On February 8 and 9, nearly 300 faculty members from across campus participated in UT Austin’s inaugural Eyes on Teaching, a two-day event designed to strengthen the culture of teaching and learning across the university.
Eyes on Teaching is a new initiative of the Provost’s Office supported by the Provost’s Teaching Fellows. Over the course of two days, Eyes on Teaching provided an opportunity for faculty to visit other classrooms and observe different teaching styles and learning environments.
After the class visits, meaningful conversation was facilitated between faculty about their individual teaching successes and struggles, and what they took away from their observations.
“As faculty, we often find ourselves spending the vast majority of our time within our departments or areas of discipline, which leaves limited opportunities to learn about and see what our colleagues are doing in terms of innovating in the classroom,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost. “This is an immensely valuable exercise, and on a large campus we should be creating opportunities for faculty to learn from each other. I only expect Eyes on Teaching to grow every year judging by the success we saw in this first year.”
“In one of the classes I visited the instructor was about to launch into a new topic near the end of class, but she could sense the students needed a break. She took a quick break to show a very funny Super Bowl cat commercial – a class in the advertising world. The students had a huge laugh and afterwards were refreshed and ready to dig into the new complicated material,” said Mike Mackert, chair of the Provost Teaching Fellows and Eyes on Teaching. “It was a great idea and a tactic I will incorporate in my own classroom.”
The College of Natural Sciences, under the leadership of Dean Hicke, did a college-level version of this program in Fall 2016 as part of Teaching Discovery Days. Provost's Teaching Fellows involved in that program brought the concept to the broader group, which saw an opportunity to launch a campus-wide event to enable more interdisciplinary opportunities for learning and conversation.
For more information about Eyes on Teaching, visit: provost.utexas.edu/eyes-on-teaching
Pictures from Eyes on Teaching: