Instructor, School of the Environment
Many students entering college have not yet fully developed their learning skills, nor gained the confidence to self-direct that learning, and propose novel ideas and solutions. Students at this stage in their education are also in a time of transition and are particularly susceptible to influences that will shape the mindset that will guide the type of learner they become, the skills that they acquire, and the experiences that they have during their time at the University and beyond. LIFT provides the evidence as well as ideas for approaches to enhance student self-confidence, sense of belonging, and provide a structured process to transform and/or enhance each student’s approach to growth, learning, and problem solving. I am very excited to be a LIFT Trainer and look forward to building a larger collaborative community of student-centered teachers!
Instructor, School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
My name is Katie Banks, and I stand for community building, creating, and seeking wisdom. To me, wisdom encapsulates both knowledge and understanding, and when my values are aligned, I’m able to help co-create and shape the communities I belong to through promoting knowledge and understanding. I am passionate about helping those who are underrepresented—either in higher education or in our larger sociopolitical systems—to find voice and identity and, ultimately, to become empowered. My teaching, research, and service are extensions of these values: I teach classes in global leadership, good-enough activism, and civic engagement; I advise the campus’ GSA organization (Queers and Allies), supervise the GSA Internship, and serve on the President’s Commission for Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation (GIESO) and the Vice President’s Working Group on Executive Policy 15; and I research global health policies and politics in international development. I’m part of the CTLL TCI’s LIFT program because I believe that the best pedagogical practices approach more than just course content; we must use more varied strategies to promote student academic, professional, and personal success—inside and outside of the classroom.
As a teacher, I strive to engage, challenge, and spark intellectual curiosity in my students. In a perfect world, I would accomplish those goals within each course, class session, and assignment. But the reality is that teaching, good teaching, is hard. Maybe that’s why I’m passionate about it, because I like the challenge and complexity of the problem. I enjoy analyzing my classes for areas of improvement, scrutinizing my grading and course policies, developing new projects, and evaluating my own performance. But, like anyone else, I get stuck. After participating in the LIFT program as a faculty fellow, I was re-energized with fresh ideas to incorporate into my most difficult courses. Now, as a LIFT trainer, I am thrilled to be able to work with other faculty who want to positively impact their students through empirically supported interventions. I love the collaborative nature of the LIFT program and am happy to share my experiences and resources with anyone interested.
My interest in student success developed out of my experiences teaching first year courses at WSU. I was struck by the pivotal role student motivation and mindset play in successful completion of those courses and intrigued by the evidence suggesting even brief interventions can impact these factors. After participating in the LIFT program as a Faculty Fellow, I implemented some brief interventions in my classroom. Both students and I viewed these activities as engaging, relevant, and effective in fostering a sense of belonging and encouraging resilience and “grit.” Based on these positive experiences, I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to become a LIFT trainer and help promote these techniques to the wider WSU community, especially at the Vancouver campus.