UTLC Newsletter

Teaching Tips:

Today, the Teaching Tips explore something a little different. There was an interesting chain of emails on the listserv for the national organization of educational developers in higher ed. The topic was “Using the ‘Dr’ title, especially for women professors” and the subsequent discussion made interesting points that I would like to share with you. The following bullet points aren’t so much teaching tips as they are food for thought on the topic of preferences for the use of honorifics in higher ed:

  • What should you call me? We’ve talked in the past about student identities and approaches to creating an inclusive environment for different identities, but another consideration is what the faculty member expresses as the preferred form of address. I’ve known faculty who insist that students use a title that recognizes the work that goes into getting a doctorate, but I’ve also known faculty who correct students that refer to them as “Professor” in order to highlight that lecturers get treated differently by the system of higher education. Similarly, some maintain the formal use of honorifics, while others find that it helps them interact with students if they encourage use of their first name. Up until recently, I would have always thought of that decision as a personal preference that was up to the instructor.
  • The personal decision in context. While personal preference obviously guides this decision for an instructor as it does in all cases, the series of responses from faculty in a variety of positions across the country in this recent email chain was illuminating for how these decisions spill over as our students experience different preferences across courses. The inherent respect that being a white, cis-gendered male instructor carries in the classroom affords that person the ability to adopt a casual, “first-name basis” tone with students without significant concerns of undermined authority. However, such a tendency might also lead to other faculty with identities that have historically been marginalized by academia to be seen as cold or distant if they insist on the title that correctly acknowledges their status in institutions of higher education. These decisions are bound up in issues of power and, ultimately, it may not be as cut-and-dry as personal preference.
  • Forms of address matter. There is no way to make a categorical claim about how different forms of address will matter to any individual instructor, but it is important to recognize that they do matter in ways that reverberate beyond our own encounters with students. There are many different influences on why we feel more or less comfortable with a particular option – background, disciplinary norms, etc. – and those things may be worth sharing with your students, especially as interactions tend to become increasingly informal in the age of social media. Whatever you decide to use in your courses, consider sharing with your students from the outset why the way that we address each other matters and the respect that goes along with doing so.

If you’re interested in more about the conversation that sparked this week’s “teaching tip,” a colleague wrote a blog post about the discussion, which you can find here. For more on authority and identity in the classroom, consider this paper from the University of Michigan. It is too late in the semester for this to make a difference, but hopefully it helps start the process for future semesters. It certainly helped me to reflect on my own practices. If you like this kind of “teaching tip,” let us know at tntips@uncg.edu (and if you don’t like it, then let us know that as well!)

Check out more here: Past Teaching Tips


We need your input!

The UTLC will soon be building on the Teaching Tips format to include a podcast focused on more in-depth responses to the common questions and concerns faced by UNCG faculty. If you have something in mind that you want the UTLC to address, we invite you to send topics or specific questions to us at tio@uncg.edu, and stay tuned for the first episode of the podcast!


Library Tips

This semester, we add some tips from UNCG Libraries to our regularly scheduled programming! These tips are designed to help you better use the resources available through the libraries to achieve your teaching and learning goals. Did you know that UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has an extensive online World War I Pamphlet Collection? As this month is the 101st anniversary of the United States’ involvement in the Great War, we would like to bring this collection to the forefront! These pamphlets were issued by governments of US allies and contain information ranging from first-hand accounts of wartime conditions, battle maps, photographs, and brochures that involve soldiers’ postwar rehabilitation efforts. These online primary sources are well suited for class projects that involve the history of World War I, government efforts to sway public opinion on the homefront to support the war, and the psychology of conflict. Please contact SCUA if you would like further information about how to incorporate this wonderful collection into your class curriculum.


Mark your calendar – key upcoming UTLC events:

Coffeehouses The UTLC:TIO Coffeehouses are open to all faculty each month. Coffeehouses are meant to bring faculty members together for a quick cross-campus conversation. No specific topic is identified. There is no need to register for the UTLC Coffeehouse – drop in as your schedule allows! No sign up required. In the Faculty Center from 9am to 10am on the dates listed below.

Fall 2018

Spring 2019

September 9, 2018 February 6, 2019
October 3, 2018 April 3, 2019
November 7, 2018

Brown Bag Lunches Drop-in discussion sessions with colleagues. You bring your lunch, and we bring the snacks and coffee. There is no need to register for Brown Bag Lunches – feel free to join or leave at any time as your schedule allows! No sign up required. In the Faculty Center on the dates listed below.

  • September 18, 11:30am-1:30pm – HIPs, Easing the Transition for First-Year Students
  • October 15, 10:30am-1:00pm– Hybrid course design
  • November 14, 11:30am-1:00pm– HIPs, Capstones and Signature Work
  • February 12, 12:00am-1:00pm– HIPs, Integrated and Applied Learning
  • March 13, 12:00am-1:00pm– HIPs, Common Read and Characteristics of First-Year Students
  • March 19, 11:00-2:00pm– EDI

Biergartens Join us on the third Thursday of each month for Biergarten in the Faculty Center! We will be serving up snacks and beer (as well as good ol’ water) to get the semester started off right. Stop by to enjoy the shift away from summer with friends and colleagues.

  • October 17
  • January 16
  • February 20
  • March 20

Early Fall Events

September 10: The Spark of Learning with Sarah Rose Cavanagh The Teaching Innovations Office, in collaboration with the Title III Intentional Futures Grant, is excited to welcome to campus Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, on the morning of Monday for a visiting lecture and workshop. In the meantime, you can find out more about her book here!


Important opportunities are available!


  • Faculty Funding Application – Global Engagement Course Development Award

For 2017-18, Global Engagement has up to $50,000 in Global Engagement Course Development Award funding available for faculty to create or revise courses incorporating the four Global Engagement SLOs. Awards range from $500 (revised course) to $1,000 (new course or series of courses). The Spring 2018 deadlines to apply are January 19 and March 16. It is our goal that by supporting faculty as they incorporate more global themes into their courses, students will graduate from UNCG with the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly global world. Please visit globalqep.uncg.edu/faculty/grants.htm for more details on available awards.


  • URSCO Student Travel Grants

The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office has limited resources to support student travel to disseminate results of scholarly inquiry at conferences/exhibitions. Support can include costs of travel, room, board, and registration. The maximum request amount is $500. Requests are due by the 1st of each month, with award announcement by month’s end. Funds are distributed as a reimbursement upon the completion of travel and presentation.


  • Opportunities for faculty in the Office of Research and Engagement

Click here for a list of deadlines, events, and upcoming workshops with the Office of Research and Engagement.


  • STEM Faculty: Call for Participation in Faculty Incubator on student growth mindset and self-regulation

Do you wish you could actually do something in your classes to improve your students’ learning, motivation and self-regulation? Join STEM colleagues in a RISE-sponsored Faculty Incubator to develop and try out teaching methods that cultivate a growth mindset, student self-regulation, and promote the use of good learning techniques. We will meet 6 times in the Spring semester on Wednesdays (time TBA based on participants’ availability). Each faculty participant will receive a $300 stipend. Dr. Sara Heredia will engage the group of faculty in the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) problem solving framework, which is widely used to identify and test solutions to classroom problems. Identify and solve a current issue that is meaningful to you while learning a process you can continue to use in the future! If you are interested in joining the incubator, or would like to learn more about it, please contact the facilitator, Dr. Sara Heredia (TEHE), at scheredi@uncg.edu.