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Volume X, Number 2 November 2004

Outstanding teaching
promotes engagement,
In This Issue. . . critical thinking
or this annual awards issue analyzing, synthesizing, and/or
Chancellor’s Distinguished
of the Teaching Times, faculty evaluating information.2 Terms
Teaching Awards
who have won major Univer- used synonymously with critical
Elmer J. Holzinger ............... 3 sity teaching awards share ways thinking include problem solving
Paul Kameen ....................... 4 they apply two concepts related to and decision making.
S. J. Murabito ..................... 5 excellent teaching: Winners of the Critical thinking takes root in
Lauren Yaich ...................... 6 School of Arts & Sciences Bellet the learner’s engagement with
awards discuss ways to actively en- problems, when faculty encourage
Instructional Technology: gage students in the learning pro- inquiry, discussion, and debate.
cess, and winners of the Chan- At the same time, students acquire
Electronic Response
cellor’s Distinguished Teaching skills in complex thinking from
Systems ........................... 7
Award reflect on ways they teach faculty who model thought pro-
students to think critically. cesses valued in their particular
Bellet Teaching Excellence Faculty members play a critical disciplines.3
Awards role in student learning. Para- Beyond the classroom, critical
mount among indicators of en- thinking is “a powerful resource
Geeta Kothari ................... 8 gagement that directly influence in one’s personal and civic life.
Ericka Cederstrom-Huston 9 the quality of students’ learning Educating good critical thinkers
Marla Ripoll ....................... 10 are faculty who communicate high yields insights which are the basis
Pete Simonson ................... 11 expectations and encourage coop- of a rational and democratic soci-
eration, active learning, and stu- ety.”4
dent-faculty contact.1 In addition to high-profile
University-wide Teaching The act of engaging students as teaching awards, this issue fea-
Awards ...................... 12-13 active learners is connected to an tures a comprehensive list of
overarching goal of higher educa- awards recognizing teaching excel-
TA Services: Training tion: to foster the kinds of higher lence throughout the University
level thinking skills that students in the past year. The Teaching
Needs ............................ 14
will use in other courses and be- Times staff compiles this informa-
yond college. This complex think- tion through the year, and up-
Communication-across-the- dates can be e-mailed to Jo Rosol,
ing is often referred to as critical
Curriculum Seminar ...... 16 thinking, a disciplined process that
requires conceptualizing, applying, see “Critical Thinking” page 2

A newsletter devoted to the support of teaching and learning at the University of Pittsburgh
Teaching Times
Chancellor’s teaching
Center for Instructional
Development & Distance Education
awardees press students
University of Pittsburgh
Room 820
to think at complex levels
4227 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 n interviews on the following pages, 2004 winners of the
Phone: 412-624-6596 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award share ways they
Fax: 412-624-7220 encourage their students to think at higher levels.
This teaching award has been conferred since 1984 as a way to
Web site:
recognize excellence in teaching and inspire colleagues through
shared insights. The most broadly based teaching award at the
Editorial Staff: University, it has been bestowed upon 118 faculty, representing a
Carol DeArment, editor range of schools within the University and its regional campuses.
Joyce Walsh, production Candidates for the award can be nominated by students, faculty
Tim Kyle, copy editor colleagues, department chairs, or deans. A committee of faculty
Autumn Koerbel, asst. copy editor
and students recommends selections to the Chancellor for his
Photographs by CIDDE approval. Any full-time faculty member who has been active as a
Photography & Electronic Imaging teacher for at least five years and has not previously won is eligible.
In addition to a $2,000 cash award and a $3,000 grant to be
The Teaching Times, a newsletter devoted to used to support teaching activities, winners are honored at an
the support of teaching and learning, is dis- annual Honors Convocation and have their names inscribed on a
tributed to every faculty member and teach-
ing assistant at the University of Pittsburgh.
permanent plaque in the William Pitt Union. The awards are
It features interviews with faculty who share funded by an endowment from unrestricted 1980 Capital
teaching experiences, strategies, and tech- Campaign funds. !
niques that can be applied in classrooms
across the University.
“Critical Thinking” from page 1
The Teaching Times welcomes letters and References
articles from faculty and staff about any
topic affecting University teaching and learn- 1. Chickering, Arthur and Zelda F. Gamson, “Seven Principles for Good Practice in
ing. Undergraduate Education,” AAHE Bulletin, American Association of Higher
Education, March 1987.
The Teaching Times is published by the Cen-
ter for Instructional Development 2. Scriven, Michael and Richard Paul, “Defining Critical Thinking, “ (Draft
& Distance Education (CIDDE), which Statement for the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking):
provides a wide range of services to faculty in
support of University teaching and learning.
The central mission of CIDDE is to support 3. Bean, John C. , Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical
excellence in University instruction. CIDDE Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1966.
also is responsible for maximizing the effec-
tive use of instructional technologies to meet 4. Facione, Peter A., “Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts,” California
the University’s academic goals and priori- Academic Press, 1998. !
Diane Davis, Director Correction: Michael Spring, Information
Sciences, pictured at right, was misidentified
Joanne M. Nicoll, Associate Director for in a photo in the September 2004 issue of the
Instructional Design and Faculty Teaching Times. Spring was awarded an
Innovation in Education grant with Marlin
Nick Laudato, Associate Director, Mickle, Engineering, for Active Learning with
Instructional Technology, Writing, Experimenting, and Simulation (ALWES).
Michael Spring
TeachingTimes 2
Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Elmer J. Holzinger, Medicine

