Awareness of mental and emotional health issues has grown on campus over the past year. Le Moyne’s administrators, faculty and staff have worked hard to provide supportive care and accommodations for their students, College-wide and individually. One professor stands out for his efforts to create a student-driven curriculum: Fred Glennon, Ph.D. These initiatives are not new to him. In fact, he’s been practicing them for years.
Glennon’s 30 years of teaching experience give him great insight into the needs of his students. This has pushed him away from traditional “inward-looking, professor-oriented” teaching styles and toward “outward-looking, student-oriented” ones, centered on the concepts of cooperative and active learning. His courses offer a flexible grading policy, selfdirected assignments and due dates, and built-in mental health days. Glennon believes this approach reaches the greatest number of students by appealing to their diverse needs and habits.
“Students do learn in different ways; some are visual learners, some more auditory, some combine them,” he says. “That’s why I (structure things) the way I do. I do think it caters to more learning styles.”
Under active learning practices, students choose how to engage with the material to arrive at meaningful conclusions in their own distinct ways. When it comes to assignments, for instance, some may decide to write a theoretical essay, some may elect to take an exam, and some may wish to tackle the material through an artistic interpretation. Their approaches to a specific assignment will vary, but the outcomes remain the same: They each learn something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Glennon acknowledges that his style of teaching may require a period of adjustment for some students, but he stands by the results. Students from a variety of backgrounds with different skill sets and abilities thrive in his courses. His experience is a testament to that truth that classrooms can be rigorous without being stifling.
“Work-life balance, right?” Glennon says. “I do think it’s important to recognize the struggles that people bring to the table and to give them a chance to pause, relax, and [then we go from] there.”