Carolyn Thomas

A message from Carolyn Thomas, Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education:

Some of you have asked how you might prepare to best support student learning and discussion in the classroom this quarter. Some are asking this because of concerns that emerge from our current political and cultural climate. Others of you want to make sure you are using the most effective teaching strategies to facilitate learning for our students who have diverse cultural backgrounds and academic experiences. We want to provide you with easy access to information that may be helpful to you:

  • Here you will find a list of upcoming workshops for faculty and teaching assistants offered by the Center for Educational Effectiveness. You will see that these address a number of issues, including how to promote classroom community and inclusive environments, how to teach first-generation college students (43% of our undergraduate students are now first-generation), and how to enhance student learning for everyone through your approach to teaching. These workshops are facilitated by both faculty and CEE education specialists who have extensive experience with college teaching and supporting UCD faculty in the classroom through evidence-based practices. We encourage you to attend and to share this information with your teaching assistants. If you are unable to attend, but would still like to learn more, CEE offers confidential consultations to faculty and teaching assistants if you reach out to them.
  • CEE has also developed an extensive collection of Just-In-Time Teaching (JITT) resources. The JITT resources are pedagogically grounded, evidence-based, learner-centered and feature an array of considerations, strategies, and teaching suggestions instructors can incorporate into their teaching practices. Each topical area can be read in its entirety, or separately as needs and interests develop.
  • CEE is offering the Course REdesign And Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) Fellows Program, a year-long program designed to support faculty engagement in course (re)design/innovation and promote learner-centered, evidence-based teaching practices that foster success for all students on the UC Davis campus.
  • Here you will find a link to Chancellor Gary May’s message to the UC Davis community after Charlottesville. This shares his perspective, for our campus, on free speech, safety, and learning.
  • Here you will find a FAQ sheet from the American Association of University Professors that has useful links. These will help you think through best practices if you find yourself discussing controversial topics, or topics to which students have strong and differing reactions, in your classrooms. This was produced in the context of the 2016 presidential election. The resources, however, are still valuable.
  • Finally, under Academic Senate policy, as an instructor you have the flexibility to make changes to the type and number of course assignments and midterm exams for your course while it is in progress. For individual students, you can implement non-SDC accommodations, including providing time extensions on assignments and exams. Keep in mind also that it is important to apply changes and review requests for non-SDC accommodations equitably across the class and ensure that course learning outcomes are still achieved.

Thank you for all you do for our students,

Carolyn Thomas
Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education
Professor of American Studies