I emphasize the need to be able to listen carefully and interpret
appropriately and also to know which questions to ask in order
to obtain the most information.

y teaching of medical stu- knowledge to patient care in a ter is, therefore, a very dynamic expe-
dents involves students at thoughtful and precise manner. In rience that varies with each patient
all four years of the medical addition to the scientific aspect of and it is intriguing to see how the
school curriculum. However, the patient care, it is certainly impor- students quickly adjust to the vari-
major portion is in the third and tant that the student understand ability in patient presentation, both
fourth years, and the from the psycho-social
teaching at this level is aspect and the presenta-
predominantly centered tion of various disease
on patient care. It is at processes. The effective-
this time when the stu- ness of this method is
dents have the opportu- evident in the excitement
nity to apply their basic that the students demon-
science knowledge to strate while delivering
the care of patients in patient care. The stu-
the clinical setting. The dents many times return
students must be able to the following day after
accurately assess the having reviewed current
clinical picture of each literature regarding the
patient and this begins patients that they had
with a detailed history seen the day before, and
and physical examina- now each experience from
tion. Students must a patient encounter repre-
develop the appropriate Photo by Patricia Nagle, CIDDE
sents a tremendous
techniques of obtaining amount of gain in medi-
Elmer J. Holzinger with medical student Spring McCann
a good history and must cal knowledge.
be able to interpret the The opportunity to
symptoms. I emphasize the need to the psycho-social aspect of each be involved in the education of
be able to listen carefully and inter- patient in the clinical setting. medical students in clinical medicine
pret appropriately and also to know It is exciting for me to watch has given me a great deal of satisfac-
which questions to ask in order to the students carefully approach tion, and this is particularly so when
obtain the most information and to these many aspects of patient care I observe the competence that the
not inappropriately interrupt. This and then develop a reasonable dif- students have gained at the end of
is followed by a detailed physical ferential diagnosis and list the rea- their medical school training. It is
examination during which the sons for their choices. It is in this during these clinical years of teaching
student’s proficiency is assessed. On manner that the students gain expe- that students are able to experience
the basis of this initial information rience and thought processes in the enormous responsibilities and
the student then must decide on a connecting their basic science great satisfaction in being a physi-
differential diagnosis and appropri- knowledge to the clinical aspect of cian. It is also at this time that the
ate laboratory investigation in order patient care. During this time I importance of remaining curious is
to make an accurate diagnosis and gently challenge them so that even emphasized along with the need for
proceed with appropriate therapy. the relatively simple clinical prob- constant, almost daily, continuing
The students are uniformly excited lems become a teaching experience. education in order to remain a good
about applying their basic science The entire student-patient encoun- physician. !
TeachingTimes 3
Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Paul Kameen, English

It’s in this “between” stage of reading or moderating classroom
discussion where I feel I can make my most significant contribution
as a teacher.

hen I think about my teaching, I like to start bution as a teacher. I try hard to receive what is be-
with the more fundamental questions and ing offered and then to lend my resources to eliciting
work my way up to matters of technique. its greater possibilities. At some point in the term,
One set of those questions pertains to what I call my and it varies widely from student to student, I see the
“idea of the university.” Basically, I believe that the uni- light go on: “Oh, now I see what writing can allow
versity is an arena for the pursuit of intellectual work, me to do. This is something I really do want to do
the purpose of which is the production of knowledge, well.” Right then, the student becomes a writer in
and the nature of which is intrinsically collaborative. the same manner—if not on the same scale—as we
I have given some thought to what each of these are, because, like us, s/he has an investment in the
terms means to me, but they are to some degree always process and stake in the outcome. !
in play, evolving and changing over time. And I can
imagine having very contentious arguments among my
colleagues about my definitions. Fixity and agreement
are not the point. What is non-negotiable for me,
though, is that the classroom is a site for the pursuit of
those ambitions. So, course to course, year to year, I am
looking for ways to translate the imperative of my cur-
rent “idea” into terms that are applicable to the course
I am teaching and pertinent to the students I expect to
engage there.
In freshman composition, for example, I ask students
to do the same kinds of things I do when I write for a
public audience: Establish a position and make an in-
vestment in it; locate that position in an ongoing con-
versation by making use of (not just quoting from) the
text(s); use enough detail to develop a distinctive, even
“original,” position in that conversation; invite others
to read the text and decide how to use their advice.
When I read a student’s work, I am always thinking:
“What is the next step for this writer to be taking right
now with this essay? How can I get her to see that, and
do that?” Then I look at the result and try to find a way
to facilitate the next step. I follow the same pattern in
class discussion: I listen to what a student offers, and I
try to say something back that will help her take the
next step, and the next one, in support of the expecta- Photo by Joe Kapelewski, CIDDE
tions I have laid out. To be honest, it’s in this “be-
tween” stage of reading or moderating classroom discus- Paul Kameen
sion where I feel I can make my most significant contri-

