22 Jun 2019

VIPEr-izing My Teaching: A New Journey

Submitted by Jason S. D'Acchioli, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Cohort 1
Reflection Piece 1

What a long, strange trip it’s been…over the past year at UWSP, that is! As someone who’s part-administrator/part-faculty, I’ve come to value my time in the classroom as emotional and psychological therapy. Teaching is when I get to focus on engaging students and doing what I love—teaching inorganic chemistry. Being in the classroom means I don’t have to worry about budgets, budget cuts, cutting budgets (see a trend?), or hitting enrollment targets; I get to do what I was hired and trained to do. And this is why being an IONiC VIPEr Fellow has meaning for me.

Being a fellow has put me in contact with a community that cares deeply for teaching students and specifically about teaching inorganic chemistry. The first workshop has energized me to reevaluate my teaching and to keep that momentum going. Most importantly, the first workshop has reminded me that getting sidetracked by all those other university things—like political, money, and personnel issues—is refreshingly (and depressingly) universal and can’t (won’t!) be an impediment to my teaching; shared suffering brings people together and can help them to see what’s important. I look forward to teaching inorganic again in spring 2020 and to becoming a better teacher than I was this year!