Opportunities for integrative learning drive Dr. Jim Barber?s discussion on the fundamentals course design and the COLL curriculum this Wednesday at noon in the Earl Gregg Swem Library. The associate professor at William & Mary?s School of Education represents the first of several guest speakers ready to lead a collaborative effort with fellow faculty members, students, and a wide-range of learning partners who plan to attend the University Teaching Project?s (UTP) spring series on teaching and learning. The series is co-sponsored by the Dean of University Libraries and the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.
?I?ve studied integrative learning for more than 15 years as a researcher,? says Barber. ?I think that any course that is taught at William & Mary has the potential to be integrative in nature, so that will be really one of my main messages is looking at how do we promote the integration of learning for students.?
Barber?s concentration on designing courses that welcome diverse perspectives and experiences dates back to his work as a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. As one member of a research team that conducted a national, longitudinal study, Barber examined how a selected group of students achieved the outcomes of a liberal arts education, specifically the outcome of integrative learning. ?The ability to integrate what you?re learning across multiple contexts is absolutely essential to be successful,? he shares. Currently applying his expertise in the classroom, the associate professor stresses the necessity to integrate knowledge long after graduating from William & Mary.
Barber prepares for Wednesday?s meeting by acknowledging how faculty members rarely get the chance to gather together to share their own experiences gained from the classroom or their progress in academic research, and he looks forward to the opportunity offered through UTP?s spring series to promote teaching and learning. ?I think that?s the benefit of these teaching workshops,? says Barber. ?I want people to leave with skills, ideas, and activities that you can take into your class that afternoon.?
Story by: Jennifer Hoyt
Communications Specialist with the University Teaching Project