TeachingTimes 4
Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

S.J. Murabito, English

University of Pittsburgh—Greensburg

am a teaching writer and a writ-
ing teacher, a person who infi-
nitely tries to make connections,
Critical thinking has to do with staking out con-
discover contexts, and entertain criti- nections, contexts, and possibilities. Ultimately, it
cal, cultural, and intellectual possi- has to do with generating one’s own individual
bilities for meaning in what I read
and in what I write. This process of point of view.
seeing, understand-
ing, and applying is
writing toward
the critical thinking
the end of my
that I try to teach to
basic composi-
my students. For
tion course be-
example, in a com-
cause it is very
position course, the
multi-layered and
class might examine
is best read after
different strategies
the students have
that writers use for
gained the most
opening their essays.
confidence pos-
Subsequent to that,
the students will
In the essay,
either write re-
Photo courtesy of Pitt-Greensburg
Orwell employs
sponses to these
several levels of
different openings S. J. Murabito with student
irony to convey
or compose critical
his anti-imperial-
commentaries on the openings of
ment; it is the opposite of the easy- ist theme. Having the class study
their own essays. In a fiction writing
answer culture of the shoulder- these ironies and then either respond
course, the class might study the ef-
fectiveness of the dialogues in selected shrugged, “Whatever.” Critical think- to them or to the ironies in their
ing has to do with staking out con- own essays helps the students im-
short stories. Then the students will
nections, contexts, and possibilities; prove as thinkers, readers, and writ-
compose short stories, highlight im-
it has to do with thinking, reading, ers—in this case, seers of irony,
portant dialogues, and separately ex-
and writing; and, ultimately, it has understanders of irony, and appliers
plain how those dialogues are func-
to do with generating one’s own of irony, which is, after all, a funda-
tioning. In a literature course, the
individual point of view. mental building block in all intellec-
class might make note of the various
In terms of a specific assignment tual discourse. It is in this way that
punishments in Dante’s Inferno. Next,
that many of my colleagues could composition joins writing and litera-
the students will create journals or
adapt to their own teaching, let me ture courses in preparing students not
longer essays that discuss these pun-
discuss teaching the concept of irony only for further study in these specific
ishments, either in and of themselves
in George Orwell’s classic essay, areas but also for more confident
or in broader contexts.
“Shooting an Elephant.” I teach this study in other university courses as
Critical thinking, then, is born of
masterpiece of personal and political well. !
close reading and careful discern-

TeachingTimes 5
Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Lauren Yaich, Natural Sciences

University of Pittsburgh—Bradford

The development and refinement of this rigorous, truth-seeking skill is

perhaps the essence of a higher education, creating a habit that will be
retained long after the student has left the college classroom.

ritical thinking is integral to the scientific pro- mate goal of science and the criminal justice system is
cess, and explaining how this scientific process is the same—to determine the “truth” about a particular
used to answer questions about living organisms situation. If the lawyer is a prosecutor, he will build a
is the common denominator in my various biology case by collecting as much incriminating evidence as pos-
classes. As budding scientists, students are taught to sible (e.g., blood samples, bullet fragments, testimony
make observations about a phenomenon, create a hy- from witnesses). The scientist essentially carries out a
pothesis about some aspect of this phenomenon, and similar process, performing numerous experiments to
then carry out experiments that will either prove or dis- study different aspects of the phenomenon in order to
prove the hypothesis. build up a body of evidence that supports her hypoth-
To make this process a bit more concrete for my stu-
dents, who are often fans of TV shows like CSI and Law In the criminal justice system, there is also a lawyer
and Order, I often use the analogy of lawyers who are whose job is to defend the accused. He must force the
working on a murder case, because in the end, the ulti- jury to take a very hard look at the validity of the evi-
dence. Was the evidence collected and processed
correctly? Is there another possible explanation for
why that drop of blood was found on the carpet?
The scientist must play this role as well, and it is
here where critical thinking really comes into play—
she must take a hard look at the evidence she has
collected to verify that it really supports the hypoth-
esis. Is there more than one possible explanation for
the results obtained? Were the controls appropriate
for that particular experiment? Were enough data
points collected to make the results statistically sig-
nificant? What other experiments should be carried
out that might either strengthen the hypothesis or
refute it? The development and refinement of this
rigorous, truth-seeking skill is perhaps the essence of
a higher education, creating a habit that will be re-
tained long after the student has left the college
Photo courtesy of Pitt-Bradford
classroom. !
Lauren Yaich

