by James Fortney, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center
If you are looking for an interesting (and motivating) book to dig into before the semester begins, I recommend picking up a copy of The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy (Berg & Seeber, 2016). The authors challenge the frantic pace of pedagogical and intellectual work in higher education, calling for a “slow movement” where academics make time for reflection and dialogue. They emphasize the importance of advocating for deliberation over acceleration by engaging in ongoing practices of reflection, open-ended inquiry, and dialogue. These practices are beneficial to faculty and students alike, cultivating time and space for deep learning to occur. The second chapter of the book focuses on teaching, offering several examples of pedagogical techniques like pausing, breathing, laughing, listening, pacing, and narrating to help slow things down a bit. Although the book itself is a quick read, the information in that chapter will be the most useful for re-thinking course design, class facilitation, and assessment through a “slow professor” lens. Other topics addressed by the authors include time management, research, collegiality/community, and collaborative work. By threading these topics together, Berg and Seeber (2016) provide a powerful analysis of “the temporalities that govern our work” (p. 13). If you find time to read it, I encourage you to share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below.
The beginning of a new academic year is an exciting time. We are so fortunate to be here, together, pursuing truth and seeking excellence in teaching, research, health care, and service to our communities. Try to slow down a bit. Take care of yourself. Breathe. Enjoy it.