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Trained to smell danger, Auburn University’s detector dogs are out to save the world. by Suzanne Johnson/photography by Jeff Etheridge
Ice is one unhappy dog. A 1-year-old black Labrador retriever whose exuberance has earned him a reputation as a “madman,” Ice droops with disappointment as he crouches in his kennel-truck compartment. He can’t see what’s going on outside, but his ears quiver and his nose twitches and then the realization hits: his friend Molly has been released from the next kennel and is on the loose. Molly is playing, Ice is locked up, and he howls at the injustice of it all.
Oblivious to her pal’s envy, Molly races around the pavement where the truck is parked. The lot is bare but for six identical shipping containers flanked by a couple of small buildings. Black, silky coat rippling over muscle, long ears flapping in the chilly November breeze, Molly is dancing—prancing really—as she reports for training. Her teacher is Daniel McAfee, a clean-cut young man whose chief attributes, as far as his pupils are concerned, are the whistle he holds in his mouth and the red rubber ball stuffed in his pocket. One short, shrill burst from McAfee’s whistle signals Molly’s metamorphosis from goofy, overgrown puppy into model of alertness. She darts toward the containers, methodically sniffing each one while keeping an eye on McAfee, who directs her with his hands. Another whistle blast, and Molly heads for the nearby buildings, smelling them intently. Next to a pile of debris by the second structure, she lies down, ears alert, almond-brown eyes fixed on the trainer. Molly has found her prey: a hidden explosive. Now it’s time for her reward—a pat on the head and the chance to barrel across the parking lot after the bouncy ball.
Life is good. Molly and her incarcerated friend Ice are among the several dozen dogs, mostly Labrador retrievers, in training at any given time at Auburn University’s Canine and Detection Research Institute. The world’s only facility combining canine detection research, a breeding program and a training center, the CDRI Auburn Magazine For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University
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helps meet the increasing demand among military, civilian security and law enforcement agencies for dogs, training and applied research in canine detection. To Molly and Ice, the seek-and-find exercises with McAfee and the other institute trainers are all about fun. But the dogs will graduate from the Auburn program with skills to rival any superhero— the ability to save the world, or at least a lot of lives, with the sniff of one wet, black nose.
r Future detector dogs spend 10 weeks learning to sniff out drugs and explosives, all for the thrill of a good game of chase.
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Ringed by the Choccolocco foothills of the Appalachians in a forested landscape dotted with historic cemeteries and old iron furnaces, Fort McClellan’s future was uncertain when the army base near Anniston, Ala., fell victim to the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Locals fought to save the base, but ultimately saw the 80-year-old facility close its doors in 1999. In the years since, McClellan has become home to light industry, a large National Guard training facility and the post-9/11 Center for Domestic Preparedness, which trains first-responders in disaster management. In 2001, Auburn signed a 99-year lease on 250 acres to house the Canine and Detection Research Institute, which had outgrown its AU campus facilities. Dogs are not newcomers to detection and law enforcement. Bloodhounds were a staple of 19thcentury Scotland Yard, and the work of dogs in the U.S. military made them World War II heroes. By the mid-1980s, dogs were becoming regular sidekicks to local police. Auburn’s foray into detector dogs began in 1990 when the CDRI’s predecessor, the Institute for Biological Detection Systems, was formed as a hub for veterinarians and psychologists interested in joint research on animal behavior. Thanks to increasing interest in detector dogs following the 1998 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the institute’s canine detection research soon took top priority. “We had a tool—the dog—that we knew excelled in detection work, but we didn’t know how or why, and we didn’t know how well it could work,” says CDRI interim director Paul Waggoner ’88, who became involved with the fledgling program as a psychology graduate student. “The institute’s first real mission in life was to characterize things like the sensitivity of dogs to different materials, how they make the distinction and why they have such remarkable olfactory capabilities.” Auburn researchers studied dogs’ ability to differentiate between specific scents. Just as humans can look at thousands of marks on a page and determine an infinite variety of letters, words, meanings and nuances, a dog can differentiate between an amazing array of scents—sorting, interpreting and honing in on a specific one. Throughout the 1990s, the institute shifted from theoretical to applied research. “We began not just looking at how dogs used their sense of smell to do detection but how the dogs could be better
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For trainer Daniel McAfee, games of hideand-seek are part of the job.
trained, how people could be better trained to work with them, and how long the dogs could work under specific conditions,” Waggoner says. Trainers spread out across the Auburn-Opelika area, conducting canine searches in arenas and warehouses in various types of social and weather conditions—all the while monitoring the dogs’ respiration, heart rate and performance. Researchers collected and analyzed data—initially to develop better detection technology and, eventually, to improve on canine detection itself. By the time Fort McClellan closed and the institute moved its training operations there from the AU campus in 2001, the institute was ready for its next big step.
