James M. Lang, the author of several popular books on teaching including Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It and Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, has joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame through September of next year.
Lang’s appointment as a visiting professor of the practice is through the Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence, a component of Notre Dame Learning, which serves as the hub of learning excellence and innovation at the University. He will spend approximately one week per month on campus and one week per month working remotely with faculty.
A Notre Dame graduate and former professor of English and director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption University, Lang stepped down from full-time academic work in 2021 to focus on his writing and teaching. He has consulted with the United Nations on a multiyear project to develop teaching materials in ethics and integrity for high school and college faculty, and he writes a monthly column for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
During Lang’s time at Notre Dame, Notre Dame Learning will offer regular opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and others to interact with him and learn from his decades of experience researching student learning.
“For those of us who care deeply about the education students receive in our classes, Jim’s name is synonymous with inspired teaching,” said Ron Metoyer, Notre Dame’s vice president and associate provost for teaching and learning, who oversees the work of Notre Dame Learning. “We are excited to be able to welcome him back to campus on an ongoing basis for the next year.”
“My undergraduate learning experiences at the University of Notre Dame were so transformative that I have continued to reflect and write about them to this day,” Lang said. “I have been admiring the innovative work of the Kaneb Center since it was founded, so I am thrilled to partner with Kristi Rudenga and her team this year. The weeks I will spend at the center will offer me an opportunity to contribute new questions and ideas to the exciting conversations already happening on teaching and learning on campus.”
Upcoming events with Lang include:
Re-Framing Final Assignments for This Semester and Beyond
1:00–2:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, on Zoom
Lang and Rudenga, the director of the Kaneb Center, will present and discuss three pathways to creating or re-creating final assignments in light of the specific needs of students and the changing conditions in which courses are being taught (e.g., amidst the growing presence of artificial intelligence). This online webinar is free and open to instructors and teachers both from Notre Dame and elsewhere, but registration is required.
Conversations Around Big Questions: Assessment in the Age of AI
9:00–10:30 a.m. Friday, November 10, in Meeting Rm 2 South W210, Duncan Student Center
This event is designed for members of the Notre Dame teaching community to discuss what AI in practice means for instructors in classrooms, departments, and at the University. There will be time to network with colleagues, a short overview of a current unanswered question or innovation in AI, and discussion prompts to consider together. Lang will lead the conversation with the Kaneb Center’s Alex Ambrose, Kathy Quardokus Fisher, and Amanda Leary. Notre Dame faculty, postdocs, and graduate students can register to attend through the Notre Dame Learning website.
Translating the good teaching practices that support learning in the classroom to the writing strategies that engage readers and help them learn from academic research, Lang will work with Notre Dame faculty interested in reaching audiences beyond their disciplinary peers. The faculty seminar will meet once per month from January to May. To ensure participants receive plentiful feedback on their work, enrollment will be limited. Please see the application for more details.
Future events with Lang will be posted at learning.nd.edu/jim-lang.