TeachingTimes 6
Instructional Technology

Electronic Response Systems

Available from Media Services
By Barbara Frey & Dan Wilson

tudent response systems, also known as classroom, to answer quiz questions that create a healthy competi-
electronic, and interactive audience response sys- tion.
tems, provide students with a wireless, hand-held 3. Provide instant feedback to students regarding an is-
pad that allows them to electronically reply to classroom sue, question, or calculation.
questions and receive immediate feedback. Faculty can 4. Increase communication by discussing the answers
thereby engage students in course material through inter- and opinions revealed in the SRS results. The SRS
active question and answer sessions. The SRS software provides all students with an equal opportunity to re-
quickly polls students, tabulates the results, and graphi- spond, and faculty can take advantage of their re-
cally presents the findings. The types of questions pro- sponses to generate dialogue. Because the system can
grammed into the SRS are multiple choice, true/false, allow for anonymous responses, it is effective for sensi-
and rank order items. tive questions, such as ethical, legal, and moral issues.
Student polling systems are made up of two general 5. Collect data for research or formative/summative
parts, hardware and software. The software is similar to evaluation. The SRS can be used for classroom assess-
presentation software that displays a question. The stu- ments to measure students’ preparation, understand-
dents respond with devices similar to television remote ing, and/or satisfaction. Some instructors administer
controls that send infrared signals to a receiver attached pre- and post-tests.
to a computer. The computer records and displays the Faculty integrate the SRS into their teaching at vari-
response. ous levels. At the most basic level, faculty deliver the re-
sponse question orally or in a PowerPoint presentation
and view a summary of the students’ responses. At the
more advanced level, the software can be used to show
response histograms or charts and to calculate statistical
analyses. It is also possible to export the response data
to an Excel spreadsheet.

What are faculty saying about the SRS?

Associate Professor Ellen Cohn in the School of
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences says, “I find that the
Student Response System engages the most reticent of
students. It introduces an element of personal responsi-
bility and interactivity that is otherwise difficult to
achieve within a large class.”
The SRS quickly summaries student responses to an in- In the Department of Chemistry, Associate Profes-
class question. sor Joseph Grabowski uses the SRS in large lecture class-
rooms. He values “the ability to get 100% of the stu-
dents to respond to a question; the distribution of an-
The SRS can help faculty achieve the following goals: swers gives me a good handle on where the class is at
1. Engage students in course material through survey, that moment.” Grabowski believes that students like
pretest, practice, or review questions. The resultant the activity because it “gives them immediate feedback,
interactive classroom encourages students to come to in a non-threatening manner, about their current level of
class prepared. However, to achieve this interaction understanding.”
and maintain learners’ attention, questions must be Nick Laudato, CIDDE associate director of instruc-
challenging, thought provoking, and/or stimulating. tional technology, states that he is “most excited about
2. Promote collaboration with group exercises that re- the pre-test/post-test applications. The pretest can help
quire students to discuss and come to a consensus or See “Electronic Response” page 15

TeachingTimes 7
Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards

Bellet award winners discuss ways to

actively engage students
stablished in 1998, the annual Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards recognize outstanding and innovative teaching in the
undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences. This year’s winners are Ericka Cederstrom-Huston, Chemistry; Geeta
Kothari, English; Marla Ripoll, Economics; and Peter Simonson, Communication. Through an endowment from alumnus
David Bellet and his wife, Tina, winners receive a $2,000 stipend and a $3,000 grant for the support of teaching.

Geeta Kothari, English

The drive to write has to come from within. I spend considerable
class time teaching students how to identify and question their
own writing process.

y primary interest as a teacher is in writing, create a classroom space where someone can ask a
which is a central focus in all my classes. My seemingly obvious question: “Did you have to learn how
goals and to revise or did you just
approach in the classroom do it? How does that
have been influenced by my happen?”
work as a tutor. When I My composition and
tutored, I wanted students creative writing classes
to learn how to rely on integrate regular reading
themselves and draw on and writing. Published
their own resources, as well writing provides models
as on learned strategies, that teach students what
when writing a paper. The to read for in terms of
idea was to avoid creating a narrative, language, style
situation in which students and elements of craft. As
came to depend on the they become better
Writing Center. Similarly, readers of literature, they
in my classes, I want become better readers for
students to learn how to Photo by Joe Kapelewski, CIDDE each other and for
rely on themselves as Geeta Kothari themselves. I have also
critical readers and writers. found that in literature
Thus, I am wary of teaching students, especially at and writing classes the discussions are more productive
the introductory and intermediate levels of fiction and interesting when we focus on issues of form before
writing, to depend on feedback from their classmates or content. This is a challenge, in both classroom settings,
me. The drive to write has to come from within, because students often do not have time to read closely
especially for the writing majors. While I can’t create or more than once; the texts I assign often require a
this drive in students, I can teach them practices and second reading. Therefore, I try to ask questions that
strategies that will help them to write beyond the will encourage them to explore and examine the readings
classroom while also preparing them for the next class. I again. Other effective techniques I use are open-book
spend considerable class time teaching students how to quizzes in writing classes, and in-class writing exercises in
identify and question their own writing process. I try to literature classes. !
TeachingTimes 8
Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards

Ericka Cederstrom-Huston, Chemistry

A thread ties much of organic chemistry together. I share this
connection with students, so they realize the importance of continuing
to build upon everything they have learned so far.