On Sept. 11, 2001, America changed. In a matter of hours, images of ash and flame gave way to widespread fear over airplane security and anthrax. The sight of search-and-rescue dogs combing through the smoking rubble of the World Trade Center brought the detector dog national recognition, and post-9/11 incidents of explosive devices being brought on airplanes and into mass-transit systems caused the demand for trained detector dogs to skyrocket. About the same time, security experts realized that high-tech machinery was no match for man’s best friend. “The dog is our most capable chemical detector,” Waggoner says. “They are sensitive, and they are mobile.” But author Mark Derr, in his book A Dog’s History of America, notes that after 9/11, the high demand for detector dogs had a negative backlash as well: “A number of incompetent trainers entered the fray, producing poorly trained and vetted dogs who … have not yet failed spectacularly, though the risk is real.” All the more reason, Waggoner says, for the experts at AU—who continue examining ways to improve detector dog training—to enter the breeding and training arena themselves, ensuring a supply of well-bred, well-trained animals.
Having successfully run through her paces, Molly sits in a holding area at the training center with a bowl of water, watching the institute staff’s daily cleaning routine with mild interest before being returned to her kennel near the disgruntled Ice.
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Molly and Ice were born at the center, the product of a breeding program designed to produce Labs with the perfect blend of temperament, good health and smarts. Labs were chosen, rather than the German shepherds or Belgian Malinois often seen in law enforcement, because while equally trainable and keen-nosed, Labs are more sociable and less prone to genetic problems. People don’t feel threatened by big, friendly Labs, which makes them more valuable in public situations, says institute training director John Pearce, who joined the AU program in 2002 after more than 23 years working with military detector dogs. Molly and Ice have ideal detector-dog traits: intelligence, athleticism, independence, an eagerness to please and motivation to perform for either praise or a toy. Dogs motivated solely by food are more difficult to train, Pearce notes—there is too much food in the environment to distract them. The dogs maintain a rigorous schedule, says McAfee, one of about six trainer-handlers at the institute. The canine athletes rise at 4 a.m. for a morning jog alongside a golf cart. Then comes a day of alternating exercise, training and playtime as the predominantly 1-year-olds hone their skills at searching buildings, working in crowds, and sniffing out explosives, drugs or other hazardous materials in luggage, buildings and vehicles. In the evening comes noise—explosions, thunder, traffic, animals, people—piped into the dogs’ kennels to desensitize them. It also helps cull skittish or emotional dogs from the training group—would-be adoptive families join a waiting list for the rejects. By the time they complete a 10-week program and are matched with their new handlerowners—who come from a diverse group of military, law enforcement and mass-transit security
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clients—the dogs are essentially fearless, Pearce says. It’s up to their handlers to decide when a situation is too dangerous for the dog to enter.
The CDRI training center is uncharacteristically quiet on this Monday morning. Colorful slides and toys sit idle in the circular play areas where last week a dozen yellow, black and chocolate Lab puppies played, long ears flopping and oversized feet stumbling. About 200 puppies a year are born at the breeding facility, and between weaning and their ideal training age of 1, the puppies go through an important period where they learn to socialize, adhere to a schedule and learn basic obedience. Until a few years ago, the puppies went to volunteer foster families for this phase of life, but it wasn’t ideal. “Families would mean well, but they have a lot to do. The dogs weren’t neglected, but we have very specific things they need to accomplish during their first year, and that wasn’t always happening,” Waggoner says. Then came an unusual phone call. Bill Spivey, warden at the Bay Correctional Facility near Panama City, Fla., wondered if the institute might be interested in having his inmates take over puppy-care duties. The CDRI staff thought it worth a try. “We began putting the puppies in prison for the inmates to raise,” Waggoner says. Inmates undergo training before they can participate, and the program—which has expanded to include two other prisons operated by Corrections Corp. of America—has proven beneficial for everyone. “The wardens believe the program has made a big difference in the social development at the prison,” Waggoner says. “And we have had a 50 percent increase in the number of successful dogs.” After their first birthday, dogs return to the McClellan center where, like Ice and Molly, they begin the serious work—and serious play—of training for a career. Meanwhile, the Choccolocco hills are alive with the sound of barking as Molly and a few dozen of her canine classmates sense that it’s nearly mealtime. Futura BT condensed
They will save the world tomorrow. Today, they’re on a schedule.
