The start of the new academic year is a special time – for students and faculty alike – full of hope and promise and excitement mixed with a little apprehension and nervousness. For the 2015-16 academic year, Stacy Gleixner, interim AVP for Student Academic Success, and Amy Strage, AVP for Faculty Development and director of the Center for Faculty Development, will be initiating an ongoing email series that will feature regular “Faculty Matter” teaching tips. As part of SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success, the pair is hoping to provide proven concrete suggestions of relatively easy-to-implement activities that will help faculty engage students and support their success. Faculty may feel free to adopt these as is, or to modify them to better suit needs or context in each course. These tips will be archived on the Provost’s Academic Spotlight blog under the category “Faculty Matter”. Faculty are encouraged to use the comment tool to share their own suggestions and tips.
Faculty Matter Tip #1 – Reach out to your students BEFORE the first day of class.
- Send your students a brief email introducing yourself, conveying your enthusiasm about the course and about meeting them. You can send your message through your class roster on MySJSU or through Canvas.
- Consider giving them a very simple assignment – a question to think about, an artifact to bring to class, something related to the course content that will “prime the pump” for whatever topic(s) you want to discuss at the first class meeting.
- Remember to follow up on what you asked them to do: have them share their answers/what they brought. If the class is large, students can share in small groups, with a few volunteers reporting out to the entire class.