, of themselves, and of their capabilities, begins to change and continues to change in every aspect of their life on campus, both in the classroom and beyond. As such, the collaborative views pedagogy in broad and comprehensive terms that extend well beyond the classroom to include the co-curriculum, assessment, academic integrity/student honor codes, admissions practices, public relations, career services, I.T., residential life, health services, food services, and grounds management.
This in mind, the work of the collaborative is not “just” about teaching, it is about the future of the institution. We seek to develop a collaborative model that emphasizes the circulation of faculty and staff in and out of the center on a regular and productive basis: daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. The purpose of this model is to capitalize upon Roanoke’s small size and the relationships and conversations that occur (and can occur) across lines of tenure and untenured, faculty and staff, academic and co-curricular, to maximize student learning and development, both in the classroom and beyond; more specifically, this model should emphasize thoughtful conversation and good listening, the circulation of good ideas, the benefits of research-supported practice, and the empowerment of those who taking initiatives (both pedagogical and developmental) to continue to do so. Programming should vary in length, intensity, and degree of commitment required of participants, but should always emphasize productive and deliberate collaboration among faculty, staff, and administration. Finally, the collaborative should seek, always, to be on the forefront of innovative practices in higher education.
- To create programs that evolve and are responsive to the needs of the students and the campus
- To develop and nurture a campus culture in which:
- Faculty and staff recognize themselves as agents of meaningful change in the lives of students
- Teaching and learning is talked about openly and often
- There is a clear focus on student development
- “Innovation” is defined not only terms of adopting current methods, but as the development of methods and programs to meet tomorrow’s challenges
- Evaluation is less about perfect scores than about thoughtful and productive pedagogies both in and out of the classroom
- Thoughtful innovation—and even risk—is the norm, to the point where faculty and staff aren’t worried about the occasional failure because they know they’ll recover in thoughtful and productive ways
- Our own, individual, thoughtful assessment of our work informs what we do as we move forward in our work with students
- To establish Roanoke College as a center for innovative and thoughtful teaching, program design, and effective student learning, and to disperse those innovations broadly and often
- To ensure that faculty, staff, and administration have a clear sense of ownership of both this reputation and the collaborative
- To engage the campus in conversations about and the appropriate use of technologies as related to student learning and whole person development
- To enable faculty, staff, and administration to engage in thoughtful and regular conversations about productively balancing teaching, scholarship, service, and personal life
For information about New Faculty Orientation or the First-Year Faculty Series, contact Gail Steehler in the Dean's Office