Each year, the Center for Teaching graduate fellows design and facilitate workshops as part of their work with the Center. In this Q&A series, we’ll feature each fellow, focusing on the process behind developing their workshops and the strategies presented in them.  

Nick Stroup, a second-year PhD student in Higher Education and Student Affairs in the College of Education, will facilitate Preparing for “Class One" from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in University Capitol Centre room 2070E.

Why did you select preparing for “class one” as the topic of your workshop?

Most of the guidance about setting the tone and expectations for a course are communicated informally. New instructors often take pointers from mentors or attempt to mimic the styles of instructors they admire. By situating preparation for “class one” on intentional self-reflection and focusing on a few specific desired outcomes for socializing students to the course, instructors can foster a productive learning environment from the start of the semester.

What strategies or tools do you hope participants learn?

I intend for participants to consider individualized ways they can demonstrate their confidence, competence, and care for learning (what I’m calling the “Three Cs”) during the first day of class. Participants will walk away with strategies for approaching a new semester as well as items to consider in preparing for the first class session.

Can you describe how you plan to facilitate the workshop and why you chose that approach?

The session will be grounded in the participants’ reflections on generative instructional spaces. Over the span of the session, I will ask participants to reflect on what made prior teaching or facilitation experiences positive, what they specifically recall about the dynamics that fostered a productive learning environment in their best courses as a student, and what they specifically remember about their many first days of school.

We also will discuss ways instructors can demonstrate confidence, competence, and care for learning for the sake of their students’ learning. Specific attention will be given to connecting these practices and why they are important.

In addition, we’ll examine how different social identities of instructors and students affect the ways that first-day socialization may take place—particularly discussing the ways that the first-day experience is so important for students whose marginalized identities are most salient. Finally, we’ll address common pitfalls related to the Three Cs and specific strategies to avoid them.

To attend Preparing for “Class One,” fill out the registration form.