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To Hell and Back Alumni recall
‘The War’ Spring 2008
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by Betsy Robertson I photography by Melissa Humble and courtesy of AU Special Collections and Archives
They were so young when it happened. The biggest war our nation has known, fought mostly by American men—just kids, many of them, too young to have finished school, married, or have had careers and children. Many were college students who hadn’t yet learned much about life, much less death. Some say they are our country’s greatest generation.
Six years ago, Emmy-winning documentarian Ken Burns and producer Lynn Novick embarked on an epic project to record the memories of Americans who lived “The War” at home and overseas. The resulting 14-hour documentary—which aired on PBS stations nationwide in September—featured four Auburn University alumni from Mobile, each affected by World War II in ways both subtle and profound. Here are their stories.
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Katharine Phillips ’44 Auburn sophomore Katharine “Kitty” Phillips and her roommate had just eaten lunch in the quad dining hall and walked back to Dormitory 2 for an afternoon of studying. It was Dec. 7, 1941. “We couldn’t believe it—we heard all this crying and yelling,” Phillips recalls. “Some of the girls came flying down the hall … and they said, ‘Run turn your radio on! The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor!’ So we ran to our room, which was out on one of the wings, and turned it on and just sat all afternoon listening to (news reports). We knew this was war.”
Nearly 70 years have passed since Phillips and her fellow students gathered on the steps of Langdon Hall t he following day and listened over a portable loudspeaker as U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called for Congress to declare war against Japan. “I look back on the picture now, and I realize most of us stood with our heads bowed, because we just k new our lives would change,” Phillips says, eyes welling, voice wavering. “Here we’d been this delightful college campus—playing football, having pep rallies, going to class—and then suddenly, we were in war, and all the boys would be gone, and we knew they’d be gone. “By that next fall, the population on the campus was changing completely.” About 3,700 students were enrolled in classes at Auburn University, t hen called A labama Polytechnic Institute, when the United States entered World War II. Within two years, the student body was down to 1,710. Campus fields
and facilities morphed into training grounds for groups of Army, Navy and Marine recruits. “Our classes were small. …My huge chemistry class, which had been 250, was down to 20, 30 …and to mostly women,” says Phillips, whose 17-year-old brother, Sid, joined the Marines in January 1942 and fought in the battle for Guadalcanal. In Auburn and everywhere else on the home front, rolling bandages and writing letters became a pastime. “I think it had a great effect on my entire generation. All the boys were changed—all of them,” says Phillips, who graduated in November 1944. Since “The War” aired last fall, Phillips has collected a boxful of letters from viewers and continues to get phone calls from around the country. Some are from children of veterans; many are from veterans themselves, anxious to share their own memories. “They want to just talk to me and tell me their experiences, so I spend a lot of time listening to what they did during the war,” says Phillips, whose deep Southern drawl and wide smile punctuate much of the documentary’s seven episodes.
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After graduating from Auburn, Phillips briefly taught school, then became an airline stewardess and married former U.S. Navy pilot Harvey Singer, himself a World War II veteran. Shortly before his death in 1998, Singer asked to be buried in his Navy uniform. “The boys that came home were not at all the boys that went off to war,” says Phillips. “They came home men.” ®
The POW: Tom Galloway ’46
Tom Galloway was a 19-year-old senior at Auburn when he joined the U.S. Army, attended Officer Candidate School and trained as an artillery officer and forward observer. After arriving in France as a replacement second lieutenant with the 28th Infantry Division, he initially beat the odds, surviving the brutal battle for Germany’s Hurtgen Forest in late 1944 with cuts, scratches and a case of trench foot. Ultimately, some 24,000 American men died or were wounded there. “I recall one morning, I went in with the battalion,” Galloway re-
members in The War: An Intimate History, a companion book to the Burns documentar y. “A nd by nightfall, the sergeant major came to me and told me I was the only officer they had left. And that’s out of a battalion (of 600 men). It just chewed people up.”
