Yes, Researchers Do Know Something About Teaching

Art Remillard

On the final day of FSU’s Graduate Symposium, I had the pleasure of joining Kelly Baker, Betsy Barre, Howell Williams, and Joseph Williams to talk about, "Life after Graduate School." A recurring theme was the difference between teaching and research schools. We outlined strategies for interviewing at such schools, and gave insights on what daily life is like as a teacher or researcher. We also emphasized that, despite outward appearances, folks at teaching schools take research seriously, and folks at research schools take teaching seriously. This point--that researchers strive to excel in the classroom--could use some publicity. Many of the best professors I've known are also productive scholars. They have an infectious enthusiasm about their subject, and give as much thought to their course designs as they do to any article or book. They are also creative, always looking for something new to enliven the classroom. Take our own Paul Harvey, for example. UCCS's Teaching and Learning Center featured Paul and his use of blogs in undergraduate courses. He also elaborated on his jazz-inspired teaching philosophy. No "teacher-centered" or "student-centered" approach for the good Professor Harvey.
I focus on a theme-and-improvisation model, that allows for the discipline and intellectual rigor of a theme while also encouraging soloing and improvisation. I find this model best fits the notion of learning as an active and dynamic process, that occurs for different students on varying levels. I have also found it works to make students feel they have a voice and that their participation is valued and drawn upon in course preparation, even while assuring them that discipline and intellectual rigor have not been sacrificed.

Blogging, jazz, intellectual rigor--very nice. How about some one-upmanship from Mike Pasquier, who has been collaborating with LSU’s Coastal Sustainability Studio to have his students conduct oral histories in Bayou Lafourche. Take a minute and listen to this podcast where Mike and his students discuss the project. The description:

Today’s show is an interview with one of the Center’s partners, Dr. Mike Pasquier, a professor here at LSU in the Religious Studies Department. Dr. Pasquier is working with the Center to establish the Bayou Lafourche Oral History Project. He and his students collected oral histories to gain a better understanding of the role of religion in everyday life among Bayou Lafourche residents. He’s also partnering with the Coastal Sustainability Studio here at LSU, and is using this material to garner a better understanding of how south Louisiana culture is being affected by wetland loss. He teaches courses in U.S. religious history, Christianity, and world religions and his research focuses on the history of Roman Catholicism in the American South, Catholic devotional culture, and religion in colonial Louisiana.

In this episode, the director will speak with him about his ongoing project in Bayou Lafourche, how he uses oral history in the college classroom, and how this research will be useful to a larger, interdisciplinary study assessing the impact of land loss on residents of the area. We’ll get to hear some clips from interviews recorded by some of his students with Bayou Lafourche residents. So join us today as we hear about men murmuring the rosary during Hurricane Betsy, about school children being punished for speaking French on state property, and about how the land and waters where people fish, work, and live is disappearing before our eyes.


Paul Harvey said…
Art: Thanks. The article doesn't mention that on bad/slow class days or when I just stink, it all sounds a lot more like Kenny G than John Coltrane.
Art Remillard said…
Nice. Although, the prison sax commercial inched him ever so close to redemption.
Paul Harvey said…
Art: Nope, a late day self-parody cannot rescue Kenny, John Tesh, or Yanni -- God already has rendered His judgement.

More importantly, Pasquier totally rules.
Unknown said…
Terrific post, Art. Hope you are well!

Popular Posts