john a. powell, author of Racing to Justice, will be a panelist in a roundtable discussion presented by Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD). "Public Education and the Future of Affirmative Action" takes place October 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the college's downtown campus in Detroit, MI. powell will be available to sign copies of his book following the discussion.
The event is sponsored by WCCCD’s Global Conversations Initiative and Institute for Social Progress. RSVP by calling 313-496-2510.
Indiana University Press will publish Teaching and Learning Inquiry, the official publication of the International Society of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). Published twice a year beginning in March 2013, it will include insightful research, theory, commentary, and other scholarly works that document or facilitate investigations of teaching and learning in higher education. TLI values quality and variety in its vision of the scholarship of teaching and learning.
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is a growing movement in post-secondary education. SoTL is scholarly inquiry into student learning that advances the practice of teaching by making research findings public. ISSOTL has cultivated a strong international and interdisciplinary community, primarily through the quality of its annual conferences.
TLI’s Editorial Board features representation from ISSOTL's international regions (US, Canada, Australasia, and Europe), the entire career spectrum (from student to retiree, and all between), a breadth of disciplines and professions, a variety of institutional types, and women and men. TLI promises to offer the best and most groundbreaking work on and in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
TLI will strive to push boundaries and expand the field by introducing a wider range of genres and perspectives. TLI editor Nancy Chick says, “We plan to do this without compromising well-established criteria that would be expected across the disciplines. We will be creative, thoughtful, artistic, and scientific. This sounds ambitious, but it is just what SoTL needs within the covers of one leading journal.”
In addition, TLI invites nontraditional genres of SoTL publication. Along with essays, projects will also be represented in poems, dialogues, and other creative products.
The journal will regularly feature articles documenting SoTL projects, theoretical assertions, literature syntheses, or reports on the field; dialogues responding to previous issues; innovative but systematic reflections through creative products; and reviews of books, external articles, web resources, or conferences.
Reviewed by marketing services coordinator, Mollie Ables
Conversations with Great Teachers is a collection of 51 interviews with different educators and mentors. The subjects and individuals taught by these teachers are incredibly diverse though, as Bill Smoot explains, one of the main objectives of the book is to tease out universals in education. All of the teachers interviewed make up a third of what Smoot calls the “Education Triad,” which is composed of a teacher, a student, and that which passes between them. The interviewees all seem to have similar attitudes toward this triad, which comprises their profession, their students, and the subject that they teach. Great teachers share the attitude that theirs is not a “job,” but rather a calling. They also share humility in knowing that they serve a larger purpose than themselves. This is related to the passion they have for their subject, which they realize is far more important than their own ego or accomplishments.
How the information is passed between student and teacher varies drastically, though great teachers seem to recognize their students as individuals, and understand the different ways in which different students learn. No matter what the subject, as Smoot explains, “every act of learning involves a change in the learner.” Whether the student is acquiring a piece of information or a skill set, they must allow themselves to be taught and, by extension, change.
Often, teachers are not so much imparting information as teaching ways of thinking, habits, and modes of awareness. This requires a certain amount of trust between teachers and students, as well as what Smoot calls a teacher’s “authentic presence.” Smoot explains that “teaching is never reducible to technique,” and that great teachers must be faithful to their own style and principles, rather than what may be pedagogically trendy. This relates to the teachers’ belief in the larger purpose of teaching, which is, arguably, to elevate our level of humanity. Smoot poses: “We ask what makes us human: That we grow our food? Build our shelter? Make art? Wage war? Practice religion? Whatever it is, it gets taught.”
The interviews are divided into sections, some with more concrete distinctions like venue (“Teaching in the School Room,” “Teaching in the College Classroom), or content of curriculum (“Teaching the Athletes,” “Teaching the Healers,” “Teaching the Fixers and Makers”), but also more abstract notions of contributions to society. (“Teaching at the Bottom and on the Edge,” “Growing Body and Spirit”). The teachers interviewed include an elementary school teacher and college professors, but also coaches, a drill instructor, yoga and zen teachers, an exotic dance instructor, an internationally-renowned pastry chef, and MANY others demonstrating just how broadly certain pedagogical principles can apply.
One conversation that immediately captured my attention was in the “Teaching the Athletes” section. Smoot interviews Mike Hileman, an alligator wrestler trainer at Gatorland in Orlando. Hileman has trained alligator wrestlers for the park’s shows for over 16 years. Alligator wrestling may be an unconventional subject, but the parallels with more conventional classroom teaching were immediately apparent. Like all great teachers, Hileman has tremendous passion for the subject he teaches. He has a comprehensive knowledge of his subject, but still recognizes that, even after 16 years, he can still be surprised. (Granted, these “surprises” can be more terrifying with alligators than, say, English Romantic verse.) His relationships with his students are similar to those of most great teachers; he is able to identify their strengths, recognize their potential, and understands that all students learn in different ways and at different paces. Also like other great teachers, Hileman demands that his students have a healthy respect for the subject (and the alligator). At the same time, he makes the subject accessible to allow his students to combat their (quite reasonable) fears.
