The summer proved a busy time for many faculty members, with dozens participating in professional development opportunities aimed at strengthening their teaching skills.
The 15 faculty participants in the Peabody Digital Teaching Collective (which first met in summer 2020 and examined how to better use remote and online pedagogical resources) focused on digital pedagogy and practice and multi-mode teaching.
“The pandemic has changed teaching moving forward,” says Abra Bush, senior associate dean of institute studies. “There were things we wanted to [retain] from the remote environment when we returned to in-person classes this fall.”
In addition, 25 faculty members attended an eight-week course offered by the Culturally Responsive Teaching Institute. Online training sessions covered how to create and deliver courses that reflect diversity and inclusivity.
Recognizing the need “to reconsider what we were doing in the classroom to increase inclusivity at Peabody,” Bush last year led the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Task Force — a group of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and board members— in developing ways to address inclusivity gaps.
Using a Design Thinking framework, the group made recommendations for new academic programs and curricular enhancements, established a Peabody Center for Teaching and Learning, and addressed faculty learning to support a more culturally responsive curriculum.
“When we ask people to change, we need to provide the tools to do so,” Bush says. “Cultural change happens incrementally, but we have a real chance at making Peabody a far more inclusive place for our students and faculty.”
While planning for the Culturally Responsive Teaching Institute, Bush came across a book titled Culturally Responsive Teaching and Reflection in Higher Education. Three of the book’s editors — Sharlene Voogd Cochrane, Meenakshi Chhabra, and Marjorie Jones — led the Peabody course offered to faculty members last summer.
Margaret Schedel (MM ’01, Computer Music Composition), amember of the Computer Music faculty who participated in the summer institute, says she gained valuable insights for her teaching. “I will be more aware of what the students bring to their learning as individuals who are an intersection of multiple identities,” she says. “Instead of trying to avoid difficult conversations,I hope I can facilitate them.”
Joe Montcalmo, director of learning innovation, helped to develop both faculty development opportunities. He will be collaborating with the faculty participants to create faculty learning cohorts and develop a robust peer-training program.
“Our goal is to provide faculty with internal and external experts, and to create the frameworks for faculty to lead communities of learning and practice,” he says. “The most powerful initiatives in higher education stem from empowered faculty equipped with the resources to succeed.”