Lesley Wiglesworth and John Wilson lend their expertise to teaching and learning

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Math, News 30 Mar 2017

CrounseIn 2015, Centre College established the faculty fellows program, one element of Creative Centre, a long-term initiative meant to enhance and link creative and critical thinking in the classroom as part of the College’s quality enhancement plan (QEP).

Supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), this faculty fellow leads campus discussions about creativity and its relationship to pedagogy at Centre, then disseminates the results of those discussions to the campus community. Associate Professor of Mathematics Lesley Wiglesworth has been named the Creative Thinking Faculty Fellow.

The Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellowship was established in 2016 as the result of the College’s success in securing a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for enhancing diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus. This fellow conducts research on issues of diversity and inclusion each year, then works alongside CTL staff to provide programming that features the results of their work. H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics John Wilson will serve as the Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellow for the 2017–18 academic year.

Lesley Wiglesworth, Creative Thinking Faculty Fellow

Lesley WiglesworthAs Creative Thinking Faculty Fellow, Wiglesworth will undertake a project designed to investigate the effects of classroom climate on student risk taking. It will explore teaching strategies and uncover how faculty across campus are encouraging students to take risks. This project aims to help the campus community understand how we can cultivate a culture of risk-taking and creative thinking.

“We are becoming more and more familiar with students who grow terrified when pushed out of their comfort zones and faced with new challenges,” Wiglesworth says. “I will use this fellowship to investigate pedagogical strategies that encourage students to take risks academically, think beyond ‘what the teacher wants’ and ‘correct answers,’ and effectively encourage students to think beyond the grade earned in a course. This project is extremely important in finding ways to promote creative thinking in our students and across all disciplines; encouraging students to take risks in the classroom is the first step.”

 

John Wilson, Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellow

John WilsonAs Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellow, Wilson will seek to understand and begin addressing the barriers to success for underrepresented students, particularly in math and science. The purpose of the project is to understand how to improve performance and retention of underrepresented students in these fields through inclusive pedagogies.

“My goal as the Diversity and Inclusion Fellow next year is to develop support mechanisms and resources that will double the number of students who major in STEM fields from traditionally underrepresented groups at Centre by 2022,” Wilson says. “My plans for next year begin with a one-day summer workshop for faculty members to help us identify what we can do in our classes and in our offices to be more supportive and welcoming to students of color.”

Wilson hopes to continue these discussions throughout the year, brainstorming with faculty and students about community building, study spaces, research opportunities and career possibilities for students from these underrepresented populations.

“With a concerted effort, I believe we can be more inclusive and make a difference in the mix of students who graduate from Centre with STEM majors,” he adds.

by Cindy Long
March 22, 2017

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