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Minutes from General Meeting (01/21/2016)

January 25, 2016

(as transcribed by Teri)

Meeting was held in the Ackerman Center at 5:00 pm.

Center for Teaching and Learning

Dr. Starnaman talked about the new Center for Teaching and Learning, where she represents the A&H department. The Center offers (among other services) both a regular and an advanced graduate teaching certificate to TAs who have completed a series of requirements attesting to their training and experience in pedagogy. These certificates will be helpful to grad students applying for teaching positions at community colleges.

The certificate requirements include completion of several developmental workshops, and Dr. Starnaman is preparing one on syllabus writing for non-rhet TAs. She asked for suggestions for additional workshops, and Merry asked for one on dealing with difficult (i.e., aggressive) students and for students with disabilities. Anyone with other suggestions/requests should contact Dr. Starnaman.

Also, graduate students who have worked as TAs here can retroactively apply their teaching experience to the requirements for the teaching certificate.

Finally, Dr. Starnaman encouraged students to attend one of the workshops on teaching writing given by Dr. George Gopen on 1/28 and 1/29. The student workshop on 1/28 is full, but grad students may attend the faculty session on 1/29 if seats are available.


Student Assessments

Dr. Catherine Parsoneault, our new Assistant Dean of Assessments, joined the meeting to tell us what she does. Dr. Parsoneault holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from The University of Texas at Austin, and she came to us from Texas Tech, where she was also the university’s assessment officer.

The goal of assessment is to figure out how to improve learning for both undergrad and graduates students. It encompasses more than just figuring out what to do to stay accredited, though that’s how a university usually starts the process. Although grades are one of the more obvious tools for assessment, they in fact do not always accurately reflect what students have learned. Dr. Parsoneault gave us a brief overview of how to create better assessment tools. She also noted that there are objectives for our degree programs, although faculty doesn’t always know this (and ironically, they should be the ones setting these objectives).

The UTD office of assessment will hold a workshop on assessing learning outcomes on Wednesday, 2/10, at 10:00 am in MC 2.410. This workshop is for anyone who teaches—old and new faculty, adjuncts, and TAs. Dr. Parsoneault will see if she can coordinate with the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure that attendance at the assessment workshop counts toward the teaching certificate.


18-Hour Exam Workshop

Everyone was reminded that the completely unofficial workshop on the 18-hour exam will be held on Tuesday, 2/25, in Room 4.614 at 5:00 pm. Because not all students facing the exam are able to attend, I have promised to take and distribute notes.



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