Teaching Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Lisa Sheldon
February 8, 2016

It is taboo to talk about the fact that instructors’ knowledge in their disciplines may not be complete. There is an unwritten expectation that if you teach something, you know all there is about the topic. That is akin to asking a history instructor to know all of recorded history. Or, that an English professor […]

Ask the GCC Experts

by Lisa Sheldon
January 20, 2016
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Becoming an expert is about practice and concentrated effort, but it is also about knowing when to rely on those who are already experts in their field. When questions and problems arise, it is helpful to go to those who are in the best position to share their knowledge and experience. As instructors and staff […]

Promoting Cultural Competency for a Diverse World

Each day that students spend on the GCC campus prepares them to meet the challenges of our changing world. As faculty, we impart knowledge and content to students, but at the same time we strive to develop critical thinking skills and communication skills that will enable students to navigate our increasingly complex society. One important […]

Veterans in the Classroom

by Lisa Sheldon
November 10, 2015
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Our orientation toward veterans in the classroom has changes in recent years. Efforts to ease the transition from military service to academic settings have been more proactive by taking into consideration their unique needs and pathways to success. Even with all the resources available, many of us can feel unsure about how best to meet […]

Are they paying attention?

by Lisa Sheldon
September 16, 2015
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When we love what we teach, it can be hard to see why students are not equally enthralled. In many cases, we have dedicated our careers to the field and still find it exciting. But, what happens when that passion is not shared by the students? Faculty can start to feel a little disappointed by […]

The Precious First Day of Class

by Lisa Sheldon
August 27, 2015
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Much has been written about the first day of class and its power set the tone for an entire semester. The potential of this day is both mythic and magical. The first feelings we create about our course, ourselves and the classroom community leaves a deep impression on students. Faculty performance on the first day […]

Making your classroom LGBTQ-friendly

by Lisa Sheldon
May 4, 2015

Bruce Jenner’s recent interview with Diane Sawyer has brought the issue of LGBTQ people around the country and world into the spotlight in a new way. Perhaps it has prompted you to think about how to create an atmosphere of trust, respect, tolerance and comfort for all students in your classes and the wider GCC […]

Great Student Expectations: A Guide for Faculty

by Lisa Sheldon
March 9, 2015
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Students come to courses with certain baseline expectations of faculty. Chief among these according to Blue Ridge Community College are: Providing opportunities to learn Acting with professionalism Grading fairly and returning work promptly Being accessible to students Communicating in a timely and professional manner At the community college level, we must also be respectful of […]

Embrace Civility in the Classroom

by Lisa Sheldon
February 18, 2015

Teaching is a demanding task. Challenges arise at every turn, which makes it an engaging and dynamic occupation. In addition to worrying about content and learning in our classrooms, we also need to be concerned with classroom dynamics and the erosion of civility. When it comes to promoting classroom etiquette and respect, instructors need to […]

In Praise of Encouragement

by Lisa Sheldon
December 10, 2014

There is a fundamental difference between praise and encouragement. This is a distinction to keep in mind as we wrap up the semester and provide students with feedback on their learning. We want our students to reflect on their learning in ways that move them toward their next goal—we need to do that, too. We […]