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Teaching Enhancement Workshop August 2023

"Teaching and the Performance Arts," Wednesday, August 30, 2023 - McGuire Hall

Program | TEW Committee | Past Workshops

As part of an argument by analogy for a claim about the social nature of morality Cheshire Calhoun writes, “Successful teaching only partly depends on successfully executing such tasks as preparing and giving comprehensible lectures and grading fairly. It also depends on class chemistry, students’ willingness to work, their interest in the subject, and the like. These are not tasks. Teaching may fail, owing to these non-task factors… Teaching is a fundamentally social activity” (“Moral Failure” (1999), emphasis added). The performing arts, especially theater and comedy, have much to teach teachers about the communicative, social “non-task” factors involved in successful teaching. This TEW promises to be both practical and fun! 


Schedule of events

9 a.m.

Breakfast - McGuire Hall

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Teaching and the Performance Arts - McGuire Hall

Adam Ruben, molecular biologist, story-teller and comedian, will illuminate the ways in which the skills of the stand-up comedian can be deployed in classroom contexts to improve student engagement and learning. As, science-comedian Kasha Patel puts it, “the basis for good stand-up comedy is also the basis for good communication in general.” For over 20 years, Adam Ruben has performed at clubs, colleges, and private venues across North America and Europe, including at some of the best-known storytelling shows and comedy clubs. He also teaches an undergraduate stand-up comedy class that has quickly become one of the most popular January “Intersession” courses at Johns Hopkins University.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.


10:45 - 11:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions - Round 1

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions - Round 2


Breakout Sessions Descriptions

1. Who Gets to Joke Around? Humor and Gender Bias in the Classroom - Maryland Hall 241

Standup comedy and other performing arts can provide useful models for teaching, but the effect of humor is very much contingent upon who is telling the joke and who is in the audience. Students bring their biases with them to the classroom and are often inclined not to take a class seriously based on the instructor's identity. Meanwhile, students themselves may respond to humor very differently, feeling "in on the joke" or outside of it because of their own identity. This breakout session will consider the fraught terrain of humor and power in the classroom. What are the pros and cons of teaching with humor? How does an instructor balance this against their authority in the classroom? The session will be led by Loyola faculty who have experience navigating these issues and who are experts in humor studies and communications.

Presenters: June Ellis (English) and Paola Pascual-Ferra (Communication)

2. Using Performance Techniques in Teaching - Black Box Theater (behind Starbucks)

While some might thing of “acting” as pretending to be someone you are not, and therefore inherently false, the basic skills/techniques of the actor can be useful when presenting material to students and interacting with them. Skills like responsiveness, reaction, and improvisation can apply to “real” life and do not necessarily imply an ungenuine approach. Many instructors employ these strategies unconsciously, but this activity can be strengthened by a careful examination of the steps in the process and how each relates to teaching. This session breaks down the basic techniques used by the actor, introducing exercises taken from the acting classroom and applying them to sample teaching scenarios. Participants will also be invited to consider/discuss how these techniques can apply to their own specific teaching situations.

Presenter: James Bunzli (Visual and Performing Arts/Theatre)

3. Pedagogical Responses to Generative AI (ChatGPT, Caktus, etc.) - Maryland Hall 244

Two faculty members will showcase the use of ChatGPT and other generative AI across 3 different courses. They will share insights from students using AI/ChatGPT for their assignments, as well as instructor observations and recommendations for those that want to integrate it and don't want to integrate it, including a statement for syllabi (which they have already implemented).

Presenters: Irene Bal (Educational Technology) and Kelly Keane (Education Technology)

12:30 p.m.


1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Afternoon Sessions

Digital Teaching Fellows Spotlight

Members of the most recent cohort of Digital Pedagogy Fellows will demonstrate effective uses of technology from various disciplinary lenses. Come get some new ideas and benefit from your colleagues’ expertise.

Presenters: Tuugi Chuluun (Finance), Suzanne Keilson (Engineering), and Billy Friebele (Studio Arts)

Beatty Hall 108

Refresher on Fernandez Tech (drop in and trouble-shooting)

Teaching in Fernandez or Beatty for the first time? Teaching there again, but you’d like to make sure you are not fumbling around on the first day of classes? A member of the Tech Services team will be on hand to offer guidance to anyone who wants to pop in and practice with various tech features they plan to use. There will be no formal presentation or overview; rather instructors are invited to drop by and try things for themselves to ensure a smooth first week of classes.

Beatty Hall 112 and Beatty Hall 114

Teaching Enhancement Committee Members, 2023-24 

  • Mavis Biss, Co-Chair (Philosophy) 
  • Irem Demirkan (Management and Organizations)
  • Carrie Horwitz Lang, Co-Chair (Teacher Education)
  • Stephen Park (English)
  • Brianne Roos (Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences)
  • Andrew Schoeffield (Biology)
  • Beth Kotchick (Psychology /Academic Affairs), ex officio

Past Teaching Enhancement Workshops

January 2023: Level Up Your Teaching

August 2022: The Joy of Teaching

January 2022: What are my Students Thinking?

September 2021: Stepping Through the Portal: Rebuilding Community

January 2021: Best Use of Zoom and Classroom Sessions

August 2020: Planning for Fall 2020: Classroom Trial Sessions

January 2020: Teaching for Active Citizenship

August 2019: Reflection on Student Learning and Teaching Practice

January 2019: Motivation: Theory in Action

August 2018: Approaching Challenging Topics in the Classroom

January 2018: High-Impact Teaching Practices Using Digital Pedagogy

August 2017: Student-Driven Learning and High-Impact Learning Practices

January 2017: Evidence-Based Teaching Practices

August 2016: Race in the College Classroom

January 2016: Modes of Engagement

August 2015: Inclusive Teaching and Loyola's Diversifying Student Body

January 2015: The Jesuit Mission, In Action

August 2014: Beyond Words: The Power of Nonverbal Communication in Teaching