The 21st Century Learning Environments Task Group created a memorandum listing recommendations for healthy and inclusive learning environments in UTSA classrooms. The task group was established in Spring 2019 following an investigation into the classroom management of Dr. Anita Moss, former human anatomy and physiology instructor at UTSA. The recommendations will be presented to Dr. Kimberly Espy, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
The task group was charged with examining what is required to foster a learning environment that promotes critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity while adapting to social and cultural changes of the 20th to 21st centuries. The task group initially met in Spring 2019, followed by two additional meetings in September and October. Additionally, smaller groups met to review UTSA policies and guidelines for further background information.
The recommendations consist of three main sub-groups: Curricular Integration, Co-Curricular Integration, and Training and Process Creation and Improvement. Curricular Integration focuses on course development and course material resources. Some of the recommendations include reimagining the syllabus for Gen Z, requiring a teaching philosophy statement, changing “office hours” to “student hours” and communicating expectations to students.
Co-Curricular Integration focuses on education and classroom integration of faculty and staff. Recommendations include emphasizing protected and unprotected speech, counseling student organizations, faculty engagement in and out of the classroom and humanizing faculty and students.
Training and Process Creation and Improvements focuses on tools and strategies for a successful 21st century learning environment. Recommendations include town halls and open forums for dialogue between faculty and students, offering ways outside of the classroom for students to understand faculty perspective and weekly engagements in public spaces for faculty and students to exchange ideas.
The 21st Century Learning Environments Task Group’s recommendations “considered ways to use restorative dialogue, communication plan, inclusive teaching practices, standard syllabi language, ground rules for classroom discussion and management, training for faculty and students, implicit bias, etc.”