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In 1965, U-M faculty members organized the first ever teach-in on the Vietnam War. The event drew in over 3,000 University students and the concept spread to numerous higher education institutions across the country.
Last year, the Office of Academic Innovation began the Teach-Out Series. Its website describes the series as “an opportunity for learners around the world to come together with our campus community in conversation on topics of widespread interest,” emphasizing that teach-outs are free and accessible to anyone through online platforms such as Coursera.
“The University of Michigan Teach-Out Series can be a model for a new era of engagement between institutions of higher education and the global communities they serve,” James Hilton, University librarian and dean of libraries, said in a previous Daily article.
Now, the idea is spreading to other institutions across the country including Brown University, Davidson College, Emory University, MIT, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Notre Dame and University of Pennsylvania. Representatives from each of these schools attended a two-day “Teach-Out Academy” hosted by the University to learn more about this unique method of engagement.
At the academy, the representatives had the opportunity to discuss their own ideas with OAI faculty.
Andy Herring, a Texas A&M professor of animal science, attended the academy because he believes teach-outs can help encourage informed discussions on campus.
“After attending the Academy, I could visualize this type of model being effectively utilized at TAMU. I also benefited greatly by hearing from the UM staff and faculty about their motivation and previous experiences with Teach Outs,” Herring wrote in an e-mail to the Daily. “I believe this provides us a new vehicle for serving the citizens within our state, and beyond. I also believe that we can more effectively engage broader audiences through the Teach Out model. I also believe that we can foster thoughtful and informed discussions. We try to promote our students to be ‘lifelong learners,’ and this Teach Out approach encourages that concept.”
James DeVaney, University associate vice provost for academic innovation, helped organize the academy after numerous colleges and universities expressed interest in the series.
Both the institutions that sent representatives and the University claim they gained from the academy.
“Through the Teach-Out Academy we grew the network of institutional partners interested in extending the Teach-Out model, received invaluable feedback on the Teach-Out series, and established an exciting partnership with the University of Notre Dame,” DeVaney wrote in an e-mail to the Daily. “The Teach-Out Academy was a great success as ten outstanding institutions joined U-M in shaping the Teach-Out model. We are excited that so many of the institutions who joined us refined their proposals for new Teach-Outs and left the academy with concrete action plans to develop new initiatives on their campuses.”
One collaboration created during the Teach-Out Academy with the University of Notre Dame is focused on the Puerto Rican crisis, with the goal of this teach-out to be to increase awareness of this continuing emergency.
Ultimately, the academy was a success as the growth of the Teach-Out Series will encourage discussion of major societal issues throughout the country.
“U-M is excited to expand the Teach-Out series and to seek new ways to combine scholarly expertise with the expertise resident in communities of engaged citizens outside the academy,” DeVaney wrote. “To our friends at institutions and community organizations who wish to partner to create social impact through innovative teaching and learning, we say: let’s teach-in, teach-out, and teach together!"