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Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else

conversations with people who teach in higher education

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Imagining Grace

A conversation between Xavier's very own Robin Vander and Ron Bechet hosted by CAT+FD's Bart Everson and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on the contemplative breakthrough, Imagining Grace. Robin G. Vander is Associate Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. She earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) where her training developed at the intersections of literary studies, Performance Studies, ethnography, and Diaspora Studies.She is co-founder of Xavier University's Performance Studies Laboratory, contributing editor to the Xavier Review, and has served as guest editor for a special issue of The Review of Black Political Economy examining recovery and development in post-Katrina New Orleans. The Imagining Grace project sits at the intersection of Dr. Vander’s interests: the use of literature as the beginnings to how we might learn to navigate immense challenges, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties, imagine our individual and communal possibilities, and embody grace and gratitude through the processes. Ron Bechet was born in New Orleans and lives in the Gentilly neighborhood. He began his college career with an athletic scholarship at Mississippi State University but returned to study art at the University of New Orleans where he earned a B.A. degree. He went on to earn an MFA degree in Painting from Yale University School of Art. He is also the Victor H. Labat Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana where he has been teaching for more than twenty years. He is known for intimate large-scale drawings and paintings. This work is inspired by his experiences and observations of the consequences of forces of nature and time, on the place and the human experience.Elizabeth Yost HammerElizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

31mins

22 Mar 2022

Rank #1

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Gianina Baker on Equitable Assessment

A conversation between Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Gianina Baker on teaching, learning, and equitable assessment. Gianina Baker, Acting Director with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, provides leadership and directs research specific to the assessment of student learning at colleges and universities, primarily under the Lumina Foundation grants, at NILOA. Her main research interests include student learning outcomes assessment at Minority Serving Institutions, access and equity issues for underrepresented administrators and students, assessment in athletics, and higher education policy. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Organization & Leadership with a Higher Education concentration from the University of Illinois, a M.A. in Human Development Counseling from Saint Louis University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University. Previous to this position, she was the Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning at Richland Community College.Elizabeth Yost HammerElizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)Equity Mindedness from USC Center for Urban EducationBecoming an Equity-Centered Practitioner: Recognizing, Disrupting, and Reframing - Gianina Baker, Gavin Henning, and Anne Lundquist (2021 Assessment Institute Session Recordings)Equity Centered Landscape SurveyReframing Assessment to Center Equity: Theories, Models, and Practice edited by Gavin W. Henning, Gianina R. Baker, Natasha A. Jankowski, Anne E. Lundquist and Erick Montenegro Transcript: Coming soon!

24mins

25 Jan 2022

Rank #2

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Joe Bandy on Equitable Assessment

A conversation between Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Joe Bandy on teaching, learning, and equitable assessment. Joe Bandy is Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching and affiliated faculty in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.  He received his PHD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Bowdoin College from 1998 to 2010, after which he came to Vanderbilt.  Elizabeth Yost HammerElizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University. Links for this episode: What Having a “Growth Mindset” Actually Means by Carol DweckTransparency in Learning and TeachingJoe Bandy at Vanderbilt's Center for Teaching Transcript: Coming soon!

29mins

7 Dec 2021

Rank #3

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Mark Quinn on a Sales Course with a Purpose

A conversation between Lisa Schulte-Gipson and Mark Quinn on teaching, learning, and a sales course with a purpose. Mr. Quinn is the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Xavier University of Louisiana.  He teaches entrepreneurship, directs the Xavier University Entrepreneurship Institute and founded the X-ncubator, Xavier’s student business incubator.  Lisa received her BS from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). She attended SUNY Albany where she earned both her MA and PhD in Social/Personality Psychology.Lisa has worked at Xavier University since 1993 and she is the Keller Family Foundation Professor of Arts and Sciences.Throughout her tenure at Xavier she has served both the University and Department in many capacities, currently serving as Chair of the Psychology Department and as the Faculty in Residence for Service Learning at CAT+FDHer current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and positive psychology (specifically as related to enhancing well-being among students). Links for this episode No-Fry Sheet-Pan Eggplant Parmesan Transcript Coming soon!

24mins

23 Nov 2021

Rank #4

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Teaching a Just Transition (panel)

A panel discussion with Brannon Andersen, Jacob Park, Pamela Waldron-Moore on teaching, learning, and a just transition. Moderated by Bart Everson. Brannon Andersen came to Furman University in 1994 after completing his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, where he also was a senior geochemist studying leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. He is trained in geology but has morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainability science. Dr. Andersen has co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students for regional and national professional meetings, he has published over 28 journal articles and book chapters, and has been awarded over $2 million in external grants. Jacob Park is Associate Professor in Castleton University’s College of Business who specializes in the social and environmental dimensions of innovation, entrepreneurship, and international business, with special focus/expertise in emerging and developing economies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Caribbean islands regions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and has served as the Coordinating Lead Author of the UN's GEO-6 Report, Lead Author for the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment initiative, and as an Expert Reviewer for a number of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Pamela Waldron-Moore is Professor of Political Science at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has taught since 1998. She holds a Ph.D. in political science with specialization in comparative politics and international relations. Her teaching and research expertise lies in exploration of themes related to the political economy of development, industrialized democracies; international political economy, international law and politics, gender inequality, climate justice, knowledge economics, democratization, global citizenship and African feminisms. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode "How can we pay for it all? Understanding the global challenge of financing climate change and sustainable development solutions" (2021) Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences  "Theorizing and learning from Kenya’s evolving solar energy enterprise development" (2021) Energy Research & Social Science The Battle for Thacker Pass (example of the consequences and controversy of lithium mining)Berlin Votes on Whether to Expropriate Corporate Landlords (people rising up against corporate interests)"Scientists’ warning on affluence" by Thomas Wiedmann, Manfred Lenzen, Lorenz T. Keyßer & Julia K. Steinberger"Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance" by Jason Hickel"Why achieving the Paris Agreement requires reduced overall consumption and production" by Eva Alfredsson, Magnus Bengtsson, Halina Szejnwald Brown, Cindy Isenhour, Sylvia Lorek, Dimitris Stevis & Philip Vergragt"Surge in global metal mining threatens vulnerable ecosystems" by Sebastian Luckeneder, Stefan Giljum, Anke Schaffartzik, Victor Maus, Michael TostResources from IUCN/World Conservation Union Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy Transcript coming soon!

