Episode 2: Just Be Where Your Feet Are: Student Belonging and Flourishing on Campus

Guests: Professor John D. Dunne and Dr. Tony Chambers

In this episode, we explore the connection between belonging, student wellbeing, and inclusive teaching. John D. Dunne, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative Humanities in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, shares inclusive teaching strategies grounded in meditative practice from the popular Art and Science of Human Flourishing course. And we hear from Dr. Tony Chambers, Director of Equity, Innovation, and Inclusion at the Center for Healthy Minds, who discusses challenges and opportunities for instructors looking to foster a sense of belonging in their classrooms.

See the transcript for this episode.

Related Episode: To hear more, listen to our extended conversations with Professor John Dunne in Bonus! Episode 3 and with Dr. Tony Chambers in Bonus! Episode 5.

Join the Conversation

How did this episode make you think? What’s on your mind about inclusive teaching? Leave us a message on Spotify for Podcasters, respond to a poll using the Spotify app on your mobile device, reply with a comment at the bottom of this post, or send us an email. We may ask to feature your contribution in this or a future episode.

Conversation Starters

  1. Think of a time you felt out of place or like you didn’t belong. How did you feel? How likely were you to ask for help or share your opinion?
  2. Many worthwhile and successful pursuits in life involve failure along the way. How does your course help students see failure as part of a normal learning process?
  3. How often do students do things together in your classroom? Are there opportunities to give students time, space, and direction to regularly collaborate – even for just 5 minutes?
  4. This episode presents four pillars that are essential to wellbeing and belonging: Awareness, Connection, Insight, and Purpose. Are there opportunities to weave one or more of these into the learning experience you offer to students?

Further Reading & Resources

In this episode we mentioned, were inspired by, or wondered about the following resources and topics.

  • Mark your calendar for Thursday, May 18 to attend the Teaching and Learning Symposium on “Fostering Belonging, Bridging Divides” with keynote speaker Geoffrey Cohen.
  • The School of Education’s Discussion Project offers several trainings per year focused on actionable, evidence-based practices that support productive classroom discussion.
  • L&S TAs can give and receive teaching feedback and build connections through a flexible and individualized program called Peer Observation Partners (POP).
  • L&S instructors can request a classroom observation from the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring, or access resources on peer observation from the Teaching Academy to use with a colleague.
  • Learn more about how research into wellbeing at UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds is having an impact, from the local level to the global scale. And check out a specific example in action in the Art and Science of Human Flourishing course.
  • Use the Healthy Minds Program App to ground yourself through guided activities that support mindfulness, connection, and compassion. Consider if the app or activities can also support your students and your classroom community.
  • One Cool Thing that’s got Tony Chambers “jazzed” is the Center for Black Excellence and Culture, a community-based initiative in Madison that is supporting health and wellness in the Black community. Learn more in our forthcoming extended interview with Tony.
  • Professor Dunne cited a resource he uses to help students consider what “flourishing” means: Cahn, S. M., & Vitrano, C. (2015). Happiness and Goodness: Philosophical Reflections on Living Well. Columbia University Press. Available through the UW Libraries.
  • Are you curious about instructional spaces that support active or collaborative learning? Instructors can  explore WiSCEL or request general assignment classrooms with a “Collaborative Learning Setup.” The latter is a requestable classroom attribute, and these spaces are supported by Classroom Media Services.
  • Review active learning protocols that can work in a variety of settings, including lecture halls. See Engaging Students in a Traditional Classroom from the CTLM.

Shout Outs

Thank you to Associate Dean DeVon Wilson and L&S Elevate for furthering conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in L&S. Check out their January 22 episode for more background information about Dr. Tony Chambers and his work.

Production Credits

Producer: David Macasaet
Associate Producer: Molly Harris
Audio Engineer: David Macasaet
Audio Editor: David Macasaet
WiscWeb Administrator: Laura Schmidli
Post-Production & Studio Support: Erika Schock
Development Producer: Jonathan Klein
Planning Group: Jonathan Klein, David Macasaet, Molly Harris, Laura Schmidli, Erika Schock, Antonella Caloro
Social Media Support: L&S Strategic Communications
Executive Sponsorship: Shirin Malekpour

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