“There were about 40 of us in a room,” Galloway says in “The War.” “And for heat, each man got a lump of coal a day, which is 40 lumps of coal for a big room, and so that didn’t help much. Your food was little or nothing. I probably lost about 50 pounds in just a few months. … Hunger was just foremost in everybody’s mind.” ®
Galloway was later captured near Bastogne, Belgium, dur ing t he Battle of the Bulge and spent the rest of the war in German prisons, where he saw Jewish civilians being forced to work as human horses, pulling carts. “If it was possible for you to feel sorry for people in the shape you were in, you felt sor r y for t hem,” Galloway says. Cond it ions were sl ig ht ly better for American POWs, who were ser ved t i ns of soup for brea k fast a nd dinner along with coffee and “half a slice of bread with sawdust in it.” On Sundays, there was meat in the soup.
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a job at his family’s Mississippi cannery, a wife and a pair of children under 2 years old.
Dwain Luce ’38
By the time he stormed the beach at Normandy in June 1944, U.S. Army Capt. Dwain Luce, a glider artillery squad leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, had a degree in chemical engineering from Auburn,
The day after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,000 of his fellow Americans, Luce asked to be recalled to active duty from a reserve commission. He flew in the American invasions of Sicily and Italy, was promoted to captain and then trained for the Allied invasion of France.
As D-Day dawned, Luce’s first glider crashed shortly after takeoff in England. By the time his second aircraft f lew south toward France, the battle had begun.
“We had been in combat before, and we kind of knew what we were getting into,” recalled Luce, who died in December after an extended illness. “But we knew this was the big bang, and it was kind of worrisome, you might say. I mean, anybody who says they weren’t scared either wasn’t there or they’re lying.” Three months later, during the Allied attempt to secure bridges in German-occupied Netherlands k now n as Operat ion M a rket Garden, Luce led his squad to safety after several American g l ide r s , i nclud i n g L uc e’s , c rashed nea r t he G er ma n border. He received a Bronze Star for the effort. ®
Eugene Sledge ’49 recorded the emotional toll of combat duty in his wartime journal. The diary is part of the Eugene B. Sledge Collection at the AU Libraries.
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Eugene Sledge’s son, John Sledge ’80, says his dad’s background as a scientist compelled the University of Montevallo professor to write about World War II “without artifice.”
“War is brutish, inglorious and a terrible waste,” Sledge wrote in his chilling 1981 combat memoir, With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa. “The only redeeming factors were my comrades’ incredible bravery and their devotion to each other. … That esprit de corps sustained us.”
Eugene Sledge ’49
A f ter t he wa r a nd for the rest of his life, Eugene Sledge’s stomach wou ld lurch at the scent of fresh coconut. It reminded him of the days when the odor of spoiled fruit mingled with that of rotting corpses. As a 19-year-old freshman at Marion Military Institute, Sledge had been so eager to fight in the war that he left school and enlisted in the U.S. Marines in December 1942. Trained as a mortarman, he first saw combat in September 1944 on the Pacific island of Peleliu, where American forces hoped to secure an airstrip. Along with some 2,000 American soldiers and more t han 10,000 Japanese, t he Battle for Peleliu killed Sledge’s enthusiasm for combat, and nightmares haunted him for years after participating in the bloody assault on Okinawa in spring 1945.
Portions of With the Old Breed, narrated by actor Josh Lucas, punctuate “The War” documentary. After the war, Sledge returned to Alabama, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Auburn, and eventually served as a biology professor at the University of Montevallo for nearly 30 years. He died in 2001. “People would call him from their deat hbeds — one g uy wa s bu r ie d w it h t he book,” says Sledge’s son, John Sledge ’80, an arch itect ural historian for t he city of Mobile. “The book has got a haunting quality. I don’t think he was consciously trying for that; he was just using his training as a scientist to write without artifice. He wanted to tell it without a lot of embellishment, and I think that’s part of what makes it so powerful.”
With the Old Breed also forms part of the basis for an upcoming 10-hour HBO miniseries, “The Pacific,” produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, the team behind the network’s Emmywinning miniseries “Band of Brothers.” Filming is now under way in Australia; the series is scheduled to air next year. Sledge followed With the Old Breed with a second book, China Marine: An Infantryman’s Life after World War II, published posthumously in 2002. Even as the former Marine regretted the war’s sacrifices, he remained resigned about its necessity. “In looking back, I am still amazed I escaped t he k illing machine,” Sledge wrote in China Marine. “Why I never fell killed or wounded in that storm of steel thrown at us countless times still astonishes me. I am proud of the number of the enemy I fired on and hit with my mortar, rifle or Tommy gun—and regret the ones I missed. There is no ‘mellowing’ for me—that would be to forgive all the atrocities the Japanese committed against millions of Asians and thousands of Americans. To ‘mellow’ is to forget.” ®
For more on Eugene Sledge, see www.aualum.org/magazine. To view the Eugene B. Sledge Collection, see diglib.auburn.edu/collections/ebsledge.