53mins

28 Sep 2021

Rank #5

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Pamela Waldron-Moore on Teaching a Just Transition (Part 2)

A conversation between Pamela Waldron-Moore (Xavier University of Louisiana) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and a just transition. Pamela Waldron-Moore is Professor of Political Science at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has taught since 1998. She also has the distinction of being named the Leslie R. Jacobs Endowed Professor in Liberal Arts Education at her institution. She holds a Ph.D. in political science with specialization in comparative politics and international relations. She has taught a range of courses at the university level in the Caribbean and the United States. Her teaching and research expertise lies in exploration of themes related to the political economy of development, industrialized democracies; international political economy, international law and politics, gender inequality, climate justice, knowledge economics, democratization, global citizenship and African feminisms. The idiographic breadth of her focus includes Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America; Eastern Europe, and the Southern United States. Empirically, race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture are at the intersections of her analyses on perceptions of environmental risk, economic insecurity, gender inequity and strategies for reimagining an international economic order in pursuit of global social justice. She is published in several peer reviewed journals and is an annual contributor to discourses on transformative pedagogy. She is trained in the implementation of mental health practices and approaches to restorative justice within the academy. Growing up in Georgetown, Guyana, she has served as a career diplomat representing her homeland at the United Nations and the Court of St. James, London. Her hobbies are global travel, poetry, elocution, and exercise with Zumba. She has received Keynote Speaker awards for invited addresses to women’s leadership organizations and won the prestigious 2018 Jewel and James Prestage Mentorship Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode: Pamela Waldron-Moore at Xavier Transcript: Coming soon!

25mins

13 Jul 2021

Rank #6

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Pamela Waldron-Moore on Teaching a Just Transition (Part 1)

A conversation between Pamela Waldron-Moore (Xavier University of Louisiana) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and a just transition. Pamela Waldron-Moore is Professor of Political Science at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has taught since 1998. She also has the distinction of being named the Leslie R. Jacobs Endowed Professor in Liberal Arts Education at her institution. She holds a Ph.D. in political science with specialization in comparative politics and international relations. She has taught a range of courses at the university level in the Caribbean and the United States. Her teaching and research expertise lies in exploration of themes related to the political economy of development, industrialized democracies; international political economy, international law and politics, gender inequality, climate justice, knowledge economics, democratization, global citizenship and African feminisms. The idiographic breadth of her focus includes Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America; Eastern Europe, and the Southern United States. Empirically, race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture are at the intersections of her analyses on perceptions of environmental risk, economic insecurity, gender inequity and strategies for reimagining an international economic order in pursuit of global social justice. She is published in several peer reviewed journals and is an annual contributor to discourses on transformative pedagogy. She is trained in the implementation of mental health practices and approaches to restorative justice within the academy. Growing up in Georgetown, Guyana, she has served as a career diplomat representing her homeland at the United Nations and the Court of St. James, London. Her hobbies are global travel, poetry, elocution, and exercise with Zumba. She has received Keynote Speaker awards for invited addresses to women’s leadership organizations and won the prestigious 2018 Jewel and James Prestage Mentorship Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode: Pamela Waldron-Moore at Xavier Transcript: Coming soon!

21mins

15 Jun 2021

Rank #7

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Jacob Park on Teaching a Just Transition

A conversation between Jacob Park (Castleton University) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and a just transition. Jacob Park is Associate Professor in Castleton University’s College of Business who specializes in the social and environmental dimensions of innovation, entrepreneurship, and international business, with special focus/expertise in emerging and developing economies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Caribbean islands regions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and has served as the Coordinating Lead Author of the UN Environment Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) Report, Lead Author for the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment initiative, and as an Expert Reviewer for a number of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode: Jacob Park at Castleton UniversityTransition Network (Transition Communities)2015 report by the International Labor Organization Major announcement the Biden Administration is scheduled to makeEPA report that describes a climate change/community-based learning project for which Dr. Park received a 2015 EPA Merit Award "Local Flood Resiliency in an Era of Global Climate Change: Understanding the Multi-Sectoral Policy Dimensions" (Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, 2015)"When not every response to climate change is a good one: Identifying principles for sustainable adaptation" (Climate and Development, 2011) (PDF) The Crisis of Global Environmental Governance (Routledge, 2008) Some media references to Biden's new infrastructure plan"What’s in Biden’s Infrastructure Plan?" (New York Times)"White House Unveils $2 Trillion Infrastructure and Climate Plan, Setting Up Giant Battle Over Size and Cost of Government" (Washington Post)"Biden Makes a Big Gamble on Infrastructure Spending — and Higher Taxes on the Wealthy to Pay for It" (Washington Post)"Eager to Build Infrastructure, Biden Plans to Tax Business" (AP)"Biden Set to Unveil Expansive $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan" (NPR) "FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan" (White House) Transcript: Coming soon!

