Excellence in teaching


Karen Derris shares ideas and resources to ensure ongoing support for faculty.

Each semester, faculty members discuss issues related to teaching and pedagogy. “University of Redlands faculty are excellent teachers who are committed to creating transformative learning experiences for their students,” said Karen Derris, who was named the holder of the Virginia Hunsaker Chair in Distinguished Teaching in 2011. “The Hunsaker Teaching Programs are opportunities for our faculty to share ideas, concerns and resources for teaching.”

As chair holder, Derris also consults individually with faculty on issues or concerns they are facing in their teaching. These consultations regularly include observing her colleagues’ teaching and providing feedback on classroom dynamics and suggestions for innovation or improvement.

“The programs include workshops on particular issues and lunch or dinner discussions on topics that relate to challenges to, or opportunities for, teaching,” she said. “Recent topics included developing service-learning courses, the ways in which efforts to internationalize our campus improve our classroom environments, tools for successful peer work and learning about disability and accommodation issues in the classroom.” And, she added, a group of “excellent faculty” have served as an advisory board to the Hunsaker Teaching Programs.

“We also benefit tremendously from the collegial culture on our campus,” said Derris. “As scholars who are deeply committed to teaching, these conversations are fascinating opportunities to exchange ideas, debate practices and share our work as teachers.”


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