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Consider the species Collegicus Studentus Americanus. If you give much credence to the nightly news, you know a few things about these highly publicized modern teenagers.
learn, to make them understand that a canon can be just as interesting as the last cinematic creation of George Lucas,” says Summerfield, an assistant professor of Italian and recipient of AU’s EarlyCareer Teaching Award in 2006. “To do all this, sometimes you have to transform yourself into George Lucas and have the same sense of creativity, energy and persistence.”
They have every creature comfort known to humankind. They are technologically savvy, digitally tuned and cyber-connected. They have never known a world in which the U.S. president wasn’t named Bush or Clinton, in which the Internet didn’t exist, or in which the Cold War did.
And get this: Today’s college students—the same ones who text while driving, engage in marathon cell-phone conversations and have never been drafted into the military—represent the next “Greatest Generation” of Americans, according to social demographers Neil Howe and William Strauss. They are smart and independent. They are globally aware, team-spirited, respectful of authority and hard-working when motivated.
If you can get their attention, that is.
While Tsai Lu Liu of industrial design, a multiple teaching-award winner, relies on “eye candy” to relieve what he sees as an occasional lack of motivation, Giovanna Summerfield borrows tips from the creator of “Star Wars.”
“The greatest problem in teaching is how to maintain students’ interest, especially among younger students,” says veteran Auburn University history professor Joseph
“The biggest challenge (in) teaching is to communicate with the students, to make them understand that they should attend classes not to receive credits but to
They are environmentally active, socially conscious and ready to change the world.
Kicklighter, whose classes have achieved legendary status during his 30-year stint teaching Auburn undergraduates. “With the distractions of phones and text messages, I fi nd it quite challenging to keep them sufficiently involved so they can let the outside world go for at least 50 minutes.”
Kicklighter, Liu and Summerfield are just a few of the AU faculty members recognized by the university for outstanding teaching in recent years. They and their colleagues are trying to meet the challenges of mentoring the “millennial generation” by updating their lecture notes and adapting their classroom comportment for the 21st century. Jim Groccia (pictured above) arrived at Auburn in 2003 at the end of a decade of campus discussion on teaching at the college level— how to support it, improve it and do it successfully. Brought in to head the university’s new Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Groccia is one of a relatively new breed of academics
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whose passion is to help faculty members teach better. In the past two decades, teaching-support centers have blossomed at more than 400 American universities as institutions react to fears that the practice of teaching students might get lost in the scramble for research dollars and prestige. Auburn is climbing in the ranks of public research universities, but it wants to make sure good teaching doesn’t get lost in the process, Groccia says. Through the Biggio Center, the university offers its faculty teaching consultations, classroom taping and observation, mid-semester feedback programs, a book group to discuss the latest writings on teaching and learning, regular workshops on teaching topics, and an annual conference. Auburn provost and vice president for academic affairs John Heilman says teaching has always been central to Auburn’s mission. “From the moment I arrived on campus nearly 35 years ago, it was fully apparent that the university as a whole and our faculty as individuals maintain a strong commitment to excellence in teaching,” he says. “The energy we invest in teaching and mentoring Auburn students contributes in no small way, I believe, to the vibrancy of the campus.” While teaching is a complex field—what psychology professor Bill Buskist (pictured right) calls “part art and part science, a complicated and sometimes messy business”—there are a number of ways to reach the millennials, experts say:
1..Rules of Engagement Effective faculty members get to know their students, Groccia contends.
“I arrive to class early and chat casually with my students,” says Buskist, who received Auburn’s highest teaching honor, the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, in 2005. “I learn their names and their interests. I promote class discussion by posing questions and problems. I attempt to reinforce all student contributions to class discussion. I share with them my passion for my subject matter, for them and for teaching. I am readily accessible outside of class. “These rapport-building actions increase the likelihood that my students will be more receptive to me as a teacher—and to my message— than they might otherwise be if I took a dour approach.” Great teachers say their own excitement about a subject attracts students to their message.
