Summer is typically a time for renewal in academia. I am thankful for this because the couple of months leading up to it have been busy. I wrapped up my work with The University of Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence with a keynote address at their Innovation in Pedagogy Summit in May. I also wrapped up spring classes and began summer session classes. And in the midst of this, I worked with my colleague Cassandra Horii of Caltech’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach on the last, very minor edits to our essay on the Teaching and Learning Project – just published in Volume 35, Issue 2 of To Improve the Academy. Login is required to access the full text, but here is an excerpt from the essay abstract:

“Following a review of the literatures of visual interpretation and instructional consultation, along with their intersection, the essay presents the Teaching and Learning Project in three ways: (a) as images, analyzed using the disciplinary grounding of the visual arts; (b) as a consultation methodology and an educational development practice; and (c) as a research project using a social science-based approach (grounded theory) exploring the experience of the subjects photographed.”

The keynote address I gave at UVa was titled “The Photograph as Catalyst for Learning and Change.” Using examples of how photographs have helped bring about change in the United States, I discussed how the photographs of the Teaching and Learning Project and photographs faculty might make of their own work could change the way we think about our work. Perhaps more importantly in some cases, I also talked about how the images could change the way those outside of academia perceive of the important work done in higher education. It was the first keynote I gave in which faculty members I had photographed were given time to talk about the images of themselves. For me, that was the most exciting part of the talk. I got to listen to them talk, using the photographs as illustration, about their teaching to a great many of their colleagues and administrators – across disciplines, across campus sectors. Here are a couple of images from the talk:

IMG_0094 IMG_0276

So what will I be doing this summer? Teaching, happily, with an eye on fall and the continuation of The Teaching and Learning Project. I’m looking forward to working with Deandra Little and the staff at Elon University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. More then!

Innovation in Pedagogy Summit photographs by Kristin Palmer, University of Virginia