The Duke Language, Arts and Media Program (LAMP) is an program focused on building strong, contemporary communication skills in our students, and providing pedagogy mentoring and resources for faculty members.
One of the best aspects of being a Bacca Fellow was to step outside my normal day in the office and classroom and share with faculty from other departments ideas for teaching strategies. In our small group and one-on-one conversations I was able to drill down and focus on very specific aspects of my syllabi, classroom exercises, and assignments with the cohort, yielding very practical improvements. I was also impressed with how the program encouraged me to re-examine and further improve teaching strategies that I thought were already effective, but in fact could be pushed to become even more rigorous and compelling for the students.
The Bacca Fellowship afforded me the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with experienced mentors and an engaged cohort, to dedicate time and energy to one of the topics I am most passionate about: what can we learn from traditional scholarly writing? What elements can be readily discarded, and what rhetorical strategies still serve us well? Which media best support communication when we take into account the theme, the presentational mode, and our interlocutors? What works, and what doesn’t, when we try to communicate complex and controversial ideas?
As a Bacca Fellow, I learned to think more deeply about my teaching relationship with students. We often overlook how much we can learn even in our specialized fields, especially given the increasingly diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students.
The LAMP program was essential for the civic engagement project I developed for a Spanish course with undergraduates. It provided the necessary funds to purchase the cameras and other equipment, as well as it paid for events associated with the overall project, such as photography printing. However, the LAMP program most importantly offered the academic support of group discussions and suggestions, and the mentoring from experienced leaders, which proved invaluable for me professionally and for this project.
The discussions I've had with LAMP leaders and LAMP co-participants have enabled me to think more deeply about the goals and missions I wish to pursue in my class, and about what it means to be an educator in current times. I strongly recommend that Duke faculty, especially at an early stage in their teaching career, take part in LAMP programs.