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10 Strategies to Ease Academia Pain

By Kelly Beischel Have you ever felt like your time was being rapidly sucked away? That’s where I am right now.  You see, time is not my own this semester. We are currently knee deep in curriculum creation. I can’t even say revision because we’re creating a brand-spanking-new concept based curriculum from scratch. Did I hear you say OUCH? You’re right. It’s painful. It’s time consuming. (Especially at the super-sonic speed with which we’ve been charged to create it.) Lack of time is one of my pain points. How about you? In the event you’re feeling the same way, let me share with you a few strategies I’ve been using to ease the “lack of time” pain that comes with being a faculty member. Strategies to Relieve Academia Pain Be kind to yourself. The curriculum nor does its creation ride solely on your shoulders. My husband kindly pointed this out to me in one of my fits of overwhelm about our curricular change. Be a leader. Feeling disempowered by those in authority can bring out negativity in the best of us, especially when those in authority are not effective leaders. Step up. Bring your own leadership qualities such as honesty, communication, a sense of humor, confidence, commitment, and creativity to the project. It […]

What does Training for a Race have to do with Teaching?

By Kelly Beischel Well, I’ve done it. I registered to run my first race. It’s called the Warrior Run: The Race for Life. I’m excited and scared at the same time. I’ve never run a race before. In fact, the thought of running in front of other people terrifies me. While simultaneously training for this race and planning my fall courses I’ve noticed the many similarities between training for a race and teaching. Neither of these tasks are inherently easy but certainly made easier with resources and planning. Start with Objectives The Couch to 5K app guides my training process, just as the objectives I establish for each class guides my teaching. Having a clear understanding of what I expect students to learn by the finish of class is key. The objectives are the foundation of course decisions, the center from which everything else flows.   Prepare the way I bought a new pair of running shoes, a few pairs of socks and leggings (to keep everything in one place :)) in preparation for my training. I also planned out which direction I was going to run, the course I was going to take. This is especially important when teaching. Strategically planning the content, evaluation methods, teaching strategies, and student […]

How to Successfully Deliver Syllabus Content


By Kelly Beischel Last week we discussed the importance of laying out the course ground rules in our syllabus.  The delivery of the syllabus is crucial. Just as umpires stand on home plate and give the ground rules before the game begins – it’s key that you do the same with your syllabus. It starts the course off in the right direction. So how can you most effectively deliver the content of the syllabus and elicit their buy in? Ask your students to read the syllabus before coming to class. Then discuss with them any thorny points on the first day of class. The room will be pretty quiet, betcha. Most students won’t read it. Use up the whole first class period explaining the syllabus. (Not the best use of time, right?) Create an audio recording that explains the syllabus. Doing this frees up class time. Require students to listen to the recording prior to the 1st class. You can tell them that a quiz will follow. They’ll do it. Give a syllabus quiz in class. It can be individual or in small groups. It’s fun to use the quiz as a game. You can distribute prizes for the most thorough answers or for the group finished first. I’ve also […]

Top 10 Strategies for Finishing the Semester Strong

By Kelly Beischel Walk down any hall in any college and you know the semester is nearing the end. Everyone is stressed! I don’t know about you but I find fall semester especially stressful as the holidays are mixed right in there. In sports, we often allude to leaving it all on the finish line. But do we really want to leave it all on the fall semester finish line ? If we leave it all on the finish line then what will we have left over for our families or for preparing for the holidays? Instead, I propose we finish strong in mind, body, and spirit – with energy left over, to thrive. These ten strategies might help you do just that. In everything give thanks. Yes, that even means giving thanks for being so busy. A smart woman once said to me, “You are torn in so many directions because you have so many choices. Be grateful that you have choices.” Eat right. Eat foods that will nourish you and give you stamina to finish the semester strong. You know the old adage – “Garbage in. Garbage out.” Record lessons. If you’re like me and you wish you had more time to get a few last learning points across but are […]

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