y enthusiasm about what I classes I provide a list of bulleted no time for classroom breaks) be-
teach is very apparent and learning objectives for them to assess cause my lectures are very animated
rubs off on many of my whether they have mastered the (aerobic for me!), deliberate (I
students. I loved organic chemistry course material. Many classes average choose examples very carefully), and
as soon as I started taking courses 150 students (I have had as many as organized. Before each class, I refer
in it—I actually got “warm fuzzies” 240); so opportunities for one-to- to what was talked about last time
from my first textbook. When I one interactions during lecture are and then link it to what will be dis-
share this story with my students limited. Thus, I believe it is espe- cussed. If we are starting in a new
many of them laugh (and I’m sure cially important for students to feel direction and have to change gears, I
roll their eyes!). I tell them can- comfortable enough to ask ques- tell them so. The value I place on
didly that, whether they think this tions that address their misconcep- clarity contributes to the way I orga-
class is as exciting as I do, they will tions. Consequently, I am very nize my lectures. I continually try
have to do a lot of work to suc- friendly during and outside of class. to show my students how a thread
ceed. I tell them I will do every- I encourage students to ask ques- ties much of organic chemistry to-
thing I can to help them but in the tions and let them know that they gether. I think it is important to
end their success will be due to their need not feel inadequate or intimi- share this connection with students
own effort, discipline, and natural dated. so they realize the importance of
ability. While my lectures are quite tra- continuing to build upon every-
In order to help my students ditional, most students stay engaged thing they have learned so far. I fre-
do well I am very transparent about (even in my intense four-week sum- quently repeat important principles
my expectations. In my organic mer organic courses where there is and do everything I can to make
sure that students comprehend—not
memorize—as we apply them over
and over. I tell them when particu-
lar topics are not going to “go
away.” In organic chemistry, I draw
pictures on the board, explaining
that each arrangement of atoms has
a personality that can be used to
make predictions. After presenting
a general concept, we do examples
that encourage students to use their
knowledge to predict what’s going
to happen. Rather than memoriz-
ing a rule, an understanding of the
underlying principles and meaning
is crucial for figuring out a problem.
I believe the problem-solving skills
students learn in their chemistry
Photo by Joe Kapelewski, CIDDE courses can be applied to situations
Ericka Cederstrom-Huston they will encounter in their chosen
TeachingTimes 9 careers. !
Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards

Marla Ripoll, Economics

It is important for knowledge to be meaningful to me, the
teacher, as well as to the students. I pose questions
designed to clearly connect concepts discussed in class
with real-world examples.

ne of the most effective students on these topics is tape, or read the news clip. These
techniques for faculty to meaningful also to me because I questions are designed to clearly
engage students is to constantly strive to understand the connect the concepts discussed in
devote some time reflecting about economic difficulties of my native class with real-world examples.
why they are engaged with the country, Colombia. Clearly, the Finally, I conclude with a brief,
subjects they teach. My own knowledge we share with our general discussion in which they
courses include topics such as the students not only sheds light on share their answers with their
unemployment rate, credit the reality outside of the classroom classmates.
constraints, poverty, and per capita but also helps us more fully Another effective technique I
income differences across countries; understand who we are as teachers. use is allowing students some
this knowledge I share with my Another method for engaging latitude in how they engage with the
students is to make this shared course material. When they write
knowledge meaningful to them. term papers, give presentations, or
Ultimately, students will become even do certain homework
interested in content that allows assignments, I give them some
them to understand questions freedom to select material that
that remain fixed in their minds. interests them. I am always amazed
One way I do this is by by how the quality of students’
providing plenty of work improves when they do
opportunities to see the something they have chosen.
connections between the Similarly, faculty themselves are
concepts learned in class and the often better teachers when they
reality I want students to choose and design courses they
understand. Consequently, I am want to teach.
forever searching for relevant When I read student papers or
news clips, historic episodes, or homework assignments after having
videos on case studies. But used these three techniques, I can
before I show any of these, I perceive their passion for learning;
usually question my students. it becomes clear that their work
For instance, I may ask: “What means something to them. As a
do you know about the extent of result, I can see who they are—in
poverty in the world today?” I the same way I can see myself
then pose additional questions through what I teach. And that is
Photo by Patty Nagle, CIDDE
for them to consider while they a wonderful feeling which makes
Marla Ripoll watch the video, listen to the teaching rewarding to me. !

TeachingTimes 10
Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards

Pete Simonson, Communication

I Making
use Learning Active for You
various techniques in
and Your Students
the context of the big
lecture to reach diverse
students representing all
strata of the University

