Season 3 Episode 1
Inspiring Academic Excellence
We’re kicking off our third season with a deep dive into how faculty inspire academic excellence in students. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been tuned in to a conversation about balance in higher education: how to engage and challenge students while also ensuring courses are flexible enough for all students to be able to engage (here’s one example, from Tufts University). But, as we discuss in this episode of our podcast, What We’re Learning About Learning, these two aspects of the classroom—academic excellence and flexibility—aren’t at odds with one another. In the words of MC Chan, who teaches in the Biology department, “When we talk about academic excellence, I think too often it is juxtaposed against academic flexibility. It’s oftentimes juxtaposed against equity, not only of access, but equity of experience in the classroom as well. For me I think of that as a false dichotomy. I think that both can exist at the same time.”
Listen to this episode to hear questions about how faculty support students in succeeding in and outside classrooms, how to design curriculum that brings out their best work, and what excellence means in the current era.
: : Transcript
Featured in this Episode
- Mun Chun (MC) Chan, Assistant Teaching Professor, Biology Department and Faculty Fellow at CNDLS
- Charisma X. Howell, Visiting Associate Professor and Street Law Director, Georgetown Law
- Abigail Marsh, Professor, Department of Psychology and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
- Brockman, A.J. (2021). “‘La Crème de la Crème’: How Racial, Gendered, and Intersectional Social Comparisons Reveal Inequities That Affect Sense of Belonging in STEM.” Sociological Inquiry, 91(4), 751–777.
- Cardamone, C. (2021). “Balancing Flexibility and Rigor to Advance Equity in Course Design.” Teaching@Tufts.
- Credé, M., Roch, S. G., & Kieszczynka, U. M. (2010). Class Attendance in College: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Relationship of Class Attendance With Grades and Student Characteristics. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 272–295.
- D'Agostino, Susan. (2023). ‘Procrastination-Friendly’ Academe Needs More Deadlines. Inside Higher Ed.
- Gruber, M. J., Gelman, B. D., & Ranganath, C. (2014). “States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit.” Neuron (Cambridge, Mass.), 84(2), 486–496.
- Holstead, C.E. (2022). “Why Students Are Skipping Class So Often, and How to Bring Them Back.” The Chronicle of HIgher Education.
- McMurtrie, B. (2022). “Teaching: Staying Flexible Without Becoming Overwhelmed.” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Mathews, J. (2022). “Should we be easy on students after the pandemic? Maybe not.” Washington Post.
- Newman, J., & O’Brien, E. L. (1973). Street law. District of Columbia Project on Community Legal Assistance, Georgetown University Law Center.
- Pryal, K.R.G. (2022). “When ‘Rigor’ Targets Disabled Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Saul, S. (2022). “At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?” ProQuest.