36mins

6 Apr 2021

Rank #8

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Tiera Coston on CARE for First-Generation Students

A conversation between Jay Todd and Tiera Coston on teaching, learning, and CARE for first-generation students. Tiera S. Coston was the Assistant Director for Mentoring and Pre-Law Advising in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is now the Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Outreach in our College of Arts and Sciences. She is also director of Xavier's new Quality Enhancement Plan. That's what this episode is all about! Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His fiction has appeared in journals such as Southern California Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Fiction Weekly, and 971 Magazine. Since 2007, he has been a member of Department of English at Xavier, where he teaches American Literature, Freshman Composition, Modern English Grammars, and The Graphic Novel and Social Justice. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Todd served as Xavier's Writing Center Director. From 2010 until 2015, he served as QEP Director, managing Xavier's Read Today, Lead Tomorrow initiative. In 2015, he became the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development's first Associate Director for Programming. As Associate Director for Programming, Dr. Todd assists in providing high-quality, relevant, evidence-based programming in support of CAT+FD's mission to serve faculty across all career stages and areas of professional responsibility.Dr. Todd is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Popular Culture Association, and the Louisiana Association for College Composition. Links for this episode: Quality Enhancement Plans: Lists and Summaries Since 2007 (from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) Transcript: Jay Todd: Hi there. This is Jay Todd, Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana. Welcome back to Teaching, Learning, And Everything Else. If you're from a college or university accredited by SACSCOC, you probably know something about QEPs or Quality Enhancement Plans. As a part of our school's decennial re-accreditation process, we have to develop a five year plan to address some academic challenge. Xavier is in the process of finalizing its second QEP, and today we're speaking with Dr. Tiera Coston, who will be overseeing that ambitious plan. Tiera's appointment as QEP director is bittersweet for those of us in CAT, as she has been a valued colleague for a number of years. We're excited to see her take on this new challenge, but we will miss having her down the hall. Before we get to my discussion with Tiera Coston, though, let me say thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, please remember to give this podcast a five-star rating and leave a comment on your preferred podcast platform. So I'm here today with Dr. Tiera Coston, who is among other things, Xavier's newly appointed QEP director, and I'm going to go ahead and let her actually introduce herself with her full and official title. Tiera Coston: Hi Jay. I appreciate you having me and I'm really excited to be here talking about the QEP. So I am the new QEP director, and I am also now the Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Outreach. And so that title really goes hand in hand with all of the efforts of the QEP, so I'm really excited to be in this space. JT: Yep, that's great. And we're excited to have you there, although we will be missing you in CAT. TC: Oh, I love my CAT family and that will always be my family. JT: So I guess we should kind of do the required thing for our non-SACS accredited listeners and maybe explain for them really quickly what a QEP is. TC: Sure. So a QEP is a Quality Education Plan and it is associated with our accreditation with SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the seven regional accrediting bodies out there. And what this plan is intended to do is to really promote student success. You can think of it as an academic plan to get students from the time they come in to get them to graduation and off to whatever they're going to do afterwards. So it's all about how you engage them, how you support them, you know, in earning their bachelor degree. JT: Great, excellent. So how did you become involved in this process? Because this has been an ongoing process for I guess, fairly a couple years now at Xavier. When did you get involved and how did you get involved in the process to begin with? TC: So yes, I'm trying to remember what month it was and I have to — with this pandemic, time is all running together. But I would have to say, maybe sometime in the summer of 2020. I received an invitation from Provost McCall, asking if I would be willing to serve on the QEP committee and I was extremely excited about that so that wasn't even anything I had to think about. I said yes and not long after that, we began to convene and really get into the nuts and bolts of what our QEP was going to look like. JT: Alright, and so what is the QEP going to look like?  TC: So this is an extremely unique QEP from my perspective. As I said before, this is an academic entity. It's all about student success and getting students through college. But we have really taken what is called a non-academic approach. And that is, first of all, we went through a very lengthy process, some of which I was not a part of. It was done before I was brought on board to participate in the QEP committee. We decided that this QEP would focus on first-generation students. And I think it's important to talk about that process because that decision was not haphazard. It was a well-informed decision that started with a different committee. The QEP topic committee actually convened, and they used the university strategic plan, as a starting place, particularly in the area of student success, the student success portion of the strategic plan. And so they begin asking for institutional data about different aspects of that plan. Everything from DFW rates to retention rates, retention from first year to second year, from this course to that course, and as they narrowed it, as they looked at the data, they narrowed it to first-year experiences, as themes. So they had the theme of First-Year Experience, Student Engagement, Learning Support, and then First-Generation Students. So after that whole process, they had those four themes. They then went to the Xavier community, and got their input, so they actually sent out a survey to the community, that's faculty, staff, students, as well as the Board of Trustees and they presented those four things and said, what do you think our QEP should focus on here? And I think it was something like about a third of the respondents actually chose first-year experiences and so that's how that came out of the process. And when we stepped in as the QEP Committee, we then took first-year experiences and said, okay, what are we going to do with this? And we understood that this was a great undertaking. And if you look at the size of a particular incoming freshman class, it's a large group of students to focus on. And so we began to go through the process of narrowing that group of students, so that we wouldn't exclude, but also so we would catch as — you know, across the gamut of the class, but also be able to get a number of students that we could reasonably support and have a successful program. And as we continued to look at data, certain things stuck out to us, for example, if you look at first-generation students and non-first-generation students, there was an 11% retention gap between those two groups of students. And so we began to see sort of disparities like that and we said, you know what, this is a good group to focus on. Roughly 28% of any given incoming freshmen class, first identify as first-generation students. And so we