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Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

2005-2006 Provost Lecture Series

Craig Nelson

Achievement, Equity, and Retention:
Three Pedagogical Changes that Can Make a
Real Difference in ANY College Classroom

Thursday, October 6, 2005
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fiedler Auditorium

Craig Nelson
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Indiana University

This lecture will be broadcast on cable channel 8 on Wednesday, October 12, at 5:30 p.m.; Thursday the 13th at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday the 16th at 8:00 p.m.

Handout (.pdf)

Video of the Lecture

Biographical Sketch:
CRAIG E. NELSON is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he has been since 1966. His biological research (60+ articles and chapters) has been on evolution and ecology, most recently on sex-determination in turtles. His articles on teaching (20+) address critical thinking and mature valuing, diversity, active learning, teaching evolution and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He has presented invited workshops these and related topics at numerous national meetings and at many individual institutions (in 36 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, England, and South Africa). He has taught several courses in biology as well as intensive freshman seminars, great books and other honors courses, several collaboratively taught interdisciplinary courses (mostly in environmental studies) and regularly taught a graduate course on "Alternative Approaches to Teaching College Biology." He has been instrumental in the development of IU's award winning Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) program (www.indiana.edu/~sotl/) and was founding Director of environmental programs in it's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He has received several awards for distinguished teaching from IU and nationally competitive awards from Vanderbilt and Northwestern. He has been a Carnegie Scholar since 2000. He was named the Outstanding Research And Doctoral University Professor Of The Year 2000 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He received the President's Medal for Excellence, "the highest honor bestowed by Indiana University," in 2001.

When diversity issues are cast in content-centered ways, many faculty may view them as irrelevant to their own teaching. However, examination of pedagogical practices reveals a need for major changes in nearly all courses. We will examine at least three types of pedagogical changes that can make a real difference in achievement and retention in almost any college or university classroom. Specific topics will include: 1. How can I radically reduce or eliminate low grades in lecture courses without lowering standards? 2. How can I make my students brighter and harder working using only 1 hour of class time (in ways that level the playing field for all groups)? 3. Does my assessment system unfairly and unnecessarily favor particular groups? 4. In sum: How do many traditional teaching techniques unnecessarily disadvantage many non- traditional students (first-generation, rural, inner-city, etc.) and how can we make our courses fairer without lowering standards?