De Lange Conference VIII: The Future of the Research University in a Global Age: February 27-28, 2012 @Rice UniversityPosted: January 22, 2012
The De Lange Conference VIII promises to be a forward-looking forum for university leaders, visionaries, and researchers to contemplate the rapidly evolving ecosystem of research universities in response to powerful global forces and disruptive technologies. What forms will the global research universities of the future take? How will the new, global research enterprises at the heart of the university be organized and funded? Which strategies will enhance the competitiveness of research universities seeking to attract outstanding students, faculty, and resources in an increasingly global higher education marketplace? What will the impact of these changes be on our educational mission and values? At this conference, we will hear from leaders who contemplate both changes in the near-term and the longer-term processes that will likely result in profound transformations in the decades to come.
This conference should be very interesting, indeed. I’m certainly going to try to make it for the Cathy Davidson and Robert Zemsky talks. Anyone else planning on going?
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As noted above, if you have any questions or suggestions, please send those to Frank Holt at email@example.com, or hit the “Comment” button here. Thanks, DM
On Friday afternoon, I was invited to give a brief presentation at the first annual CLASS junior faculty workshop, and so I spent a few minutes discussing their challenges and how the CTE could help them negotiate these challenges.
When I asked them to reflect upon their biggest single teaching challenge this year, these were some of the comments from the group:
- Engagement? How to reach students who don’t want to be reached, and who sometimes react badly when they are reached? How to get them to do the work, and persist through the class?
- Managing the Research/Teaching Divide? In one’s probationary period, one’s time feels like a zero-sum game, and any time spent preparing for class feels like it’s taken from time better spent on research and publication.
- Responding to the sheer diversity of the UH student body? For recent graduates of the top PhD granting programs, the UH student body, which is extraordinarily racially and ethnically diverse, and which contains a far wider range of ages, backgrounds, and expectations than their home institutions, requires significant adjustments in their teaching style, if they are to reach and engage all the different groups represented on campus.
- Teaching with technology? For some, learning about and mastering the newest technologies took unexpected amounts of time and energy, which again felt as if they were carved out of their “research time.”
We discussed, though briefly, these challenges, and I offered the following thoughts about how the CTE could help them at this stage in their careers:
- Though this is the moment in their careers when research and teaching seem to represent contradictory imperatives, the CTE offers a more integrated view of these two activities that they should consider. In our view, the CTE remains a crucial advocate of the Tier One mission campus, because Tier One institutions’ public reputations are at least as dependent on high-quality teaching (meaning current, up-to-date undergraduate experiences and programs) as on faculty prestige and recognition. There is no such thing as a Tier One, research-oriented university which does not feature a similarly high-achieving, high quality student body capable of excelling in graduate programs, professional schools, or in local or national labor markets.
- Their role as the freshest, most recent products of high-quality PhD programs is crucial for maintaining the currency of curricula and practices in their home departments, and for providing a “new set of eyes” on existing students and programs.
Finally, I reminded them of three concrete ways that CTE hoped to support their endeavors this year and in the future:
- Our CTE Faculty Workshops, directed and facilitated by CLASS Professors Jim Garson and Frank Holt, respectively.
- Our CTE website, especially our pedagogy modules, which cover a variety of topics (student diversity, teaching for engagement, managing conflict, etc.). These modules, available in pdf form, were designed for the use of our TAs, but they contain some very useful information about the university, the student body, and possible approaches to teaching more effectively. For a start, I’d recommend looking at our diversity module.
- Our pilot peer mentoring program, which Frank Holt and Jim Garson will be offering on a trial basis this spring. If you’re interested in participating, contact me offline at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details to follow.
Thanks again, and have a wonderful semester.