thought this was a great subgroup to focus on and the nice thing that also came out of the data, that, you know, we have academic groups. You know, students who may need more support in particular groups. So there are five groups and we found that the first-generation students really pretty much stayed in the same proportion across those five groups. So between 28% and 32% of the students across the five groups were first-generation and so it just turned out to be, you know, an excellent group of students to focus on. Not to mention, what the literature is telling us about the enhanced support that those particular students need to be successful. JT: Absolutely and I guess, you know, we should say, because I think my understanding is that different schools kind of define “first-generation” differently, that it's not a clear cut term across academia. So how are we, Xavier defining first-generation in general? TC: That is an excellent question, because it's extremely important. We at Xavier have a broad definition. It is if the student has no parent or guardian who has completed a bachelor's degree and so that student, well, even if they had college or something like that, if they didn't get that bachelor's degree, they are considered a first-generation student.  JT: Great. Yeah, because I think I've seen some schools that if even one parent has a little bit of college, some college credits, they'll [inaudible] that it’s not okay. For sure. TC: And also I have seen at other schools, if a sibling, so let's do it, it won't count as first-generation if a sibling in their household has either been to college or earned a college degree. So yeah, you're right. The definition can definitely vary. JT: Great. And again, I think that's a great focus, in terms of yeah, we do have this first year experience. But again, that's, you know, our freshmen classes, the last few years have been, I think, pushing 800 and that's a lot to work with. Do we have a sense of what percentage of more specifically the first-generation students are going to be? Maybe, probably not,  next year, obviously, but have been recently of the freshmen class. TC: So yeah, across the past three academic years, we're looking at an average of 28%, you know, somewhere from the range of 32% to 26%, or something, and you get that average of about 28% of the students coming in. And we don't really have an idea right now, with the pandemic, what that's going to look like. You would imagine that this whole situation has had an effect on college attendance across the board, let alone students who are first-generation. But right now, we are going to go on the assumption that we'll be supporting a similar proportion of students as it's been in the past.  JT: I think it's great that again, the process that's kind of come through this, which is it's, you know, it's data driven, right. It's connected to the strategic plan, right? It's grown out of that. But then it's also kind of coming from this consensus from the community as well, which is, you know, this is important to us, as well. So I think that sounds like a great process in a way to kind of focus this down and I like what you said about the fact that this is, you know, kind of differentiating between, it's an academic, and yet it's not necessarily an academic program. And some people, for folks not familiar, Xavier's first QEP, which I'm a little bit familiar with, was focused solely on what we ultimately said was active and engaged reading, which is really a purely academic focus, even though we tried to push it out into the co-curricular realm. But it was a highly, highly academic exercise that we were focusing on. So can you talk a little bit about what this probe, this non academic academic support is going to look like? TC: Absolutely. So the program is called CARE. The C is for career readiness, the A is for academic efficacy, the R is for resilience and then the E is for engagement. And so you can see sort of these non- cognitive areas, not necessarily academic efficacy, but the efficacy part of academics. How about that? You can see these non-cognitive areas that are the focus and if you look at the literature, there is a ton of first-generation literature. And you really see, yes, academic preparedness is absolutely according to the literature, the highest burden that first-generation students face. But once you get past that, you are also looking at a number of other barriers that these particular students face, for example, just that belongingness, that sense of fitting in feeling as a part of a community to something that is unfamiliar to you. And so, because we understand that academic preparedness is absolutely something we need to address, we do have that component of academic efficacy here in the program. But you'll see that the other components: resilience, engagement, again, those non-cognitive things that for us are just as important as supporting them academically, supporting them in terms of career readiness. So it's really a balanced program in that way. JT: And so, again, going back to kind of our original QEP, which was really laid out to be a five year plan. Are we looking at a similar structure or is this gonna be more of a we'll start it and kind of see where it goes, kind of process? TC: So I think you know, Jay, anything you start, you kind of see how it goes and how you have to adjust. But in all seriousness, one of the reasons I am so thrilled to be on board with this, is that we are looking for this to live long beyond the QEP, the five years of the QEP. So we absolutely do have the five year plan, which we both know is going to adjust as we move year to year as we learn things and figure things out and a better way to do things. But the fact that I'm an indication of that, the fact that the QEP director came with the move to the Dean's office because the idea is that after the QEP is over those five years, that this work will continue in support of our student populations, particularly the first-generation students. So that's one of the things, I thoroughly appreciate how the university has indicated it's going to be behind this for the long haul.  JT: That's great, because I think again for folks who are not too familiar with QEPs, which has now been around for, I think, probably almost 20 years in terms as a requirement for SACS. You know, they've really evolved in terms of how schools understand them. Right. And I think for a good long time, they were seen as this: we'll do this for five years and that'll kind of be the end of it. Right, we'll do our report and we'll kind of hopefully, we'll have some changes, and then we'll move on. So it's great to see this plan now that already kind of laying the groundwork for the fact that yeah, we've got a five year plan. But that's just the beginning it sounds like.  