My motivation for applying to the CPLC was to stay involved in The Conversation as we reshape PSU— because I want to play a role in keeping our university vital and viable. One perk of involvement is that I now better understand some important abbreviations we all use on this campus: HoM, OER, DoOO, and etc. I also appreciated the takeaways from Cathy Davidson’s (2017) book: Our students need soft skills learned through collaboration and active learning. They need experiences that culminate in meaningful work that connects with/contributes to the world outside their classrooms. They will be navigating “a world in flux,” and they don’t just need to master what an expert outlines for them. Instead, they need to become experts themselves (and understand how to do that). Through my time in the CPLC, I better understand how these principles are embedded in cluster learning.
My other motivation connects to writing center praxis. I’ve always thought our model of staff development was student-centered, but after reading Thomson-Bunn’s (2014) thoughts on defining critical pedagogy, I’m not so sure. Thomson-Bunn cautions that “we may be content to think of critical pedagogy as student-centered, liberating education, and leave it at that, but the power we have won’t disappear just because we choose to ignore it.” At the PSU Writing Center, our shared responsibility for staff development is implicit but not explicit. Maybe we need to start each year by defining our terms and our goals. How do we want to learn? What do we want to learn? Staff should feel the Writing Center is a democracy, and in turn, so should the writers who use our services.
I’m also looking forward to working with Matty as we establish a staff development group. I’m not sure what this will look like. Will it be a reflective practice group specifically for staff? Or will we meet on an as-needed basis to help staff with PBL to enhance their professional development? In any case, I look forward to the adventure, and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to be part of important campus conversations in the past several months.