Dr. Chad Raymond reflects on his experiences at several past APSA’s Teaching & Learning Conferences. Dr. Raymond is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Salve Regina University where he teaches undergraduate political science and global studies. He also teaches in Salve Regina’s graduate program in international relations.
My first Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) was back in 2007, in Charlotte, NC, when a colleague and I decided that it would be a convenient venue for sharing our experience with a Middle East crisis simulation with a wider audience. I’ve attended every TLC since then because of its contributions to my scholarship and professional development.
That first TLC presentation in 2007 led to a co-authored publication in PS: Political Science & Politics. Work that I’ve presented at subsequent TLCs has been published as four other peer-reviewed journal articles and a book chapter. Collaborating with two people who participated in the 2013 TLC has resulted in yet another article, which will be appearing in International Studies Perspectives.
What has made the TLC much more beneficial to my scholarly productivity than other conferences? Its workshop format. If I’m participating in the typical conference panel session, I’m speaking for ten minutes to an audience of ten or fewer people. Perhaps I will passively listen in on a few other panels—assuming there are any that are relevant to a person who teaches a minimum of seven courses per year.
In contrast, people who participate in the TLC spend the whole conference engaging with colleagues who share an interest in a particular pedagogical subject or approach within the discipline of political science, which allows everyone in the track to exchange ideas, provide feedback, and innovate. People attend the TLC year after year for this reason.
A conversation between myself and a few other regulars at the 2011 TLC in Albuquerque, NM, led us to recognize the need for an online community of practice. We founded the Active Learning in Political Science blog, which reaches thousands of political scientists and other educators. I serve as its managing editor. Soomo Learning is now a sponsor. Without the TLC, I doubt Active Learning in Political Science, my most satisfying accomplishment as a political scientist, would have ever happened.
Chad Raymond, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Salve Regina University | Newport, Rhode Island, USA
The Teaching and Learning Conference is the only meeting of its kind dedicated entirely to pedagogy in political science and connecting faculty from all over the country in an environment conducive to discussing the latest research on teaching and learning. The 2016 Teaching and Learning Conference theme is “Rethinking the Way We Teach: High-Impact Methods In the Classroom,” which explores civic engagement, inclusiveness in the classroom, trends within political science education, online education and more. Learn more about the TLC or Register here.