There are potential hazards constantly looming in every profession. In alligator wrestling, the obvious hazard is a painful or lethal bite. Hileman explains, “One of the first things I tell [my students] is that if you’re going to handle animals—it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog or a cat—the law of averages is going to catch up with you and you will get bit eventually. It might take two months or it might take six years, but if enough time passes, you will make a mistake because we’re human.” Words of wisdom that anyone can apply to their own field.
Conversations with Great Teachers is a book that can be rifled through for inspiration or satisfying a curiosity. It’s definitely useful whether or not you’re a teacher, as it is often more about sharing information and connecting with people than strictly teaching. These connections are important, as everyone has their own alligators to wrestle in life.
"The power of the book is in the details. Wells writes articulate and understandable prose and is comprehensive in giving background to problems and opportunities, always giving credit to those who assisted him in taking necessary measures to get solutions. His volume of work is apparent as he writes of committee meetings, offices he was asked to lead, accounts of travels around Indiana, all through the nation and much of the world. His intelligence, persuasive influence and good humor were used to get things done and to garner resources that built IU into one of the world’s most respected teaching institutions." Continue reading review
"Capshew’s scholarly writing gives an interesting and comprehensive account of Wells and his impact on not just Indiana’s extraordinary university, but reaching far beyond the borders of the state." Continue reading review
In honor of Herman Wells's 110th birthday this Thursday, we're giving away copies of James Capshew's book Herman B Wells and Wells's autobiography Being Lucky. Enter to this set of books about the former IU president by sending an email to email@example.com with your name and mailing address. Entries will be accepted now through June 8 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be notified by email and books will ship via USPS.
May 8 Tully will discuss his book and the education system at the Bloomington Rotary Club meeting. His talk begins at noon at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union. This event is open to rotary club members and their guests.
May 12 Tully will discuss his book with Project Home Indy, a non-profit organization that helps homeless teenage girls who are pregnant or parenting to gain self-sufficiency. The speech will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis.
On May 16, from 4 to 6 p.m., IU Press and the City of Bloomington present “Town and Gown,” a celebration of the release of two historically significant books—Showers Brothers Furniture Company by Carrol Krause and Herman B Wells by James H. Capshew.
The event, a part of Historical Preservation Month activities, will take place in City Hall Atrium and is free and open to the public. Mayor Mark Kruzan and IU Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Tom Gieryn will introduce the authors who will read from and sign books. Books will be available for purchase at a 20% discount.
When the Showers family arrived in Bloomington, IN, the railroad had only recently come to town and a modest university was struggling to survive. Having spent the prior 18 years moving from place to place, the family decided to settle down and invest its modest resources to start a furniture company. The business proved to be extremely profitable and a stroke of good fortune for the small community. The company’s success strengthened Bloomington's infrastructure, helping to develop new neighborhoods, and the philanthropic acts of the Showers family supported the town’s continued development. The family’s contributions helped Indiana University through difficult times and paved the way to its becoming the largest university in the state. In The Showers Brothers Furniture Company, Carrol Krause, a member of Bloomington’s Historic Preservation Commission and a Herald-Times columnist, tells the story of a remarkably successful collaboration between business, town, and gown.
Energetic, shrewd, and charming, Herman B Wells was the driving force behind the transformation of Indiana University—which became a model for American public higher education in the 20th century. A person of unusual sensitivity and a skilled and empathetic communicator, his character and vision shaped the structure, ethos, and spirit of the institution in countless ways. Wells articulated a persuasive vision of the place of the university in the modern world. Under his leadership, IU would grow in size and stature, establishing strong connections to the state, the nation, and the world. His dedication to the arts, to academic freedom, and to international education remained hallmarks of his 63-year tenure as President and University Chancellor. Wells lavished particular attention on the flagship campus at Bloomington, expanding its footprint tenfold in size and maintaining its woodland landscape as new buildings and facilities were constructed. Gracefully aging in place, he became a beloved paterfamilias to the IU clan. A faculty member of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at IU Bloomington, and former Wells house boy, James Capshew shows how Wells built an institution, and, in the process, became one himself.
For more information on the event, contact Nancy Hiestand, Program Manager Historic Preservation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-349-3507.