Teach in Scholars Studio

Scholars Studio is an integrated, problem-based learning community that engages students in real-world experiences. Scholars Studio participants enroll in 2-4 common courses that are linked through shared assignments and co-curricular activities. Faculty members who teach in Scholars Studio meet regularly to discuss course integration and student progress. They work with other faculty and Scholar's Studio Staff to reflect on and refine their teaching practices to provide a responsive, student-centered experience.

For more information, download our Faculty Information Brochure.

Ready to teach in Scholars Studio or want to learn more? Fill out our interest form

 

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Studio Structure

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Each studio focuses on a specific topic, theme or social issue.  Instructors tailor some assignments and co-curricular activities to examine the discipline and course content through the lens of the selected topic.  Scholars Studio supports students’ academic growth with engaged faculty, peer mentors, supplemental instructors, and a librarian. Students are assessed individually and in groups using a variety of methods, including essays, research papers, proposals, poster presentations, debates, and reflections including journals, drawings, poems, performances, video blogs, etc.

Department chairs approve the course and instructor for each Studio section.  Courses in the same Studio are coordinated to meet consecutively, creating a time block for scheduled co-curricular experiences. Courses are taught to allow students to learn the discipline while exploring an issue of social, political, or economic relevance.  Discipline and curricular integrity are maintained by the course instructor with usual departmental oversight and accountability.

Most Studio course sections are limited to 24 seats, except where 2 Studios have common courses and themes taught by the same instructor.  In this case, a course section can have up to 48 students. 

Sample Studios

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Here are a few of the Studios we've offered in the past:

The New Jim Crow: SOCI 101, PSYC 101, ENGL 101, FRSE 101 (an exploration of the sociological and psychological dimensions of mass incarceration)

The Crownsville Project: ENGL 101, MATH 127, MGMT 101, FRSE 101 (an investigation of Crownsville Hospital's treatment of African Americans, placed within the broader context of medical apartheid in the United States. Students were challenged to create land use proposals for the hospital grounds).

Orange is the New Black: SOCI 101, CRJU 201, FRSE 101 (an exploration of women in the criminal justice system)

Thick and Hard: SOCI 101, FRSE 101, PSYC 101 (a study of gender and social norms)

Mind Your Body: ENGL 101, PSYC 101, FRSE 101, MATH 141 (an exploration of the mind-body connection)

 

Faculty Think Tank

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The Faculty Think Tank is an interdisciplinary collaboration of learning community faculty. The Think Tank provides a space for faculty members to consider both the philosophical and practical dimensions of teaching and learning. In this space, faculty help one another bring their aspirations for teaching and learning to life, troubleshoot problems, and discuss student progress. Faculty Think Tank members may choose to use this forum to engage in collaborative research related to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Faculty Think Tanks are scheduled bi-weekly during the academic year. 

 

FAQs

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The learning community format encourages faculty to make pedagogical changes, explore alternative forms of assessment, and incorporate readings, activities, and discussions that will help students understand the themes they are exploring. BSU faculty typically carry heavy course loads and may feel that they do not have enough support and time to make the required changes. How does Scholars Studio address this issue? 

We recognize the commitment and effort that faculty members invest to build quality learning communities. To ease their transition and support faculty growth, we offer a yearly planning retreat, bi-weekly meetings throughout the semester, and individual consultations as needed. Scholars Studio helps faculty build their tenure/promotion portfolio by offering opportunities to participate in research and formally acknowledging faculty with a certificate of service.

Do learning communities change course curricula, a process that must be vetted by the Curriculum Committee? 

The simple answer is no. Teaching in learning communities requires that faculty members make pedagogical changes; however, "what" they teach remains the same. Learning communities add context to the curriculum, offer students opportunities to experience the phenomena and theories they are studying, and help them make connections across disciplines.

Students enrolled in learning communities are required to register for all classes in the community. To be most effective, these courses will need to be blocked. How will Scholars Studio handle the course scheduling and registration process?

Scholars Studio staff hope to work with the Registrar to develop a "one click" course registration process through People Soft. This will eliminate potential confusion that registering for individual sections may cause. Blocked scheduling may ultimately benefit both faculty and students. It will allow faculty more flexibility and provide dedicated time for field experiences and other co-curricular activities. The impact of block scheduling will be relegated to Scholars Studio learning communities. Scholar's Studio staff will work closely with Chairs to determine the best schedules.