ike most required courses, my large, introductory-
level Rhetorical Process course attracts a diversity
of students representing all strata of the University
community. Therefore, to reach as many students as
possible, my goal is to offer something for all of them.
So what do I do in the context of the big lecture, where
it is easy for students to tune out and more difficult for Photo by Mike Drazdzinski, CIDDE
faculty to monitor their progress? While some of my Pete Simonson
techniques are specifically tied to teaching the art of
rhetoric, others are “transportable” to practically any students frequent opportunities to apply them. My aim
other field. is to broaden the horizons of the practically oriented
student and to nurture the intellect of the budding
1. Use “teams” or learning groups. In their first scholar; the application phase gives everyone practice “to
meeting, recitation leaders (being careful to separate think like a rhetorician.”
close friends) assign students to semester-long, four- or 3. Use active learning techniques during lecture. To
five-person teams. Teams work toward a culminating keep everyone involved and motivated, I give frequent
project—a “public campaign” that applies principles quizzes and graded informal writing opportunities
discussed in class. Weekly assignments build toward during lecture, typically based on questions I had
that project and require all students to complete work distributed previously. I also pose questions designed to
on their own and then to discuss individual responses as elicit oral responses and to generate brief, structured
a team. With instruction and monitoring, teams learn discussions (the responses are worth 1 to 3 points). I
the material together and apply higher-level concepts to make a point of posing questions of varying difficulty—
practical problems. Those who are tempted to simple factual queries; middle-range application
“disappear” in lecture have peer pressure to participate, questions; and higher level queries requiring
while the best students can help teach teammates and comparison, evaluation, or conceptualization. Self-
thus learn the material better themselves. reports indicate that speaking and hearing peers speak
keep students of different levels involved and learning
2. Mix the conceptual or “purely intellectual” with the from one another.
practical. Throughout the semester, I discuss the history
and key concepts from the classical rhetorical tradition. My overall aim is to make the large lecture work
I present Greek terms like kairos (the opportune more like a small discussion class, with lots of active
moment) or dissoi logoi (countervailing arguments), talk learning by the students, significant potential for peer
about the cultural contexts in which they arose, teaching, and a multi-viscosity conceptual approach that
illustrate them through everyday examples, and then give mixes strange ideas with familiar experiences. !
TeachingTimes 11
University-wide Teaching Awards

2004 Teaching Awards

Numerous schools and departments at the University of Pittsburgh present annual teaching awards. Recipients of 2004 awards
that are known to the Teaching Times are listed below. The Teaching Times prints an annual list of award recipients and welcomes
information about awards. Please contact Jo Rosol with this information:

School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) School of Engineering

Student Choice Awards Beitle-Veltri Memorial Award
Trudy Bayer, A&S, Communication Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Industrial Engineering
Jan Beatty, A&S, English Jayant Rajgopal, Industrial Engineering
Ana Paula Carvalho, A&S, Hispanic Languages & Literatures Faculty Honor Roll
Thomas W. Crock, A&S, Mathematics George Stetten, Bioengineering
Toi Derricotte, A&S, English Robert Parker, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Barun Dhar, A&S, Physics & Astronomy John Oyler, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Kimberly Ellis, A&S, Africana Studies Peter Miller, Electrical Engineering
Bob Gilbert, College of Business Administration Mike McCloud, Electrical Engineering
Michael Golde, A&S, Chemistry Andrew Klimas, A&S, Mathematics
Cynthia Golzman, A&S, Hispanic Languages & Literatures Bryan Norman, Industrial Engineering
Raymond Jones, College of Business Administration Ian Nettleship, Materials Science & Engineering
Jennifer Lee, A&S, English William Clark, Mechanical Engineering
Audrey Murrell, College of Business Administration Outstanding TA Awards
Lisa S. Nelson, Graduate School of Public Erik. H. Lindsley, Bioengineering
& International Affairs Jeffry A. Florian, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Laurel Roberts, A&S, Biology Owen K. Silbaugh, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Julia Romero, A&S, Hispanic Languages & Literatures Nicholas V. Zorn, Electrical Engineering
Susan Shaiman, A&S, Communication Science & Disorders Adaeze F. Nwaigwe, Industrial Engineering
Jonathan Sterne, A&S, Communication Jose E. Garcia-Gonzalez, Materials Science & Engineering
Liann Tsoukas, A&S, History Roxana Cisloiu, Mechanical Engineering
Stefan Wheelock, A&S, English TA of the Year
Chad Zutter, College of Business Administration Joshua Lucas, Computer/Electrical Engineering
College of Business Administration College of General Studies
CBA Teacher of the Year Student Choice Awards
Raymond Jones David J. Defazio, Graduate School of Public &
CBA Teacher of the Year Finalists International Affairs
Robert Atkin Edward Strimlan, Graduate School of Public &
Robert Gilbert International Affairs
Jocelyn Kauffunger Sandra Collins, A&S, Religious Studies
Jay Sukits Howard B. Slaughter, Graduate School of Public &
International Affairs
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business Cathy L. Misko, Graduate School of Public &
Executive MBA Outstanding Teacher of the Year International Affairs
Frederik-Paul Schlingemann John B. Lyon, A&S, Germanic Languages & Litera-
Katz School Outstanding Teacher of the Year tures
Prakash Mirchandani Ernest Fullerton, Graduate School of Public &
International Affairs
School of Nursing Gordon, J. Weinberg, A&S, Statistics
Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award School of Dental Medicine
Jason J. Dechant, Health Promotion & Development Faculty Award of Excellence
Rosemary Hoffmann, Acute/Tertiary Care Kenneth Etzel, Microbiology/Biochemisty

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University-wide Teaching Awards

