Seminars in Teaching Excellence

Professor Jin from University of Macau visited the Language Expertise STE in February 2018.

The largest component of the EPIC Program are the Seminars in Teaching and Excellence (STE).  Each seminar was facilitated by two faculty leads, and enrolled eight faculty members and ten graduate students as Mellon-EPIC Fellows. Comprised of twelve individual seminars, the STE explored specific topics that were fundamental to teaching and learning in the Humanities, forged innovative approaches to humanities curricula, and opened spaces for productive discussion and collaboration between faculty and graduate students.

Foundational Issues

The first STE cluster focused on foundational issues at the heart of humanities pedagogy in the 21stcentury. These seminars addressed the pedagogies surrounding established components of humanistic study, as well as considered techniques towards more inclusive classroom cultures. The following seminars were offered primarily during 2017-2018 academic year (AY):

Collaborative Humanities Tracks

The second STE cluster was dedicated to developing a set of undergraduate curricular tracks that will allow opportunities for creating innovative and interdisciplinary courses in the humanities. These tracks worked as learning laboratories in which seminar participants discussed, assessed, and formulated the pedagogical approaches that informed the teaching of these curricular tracks. The following seminars were offered primarily during the 2018-2019 AY.

Special Topics

The third STE cluster targeted special topics that enhanced the field of humanistic study across the board. Some of the topics considered in these seminars include the role of technology in humanities classrooms, service learning pedagogy, the purported crisis in the humanities, career development, preparation for graduate students entering the job market; and information on careers tracks within and outside of academia, and the contributions of the EPIC Program towards sustainable practices in teaching and study within the humanities. The following seminars are scheduled for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 AYs:

*Please note that the application period for the 2020-2021 AY STEs has been postponed as the EPIC Program restructures its major initiatives. 

Community College Avenues to the Humanities

Along with inviting Santa Monica College faculty to participate in the STEs, EPIC aims to further strengthen our relationships with area community colleges as way to support transfer students throughout and beyond the transfer process. EPIC will be piloting a workshop on the humanities transfer pipeline led by a collaborative team from UCLA and SMC. Participants—UCLA faculty and TAs and SMC faculty—will learn about how SMC prepares students for transfer, identify resources for transfer students, asses the needs of transfer students in humanities classrooms, and hear direct feedback from transfer students.

Mellon-EPIC Fellows: Commitment

The Seminars in Teaching Excellence explored topics fundamental to teaching and learning in the humanities and supported innovative approaches to humanities curricula through productive discussions and collaborations between UCLA and local community college faculty, and UCLA graduate students. Individual outcomes for each seminar were determined by the faculty leads and participants, but at minimum, each seminar was required to provide:

  • an annotated bibliography of relevant scholarly articles
  • one other product that can be used or adapted to provide pedagogical training and instructional support for faculty and TAs

The seminars required a maximum of 30 hours of face-to-face meetings and 20 hours of at-home preparation (i.e., reading, development of project materials). Fellows were expected to attend all meetings, notify the co-leads in the event of professional/personal conflicts of interest, and contribute to the final project.

Mellon-EPIC Fellows: Benefits

Faculty Leads: Two UCLA faculty members were invited to co-lead each seminar. Faculty leads were responsible for providing the structure for their STE, develop the content and the scope of the seminar, and facilitate the scheduled meetings. For their work in developing and leading the seminars, faculty received $10,000 in compensation.

Faculty Participants: Faculty members in Humanities fields, including Musicology and History, were eligible to become Mellon-EPIC Fellows. There were eight spaces reserved for UCLA ladder faculty and full-time lecturers/adjuncts in each seminar. Two spaces were reserved for faculty from Santa Monica College during the AY 2017-2018, and became open to applicants from all local community college faculty the following year. Each faculty participant received a $5,000 research grant.

Mellon-EPIC Fellowship in Teaching Excellence: Graduate students with home departments in the Humanities Division, Musicology or the Department of History at UCLA were eligible to participate in the STEs as Mellon-EPIC Fellows. There were ten spaces reserved for graduate student Fellows in each seminar. Fellows were awarded $5,000.

Teaching Innovation Grants: UCLA Faculty Mellon-EPIC Fellows became eligible to apply for $5,000 grant to be used for innovative or cutting edge teaching practices or methodologies in the classroom. Up to five grants were available for each STE.