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MAKING THE GRADE: AU faculty grade teaching on campus
B+/A“Any AU faculty member who wishes to become an effective teacher, regardless of discipline or rank, is at the right university to do just that. There are still a few dinosaurs roaming among us who think that teaching and research don’t mix, but their younger colleagues are proving them wrong every day.” Bill Buskist, Distinguished Professor in the Teaching of Psychology
B+/A“Most teachers here are dedicated to teaching and are interested in helping their students learn.” James Brown, professor of horticulture
A “In years past, before teaching was accorded the respect that it now receives in promotion and tenure, many faculty still did their best because they cared about the students sitting before them. Fortunately, it is hard to look at a roomful of students and not really try.” Graeme Lockaby, professor of forestry and co-director, Center for Forest Sustainability Spring 2008
“Passion, backed up by substantive information, is contagious, and students respond to teachers who genuinely love and really know their topics,” says forestry professor Graeme Lockaby, 2005 recipient of the Graduate Student Council’s outstanding faculty award. Top teachers stress teamwork over individual achievement, assigning group projects or organizing study teams rather than isolating individuals in a class. “Too often, higher education has been competitive, with students vying for grades,” Groccia says. “Research on human learning shows us that today’s students do better if you can establish collaborative or cooperative learning experiences where they support each other instead of competing against each other.”
estry and wildlife professor Tom Gallagher draws on anecdotes from years working in industry to bring a real-life touch to his material. Many professors have turned to advanced multimedia technology to keep students engaged. Multiple teaching-award winner Sushil Bhavnani teaches a “no-paper” elective course in mechanical engineering, transmitting lecture materials, homework and projects electronically and inviting students to interact with guest lecturers via the Internet. Summerfield provides material for her summertime culture course in Taormina, Italy, on iPods so students can immerse themselves in the Italian language anytime, anywhere.
The old days in which a lecturing professor churned out wisdom before a group of sleepy, note-taking students is fast becoming anachronism. Sometimes the act of capturing students’ attention means crossing the line from educator to entertainer, professors say. “A teacher cannot stand in front of a lectern and be standoffish,” Summerfield (pictured opposite) says. “We do not need sponges. We need participants—interested parties who are going to be citizens of a global world and who need to speak up and act for their sake and the sake of others.” Kicklighter relies on humor to keep his charges hopping, while for-
Today’s college students crave attention—their parents have probably recorded every milestone in their young lives in pictures or on videotape—and expect the same from their professors. “Unfortunately, many faculty members give very little feedback on how students are learning,” says Groccia, who recently taught a Biggio Center workshop on feedback for AU faculty. “You sit in class five or six weeks, you have a midterm exam, then you’re back in class five or six weeks and you have a final exam. And then maybe you have a research paper. That seems to run counter to what many researchers are saying is effective—that students need more frequent feedback about how they’re doing. Feedback focuses effort.”
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Another hallmark of great teaching is that class time is spent on learning, not housekeeping. “Students should always get their money’s worth,” says Bhavnani. “This translates into covering the entire body of knowledge required for them to be considered proficient at that level, always beginning and ending classes at the scheduled time, maintaining office hours, and being completely prepared for every lecture.”
6..Great Expectations Good teachers expect a lot of their students—and of themselves. “If you want the students to step up, you have to do it first,” Summerfield says.
“Good teachers see expectations as a two-way street,” adds Groccia. “I expect a lot of my students, and I tell them that. But my students also should expect a lot of me. They should expect that I’m going to come to class, that I’m going to be prepared, that I’m going to be knowledgeable, that I’m going to be excited about my subject and care about them. It’s a way of being a critically reflective teacher.”
7..Many Paths, One Destination Some students are verbal; others are tactile. Good teachers, Groccia says, respect various talents and skills of their students.
“Teaching and learning do not occur in a vacuum,” Buskist notes. “Students bring into the classroom disparate levels of intelligence, learning histories, motivational levels, willingness to change, personal and social distractions, and values they place on becoming educated individuals. Similarly, teachers enter the classroom with varying levels of knowledge, communication skill, interest in teaching, concern for students and their learning, and their willingness to make themselves available to students outside of class. “These variables—and others—converge in the classroom, creating a dynamic and emotionally charged environment. The classroom is far from being a neutral playing field.”
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Somewhere on campus, a cell phone pings and another Auburn student receives a text message. If a professor is doing the job right, then maybe—just maybe—it can wait until class is over. #2
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