TC: Absolutely. And also, as you said, it has evolved on the SACS side, not just for the time. But SACS has made it very clear your QEP should not be about retention. That if you create that environment where students can be successful, retention will take care of itself. So don't focus on retention, focus on the students and the things that they need to be successful. And that's exactly what CARE does and I love that about it. JT: And again, I realize even though we've got this plan, right? And like you said, it's a living thing, it's an evolving thing that you're going to respond to, to the data and everything else in the adaptation as you need to. But do you have a sense yet, how faculty in particular can, are going to be involved, are going to be able to choose to be in or help out with this process? TC: Thank you so much for that question. Because this is a different looking QEP. But faculty are an integral part. And it requires a little bit of explanation. So what the actual care plan looks like, is, we consider it a network. So it's this network of support that the students will be engulfed in. And it's meant to do just what it says, to surround them to support them and give them what they need. And making up that network are the students, we call them our CARE students, what we call CARE coaches, and these are staff who are trained. They will work with the students. They will be that source of information, they will be that sense of accountability, they will be right at that point, they will be everything to the students. So their coach is there, again, to hold them accountable to provide them, okay, you have this need, you have this issue, let's figure this out together. So the student never feels alone. Also a part of that network of CARE colleagues and these are other Xavier students, who will act as peer mentors to these students. And so these particular students are, you know, high achieving students, they figured it out academically, they're engaged in university life. And so they really will be sort of ambassadors and guides for our students as they get on this path to their academic success. And also we have CARE spaces. So these are actual spaces that we want to create, for our students to have that community. That's a really important part of this whole process, that they have the space to you know, form these lifelong and lasting relationships with other students, with faculty, with staff, administrators, and really have that safe space to operate and really become a part of the community. And that brings me back to your original question of faculty. We understand that in the literature, I was very interested in one when this came up, that although faculty teach students, typically when students have an academic issue, they go to someone other than faculty. So they will go outside of that faculty circle to try and figure out what's wrong and what the opportunity I see for us here is to bring all of us together. The staff of care faculty, bring us all into that network to help to support the students. So, you know, faculty are in that classroom, delivering that information, supporting the students academically, and honestly we want to be there to support the faculty in that effort and then understanding that on the outside of the classroom, they also have us supporting the students. It really just creates, again, that robust network that really will be good for the students. So everybody has a role in the CARE plan. JT: I really like the net metaphor of, you know, kind of wherever they go, there's kind of a system in place to help kind of catch and support them right and help them out. I'm really interested in the CARE spaces just because just as soon as you said that, and the idea of community, just the timeliness of that, since, you know, the thrust of this program is going to be starting next fall, right. And we're all now kind of talking about rebuilding community. And so I think it's really great to just kind of hear that that's already kind of built into this, which is this attempt to help these students really, really get a sense of the community to which they belong, as Xavierites.  TC: Absolutely, once again, the literature has been so helpful in terms of what we talked about. You know, academic preparedness being a barrier. But the literature has told us that if a student feels isolated, the chances of retaining them and keeping them is very low and so we really want to address that barrier by giving them both the people in the spaces to make the connections they need to make to feel included to feel a part of. JT: Can you tell us kind of going forward now? Because we're kind of on the eve of our SACS visit, our SACS review, right? The QEP is kind of in the final processes of approval and those sorts of things. What are going to be really, and I hate to kind of ask about first steps, because I'm sure you're taking about 1000 different first steps, but what are things going to look like in the fall, especially as we start to come back? TC: So you're right. We are beginning just to assemble the structure of this thing. And so right now, we are in the process of hiring those CARE coaches, recruiting those CARE colleagues, who are so pivotal to that network. And also you talk about the fall, a part of this program is to have that bridge over the summer and so we are recruiting. It's not mandatory, but we are giving our first-generation students the option of participating in the Summer Star Institute and that allows them to take math to get acclimated to, you know, taking a course, and also all the other things that go with that in terms of introducing them to the campus environment, how to get things done, you know, so, yeah, things are going to, I guess, officially kickoff in the fall, but the process is underway, and we will begin to see our students actually in the summer. JT: All right, that is good to know. And I think that's, especially as someone who teaches, you know, our college experience class or Expo 1000 class, with those those first semester, freshmen students, who often are, they come out of, you know, a week or so of orientation, and are just still so kind of befogged by this new reality that you're living in. So it's great to hear that we're going to have this opportunity for students to kind of acclimate to themselves a little more slowly, a little more carefully over the summer. I would imagine that would make a huge difference, because I see so many students in that freshmen class, they're just, they're just kind of overwhelmed, not with academics so much is just everything, right? TC: Everything. Then again, the literature tells us bridge programs work. They work and you have to, you know, like you said, teaching college experience.Both you and I teach that course. And you see them 2,3,4 weeks in and you check in and you're asking them, you know, how are you doing? And it's just like, this is a lot and I'm feeling overwhelmed. You know what the issues are and in my mind, I am so thrilled because I'm like I get how you're feeling and now we're going to have this network around you that's going to help you deal with those. Not going to put it into it, that doesn't happen. Then welcome to college. But it's going to help you deal with those feelings and understand what it is you need to do to get past that, that's that resilience part of our program. In terms of obstacles, they are going to come, please don't think they won't. But we're going to help you develop those skills to, you know, to confront them and get over them and keep moving. So yeah.  JT: We're coming up to the end of our time. So do you have any final thoughts on kind of what you want to see, where you want to go, the message you want to get across, especially to faculty who are interested in more about this program? TC: Thanks a lot. Yeah, you know, the biggest message I want to get across is, this is a university wide effort. We have certain groups of people who may be more intimately involved in the program than others but at the end of the day, it's going to take every single member of the Xavier right community to pull this off, and to give our students what they need. So, you know, I just want faculty to know that this program is there to support them too, by supporting the student and I hope they see that. I hope they, you know, feel that contribution and if they need anything else from us, you know, just let us know. But I just really want to send the message to the entire community, faculty, staff, students, every yielded academic, non-academic, this is a university wide effort, and we're going to need everybody. JT: Absolutely. Well, Tiera, thank you so much for your time today. I know you've got a lot on your plate as you're getting these things moving and prepared. So thanks for speaking with us today. TC: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it. Transcribed by Darrielle Robertson

