Dr. Susan Hrach (rahk) is director of the Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and professor of English at Columbus State University. She has taught at Centenary College of Louisiana, the University of Alabama, and the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned her PhD.
Susan pursued undergraduate interdisciplinary studies at the University of Notre Dame, including a year abroad at Universität Innsbruck, Austria. Her areas of scholarly specialization include early modern literature, world literature, and translation studies.
The University System of Georgia recognized Susan’s commitment to increasing global awareness among her students with the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award in 2013.
Workshop participants will get up, move around, and even explore outdoor spaces while engaged in learning.
No More Brains on Sticks: Academic Practices to Promote Student Wellbeing
Learning demands physical energy that the body supplies for optimal brain function. Yet many of us (students and faculty alike) have experienced low-energy moments when it’s difficult to sustain the necessary bandwidth to pay attention and absorb information. What can we do to help students and ourselves to recover cognitive bandwidth in the classroom setting? In this workshop session participants will notice and reflect on their experiences in different classroom spaces; from the research in my book, Minding Bodies, I will share what science is discovering about the effect of the environment on cognitive performance. When feasible, this workshop will utilize outdoor campus spaces to demonstrate strategies for recovering bandwidth from natural sources. Participants will develop ideas for incorporating more movement in their classes, and learn how to nudge students toward better sleep and eating habits.
Learn to Move, Move to Learn: Embodied Strategies to Build Community
The human brain is designed to learn while moving: noticing, imitating, and practicing to gain competence and skill. The science of embodied cognition offers insights for opening students’ receptiveness to new ideas and taking advantage of sociality to learn together. How can embodied strategies improve our students’ sense of belonging, and their connections to the material and each other? This interactive workshop will introduce participants to the body’s networks of interoception, exteroception, and proprioception as a framework for classroom practices. Attendees will take away low-cost, inclusive activities to build a sense of community and improve collaborative engagement.
Embodied Approaches to Learning In-Person and Online
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many students and faculty to develop new respect for the expense of time, energy, and resources that make learning possible. Calling together a class of learners to meet physically should mean offering them an experience that can’t be provided online. How can we maximize the impact of our time together “live,” and leverage the flexibility of asynchronous learning? In this interactive talk, I will introduce participants to the neuroscience of experiential learning, suggesting models for physical, sensory-enhanced activities in each modality.