W. P. Carey invests in faculty and students with Teaching & Learning workshops

“What are we here to teach our students?”

Jay Dial, clinical professor of Management & Human Resources at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, is an expert in teaching case studies. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, he led about 50 W. P. Carey faculty and guests from across ASU through a workshop on case study teaching and discussion learning as part of a Teaching & Learning workshop series.

“What are we here to teach our students? Is it everything that they need to know to be an effective leader or marketer or accountant? Or are we teaching them to learn, or more precisely, to learn how to learn? To think critically? To engage in a discussion of complicated concepts? This changes how we teach. It changes how we function as leaders in our classrooms and emphasizes the importance of creating a learning community,” Dial explained to the room.

Central to the workshop was a case discussion that Dial led, which portrayed a situation where a professor loses control of his classroom when a volatile exchange occurs among students regarding an ethical issue in the study at hand. Chaos ensues before the storied professor cuts it off, calling the question inappropriate and outside of the scope of the class. Ironically, it is the professor’s highly polished “performance” and his need to exert over-control in the classroom that caused the altercation by stifling the students’ ability to explore challenging intellectual and emotional content in an inclusive, respectful, and insightful manner. The case asks how professors can be more prepared to deftly guide and encourage their classes through difficult discussions. This approach further inspires students to learn through discovery, a process that encourages life-long learning and is transferable to any job environment. Dial’s 90-minute workshop with faculty encouraged them to empathetically approach what it’s like to be a student in their own classrooms.

Ultimately, Dial urged the instructors to let go of the need to prove how much they know to the class, instead of creating a space for shared questioning. Quoting advice from his own mentor, Dial noted, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” He continued, “The case method (or discussion learning) does not diminish the role of theory or downplay the need for content expertise, but emphasizes process in addition to content. Rather, it’s creating a classroom culture that emphasizes asking good questions over seeking cut-and-dried answers. This places curiosity and exploration at the heart of learning. These skills will help students in every job they ever have.”

Dan Gruber, associate dean of Teaching & Learning at W. P. Carey, organizes the monthly workshops that connect faculty from across W. P. Carey and ASU to reinforce excellence in teaching practices. “At W. P. Carey, we are focused on providing a world-class education to our students, enabling them to become the next generation of leaders in an increasingly fast-paced world. That’s a big challenge, and I am proud to work with my colleagues on transformative and innovative learning practices that are being implemented throughout W. P. Carey courses,” he shares. Gruber chairs a group of Teaching Leads with representatives from all eight academic areas across the W. P. Carey School who collaborate on the workshops and other teaching-related initiatives to maximize the impact.

Interested faculty are always welcome at the workshops in person and via Zoom, and can contact Daniel.A.Gruber@asu.edu for more information as well as for links to the video recordings of the sessions. The next workshop is titled “Bringing Active Learning to Your Teaching” and takes place Thursday, Feb. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in MCRD 422.



Top image: Dan Gruber, associate dean of Teaching & Learning at W. P. Carey, speaks to a classroom of professors at one of the monthly workshops that connect faculty from across ASU to reinforce excellence in teaching practices.

By Emily Beach

 

 




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