Redefining Learning & Teaching

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn. –Latin proverb

We're proud to educate the future skilled workforce of Colorado and the nation with world-class professors, state-of-the-art facilities, and dynamic hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

See examples of how we are redefining teaching and learning in the classroom, the community, the nation and the world by clicking a photo below.

Redefining Learning & Teaching: the Classroom


At the heart of the learning and teaching process is the CU-Boulder classroom, where more than 3,400 courses are taught in 150 fields of study.

College of Music student Derek Hebert (right) rehearses middle school students as part of the Trying on Teaching program. The program creates a mentoring and hands-on teaching experience for high school students in order to attract high-quality candidates to music education. Trying on Teaching was developed by James Austin, professor of music education, and Peter Miksza, assistant professor of music education.

Applied mathematics instructor Mary Nelson focuses on integrating active learning components into math and science courses to make the concepts more understandable and accessible to students. She has found that when freshman calculus students are encouraged to talk about the subject's concepts in small discussion groups, they are more likely to pass the class. "The awareness of the process of learning is a critical ingredient to successful learning," said Nelson.

Associate professor of classics Elspeth Dusinberre gained much of her knowledge in the field, digging in archaeological sites in Greece, Egypt, and Turkey. At CU-Boulder, she has applied a novel approach to teaching, using a variety of instructional techniques—including multimedia and the Internet—to bring the ancient world to life for her students. Dusinberre tells her students that "the emphasis should be on your learning, not on my teaching. After all, it is what you get out of a course that really matters."

Redefining Learning & Teaching: the Community


In 2010, Senior Instructor Susan Morley was influential in getting the Tax Help Colorado program up and running at the Leeds School of Business. The program offers free tax help to low-income individuals and families as part of an expanding statewide partnership with The Piton Foundation and other Colorado colleges—while providing undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on training and experience with tax returns.

Professor of planning and design Willem van Vliet helped develop a local children's initiative called Growing Up Boulder (right). This initiative is a partnership with the City of Boulder, the Boulder Valley School District, and many non-profit organizations that focuses on making Boulder a more inclusive place for children and youth of all income levels, abilities, and ethnicities. It gives children a voice in creating places in Boulder that make young people feel recognized and valued.

Colorado Law's Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) provides law students with practical experience in transactional law. The clinic's clients include graduate students, professors, local entrepreneurs, and start-up companies. Thirdyear law students staff the clinic under the joint supervision of a full-time clinician and attorneys from top law firms in Boulder and Denver. They provide legal advice on a wide range of businesslaw issues, including entity formation, intellectual property, employment, and contracts.

Redefining Learning & Teaching: the Nation


From 2007 to 2010, linguistics professor David Rood and students in the linguistics master's degree program recorded and permanently archived Lakota conversational data (right, from left: Babette Thin Elk, Gwendolyn Holmes, Della Bad Wound, David Rood, and Charles Thode). Della, of Denver, is a Lakota elder and professional research associate who helped with the project and provided support for the students.

Assistant journalism professor Nabil Echchaibi, associate director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture, is writing a cultural history for Muslims in the Rocky Mountain region. He and his students are producing a documentary, Muslims in the Rockies, based on interviews with communities in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. "We want the local story," Echchaibi said. "Our research is part of that new consciousness that Islam is also an American story."

Chancellor Philip DiStefano affirmed to President Obama in 2010 that CU-Boulder would help fulfill a national shortage in math and science teachers. DiStefano was one of four public research university leaders invited to the White House to represent universities nationwide that have pledged to double the number of science and math teachers who graduate by 2015. During the visit, Obama praised CU's innovative programs.

Redefining Learning & Teaching: the World


In 2010, professor of education Shelby A. Wolf (right) completed a three-year research project, Looking for Change, with the Tate Modern museum in London. The project focuses on the "imaginative continuum" in young children and how that can be stretched to even greater capacity, not only through viewing the work of professional artists but through the children's own creative endeavors. She co-designed a resource to help teachers use the art in galleries and museums to enhance curricular goals and is writing a book about her research.

Núria Silleras-Fernández, an assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese and a Catalan native, has brought the study of Catalan language and culture to CU-Boulder for the first time this year. Catalan is a romance language spoken in four European countries: Spain, France, Italy, and the Principality of Andorra. Additionally, an interdisciplinary course titled Barcelona: Understanding Local and Immigrant Cultures will be taught in Barcelona in 2011. CU is one of only 13 U.S. universities to have a program in Catalan language and culture.

Architectural engineering students in Senior Instructor Sandra Vásconez's Sustainable Lighting Workshop were challenged to create low-cost lighting kits that could be used by families in Afghanistan who either do not have access to electricity or who experience extended blackouts. The winning prototype consisted of a simple incandescent lamp retrofitted in a kerosene lantern and powered by a hand crank and battery pack. Six Afghan scholars served as resources to the students and helped to make up the final evaluation team.