Teachers — and Yale's president — become the students during Faculty Bulldog Days

During Faculty Bulldog Days, it’s the teachers’ turn to learn.
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President Peter Salovey, who attended a history of art class by associate professor Jacqueline Jung during Faculty Bulldog Days, said, "For me it was a fascinating experience to see the classroom from a new vantage point ..." (Photo by Michael Marsland)

During Faculty Bulldog Days, it’s the teachers’ turn to learn.

They attend classes, complete required reading, and participate in discussions — all the while, soaking in new and different teaching methodologies. It’s an event that began last semester and has grown to include more than 180 faculty members who either opened their classroom, attended other classes, or both.

This time around, there were sociologists visiting film studies classes and a physicist sitting in on a women’s, gender and sexuality studies class. There were biologists learning about psychology and anthropologists taking a page from radiology and biomedical imaging.

And if anyone needs further proof that innovative teaching is treasured at Yale, they need look no further than President Peter Salovey, who took the opportunity become a student for a day.

Salovey’s course selection for Faculty Bulldog Days was a history of art class taught by Jacqueline Jung. The class met at the Yale University Art Gallery; Salovey sat near the front row.

“The Faculty Bulldog Days program is wonderful in that it opens up conversations among faculty members — and perhaps students, too — about the wide variety of innovative teaching that is happening all over our campus,” Salovey said. “For me, it was a fascinating experience to see the classroom from a new vantage point, and to think about how I might employ some of Professor Jung’s strategies in my own teaching. I wish I could have sat in on all 100-plus courses that were offered, but I was intrigued by the chance to brush up on my knowledge of a pivotal period in the history of art and its reflection of the politics and culture of the time.”

Faculty Bulldog Days took place Oct. 26-30, in lecture halls and classrooms across campus. For its second edition, the event expanded beyond the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to include faculty from the School of Management and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

“There’s a recognition that this is a good idea,” said Jennifer Frederick, executive director of the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, which organizes Faculty Bulldog Days. “People want it to continue. Quite a number of new faculty signed up, both to open their classes and to attend other classes.”

Frederick said now that faculty members have become more familiar with the Faculty Bulldog Days concept, they’re making specific requests for the types of teaching methodologies they want to see in action. Several participants wanted to visit “flipped” classes, for example — in which lectures are viewed online before class and class time emphasizes projects and discussion.

Other teaching elements highlighted by Faculty Bulldog Days include better ways to engage students during a lecture and novel methods of using interactive technology.

“The idea is to make teaching a community property on campus, to make the innovative teaching that happens in our classrooms part of the campus dialog,” said Scott Strobel, deputy provost for teaching and learning.

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Media Contact

Jim Shelton: james.shelton@yale.edu, 203-361-8332