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Transformational Education Initiative

TransEd OpEd

UMass Lowell faculty and its students come together to form an instructional community in which rich, relevant learning is a shared goal. The profiles featured on this site describe just some of innovative classroom approaches and inspirational teaching and learning taking place on our campus. We’ll continue to highlight stories about the exciting developments in our shared instructional community; please let us know if you have an idea for a story we can share.


What's in a Name?

Judy Davidson’s advice column in Faculty Focus this week couldn’t be more timely, arriving just as our rosters firm up at the end of add/drop. When it comes to getting students to engage in the classroom, an environment that makes each student feel essential to the learning process is a powerful asset. Judy’s piece offers a set of concrete tips on how to spend a small amount of time to build a connected team of learners who are ready to speak up, dig in, and support one another throughout the semester. The first step: getting students to know their classmates by name.

The article offers a number of quick-but-powerful suggestions for getting students to make connections with one another through introductions, class discussions, and group work.

Read the full article, "Activities for Helping Students Learn One Another's Name."


The First Day

Read our own John Kaag's article "The First Day," which appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He sets the tone for a productive semester.


A Guiding Hand in the Classroom

John Kaag’s opinion items in "Times Higher Education" are all worth the read; his “Parental Guidance Required” is a short meditation on the complex, competing priorities of academic life.  His conclusion reminds us that the classroom is a place to listen, encourage and connect:

“My daughter has taught me several things that I didn’t learn, or just forgot, in graduate school: that the simplest things are often the most profound, that many kids who have trouble speaking want desperately to communicate, that my writing must matter to a wider public and that I don’t have to be imperially alone in my ivory tower.”