Better Teaching Seminars

Better Teaching Seminars
presented by the Faculty Senate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice


About The Faculty Senate's Better Teaching Seminars
The Faculty Senate's Better Teaching Seminars play an integral role in fostering John Jay's culture of teaching and learning. The Better Teaching Seminars, which the Faculty Senate has sponsored since 1988 and which are supported by the Office of the Provost, are faculty development seminars offered by John Jay faculty for their colleagues on the faculty.

The underlying philosophy of the Better Teaching Seminars is that John Jay has resident experts among the faculty who can share their knowledge of pedagogy with their colleagues. This approach is very different from the traditional college faculty development program in which colleges pay outside "experts" to teach the teachers. Instead, John Jay's own experts generously share their ideas, knowledge, and experiences about the art of teaching with their colleagues.

In addition to being excellent and dedicated teachers, the faculty who conduct the Better Teaching Seminars are knowledgeable about John Jay's curriculum, special mission, and student body, which is invaluable for a truly effective faculty development experience and program. The Better Teaching Seminars epitomize collegiality of the highest order and the large numbers of faculty who attend these seminars are evidence of the faculty's commitment to their students and to the art and practice of effective teaching.

To date, the Faculty Senate has presented more than 100 Better Teaching Seminars combining philosophical deliberation and debate with practical hands-on instruction about such topics as: collaborative learning techniques; assigning and teaching 'inflammatory' texts; designing assignments to improve critical thinking; the educational needs of in-service students; determining the final course grade; designing research projects; holistic methods of grading; preventing plagiarism; incorporating computing into the curriculum; dealing with hate speech in the classroom; the educational needs of freshmen; sexual harassment in the classroom and in the workplace; legal and pedagogical issues of students with a disability; incorporating issues of multi-culturalism; classroom decorum; the characteristics of a good teacher; the experiences of the female student; teaching John Jay's required ethnic studies course; using the World Wide Web to develop curricular materials; mentoring students who wish to attend law school.

Although designed for faculty, the Better Teaching Seminar on mentoring students who hope to attend law school generated so much interest among John Jay's students that this topic has been repeated every semester for the past several years and is attended not only by faculty but also by large numbers of students, both undergraduate and graduate. At each presentation, the panelists include both John Jay faculty who are experts in this area, many of whom are themselves law school graduates, as well as recent John Jay graduates who are currently attending law school and who report their experiences of having been mentored while at John Jay, of applying to law school, and of attending law school. Both the panel discussion and the question and answer session of these special Better Teaching Seminars are videotaped and the tapes are available in the John Jay Library where they can be viewed by students, faculty, and alumni.

The topics and dates for the Fall 2003 Better Teaching Seminars will be posted shortly. For further information and for those interested in proposing Better Teaching Seminar topics and for those interested in presenting a Better Teaching Seminar, please email the Coordinator of the Better Teaching Seminars for the Faculty Senate, Professor Karen Kaplowitz, at kkaplowitz@jjay.cuny.edu or call her at 212: 237-8724.