patiently repeat the material I had taught before, and offer the student real aid at the eleventh hour. I also try to be available for my students. Beyond regular office hours, I typically hold extra review sessions and additional office hours, if needed. I also try to respond promptly to questions by email. I can remember a couple of nights before major projects were due sitting in front of my computer until 4 or 5 AM, helping several students debug their program over email.

TLN: What moments from your experience as a teacher are you likely to remember for a long time? What makes that scene (or those scenes) memorable? How have they affected your teaching?

MB: I tend to remember the compliments.  My   first   semester  as  a

teaching assistant was the first time in my life that I stood in front of a class and tried to teach material. I never really liked making presentations in front of a classroom and I was very nervous before each discussion period. My department did not have any evaluation or feedback mechanism then like it does today, and I had not yet learned to gauge the enthusiasm of my students. I was racked with a lot of self-doubt about my teaching ability. At the end of the semester a couple students came to me and told me how much they enjoyed my class. These unsolicited compliments went a long way towards building my confidence as a teacher.

TLN: What sorts of mentors have you had? What elements of their mentorship has been the most effective for you?


MB: Possibly one of the best mentors I have had in my graduate teaching experience has been my department’s graduate director, Dr. Dan Balón. Dan is very skilled at facilitating workshops and dialogues. I have been working with Dan to create and lead TA training workshops for my department. For me, one of the most valuable parts of these workshops is the opportunity to observe how Dan organizes a workshop and sparks animated group discussion. He has also been a person I can come to when I have problems with my teaching, and has given me valuable advice.

The views expressed above are those of the interview subject and do not necessarily reflect those of the Center for Teaching Excellence.

The 3rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington DC on Capitol Hill, November 9 - 12, 2006. The conference site may be found at http://www.issotl.indiana.edu/ISSOTL. They are inviting proposals addressing this year’s theme: “Making a Greater Difference: Connecting to Transformational Agendas.” The call may be found on the web at ISSOTL website. The deadline for proposals is May 1, 2006.

The Center for Teaching Excellence wishes to encourage all UM faculty, staff and graduate students engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning - critical inquiry into the teaching and learning of one’s own field or discipline ? to submit a proposal for ISSOTL 2006. We are prepared to fund early bird registration for all presenters; all you have to do is forward your letter of acceptance to CTE and we will handle your registration.

In addition, the University of Maryland, as a co-sponsor of the conference, is organizing several sessions and we are particularly interested in hearing directly from UM faculty and administrators willing to take responsibility for organizing sessions on any of the following themes:

  • the role of graduate programs in promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning among future faculty (UM is home to many graduate courses and programs which involve discipline-specific pedagogical research and nationally known faculty doing work in this area. We want to showcase them as exemplars of the role of research universities in SoTL.)|

  • learning outcomes and the living-learning program (UM is a national leader in these learning communities ; how do we know they work?)

  • disciplinary leadership in promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (We are particularly interested in UM faculty who have worked with professional journals and disciplinary societies to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning, and who could organize panels which would include organization representatives).

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