Q: How is creativity important to your work as a professor?
A: Every time I set an objective about what I want my students to learn, I need to think creatively about how I’m going to help them reach that goal. There isn’t one learning path or activity that is right. I often need multiple paths because of the diversity of learners, and I find it exciting that there are endless possibilities I might design or “borrow” from some other instructor. I might decide to have students draw a model, solve a problem or even role play. Creative folks take risks, and teaching is about taking risks and determining what works best for you and your students.
Q: What gets your creative juices flowing?
A: First, I need to be inspired — that usually comes from having a problem I feel needs to be solved or by being surrounded by other folks who I admire. Then, I need time. I can’t be rushed in between emails and household responsibilities. I need to carve out time for creative thinking.
Q: What’s your biggest “fail?” How and what did you learn from that experience?
A: My biggest fails in teaching often revolve around technology. I tend to take risks with classroom technology. I sometimes find myself in the middle of a semester with a new technology and I realize it is not functioning with 400-plus students the way I envisioned. In the past, I stressed more about failure like this. I’ve learned to not give much weight for student grades associated with a new technology so I can still have the freedom to explore and abort if need be. I now acknowledge that I can never foresee the challenges that come with scaling up a new tool for the masses. I guess I’ve learned to accept failure as part of the process!
Kelly A Hogan
Director of Instructional Innovation, College of Arts and Sciences
Senior STEM Lecturer, Department of Biology