Teaching and Creativity Center
The Teaching and Creativity Center's mission is to enable faculty to increase teaching effectiveness and inspire innovation within a diverse community. We promote the scholarship of teaching and learning, helping faculty members engage in reflective dialogue, and apply current research to actual practice. The TCC works to foster an environment for faculty to exchange ideas and resources, to assist with course and lesson development, and to help faculty members enhance and develop their skills.
We are currently housed on the Brighton Campus in Building 12, Room 201. The TCC is also located in room 404 at the Downtown Campus.
Every year we have conversations, the Downtown Fall Forum, and the June Teaching and Learning Conference centered around our theme.
2021-2022 TCC Theme
Pedagogies of Care
“The student is infinitely more important than the subject matter.” (Nel Noddings, from Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, p. 176)
When the TCC settled on Committing to Equity-Minded Pedagogy as our theme for last year, we did so with this important understanding: that the focus would not be a one-off. It is with that in mind that the TCC offers this year’s programming theme as an extension of equity work: Pedagogies of Care.
By looking closely at pedagogic care and what that means specifically within higher education, including all the ways in which individuals and institutions fall short, we hope to bring care—as a value, an ethic, a practice, and an essential outcome—out of the periphery. That we tend to categorize some disciplines and professions as caring and others not, shows how easy it is to see care as secondary to whatever we consider to be our “real” jobs or institutional mission.
Care ethics and care in education as a practice of justice, hope, and transformation are not new concepts. Much of the scholarship about care in education is centered on childhood and adolescent education, and it’s only recently that the concept of care in higher education is being studied—perhaps because it’s usually not seen as “rigorous” or “academic.” Perhaps because care is often disparaged as hand-holding or coddling (which in turn are perceived as too “feminine” and “touchy-feely” for academe). Or even perhaps because care, or caring, is perceived as something innate or automatic for teachers. But it’s not innate, nor is it guaranteed. And as we’ve seen, both the immediate disruption caused by COVID and the lingering impacts as the pandemic continues over 1.5 years later make it clear that policies and practices that are not rooted in care (of others, of self) will exacerbate existing inequities and systemic dysfunction. And if we place a statute of limitations on caring practices, if we treat them as one-offs, as temporary measures to be discarded in favor of some eventual “return to normal,” then we will have missed an opportunity to “be better,” as Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., implored us last year.
The theme of care raises key questions for reflection, both individually and collectively:
- What does genuine, deep care mean as a pedagogical ethic and practice, and what does it not mean?
- Do we perceive some people (students, employees, colleagues) as “deserving” of care and others as not, or as less deserving? What do we base those notions on?
- At institutional and departmental levels, as well as within relationships, do we expect care work of some and exempt it of others?
- Where, and how, does care sit at the tangly intersections of race, class, and gender?
- In what ways is care required (for some) but not reciprocated or rewarded professionally?
- What does it mean to care—or belong to a caring profession—in a society that undervalues care?
- What does care look like across the curriculum?
- What does care look like in online spaces?
- Which policies and procedures actively undermine a caring ethic?
- Is care ever harmful, and is there such a thing as “caring too much”? If so, what is the tipping point, and what do we base that on?
- How do we maintain ethical and professional boundaries with students and each other?
- What would a truly equitable, caring campus look like?
The TCC’s programs won’t answer all of those questions, but we hope they spark your interest in learning about Pedagogies of Care.