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Getting Started with Team-Teaching

I'm interesting in team-teaching but have no idea where to begin. Where do I start?

  1. A great place to start is by checking out the listing of ideas for team-teaching from other interested faculty. If you see a listing that interests you, contact the faculty member directly.
  2. You could also submit a "team-teaching interest form" so that staff can post your information for other faculty to see.
  3. Plan to attend related events as they are offered, like the "Maverick Milestone Speed-dating" event organized by the Teacher2Teacher group during Fall 2015.

Another faculty member and I have an idea for a section of the Maverick Milestone, now what?

Now that you have made a connection with another faculty member from a different discipline, complete the "Request to Teach a Milestone Course" form and submit it to the chair of the Essential Learning Committee.

Logistics of Implementation

How will we deliver these courses?

The "default" model imagined by the course's developers recommends the course be team-taught by two faculty from different disciplines. The courses may be thematic or more topical, perhaps responding to current events and debates in society. The staffing model is based around 30 students per professor.  One model for which we have prepared is that the class will be assigned two rooms, a large and a small. On a MWF class, both professors might meet with all 60 students on a Monday, then have the class split in two parts and meeting with each professor separately in two groups on Wednesday and Friday.

While that is the default assumption, the Essential Learning Committee will welcome proposals from more faculty or from single faculty, providing the course still meets the basic need to teach students how to use multiple strategies for approaching ideas. A single-faculty course might use guest speakers from the community to enhance the number of voices heard by students, and a three-professor course could perhaps use some online-hybrid methods to manage the larger number of students in the class.

How will teaching these courses work for faculty?

Making the process manageable for our best faculty has been a priority from the start of our discussions about integrative learning at CMU. Faculty will need to collaborate with their Department Heads to plan how to manage their schedules so that such teaching fits into regular course loads. Different departments have widely varying practices and levels of flexibility in terms of the planning necessary to contribute to the Milestone courses.

This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with other faculty in a unique teaching environment, but not everyone will want to participate, or be able to do so.

Transitioning to an Integrative Learning Model

Why offer the Milestone Course?

The Milestone Course is the curricular result of two years' worth of deliberation by multiple faculty groups from across campus. In response to national movements--such as the Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile--and the insights into high-impact educational practices suggested by higher education leaders such as Ken Bain and Paul Gaston, our faculty adopted Baccalaureate and Essential Learning outcomes geared toward helping students embrace integrative approaches to their education. In particular, the Working Group to Review General Education unanimously adopted the following Essential Learning outcome: "students should be able to construct an academic project using techniques and methodologies from multiple disciplines." The intellectual skills associated with this outcome are indispensable for students as they enter a world where they will change not just jobs, but careers, several times during their lives, and in fields that increasingly demand people capable of understanding high volumes and broad varieties of information.

Secondarily, the course allows CMU to begin the process of treating its Essential Learning program in a more unified way. The course will provide an invaluable institutional checkpoint as we try to assess what our students know and can do at the midpoint of their lives here.

What is the Essential Speech course requirement?

One result of both the Baccalaureate review and the General Education review of learning outcomes was a renewed commitment to sharpening our students' abilities to orally present information. In fact, until now, oral proficiency was not an express student learning outcome. Students will take the one-credit Essential Speech course as a co-requisite for the Milestone Course, presenting the material they encounter in that interdisciplinary environment to their peers from other sections of the Milestone. The course should provide a baseline of skill that individual majors can build on in ways appropriate to their disciplines as they move into upper-division courses.