Talking about Teaching: Graduate student-led workshops & Teaching Tea

November 10, 2022

On October 17, October 24, and November 2, astronomy graduate students Ryan Golant and Jen Mead led three department-wide pedagogy workshops as part of their Lead Teaching Fellowships with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Ryan’s two-part workshop, titled “Teaching Scientifically,” led attendees through the steps of Teaching-as-Research, a framework for applying the scientific method to teaching development; throughout the workshop, attendees developed their own Teaching-as-Research projects that could later be implemented in the classroom. Jen’s workshop, titled “Modeling and Metacognition,” focused on designing coursework that develops critical and metacognitive thinking skills through the evaluation of models and evidence; in this workshop, attendees were encouraged to consider competing models – and supporting evidence for these models – in their own subfields of research and to think about how these tensions could be highlighted in undergrad lab assignments.


In total, these workshops brought in 34 attendees, including astronomy grad students, postdocs, and faculty (plus a handful of grad students from other STEM departments). While material from the workshops was sent out to attendees only, this material is available to anyone upon request; these resources should be valuable to both TAs and instructors-of-record alike. For general information on the teaching resources provided by the Center for Teaching and Learning, feel free to reach out to Ryan or Jen.


To follow up on these workshops and to facilitate sustained dialog regarding teaching and teaching development in the astronomy department, Ryan, Jen, and postdoc Amanda Quirk are organizing a monthly “Teaching Tea” series starting in December. Teaching Tea is intended to provide an open forum for teaching-related discussions – conversations about teaching successes, failures, and best practices – with the goal of building a stronger departmental learning community. Stay tuned for more information about the Teaching Tea planning session happening in early December.