In the last year, the UIC Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs undertook a huge project: founding the Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities. The Center (TLC for short) offers UIC faculty a place to explore new ideas and practices in teaching. In the search for peer mentors, TLC has selected three UIC Business faculty members - Richard Thomas, Michael Popowits and Anthony Corte - to serve as Master Teaching Scholars for the 2015-16 academic year.
Thomas, Popowits and Corte along with the other Master Teaching Scholars will have the fall to begin creating the resources that TLC will offer UIC faculty. “A lot of my work is in professional presence and communication," said Professor Thomas. "I want to explore this work with UIC faculty from across the disciplines.” Thomas' own experience ranges widely, from teaching to litigation to improvisational theatre.
Asked whether his Second City work will influence his work for TLC, Thomas responded, “Improvisation is a pedagogy with a lot of applications beyond the stage.” Thomas sees the college classroom as one of those applications. “An improvisational approach to teaching is one where you go in everyday to discover things with students, an approach where, as Tony Bennett says, you never sing a song the same way twice. Critical thinking, analysis, creativity, self-discipline, connection with others - they're all in play.”
Corte, whose business background is in management, has over twenty years of teaching experience. “Before I came to UIC, I was very involved in integrating technology into the classroom. I’m interested in how technology can ‘flip the classroom’, so that readings and lectures take place outside of class, allowing teachers to devote class time to applying newly acquired knowledge.”
The UIC Business blog will follow the Master Teaching Scholars as their work develops over the year. For more information about the Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities, visit tlc.uic.edu.