67 Not In the Caboose

Keith Charpentier

Summer 2019

To begin my reflection of the CPLC thus far I share an experience I had with a superintendent I worked for. He was hired to revamp a failing school district (the one I was employed at).  This required a complete shift in pedagogical thinking not just for curriculum but also for attitudes of its faculty and staff.  At our first administrative cabinet meeting, he announced to his team, “The train, ladies and gentlemen, is leaving the station and I recommend you not be in the caboose.”

How does that relate to PSU and the Cluster Pedagogy Learning Community? PSU, over the last several years under the leadership of our President, is putting into place a new way of thinking and learning for our students as well as its faculty and staff.  The CPLC is a big part of that plan.

I have had the privilege of being involved over the past two summers in the development of the new FYS (First Year Seminar) class, now TWP (Tackling a Wicked Problem).  Having this opportunity to work with a talented group of practitioners, sharing ideas, philosophies, developing activities as well as “outside” professionals has helped shape my thinking in order to provide my students the best learning experience my course can offer.

The Habits of Mind are not only the Foundation of the TWP course, but also serve as the new mission and vision for PSU.  After spending the past two summers involved in the Fellowship Program and the CPLC, this has become my “frame of mind” when developing activities as well as lectures for my students.  These Habits of Mind can/will shape a new way of thinking and processing information and situations in our students lives.  One of the underlying goals of the CPLC is to promote these Habits of Mind.

My plan over the coming year is to not only attend and participate in as many meetings and focus groups as I can, but to spread the word about the CPLC and encourage my colleagues to join next year’s Summer Institute and to take advantage of the CoLab.

As an adjunct/teacher lecturer with minimal time on campus, some aspect of my commitment maybe limited due to contact with my colleagues.

“The train is leaving the station,” here at PSU with a new and refreshing direction for its students, families, and staff and I, for one, will not be in the caboose.


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