24mins

9 Mar 2021

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Conversation #101: Dan Fiscus on Regrounding Science

A conversation between Dan Fiscus (Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and regrounding science in values. Dr. Dan Fiscus is an ecologist, food system researcher and sustainability scientist with the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics. He has written and co-written scientific articles in soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, theoretical ecology, and regenerative economics. He has co-written two books in sustainability including Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life–Environment Relations (2018). From 2007 to 2012, he was assistant professor in the Biology Department at Frostburg State University (FSU) where he taught and did research in forest ecology and sustainability. From 2012 to 2016, he served as Sustainability Liaison with FSU, led the creation of the President’s Advisory Council for Sustainability, and advised students who created the Student Sustainability Fee. A co-founder and elected member of the Western Maryland Food Council (WMFC), he served as Council Coordinator 2019 to 2020. With WMFC, Dan helped convene annual regional food system conferences and enlist interdisciplinary partners collaborating for food system change in Western Maryland. For fun Dan likes playing ultimate and soccer, hiking, folk music, poetry, composting and time with family. Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths. Links for this episode: Fiscus D & Fath B (2018). Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations. Cambridge, Massachusetts, US: Academic Press. Transcript: Bart Everson: Hi, I’m Bart Everson and it is my pleasure and honor today to be speaking with Dr. Dan Fiscus. How are you doing Dan? Dan Fiscus: Doing great Bart, thank you. BE: Wonderful. I wanted to let our listeners know that you are an ecologist, a food system researcher, and sustainability scientist with the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics. You’ve written and co-written scientific articles in soil, ecology, ecosystem ecology, theoretical ecology. That’s a lot of ecology. And regenerative economics and also you’ve co-written a couple of books. One in particular of which we’re going to talk more in depth about that so we’ll come back to that. But also I wanted to let our listeners know that from 2007 to about 2012 you were an assistant professor in the Biology department at Frostburg State University and you taught there on forest ecology and sustainability. And after that you served also a sustainability liaison with Frostburg leading to the creation of the President's Advisory Council for Sustainability and advising students who created a Student Sustainability Fee, which is a pretty interesting concept to me. You’re also a co-founder and elected member of the Western Maryland Food Council and you served there as the council coordinator from 2019 to 2020 and done a lot of work with convening the food council’s annual, regional food system conference. So just a kind of roundabout way of saying welcome to the program and I’m wondering if there is anything else that you’d like to tell us about yourself. DF: Well I could kind of go back to the beginning to tell some about how I got here in terms of being an ecologist. Male (Bart Everson): Yeah, that’d be awesome. Male (Dan Fiscus): It kind of starts with where I grew up and it’s where I still live now, in Western Maryland which is the kind of Appalachian Mountains section of Maryland. I also grew up in West Virginia as a young kid and in this sort of mountainous, beautiful forested area, I spent a lot of time outdoors and in the woods playing and fishing, in and around streams and as a kid growing up here, I fell deeply in love with wild areas. Fishing and camping and hiking with my folks, exploring. And then later you know, looking back, I realized these natural areas like forests were my home and even served basically for me as my church or as my sacred space. It’s my favorite place to be. These kind of outdoor, wild areas have also been my teachers. These are the places where I feel like I learned how best to live. So it’s kind of that beginning that fits in and helps explain why I’m now an ecologist. I also spent a lot of my adult work life, probably most of it in academia, whether as a student, a researcher, teacher and I loved all the different universities as communities of learning, so really in a nutshell, my favorite thing to do is to learn. BE: That’s awesome because that is the name of our program after all, “Teaching, Learning and Everything Else.” DF: Well it’s really true. I love it. It drives me, keeps me going and you know that’s coming from growing up through getting into work life and it’s really around 1993 when I started graduate school in ecology and started on working on a Master’s degree that I started to become aware that people were asking us, scientists, environmental scientists and the others collaborating in related fields. They were asking us to help solve the environmental problems. Even the money was coming to fund the research from you know groups like EPA or National Science Foundation, government and foundations. They were paying grad students like me because they were asking for help to understand the causes of environmental problems and they wanted help to devise the solutions to those problems. And I took that very seriously. That was kind of in a way a sort of late coming of age around 30 years old and I felt determined and compelled to help find real answers to environmental problems. There’s one other part of my childhood that is the big part of my story but the other thing is that both of my parents were medical doctors. My dad worked in internal medicine and general practice and my mom worked in public health. So growing up with them constantly being in that sort of world and overhearing. The main things that soaked into me were about diagnosis, and service. So I kind of absorbed this view from them, that diagnosis was the primary challenge. And it's also an art as well as a science. I was really intrigued by this kind of blend of detective work, it's like putting puzzle pieces together, you know, is an impressionable kid, you hear them working on this, and it just sort of soaks in, it was amazing to me that symptoms were important. They were kind of manifestations of health or illness, but they were only clues. If you wanted to do more than just apply band aids or treat symptoms, they would scratch their head and you know, read books and talk to each other to try to figure out a different, sometimes invisible root cause of the thing going on, that existed some kind of deeper area behind or even hidden by the the symptoms. Sometimes also, the causal factors were public, social, or environmental. So my mom is really probably my greatest hero, because she worked in public health in that kind of an arena. So that sort of diagnostic approach is how I have approached environmental problem solving. And it's kind of linked to the book that I co wrote that came out in 2018, as well. BE: Thanks for sharing all that. A lot of times, I think we don't share kind of that deep background story. But it really helps us understand where a person's coming from. So thank you. Referencing the book, that's actually why I asked for this conversation in the first place. Because our theme for my center this year is resilience. Of course, I was quite intrigued by your book Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations. Obviously, you put a lot of yourself into this effort of writing a book with your co-author. But I wanted to just ask you to explain to our listeners, what the book is all about. DF: That story, again, kind of starts around 1993 when I started graduate school in ecology, so I've really been working for about 25 years in environmental science and ecology. And I've been really trying to use that diagnostic approach  to put together the puzzle pieces and diagnose the kind of root cause of the you know what most people might be familiar with this kind of global ecological crisis that we're in right now have been for some time, and my co author Brian Faff, he also had worked for about 25 years, in ecosystem science, sustainability, and related fields. So we were attempting to summarize and share things we had learned and things we thought were important. In addition to that, that diagnosis approach, putting together clues and trying to diagnose root causes. I also mentioned that I but growing up in this mountain forest area, I trust natural systems to provide a guide for how best to live. And so that's another part of it as well. And it's kind of hard for me to try to describe in a nutshell, but one of the main diagrams that we have where we use to explain the approach is this bullseye diagram we have so it's kind of concentric rings like a dartboard or something and we put these top 10 or 12 environmental symptoms around the outside of the outermost ring. So if you