Caltech Kicks Off TeachWeek 2018

Annual event focuses on ways to celebrate and improve teaching

Published : Saturday, April 14, 2018 | 5:34 AM

TeachWeek focuses on Caltech's recent efforts to create an innovative learning environment that changes the world through unique teaching techniques. Credit: Caltech

TeachWeek focuses on Caltech's recent efforts to create an innovative learning environment that changes the world through unique teaching techniques. Credit: Caltech

TeachWeek 2018, a weeklong, campus-wide event designed to provide a forum on diverse and effective teaching practices at Caltech, kicks off April 23 with lectures, open classes, and a photographic exhibit looking back at 100 years of Caltech education.

Created by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO) in 2015, the event, which runs through April 27, is open to professors, graduate and undergraduate students, staff, postdocs, alumni, and other friends of Caltech interested in learning new methods for improving classroom education.

“Teaching is an activity that goes on behind closed classroom doors,” says Cassandra Horii, CTLO director. “But TeachWeek literally opens those doors: we have open classes throughout the week where faculty and instructors invite guests to sit in and experience different approaches to teaching across the divisions. This builds an active, vocal, and visible community around this important part of Caltech’s mission.”

This year’s events will feature keynotes by Shirley Malcom, a Caltech trustee and director of education and human resources programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and James Lang, author of multiple books and a monthly column in TheChronicle of Higher Education. Malcom will deliver her talk, “We Were Never Taught to Teach: Knowing Better, Doing Better,” on Tuesday, April 24, at 4 p.m. in the Beckman Institute Auditorium. Lang will close the week’s events with his talk, “Small Teaching: From Minor Changes to Major Learning,” on Friday, April 27, at noon in Dabney Lounge.

On Monday, April 23, CTLO will open its display of more than 100 modern-day and archival images and manuscripts related to teaching, including examples of Nobel laureates’ class notes, early problem set drafts and revisions, and the very first chemistry labs at Throop University together with recent views of classes, labs, and field-based and informal teaching. The display will be in the Center for Student Services, 3rd Floor, Brennan Conference Room, from noon to 1 p.m.

“Visitors will really get a chance to reflect on what has changed and what has not—sometimes in surprising ways—about teaching and writing at Caltech through the years,” Horii notes.

She adds that the weeklong effort aims to inspire teachers. “We hope this enables faculty and TAs to exchange ideas and try new approaches year-round.”

A complete schedule of the week’s events can be found here.

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