Innovative Teaching

Wesleyan has many, many spectacular teachers doing extraordinary things inside and outside their classrooms.  In our classes, it is common for students and faculty to end the semester transformed—they see the world in a new light, find a new purpose for their life, make a new lifelong friend, or just feel like they’ve been enriched and are in a better position to make a positive contribution to society and the planet. 

These are the kinds of courses that we all aim to develop, and we seek to teach them every semester—tinkering here and there with an old standard that works well, building a new class from scratch from the germ of an idea, or going way out on a limb to try something very different.  Successful, life-transformational classes often take on a “standard” format where a professor lectures to students, or everyone sits around a seminar table and engages in high-level intellectual conversation.  Most of us have been lucky enough to have experienced one or more of these standard-and-also-extraordinary classes either as a student or as a teacher or both.  We know what those classes look and feel like.

This page gathers examples of non-standard pedagogy.  These are classes and projects that you hear about it and think: How in the world did that work? I would LOVE to try that in my class!  I never would have thought of doing that, but what a fabulous idea!

Below are a set of links to some of the extraordinary, innovative, and unusual classes and projects that have been taught and developed in the last few years.  If you want to find out more about any of them, we encourage you to contact the instructor directly.

Community-Engaged Courses and Projects

 Embodied Learning

 Digital Storytelling

 Arts Projects in Non-Arts Classes

  • Black Phoenix Rising—A Black Phoenix Rising Art Experience led by Tony Hatch emerged from a CHUM 300 course and explored black people’s ways of resisting material and symbolic death in American life and culture.
  • In Memory of Life on Earth—For their final projects in Victoria Smolkin’s Politics of Death (HIST 318) course students designed memorials from the perspective of people (e.g., an exile, a refugee) who no longer inhabits this earth.

 Video Final Projects in Non-Film Classes