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Congratulations to Dr. Lori Howe who has been selected as the LAMP Fellow of the Month
for September! Dr. Howe is one of twenty-five distinguished LAMP fellows for the 2018-2019
year. Dr. Howe’s LAMP training began during the intensive week-long Summer Institute
held June 4th through the 9th. During this training Lori was immersed in active learning
strategies with a focus on team-based and problem-based learning (TBL and PBL).
With her knowledge of TBL and PBL, Lori immediately designed a first-year summer seminar for our incoming Honors students. The students worked in multidisciplinary groups of three to address one of the world’s greatest problems: climate change, food deserts, equity to public education, nutrition and healthcare. Each student served as a subject matter expert within her or his team. For example, on one student team that investigated rising global CO2 levels, a student majoring in chemistry researched and applied knowledge about ocean acidification and the complex balance of bicarbonate buffering systems. On the same team, a student majoring in economics investigated the economic feasibility of building and city planning for carbon sequestration systems. After their summer immersed in these problems, students gave a public presentation. This presentation was attended by Drs. Donal Skinner and Peter Parolin, the Dean and Associate Dean of the Honors Program. It was also attended by upper-division Honors peer mentors. One of these mentors, Brett Ralston, commented, “You could really tell how much work Lori put in to making her course and how well she thought out the important details. She has a very well-honed social constructivist take on learning that I really value, and that greatly allowed the students to engage with each other’s strengths to form quality works. Lori does a fantastic job at knowing when to let the students learn on their own and also when to step-in to support them. She is truly a great professor to look up to when learning how to teach, and from working with her I have learned so much.”
Dr. Howe’s detailed instructional strategy for the course elucidates the specifics of how she facilitates student’s appreciation of one another strengths. She immerses them in a problem and then asks them to access and assess literature related to this problem from within their specific discipline. She then draws a triangle on the board and tells the students that, “…each side represents one discipline in the group, but each side connects to the other through common nodes at each corner. Your task is to triangulate around the subtopics in this way, connecting the disciplines to generate out of the box thinking that could change the way we look at these sub-topic problems and their potential solutions.” Lori describes this ‘outside the box’ thinking as triangulation.
One of Dr. Howe’s students, Alexandria Williams, commented, “the courses that I've had with Dr. Howe have challenged me to think more of the implications of my degree in comparison to the mere definition of my said discipline. It's provided me valuable insight and implications on problems I don't worry about on a daily basis due to the fact that I have been raised in a time where the constant threat of climate change, terrorism, and what is considered to be equality not equity is common and is considered to be the normal. Being in Lori's class has enabled me to not only open my mind to specific subjects, but open my eyes to a world that I was too blinded by the scope of my specific major to see.”
In teaching a summer course that began before the fall semester had even started, Dr. Howe gave a group of our incoming freshman the opportunity to feel included and valued even before they began. The design of her course, because it looks at those problems that affect disadvantaged groups most profoundly is teaching our honors students to move forward with an education that will liberate! But no-one summarizes this better than Lori herself. When describing her philosophy for instructional design, she states, “My philosophy is that team- and problem-based active learning helps to ameliorate the passive-learner identities many students have developed through previous educational experiences and brings them fully into partnership, accepting a crucial role of responsibility for their educational experiences.”
Dr. Howe plans to present about her summer seminar at the T.A.S.S. (Teaching Academic Survival Skills) conference in Florida in April. In her proposal, Lori states, “[This presentation will take] the audience through the process of creating and piloting an interdisciplinary summer bridge college FYS for newly-graduated high school students. This course moved wholly to student-centered, active learning across many different disciplines…”. Congratulations Dr. Howe, you are a most deserving LAMP Fellow of the Month!
< March,2018| October, 2018>