This post has become somewhat of an annual ritual. Each May, I make a list of books that I plan to read that will broaden my perspectives and recharge my pedagogical batteries. These aren’t books that I’ll necessarily be bringing to the pool or the beach with me but they will help me prepare for the upcoming academic year. I’m open to other suggestions so if you’ve read something interesting recently be sure to share it in the comments section below. I’ve ordered the books chronologically in the order I plan to read them.
- Raising Race Questions: Whiteness & Inquiry in Education: While we’d like to think that our campuses are becoming more inclusive and supportive of diversity, recent events nationally and locally have proven otherwise. I’m reading this book by Ali Michael in preparation for a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) this fall. I’m hoping that it will spark some conversations and promote some change on campus.
- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City: A colleague led a FLC on this book this semester. While I wasn’t able to participate in the discussion, I was able to snag a copy for myself. Written by Matthew Desmond, the book explores the lives of eight families living in the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee. While it may not be the most uplifting book I’ll read this summer, it’s may be one of the most important.
- Advancing the Culture of Teaching on Campus: Shelve this book in the Teaching & Learning Nerd section of the bookstore. I’m entering my fifth year as the director of our university’s Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and I’m looking for new ways to “make a difference” on campus. Edited by Constance Cook and Matthew Kaplan, the book shares strategies and perspectives from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. I’m hoping that the book will help me reflect on the professional development programs that the CAE offers and consider new ways to reach faculty.
- The New Faculty Member: No, I’m not leaving my job. After years of offering an informal mentoring program for new faculty, this fall, the CAE is going to offer a more formalized mentoring process. In a recent blog post, I wrote about some of my recent interactions with junior faculty on campus and the stress and anguish from navigating the tenure and promotion process. I’m hoping that the mentoring program will help. While The New Faculty Member was written in 1992, I have always found Robert Boice’s words to transcend across eras.
- The Courage to Teach: It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twenty years since Parker Palmer released this inspiring examination of what makes a good teacher a good teacher. While I’ve read the Courage to Teach numerous times, I feel that it’s time to revisit it once again. After reading the Spark of Learning by Sarah Rose Cavanagh last fall and leading a FLC on the book this spring, I’m expecting to find new parallels between Palmer’s words and the cognitive research that Cavanagh shares.