think of the big environmental problems right now, and in a way each of these is really kind of a full blown crisis in its own right. Problems like climate disruption, the mass species extinction event we're going through, threats to water quality, threats to food and food supply, energy challenges, nitrogen cycle disruption, toxins and pollution. It's a, you know, a long and scary list. So the standard mainstream science approach to deal with something like that would be analysis, to break the problem into smaller parts. Focus on one part at a time, make something more manageable. So for example, lots of folks have chosen to focus on climate disruption. And understandably and, you know, rightfully so a lot of people say that is the problem with the greatest existential threat and the greatest potential to cause the most harm. But we took a different approach, our long years of training and experience in systems ecology taught us to try to look at the whole problem. So we came together to write this book. And we were seeking to understand all of these environmental crises as symptoms, sharing and trying to tell us about some common root cause. And, you know, back to that diagram, visual idea, the hypothetical root cause that we propose is at the center of the bullseye. And this is where we focus all of the book. BE: Is it? Is it a spoiler to ask what's at the center? DF: Well, I don't really think of it that way. I mean, I'd love that you, you know, asked to talk about this today and I’m dying to talk about it. So no, I mean, not at all. You know, it's also a little hard for me again, to synopsize it or shrink it down, but I can give it a try. You know, we don't propose that this was all novel, we cite, you know, dozens of allied workers who contributed science and concepts to help figure this out. Some of these things are actually very old, people have been saying this, and we just tried to bring together a chorus of voices and then add ours to it. The bullseye starts with framing the problem, we do this in a holistic way, rather than an analytical way. So it starts with a really simple observation that humans are degrading and damaging the environment. It sounds, you know, simple and obvious But that starting point is important because it describes the problem, and it indicates the solution. in a holistic and general way. From there, we know we add some more scaffolding to this idea of you know, first of all, if that's our problem, then we need to reverse environmental degradation. To solve the problem as a whole. But back to the disease metaphor, if we want to get to health, the prescription or cure would be to get to a situation where human actions lead to improvement in environmental quality over time, not damage. We see this as entirely possible just from observing natural living systems. Natural ecosystems have improved the environment consistently over billions of years. If you just think for a second about the way that we have an oxygen atmosphere here on the planet, or the fact that soils grow and increase in fertility over time. These are just two examples. But they're sufficient to show that it's possible for a system to operate in a way that naturally improves its own environment. Oh, still kind of lasering, zooming in on this bullseye thing we keep adding more to the diagnosis, we say that industrial culture is the location of the problem. Indigenous cultures don't degrade the environment at this kind of planetary scale, like we're seeing. So we say that something is going on inside industrial culture. And then the next step is to identify science as the basis for industrial culture. So then we say something has to be going on inside science. And then you know, probably the last part to sort of try to identify or describe this bullseye, we follow Donella Meadows, who was a systems scientist and modelers, famous for writing a book called Limits to Growth back in the 70s, but she also wrote a paper in 1999, where she described the top 12 ways to intervene in a complex system. She talked about sources of leverage for change. And both of her top two sources were related to the paradigm. She spoke of the mindset or paradigm out of which the system and this is a quote from her, "the goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters arise." So that's — we followed her and we wanted to focus on the paradigm and conventional science. And that's where we lay out. It's basically a hypothesis, our book is a proposal, we're seeking critique, and we realize it may need to change. But we think this, this paradigm of science, drives industrial culture and industrial culture, is the cause of the global ecological crisis. BE): That's very interesting. And in particular, interesting to me, and a lot of our listeners, I would think, because here at Xavier University of Louisiana, science is really, you know, a big deal. I mean, our science departments are by far the biggest on our campus. And that's really kind of what was my secret agenda, you know, in asking to speak with you, was this idea of science and values. And I'm wondering if you could speak to why that matters, and what's at stake in what you're proposing, really. DF: Yeah, that's another big part of the book has to do with values. The reason we focus on that and how it fits into this, this critique of, you know, if we want to solve the global ecological crisis, we have to address the mainstream paradigm of science came from all those years of experience in academia that I was talking about. And even though I kind of started at 30, I was still this, you know, sort of naive, impressionable person looking to academia to learn about truth and the way the world works. And I was, I was really amazed, as I, you know, looked and experienced what was going on that seemed like this big gap and disconnect, really between the intelligence the obvious and clear intelligence of faculty and students and institutions, but compared to a very small, if not, absent, actual success in solving environmental problems. One of the stories that I use or tell to describe this thing had to do with — so working in Maryland, a lot of our funding in our work has had to do with the Chesapeake Bay. It's a really important estuary, it's crucial to the livelihood of millions of people. It's near the nation's capital, a beautiful source of beauty and food, and it's just an important place, but it's been heavily impacted by humans and damaged. I would read environmental news where people would report the estimated cost to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. And when I first started hearing about it, I was kind of surprised, because people said they thought it would cost $19 billion dollars to clean up the bay, you know, through various kinds of policy, changes in infrastructure, water quality, and addressing all those sources of pollution. And then a few years later, situation either got worse or stayed bad. And then I saw a report that now people were saying it's going to cost $30 billion to clean up the bay. And then basically, I don't remember them reporting any more cost estimates. It was as if they kind of just gave up thinking that success was possible, or that we should, you know, it was kind of demoralizing for the bill to just keep going up. So I felt like there had to be something going on sort of at this deeper level again, some kind of unseen, unconscious drivers of what questions we were asking and what kind of research was being done and why would there be this disconnect between all this work and all this learning and teaching and nothing much to show for it in terms of environmental problem-solving, so I started to look into value and values systems and value as a necessary foundation for science. And I believe that without a very solid and explicit and clear, integrated value basis, it's very possible that science can be used for bad ends, or whether intentionally or accidentally end up harming nature and people. You know, a roadblock or a sort of strange wall has been that people usually say that one of the strengths of science is that it's value-neutral. And they talk about how it's important for science to remain objective. And scientists shouldn't pick sides and political or social debates, they should just advise. But that, to me, kind of misses the point. And it's a bit of a dodge from understanding the importance of value and values. So the way we got around that complaint in our book is to choose a value basis for science that is shared by everyone. So we propose that science should be devoted to service to life. And that's life with a capital L. Which I didn't describe yet. But basically, in our book, we talk about life with a capital L meaning life and environment as a unified whole. That's life itself, life as a whole. And, if life becomes the highest value that science, aids and serves at every step, then we think that would also lead to solving our, our current, very dire global environmental crisis. But you know, as a value choice, it's not political or social, life applies