teaching & learning in the future tense

Background

ThinqStudio is a collaborative fellowship within the CU Denver teaching community, born of relationships formed among faculty and staff of the CU Denver School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).  We came together at the 2016 Digital Pedagogy Lab Summer Institute in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Animated by what we learned there, informed by our knowledge and values, we sought funding to adapt principles of “critical digital pedagogy” to our academic community.   We are deeply grateful to Chancellor Dorothy Horrell for supporting two inaugural years of programming (2017-19).  Our founding principles, elaborated  below, advance each of Chancellor Horrell’s strategic priorities by fostering a learning environment that will:

  • Elevate student success through increased engagement of faculty and students in pedagogical approaches that enliven and enrich interactions between students, and between students and their communities.
  • Advance excellence and innovation in teaching, research and creative work by energizing faculty, leveraging the excitement that comes of fresh approaches to the art and craft of teaching. Many faculty participating in ThinqStudio programming are tying their pedagogical innovations and experiments together with their research.
  • Create a more cohesive, collaborative, and inclusive CU Denver culture by crossing disciplinary boundaries, and by bridging school and college commitments. ThinqStudio is collaborating with the Auraria Library, Inworks, CU Online, and other transdisciplinary units, as well as with the recently appointed Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Education and the Executive Director of Digital Education.
  • Strengthen our position as a vital community asset with both of our sister institutions on the Auraria Campus, nationally among digital pedagogy networks, and with broader non-academic communities.
  • Achieve long-term financial stability and sustainability by increasing student and faculty retention.

ThinqStudio Principles

Four principles guide ThinqStudio. Considering these principles will be a key basis for evaluating fellowship applications. We aim to be Inclusive, Critical, Digital, and Purposeful, as defined here.

Inclusive: Education should be inclusive in terms of membership, design, evaluation, and recognition. Thus, we welcome all who care and commit to shared pedagogical work, regardless of status within the university’s community. We seek to involve all in the conception and design of educational innovation, and in evaluation of outcomes.  We strive to be inclusive of all learners, regardless of group, background, allegiance or position of economic privilege.

Critical: We take two meanings of this term.  The first is thorough, sound evaluation of our practice—not rote or reflexive application of traditional methods. Innovative approaches demand innovative assessments, an embrace of failure, and critical thinking to guide iteration and change. Second, in all facets of teaching and learning, we probe the influences—for ill and for good—of political, social, and economic factors. As public educators, we foster transformational learning against inequality and injustice.

Digital: We use the term “digital” as a metaphor for the powerful and rapidly developing tools of educational technologies in service of teaching and learning goals.  Technology—the application of knowledge to applied aims—serves as means to an end, not an end in itself.  It is not restricted to hardware and software.  We seek to find, develop, adapt and share both open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). We design learner-centered pedagogy adapted to the needs, interests, and capacities of the learner.  Though all these are served by computer-based tools, other powerful technologies can be brought to the task.

Purposeful: ThinqStudio is committed to the purposeful service of human and social aims. We seek to develop capacities that advance the social good and reduce disparities in educational access, participation, and achievement. Thus, we are purposeful about engendering inclusive, critical, and digital teaching and learning at CU Denver.

Faculty Fellows

Each year a new group of Faculty Fellows join us in a one-year fellowship as scholars in residence.  Fellows are invited to explore threads of inquiry and experimentation with teaching and learning; and promote their findings across the campus community.

What Fellows do

  • work in a team of peer-mentors, incubating and experimenting with emergent pedagogies;
  • identify and pursue an individual project or line of inquiry related to his/her teaching;
  • convene one or more faculty-cohorts at select national conferences;
  • write, reflect, and discuss findings in workshops, blogs, podcasts, or similar outlets;
  • convene two to three workshops, book-clubs, or webinars over the arc of the year;
  • consult on related grant proposals and university initiatives;
  • deliver a capstone presentation/reflection on findings at a Spring capstone event.

What Fellows receive

  • registration, travel, and accommodations at select conferences;
  • one course release for either fall or spring term;
  • a one-time stipend;
  • access to graduate student support;
  • resources & scaffolding for experimentation & innovation;
  • community engagement and networking;
  • opportunities to lead and shape digital education at CU Denver.

Thinqstudio welcomes nominations and inquiries for Faculty Fellows each Spring.  The process is generally like a job application, requiring a Vita and a Cover Letter.  We’ll ask you to introduce yourself and explain how and why you are right for this opportunity.   We’ll want to hear your thinking about the future of teaching and learning, and any big-ideas for projects you’d like to explore.  We’d like to see your potential to inspire.  

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