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!
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.
As an educator, I’ve completed dozens of ‘values sorting’ exercises; like clockwork, every time I find myself coming to the conclusion that connection is of vital importance to my life personally and professionally. I’ve continued to see this in my students – the ability to establish and strengthen that association between myself and the other is of prime importance for discovering new ideas, finding passion in your discipline, building relationships with your peers, and feeling like you belonging in my classroom. The skills developed in LIFT Faculty Fellowship Program provide a gateway for a stronger connection among faculty, and an equally stronger connection between faculty and their students. Especially in our current world, where students have felt increasingly isolated, segregated, and polarized, the opportunity to create the sentiment that ‘I am not alone’ and ‘I feel connected’ is beyond valuable – it’s essential.