equally to all humans. It’s the thing we share, provides our every breath and every bite of food and every drop of water. And really, it's a reality that holds us together. It also unifies us with all the other species and the Earth as a living whole. So we think it's really important to explicitly identify a value basis to link this to service to life. And that will guide science so that it can have a positive outcome. BE Wow, isn't that an incredibly ambitious undertaking then to, basically to reground science as we know it in a value basis? Different, certainly, then — I mean, it's just a huge shift. Is that — I'm just wondering if it's, is it possible even? Well, I'm kind of curious how people have reacted then. This is a fairly recent publication, 2018, officially when the book came out. DF: Well two parts to your question, these are all great questions and hard for me to answer quickly or easily. But you asked about is it even possible and how people responded to the books. So it's a little mind boggling to me that, you know, that we have to even say that it does seem like a strange kind of obvious thing. And so I don't completely understand how we've gotten here, or why, you know, I sort of feel like the kid in the fable about the Emperor's New Clothes, it's, um, it is awkward and uncomfortable. But you know, one aspect of it that also came from my experience in academia was that I haven't understood what seems to me like a disconnect between the obvious intelligence of ecologists and environmental scientists. So this field, our field knows how life works, knows how nature works, it's in all the textbooks and the papers and the teaching and the classes and the curriculum. And yet, for many years, and in most many institutions, that knowledge and intelligence and know-how is not built into our facilities, we don't apply it or embody it in the buildings and grounds of the universities. And so, I think there's a disconnect between the knowledge and the living that we have to integrate. And so it's paradoxical, you know, we just have to read our own textbooks, and then take it to heart. And, you know, maybe it takes something like a crisis to realize we're off track, you know, we've got some fundamental misunderstanding. Another part of the bullseye that I didn't mention yet, it's in the book in detail is that the mainstream paradigm of science has at least two really important ideas, which we think have to be revised. One is the idea of treating nature, parts of nature, as a machine, or mechanism. And the other has to do with splitting things apart. And so if we split life apart from the environment, and treat parts of the world as a machine, that could explain how we've gotten where we are. Because a summary of the way the world looks right now is that it's running out of gas, it's breaking down, it's falling apart, and it's wearing out. And that's something that only machines do. Natural ecosystems don't do that. So, we have turned the world into the machine that we've imagined it to be. That's our, you know, bullseye center of the story summary of what's going on. And so we just have to change our minds and our value basis to get realigned. BE: That is a sobering assessment and the, the reaction to the book? DF: Well, to be honest, there hasn't been that much. I, again, is kind of naive person I thought, you know, my work was to write the book, co-write the book, get the thoughts organized, get them down, get it out there. And then things, you know, my part was done. And I'm learning that that's only the beginning. And maybe the easy part. And that promoting, you know, sharing, spreading the news trying to go, the next step is required. Somebody told me that it's a friend when I was bemoaning the fact that nothing happened, said, well, it's not the best ideas, necessarily, that are going to be adopted, it's the best sold ideas. And I am not a salesman at all. So I'm trying to learn some new skills to get into sharing it more widely. And again, another reason I greatly appreciate you asking me to talk about it today. BE: Well, unfortunately, you're surrounded by a culture that has become extremely good at selling things. So there's a lot of competition out there. I do hope this podcast does contribute a little bit in getting some more exposure for these ideas. Speaking of the podcast and the kind of theme of this podcast, bringing it all back to the classroom, to teaching and learning. Because most of our listeners, of course, are teaching faculty, people teaching in higher education. How could the concepts that we've been discussing, the concepts in your book inform our practice of teaching? I'm thinking of course primarily of people that are teaching a science course but really people might be teaching almost any kind of course. These are some very broad issues that might cut across, you know, our traditional silos or disciplinary territory. What can a professor in higher education do differently based on the ideas that you're promulgated? DF: Well, we have talked, Brian and I about a follow up book to help translate this one into more accessible language, add more case studies, organize it better, make it available, kind of as a textbook or a resource for teaching. But we haven't really started on that yet. You know, to sort of distill some of those principles down, one of them I think about is that it's important to think big, as well as thinking small. You know, and this maybe  is more in science, and I've been mostly in science fields, I don't have much experience at all, in other fields. But if you're in science, or anything related to science, I think it's okay to analyze and break things apart, study small bits, and ask questions or work on incremental progress. That's all okay. As long as you know, we balance it with an equal focus and equal time and emphasis on big questions and topics, ultimate truths, and values and holistic synthesis. You know, analysis by itself isn't really bad unless it's done to an extreme that would fit with things like understanding the paradigm of science, you know, that's a sort of long historical and deep-rooted issue. It's also related to understanding the values underpinning science and society. I think teaching and modeling those kinds of ways of study and learning are needed. If we're going to stay on track toward ultimate values, like truth, and beauty and wisdom and peace and environmental sustainability, justice, they have to come up every day, if we're just trying to figure out the next little incremental change, we may lose sight of the ultimate end point where we really want to be. Another one I would say in academia is that we should lead by example. And we should really transform our buildings and grounds so that they embody scientific knowledge and ecological understanding that we can mimic nature to do that. It's really not that complicated to mimic nature, we have to run on renewable energy, we have to recycle all our materials, we have to enhance diversity. I mean, I say that, I've spent my whole life kind of as an ecologist, but I do think it's accessible. You know, and another thing I felt as a lifelong learner has been, maybe an opportunity is to balance the flow. So that right now a lot of teaching, it kind of goes from the teacher and the institution toward the student. But there's this other flow that's more about like educing, you know, sort of the root word of education, it would be a flow from the student, as he or she is becoming their unique and best self, I always felt a little kind of upset about how these facts and famous people and all these things were kind of being jammed down my throat or forced on me. And nobody was really asking me, you know, my whole life in school, like, what do you think or what, you know, we need your input. And, and I think if schools could really show that they value the unique ideas and creative contributions of each student, and they're actually going to use the suggestions and insights to change, that would be a great way to balance this flow. And I think that if educational institutions aren't really learning constantly, then that's like a bad sign and to learn from the vibrant young people that are there would be a great, great thing to do. BE: Yeah I’ve been working in educational development for a couple of decades, and I don't think I've ever used the word educing before. It seems like you've expanded my vocabulary a little in addition to everything else, but it's probably a good place to wrap it up. I wanted to, you know, remind our listeners that if they enjoyed this conversation, they should subscribe to this podcast, Teaching, Learning and Everything Else. Give us a rating or review on any of your podcast platforms, help people find us. I've been speaking today with Dan Fiscus, author of Foundations for Sustainability. Dan, thank you for speaking with me so much. DF: Thank you, Bart. I really appreciate it. And I love your podcast series, and I'm gonna keep listening to more. Transcript by Darrielle Robertson

36mins

8 Dec 2020

Rank #10