Solar Eclipse Special

As if you didn’t already know: many of us are in the direct path of the April 8 solar eclipse! So, get your eclipse glasses ready, find out what events will be happening on your campus, and read everything you wanted to know about solar eclipses and how to observe them at Sky & Telescope.

Teaching and Learning

Cold Calling and Classroom Discussions (Megan Sumeracki, Learning Scientist, April 4, 2024): Reports on a study by Elise Dallimore and colleagues, Leveling the Playing Field: How Cold Calling Affects Class Discussion Gender Equality.

Better Late Than Never? Why Professors ‘Should Not Be Scared’ to Extend Deadlines (Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2024): Discusses an “extension without penalty” model used by Mark A. Sarvary for a large intro biology course.

An Unsung Benefit of Peer Feedback (Patricia A. Dunn, Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2024): When students respond to each other’s writing, it’s often more helpful to the responders than the receivers.

Four Practical Tips for Creating Leaders in the Classroom (Rachel Elms, Faculty Focus, April 1, 2024): Too often, faculty practice traditional bureaucratic pedagogies that neither model nor develop the values and skills that students need to become transformational leaders. What if our goals in the classroom included leadership development and our syllabi contained an inclusive tone with listed course activities that support professional development?

How to Escape Grading Jail (Kevin Gannon, Chronicle of Higher Education): In an older article from the CHE, Gannon suggests that In the end-of-the-semester crush, our students don’t do their best work in all-night cram sessions, and neither do we.

All Things AI

Bridging the AI Divide: A Call to Action (Adela de la Torre and James Frazee, Inside Higher Ed, April 4, 2024): Leaders must take steps to prevent low-income and first-gen students from falling further behind.

Two short audios from Lew Ludwig’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” this week, one on “Tips on Writing with AI” (1:57 min.) and the second wondering why 60% of faculty steer clear of using it (5:24 min.).

Free Speech and Academic Freedom

Pluralism Conference Draws Campus Leaders Amid Israel-Gaza War (Sara Weissman, Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2024): The Washington, D.C. conference brought together university leaders eager for answers on promoting civil discourse amid ongoing student protests over the conflict.

A veritable riot of articles on speech and academic freedom policies this week. Among others: Student Activism Is Integral to the Mission of Academe (Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2024);  A Public University Wants to Prevent ‘Disruptive Activities.’ That’s Complicated (Maggie Hicks, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2024); Michigan’s New Protest Policy Is a Scandal (Silke-Maria Weineck, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2024) – a policy the Michigan’s president has now put on hold – and  Activist Professors at Columbia and Barnard Are Botching Free Speech (Jonathan Rieder, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2024). You can also go back to Private Colleges Hope New Speech Policies Will Keep the Peace (Maggie Hicks, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 28, 2024), which, if posed as a question, has probably already been answered in the negative.

DEI Issues

Is Pluralism the Next DEI? (J. Brian Charles, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2024): At a convening, college leaders discuss ways they can proactively teach students to engage and see past identity.

Black Scholars Face Anonymous Accusations in Anti-DEI Crusade (Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, April 1, 2024): Since right-wing firebrand Christopher Rufo helped bring down Harvard’s president, at least seven more scholars—most of them Black—have confronted accusations of plagiarism or research misconduct spread by conservative media. [See, as well, ‘Weaponization of Plagiarism’ or Rigorous Standards Behind Provost’s Ouster? (Kathryn Palmer, Inside Higher Ed, April 5, 2024): Anonymous tips about inaccurate citations on the CV of Clayton State University’s first Black female provost led to her firing. Some observers believe the complaints were motivated by more than earnest concern for academic integrity.]

Mental Health Issues

Decision and Resource Tree Aids in Supporting Student Mental Health (Ashley Mowreader, Inside Higher Ed, April 5, 2024): One document colleges and universities can create to help faculty and staff respond to students’ wellness concerns is a resource tree that includes relevant details to guide referrals.

Future Imperfect…

America Has Legislated Itself Into Competing Red, Blue Versions of Education (Hannah Natanson, Lauren Tierney, and Clara Ence Morse, Washington Post, April 4, 2024): Three-fourths of the nation’s school-aged students are now educated under state-level measures that either require more teaching on issues like race, racism, history, sex and gender (34%), or which sharply limit or fully forbid such lessons (66%).

Landry Wants Scholarships Stripped from Athletes Absent During National Anthem (Piper Hutchinson, Louisiana Illuminator, April 2, 2024): The Louisiana governor has sent letters to each of the state’s higher-education boards asking that they rescind scholarships to athletes not present when the anthem is played.

Graduate Students Went on Strike. Then a Dean Suggested That Professors Use AI to Keep Classes Going (Sonel Cutler, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 2024): Boston University clarified that no one believes artificial intelligence can replace graduate-student teaching assistants.

Michigan Legislator Misidentifies Gonzaga Basketball Buses as ‘Illegal Invaders’ (James Hanlon, Gonzaga Spokesman-Review, March 28, 2024): The team, which made it to the Sweet 16, will travel with a police escort. This follows an incident which forced the Utah women’s basketball team playing in the NCAA tournament to abandon a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, hotel after what their coach described as “racial hate crimes” (Erin Alberty, Axios, March 26, 2024).

Extra Credit Reading

Colleges Are Lawyering Up to Avoid Becoming the Next Harvard (Hailey Fuchs, Politico, April 3, 2024): Risks include tax policy, huge endowments at the wealthiest institutions, and a host of culture-war wedges.

How Chinese Students Experience America (Peter Hessler, New Yorker, April 1, 2024): COVID, guns, anti-Asian violence, and diplomatic relations have complicated the ambitions of the some 300,000 college students who come to the U.S. each year.

The Triumph of ‘Equity’ Over ‘Equality’ (Darrin M. McMahon, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2024): Academic ideals have shifted in recent decades.

The Activist Academy (Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed, April 1, 2024): A new era of engaged scholarship and teaching.

More Than 5 Million American Students Went on Study Abroad This Century (Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 2024): More than 100 countries hosted at least one American student every year, but Britain, Italy, and Spain were perennial favorite destinations, according to an analysis of decades of data.

Ordinary Winners (Paul Musgrave, Systematic Hatreds-Substack, March 27, 2024): We want students to succeed. How much counts?

On the Bookshelf

Lorraine Daston, Rules: A Short History of What We Live By (Princeton, 2022): Daston uncovers three enduring kinds of rules: the algorithms that calculate and measure, the laws that govern, and the models that teach. Reviewed by Rob Lucas (From Thick to Thin) in New Left Review (Jan/Feb 2024).

Have a short article or some news related to teaching and learning at your institution that you’d like to share with colleagues? Send your contribution along to us. Also, please email Colleen Monahan Smith ( if you have colleagues who would like to receive this weekly report.

Steven Volk (, Editor

GLCA/GLAA Consortium for Teaching and Learning
   Lew Ludwig (
   Colleen Monahan Smith (

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