School of Medicine Graduate Student/Fellow Teaching Awards

Excellence in Education Awards Arts and Sciences
James R. Johnston, Renal-Electrolyte Janette A. Steets, Biological Sciences
John W. Kreit, Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Robbyn Berenda, Demetra Chengelis,
William P. Follansbee, Cardiovascular Institute Adam Keller, Pamela Meadows Diane Mitchell,
Joseph A. Kithas, Psychiatry Joseph Noroski, Scott Quivey, and Tiffany Turner,
Gregory J. Naus, Pathology Chemistry
David L. Paterson, Infectious Diseases Aimee Marie Dorsten, Communication
Jonathon Erlen, Behavioral and Community Health Yadwiga Semikolenova, Economics
Sciences Petra Dierkes-Thrun, English
Ashok J. Bharucha, Psychiatry Noemie I. Parrat, French & Italian Languages & Literatures
Andrea R. Fox, Geriatric Medicine Craig Thomas Marin, History
Kenneth E. Schuit Award Marilyn S. Feke and Marjorie Zambrano,
David E. Eibling, Otolaryngology Hispanic Languages & Literatures
Cynthia Lance-Jones, Neurobiology Kevin Scharp, Philosophy
Golden Apple Award Emily L. Chapman, Suchetana Chatterjee, and Sandeep
Paul Rogers, Critical Care Tyagi, Physics & Astronomy
Spiro Papas, Edward McClain III, Jeff Baum, Heather Elko, Stephanie McLean, and Nils Ringer,
Carl Hasselman and Paul Resnick, Political Science
Three Rivers Orthopaedic Group Joyce Giovannelli and Elizabeth Claire Holt, Psychology
Departmental Awards
Helene Finegold, Theresa Gelzinis, Jeffrey Astbury,
Bruce Ben-David, Catalin Ezaru, Richard McHugh, Li School of Pharmacy
Meng, Stephen Mosier, Steven Orebaugh, Nashaat Teacher of the Year Award
Rizk, Manuel Vallejo, James Krugh and Barry K. Ray, Denise Howrie, Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Anesthesiology Faculty Member of the Year Award
Joe Darby, Critical Care Medicine Samuel M. Poloyac, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Tracey Conti, Family Medicine
Richard P. Brenner, Neurology University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
A. Leland Albright, Neurological Surgery
Excellence in Teaching Award
Mitchell Creinin, W. Allen Hogge, Kathleen Moore,
Donald I. Ulin, A&S, English
Hyagriv Simhan, Arundhathi Jeyabalan, Mary Ann
Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award
Portman, Elizabeth Roberts and Justin Chura,
Obstetrics/Gynecology Jeffrey C. Guterman, A&S, Communications
Barton Branstetter, Otolaryngology
Ira Bergman, Michael Mortiz, John Peters, Nader University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
Shaikh, Leslie Borsett-Kanter, Melanie Gold, Lee Distinguished Teaching Award
Beerman, and Heidi Feldman, Pediatrics Randi Koeske, Psychology
Joseph E. Losee, Kenneth C. Shestak, Michael J. Alumni Association Award
White, and Joseph Darby, Plastic Surgery Sayre Greenfield, English
Carl Fuhrman, Radiology

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Graduate School of Public Health President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dean’s Distinguished Public Health Service Award William Brice, Geology
Karen S. Peterson, Nutritional Services
Phi Eta Sigma Teacher of the Year Award
Katherine Reist, History

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Teaching Assistance Services

Responding to TA
training needs
By Vanessa Sterling
TA Services, CIDDE

ast winter, TA Services conducted a survey
for the Advisory Council on Instructional
Excellence (ACIE) about how each depart-
ment trains its TAs. The results were quite interest-
ing and varied. We are now designing workshops
for the fall term to address some of the needs ex-
pressed by survey respondents and those of the lishing safe/nonthreatening environments during
broader University community. conferencing, talking with low-achieving students,
The survey addressed how each department and managing office hours. This workshop will
oversees the orientation, training, mentoring and help TAs feel more confident in their outside-of-
evaluation of graduate student instructors. The re- class meetings with students and help with time
sults showed a range of ways of training TAs. Some management.
departments do everything “in house,” from orien- To address the needs of specific international
tations and teaching seminars to evaluations, while student communities, we are building workshops
others rely on University-wide programs, such as that address cultural issues. The first workshop is
New TA Orientation and the University Teaching being designed for TAs from China, who comprise
Practicum, a graduate seminar designed for teach- the largest cohort of international TAs. (In the re-
ing assistants and teaching fellows who will be cent New TA Orientation, of 208 registered partici-
teaching a class independently for the first time. pants, 33 were Chinese. The second largest group
Graduate student instructors across depart- of 11 students came from India.) In following
ments share some common concerns. For ex- terms we will offer workshops for South Asians,
ample, many are unsure how to strike a proper bal- Latin Americans, Africans, and Europeans, in coop-
ance in dealing with undergraduates, as many are eration with advanced graduate student instructors
closer in age to their students than their faculty. from these various parts of the world.
Others feel that undergraduates rely on their help Of course, we will continue to host our regular
too much or are unfocused in their dealings with seminars, including those on using technology in
TAs, which can be time consuming. Some interna- the classroom, developing a teaching portfolio,
tional TAs still feel disconnected from the Univer- dealing with cheating and plagiarism, and managing
sity community (for a variety of cultural reasons) the classroom. And we are available for one-on-one
and thus find it more difficult to work with stu- consultation about any teaching-related issue. How-
dents. ever, we want to continue to develop new work-
New workshops to address these issues are be- shops, especially those that address the ever-chang-
ing designed by CIDDE’s TA Services. One new ing needs of the Pitt community. If you have a spe-
offering later this term will be Conferring with Stu- cific idea or concern that you would like to see us
dents. This workshop will examine the dos and create a workshop around (for your department or
don’ts for conferencing with students including the larger University community), give us a call at
techniques demonstrating student advocacy, estab- 412-624-6671. We are eager to help! !

