2015 Classroom Research and Teaching Symposium

Teaching and Learning Practicum participants

Fall 2015

At a Cornell symposium in May 2015, nearly 30 graduate students presented about their research. Why is that newsworthy? In this case, the research they presented was all about teaching. Now in its fourth year, the 2015 Classroom Research and Teaching Symposium attracted over 60 attendees, including faculty, staff, and graduate students from the University of Rochester, as well as around Cornell.

The Symposium is held at the end of every academic year, bringing together graduate students and faculty who are interested in applying their research skills to develop more effective teaching practices. In addition to the poster and laptop presentations by graduate students, the full-day symposium included workshops with local and visiting experts in the field of evidence-based teaching and learning.

Established by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), and now co-sponsored by Cornell’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CU-CIRTL), this annual event spotlights innovations in teaching practice. This year’s research presenters included 10 Graduate Research and Teaching Fellows (GRTFs),10 Graduate Teaching Assistant Fellows (GTAFs), and 9 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Practitioners. GRTFs and GTAFs hold year-long positions as peer leaders in teaching, whereas SoTL Practitioners participate in a new, accelerated program that broadens opportunities for graduate students and postdocs to conduct pilot “Teaching as Research” projects.

The work presented at this year’s symposium included both individual and paired projects, such as:

  • Quizzes are Broken (But I might have fixed them), Dexter Thomas, Asian Literature Religion and Culture;
  • Following Darwin’s Footsteps: Cognitive and social gains of experiential learning in the Galapagos, Nicholas Mason, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;
  • Strategies for Teaching Evidence: The effectiveness of structured writing vs. classroom discussion, Steffen Blings and Sarah Maxey, Government.

Keynote speaker Dr. Maryellen Weimer led an in-depth session to help current and future faculty balance the large amounts of content in an undergraduate course with the expectations of an active and engaged learning environment. Dr. Weimer is a well-renowned Professor Emerita of Penn State, and edits the Teaching Professor blog on facultyfocus.com.

The May 2015 Symposium also highlighted upcoming opportunities for these scholars, including the CIRTL Network Exchange Program, and Cornell’s new Working Paper Series for graduate students who have completed an evidence-based teaching project.

The above originally appeared in the Fall 2015 Graduate School Alumni Newsletter