ITeach 2010 to host ‘Conversations on Teaching’

Though faculty members may teach a variety of courses to both graduate and undergraduate students, most have little opportunity to discuss teaching with colleagues from outside their own departments.

That’s why ITeach 2010, which will take place Jan. 14, can be invaluable to faculty, said Kathryn G. Miller, Ph.D., professor and chair of biology in Arts & Sciences. ITeach is a biennial event at which WUSTL faculty can gather to share insights on teaching and to learn about new teaching methods and technology that can improve student learning.

ITeach is a biennial event that allows faculty members to share insights on teaching and learn about new methods and technology.

“Faculty often are focused on their research and on courses within their own department,” said Miller, one of three faculty members participating in the plenary panel discussion at ITeach 2010. “There aren’t many opportunities to get together and talk about issues in the classroom.”

ITeach 2010 will take place from 8:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Seigle Hall and is hosted by Arts & Sciences, The Teaching Center and University Libraries. ITeach is free and open to all University faculty members. The Teaching Center requests that those planning to attend register by Jan. 5.

“Our faculty provide an education that is second to none,” said Provost Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences. “Participating in ITeach is a good way to learn from colleagues and become even more effective in the classroom.”

In addition to providing faculty across the University an opportunity to discuss teaching and student learning with those in other departments and schools, ITeach also provides a venue for faculty to learn about resources the University offers to support teaching, such as those available at Arts & Sciences Computing, The Teaching Center and University Libraries.

ITeach 2010 will feature 16 sessions about topics ranging from leading class discussions to understanding students’ uses of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Other sessions include “Homework in Class and Lecture at Home? Experiences with Active Learning in Engineering” and “Using Tablet PCs to Help Students Become Better Collaborators, Critical Thinkers, and Communicators.”

“ITeach 2010 will highlight a wide variety of innovative teaching approaches developed by faculty from across the disciplines,” said Beth Fisher, Ph.D., associate director of academic services at The Teaching Center. “Many of the sessions reflect faculty interest in improving courses by incorporating current scholarship on how specific teaching strategies can enhance student learning.”

ITeach 2010 also features a plenary panel discussion, “Improving Teaching by Applying Research on Learning,” led by Miller; Mark McDaniel, Ph.D., professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences; and Regina Frey, Ph.D., director of The Teaching Center and senior lecturer in chemistry in Arts & Sciences.

As part of the Educational Research Group, Miller, McDaniel and Frey meet weekly with other faculty, researchers, education specialists and postdoctoral students. The group discusses teaching and learning projects, teaching strategies, curricular and instructional changes and initiatives, and research in cognitive and learning sciences.

In the plenary session, Miller, McDaniel and Frey will talk about how their research and teaching approaches have evolved as a result of these weekly discussions. They also will discuss collaborative projects developed by members of the group in an effort to improve teaching and learning at WUSTL.

“Traditional teaching follows the notion that we can craft the perfect lecture with all the important information, but evidence shows that method of teaching might not be the most effective in all situations or best prepare students for the future,” Miller said.

“By using what we know about how people learn, faculty have the opportunity to restructure time in the classroom to be more productive and useful for our students,” Miller said.

The plenary session also will feature an introduction by Gary S. Wihl, Ph.D., dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Hortense & Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.

For more information about ITeach 2010 or to register, visit or call Mary Stewart at 935-6810.