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“Electronic Response” from page 7
students assess their entry knowledge of course topics Surfing the Cyber Library:
and motivate them to resolve any deficiencies it identi-
fies. It also helps the instructor adjust where to place
A Great New Resource

emphasis or additional examples. The post-test can rein- major academic challenge facing students
force that students effectively mastered course content or across all disciplines is how to best utilize the
alert the instructor that additional work may be re- over whelming amount of information avail-
quired.” able via the World Wide Web. This issue is ad-
dressed in Surfing the Cyber Library, a Web site hosted
by the University of Pittsburgh Library System
(ULS) Web Pages.
Produced and designed by CIDDE in collabora-
tion with ULS, this fully interactive, creatively de-
signed Web site with embedded video clips provides
a dynamic, upgradeable source of information. Its
four chapters consist of a series of Web pages de-
voted to teaching the fundamentals of Web research:
Chapter 1 “Using Search Engines”; Chapter 2 “Scan-
ning URLs and Web Pages”; Chapter 3 “Evaluating
Web Information Using the Five W’s; and Chapter
4 “Citing Web Information in Research.”
The site originated with an Innovation in Educa-
tion project, “Becoming an Information Critic: A
This graphic display allows instructors and students to
Video Providing Students with the Fundamentals of
quickly review the range of responses submitted by the
Information Evaluation.” It was renamed and
evolved into a new form as Project Director Marian
Faculty can obtain further information and arrange C. Hampton, School of Information Sciences (SIS)
to use an SRS by contacting Michael Arenth, and ULS, worked with video producer Len Jendrey, or 412-648-7236 in CIDDE Me- graphic designer Alec Sarkas, and other CIDDE staff
dia Services. to crate a tool to facilitate the evaluation of online
Media Services offers six sets of 32 hand-held key resource materials.
pad units, six receiver units, and the SRS software serv- Surfing the Cyber Library can be found at:
ing a maximum of 128 students. Faculty can request the
system be set up prior to class time, which takes about
30 minutes. One receiver is required for every 32 key
pads. Faculty Diversity Seminar Luncheon
When using the SRS from Media Services, faculty
find it beneficial to have assistants help distribute and The 10th anniversary of the Faculty Diversity Seminar was
collect the hand-held keypad units. In order to lessen celebrated with a luncheon meeting on October 15. In the past 10
their responsibility, instructors may require students to years, 91 University of Pittsburgh faculty have participated in the
purchase the units (about $25 each). Some publishers seminar, sharing the experience of working with their colleagues to
package the response units along with textbooks. To increase awareness of diversity issues and transform courses to
address issues of diversity.
activate their units, students must register at the
publisher’s Web site which requires an additional fee.
Additional information:
The article “Effective Use of the Audience Response
System” from the Center for Education Research and
Evaluation at Columbia University presents guidelines
for using an SRS in classroom instruction.
The Teaching Exchange from Brown University in-
terviews two professors on how they use the SRS in “As-
Photo by Cindy Lu, CIDDE
sessment and Student Response System.” Ogla Duff, Education, past director; Valire Carr Copeland, Social Work, past fellow
pubs/teachingExchange/sept2002/assessment.shtml. ! and director; and Susan Albrecht,
Nursing, past fellow
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Faculty seminar promotes writing & speaking
across disciplines

ommunication-across-the Curriculum Seminar pro- intellectual and practical resources of speakers, selected
vides an opportunity for faculty to redesign one of readings, and local experts. In the off week, participants
their undergraduate courses to better use writing meet individually with CIDDE instructional designers to
and speaking to promote student learning in their disci- implement these ideas into new or existing courses. The
plines. Offered each term by the School of Arts & Sci- end results are enhanced undergraduate courses that not
ences, the seminar is in its second year. The Seminar is only meet the rigor and standards of the relevant field of
designed to enable fellows to: study, but also provide students the opportunity to de-
• Use written assignments to promote student learn- velop their written and oral communication skills.
ing in their disciplines. This fall term’s seminar is co-directed by Beth
• Improve the quality of student presentations. Matway, from the English Department, and Peter
• Help students develop their ability to write and Simonson, from the Communication Department. For
speak with eloquence. more information, please contact Lisa Murphy at
During the term, 15 participants meet every other or 412-624-6480 and go to the
Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss the relevant
Web site at
literature, talk about their own courses, and draw on the

Lara Putman, History Ligia Aldana, Hispanic

Languages & Literatures

Dennis Looney,
French & Italian
Languages &

Beth Matway, English Pete Simonson,

Co-director Photos by Mike Drazdzinski, CIDDE Communication, Co-director
Teaching Times
University of Pittsburgh
Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education
4227 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-624-6596, Fax: 412-624-7220
Editorial staff: Carol DeArment, editor,
Joyce Walsh, production,

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