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Skidmore College
Center for Leadership, Teaching and Learning (CLTL)

IdeaLab Proposals

IdeaLab, including a 2-day innovative pedagogy retreat.

  1. Together with the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning, the IdeaLab Steering Committee is sponsoring an overnight retreat at the Mirror Lake Inn for faculty interested in taking concrete steps towards making their own courses more innovative, and to shaping the future of innovative pedagogy at Skidmore. The dates for the retreat are May 11-12 and we have two main goals. First, we want to provide faculty with devoted time and support to generate an “innovative pedagogy” course. To this end, the structure of the retreat will include independent working time, workshop time, and opportunities to learn from outside experts on innovative pedagogy. Second, we will discuss how we might position the College at the forefront of the innovative pedagogy movement.  Transportation, food, and lodging will be covered. Participants will also receive a modest stipend, and childcare support is available if needed. Statements of interest should besent to Jess Sullivan by March 6. They should include an explication of the idea/syllabus you’d like to workshop, how we could best support you, and something about why you want to be involved in innovative pedagogy. The IdeaLab Steering Committee will then choose the most promising submissions and contact the participants.
  2. We’re also offering support for faculty interested in proposing “Innovative Pedagogy” courses through the more conventional way, and who cannot attend the retreat. All faculty interested in proposing an IdeaLab-designated course during the 2020-2021 academic year are encouraged to apply. We will offer individual faculty (teaching independently or in teams) $1000 to construct, and then teach, an IL-designated course. The deadline for submitting a statement of interest is also March 6. Those statements should be simple, two-page documents that briefly describe the subject of the course and the imagined innovative pedagogy/design.  The IdeaLab Steering Committee will then select the most promising submissions (please note that we cannot support all submissions). We will then work with the selected faculty member(s) on the proposal and the syllabus, which will eventually go before the Curriculum Committee. All courses must meet the CC requirements; we are here to help guide you through this process.

All of this funding is intended to support faculty interested in “breaking the mold of the traditional course design.”  Right now, we rely heavily on a few conventional course designs.  The most common model, of course, is the 3 or 4-credit 15-week class that meets once, twice, or three times a week.  The AVD/IdeaLab grant asks, what other models could faculty imagine?  Could we imagine courses that are intense for a few weeks and then sunset (the Colorado College model)?  Could we imagine pop up courses? Student initiated courses? Year-long courses?  Courses that continue even after a semester interval?  More importantly, could we imagine courses that are not temporally different, but that “break the mold of traditional course design” nonetheless?  Those types of courses have been elusive in higher education.

Any questions?  Feel free to get in touch with any one of us.  We are excited by the possibilities for new pedagogical paradigms and we look forward to working with you.

IdeaLab Steering Committee:

  • Jess Sullivan (Psychology)
  • Jenny Huangfu Day (History)
  • Beau Breslin (Political Science)