Miami’s Center for Teaching Excellence hosts initial visiting teacher-scholar
When Ellen Yezierski and Miami University’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) participated in the 2022 edition of #MoveInMiami, the goal was to raise funds for faculty development programs.
Not only did the center achieve that desired result, the groundwork was laid for an exciting new annual opportunity for Miami instructors. Starting next week, the CTE will host its inaugural visiting teacher-scholar, acclaimed author James Lang, who will be on the Oxford campus for two days of workshops and discussions Feb. 7-8 as part of the Drs. Mary (Scherger) Bonhomme and Raymond Bonhomme Visiting Teaching-Scholar Series.
The events begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 7 with a book discussion and signing at Laws Hall. That day also includes an afternoon workshop and a teacher-scholar reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Marcum Hotel and Conference Center. Feb. 8 includes two more events with Dr. Lang.
Mary (Scherger) Bonhomme ’74 donated toward the CTE’s #MoveInMiami campaign, the university’s annual day of giving. That gift went toward books written by Lang for the center’s sponsored book club. Dr. Bonhomme, a former associate provost and dean at Florida Institute of Technology, had invited Lang to speak there. Supporting CTE’s Lang book club turned out to be the first step in establishing the visiting teacher-scholar series, which was made possible by another gift from the Bonhommes.
Inviting Lang to be the initial visiting teacher-scholar was a natural fit, said Yezierski, who serves as director of the center.
“It was one of those neat convergence things,” Yezierski said. “We have a great opinion of Lang’s work here at Miami, and he was the keynote at our 2022 Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching. He’s been a friend of the center.”
Lang, a professor of literature and writing at Assumption University and monthly contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education, has written several books on teaching and learning. His works include “Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From the Science of Learning,” which was featured as part of the center’s book club. Lang even joined in via Zoom during one of the group’s discussions on “Small Teaching.”
Lang’s books are available through the CTE’s professional library.
“James Lang is a consummate teacher,” Yezierski said. “He’s made that translation of research to teaching really straightforward to consume and implement. ‘Small Teaching’ is like a treasure book. It’s all about these little lessons.
“When people realize they can make small changes to their teaching that impact students, it is so much fun to see. They realize they can do this in the classroom and get amazing results.”
Part of the center’s mission is to model and promote engagement with scholarly and reflective teaching practices that support the academic development of both Miami faculty and students.
Yezierski said the series reflects some of the best things about the center.
“We have in-person, engaging events that help people learn and also provide an opportunity for community building,” Yezierski said. “Our aim is to support instructor development and build community among people who care about teaching. Lang’s events epitomize what we do, packed into two days.”