College of Arts and Sciences

4th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning

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4th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning

You, Too, Can Have Brighter and Harder Working Students: Increasing Achievement and Retention by Applying Key Lessons from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Presented by Craig E. Nelson

Professor Emeritus of Biology
Indiana UniversityCraig Nelson

Thursday, January 9, 2014

  • Keynote Address: 10:00-11:45 a.m., LA 159 (All IPFW faculty & staff)
  • Lunch: Noon, Walb 126 (COAS faculty & staff)
  • Workshop: 1-3:00 p.m., Walb 222-226 (COAS faculty & staff)


Lecture: When I began teaching, I prepared good (occasionally great) lectures. When the students didn’t get the material I assumed that there was something wrong with the students (under-prepared, not studying, etc.). Serendipitously, I was introduced to key findings from the scholarship of teaching and learning that show that (and why) standard university teaching is often ineffective, even when the students are working reasonably hard. Moreover, alternate approaches can lead to large increases in student success (D, F and W rate for African Americans from 60% to 4% without lowering standards; calculus and economics with no Fs; double or triple learning in physics; etc.).

COAS Workshops: In the workshops, we will examine key pedagogical changes that can make differences in achievement and retention in a university classroom without lowering the standards for achievement. Specific topics will include: How can I radically reduce or eliminate low grades in lecture and other courses without lowering standards? How can I make my students brighter and harder working using only one hour of class time, in ways that level the playing field for all groups? Mini-lectures alternate with writing and small- and whole-group discussions of examples and implementation. Participants will be asked to consider and discuss how these approaches might apply in their own teaching, perhaps as soon as Monday morning.

Biography: Craig E. Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Indiana University (IU) where he has been since 1966. His biological research (60+ articles) has been on evolution and ecology, most recently on sex-determination in turtles. His 50 teaching papers address critical thinking and mature valuing, diversity, active learning, teaching evolution, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He has presented invited workshops at many national meetings and individual institutions in 37 states and 8 countries. He has served on the editorial boards of national journals on pedagogy and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He has also served on teaching grant review panels for the National Science Foundation and other national programs. He was instrumental in the development of IU's award winning Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) program, and was the first President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He received the President’s Medal for Excellence, “the highest honor bestowed by Indiana University,” in 2001, the P. A. Mack Award for Distinguished Service to Teaching from Indiana University in 2003 and a Lifetime Contribution Award (for “Vision”) from the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in 2009.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences

Keynote address co-sponsored by the Richard T. Doermer School of Business; College of Education and Public Policy; College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science; College of Health and Human Services; and College of Visual and Performing Arts