OSU Conference on Linguistic Pedagogy. Jan 15-16th, 2010

OSU Department of Linguistics

Initiatives for Instructional Excellence

The Department of Linguistics places a high priority on the quality of instruction in undergraduate and graduate level classes taught in the department. The design and implementation of both classic and innovative courses is just one part of this. Both faculty and graduate student instructors are encouraged and supported in many ways, as can be seen in the following list of accomplishments and special programs, workshops and lectures. The department won the University Departmental Excellence Teaching Award in 2001 because of the outstanding quality of instruction in our department. This award helps the department to fund teaching-related projects such as the linguistic pedagogy lectures and conversations on teaching.


A. Conversations on Teaching

The Conversations on Teaching were started in 1999 as an outgrowth of the Carnegie Foundation's "Campus Conversation on Teaching" initiative, which was aimed at fostering opportunities for teachers and would-be teachers on college campuses to reflect with one another about what it is they do when they teach (working towards developing the "scholarship of teaching"). 

They began as quarterly, informal roundtable discussions whose purpose was to generate ongoing discussion about undergraduate teaching in the department, with the goal of sharing ideas and helping fellow teachers.  They now range from informal, focused discussions to presentations by university professionals and outside visitors on various topics related to undergraduate teaching.

The outside visitors come as part of our annual Lecture on Linguistic Pedagogy, and this lecture is now a regular element in the Conversations in a given year.

The Conversations take place once each quarter during the academic year; the following is a comprehensive list of what they have involved.  An asterisk (*) marks those that were the Pedagogy Lecture for that year.

Spring 1999:  Informal Conversation on the "Scholarship of Teaching as It Pertains to Teaching Introductory Linguistics"

Winter 2000:  Informal Conversation on "Developing Ourselves as Teachers"

Spring 2000:  Informal Conversation on the Purchase of Teaching Materials and Possible Involvement in the Linguistic Olympics (http://www.naclo.cs.cmu.edu)

Autumn 2000:  Dr. Li Tang, OSU Office of Faculty and TA Development  (http://www.acs.ohio-state.edu/education/ftad/) "Adjusting for Differences in Learning Styles"

Winter 2001:  Informal Conversation on "What Every Educated Person Should Know About Language and Why" (based on 2001 Linguistic Society of America Symposium)

Autumn 2001:  Video and Discussion on "Civility in the Classroom"

*Winter 2002:  Dr. Beverly Flanigan (Ohio University):  "Incorporating Dialect Awareness into the Teaching of Introductory Linguistics"

Spring 2002:  Pam Tracy & Brenda Boyle: OSU Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (http://www.cstw.ohio-state.edu/index.htm) "Creating Writing Assignments"

Autumn 2002:  Informal Conversation:  "Teaching Highs and Lows." 

Winter, 2003:  Brenda Boyle, OSU Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (http://www.cstw.ohio-state.edu/index.htm) "Responding to Student Writing"

*Spring 2003:  Dr. Gregory Ward (Northwestern University):  Interdisciplinization, Corporatization, and other Polymorphemic Horrors Facing Linguistics Today

Autumn 2003:  Stephanie Rohdieck, OSU Office of Faculty and TA Development  (http://www.acs.ohio-state.edu/education/ftad/) "Developing Your Teaching Portfolio"

Winter 2004:  Informal Discussion:  "What to Include — and Why — in Linguistics 201"

*Spring 2004:  Dr. Christina Kakava (Mary Washington College): "Introductory Linguistics in a Small Liberal Arts College"

Autumn 2004: Departmental panel discussion:  “Research and teaching — doing both well"

*Winter 2005:  Dr. Tom Wasow (Stanford University): “Linguistics in an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Program”

Spring 2005:  Informal Discussion:  “Active Learning in the Linguistics Classroom”

*Autumn 2005:  Dr. Jorge Hankamer (University of California, Santa Cruz):  “Teaching without a Textbook”

Spring 2006:  Demonstration of and Follow-up Discussion to teaching without a textbook:  “Would it work for you?”

Autumn 2006: Informal Discussion: “The Use of Electronic (and Other) Teaching Aids in the Classroom and Supports for the Mechanics of Teaching”

*Winter 2007:  Dr. Chip Gerfen (Pennsylvania State University):  “Mentoring Undergraduates into Research: Many paths to success”

Spring 2007:  Academy of Teaching mini-conference on Good Teaching

Autumn 2008: Prelude to a Year-long Departmental Discussion on Teaching content at the introductory graduate level:  “On the Goals of area-specific graduate instruction”

*Winter 2009:  Pedagogy Week – Dr. David M. Perlmutter (University of California, San Diego) teaching a “Master Class” and then de-constructing it, coupled with subdiscipline-specific discussion groups on introductory graduate teaching in our respective areas

Spring 2009:  Area-group reports on introductory graduate teaching in our respective subdisciplines:  Common themes, common problems, common solutions

Autumn 2009: Chris Manion, OSU Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing “Writing as a tool for teaching critical thinking, with particular reference to its use in linguistics classes”

*Winter 2010:  Dr. Kirk Hazen (West Virginia University):  “Teaching to the choir and beyond: Being overt with the foundations of science, linguistics, and 21st century America”


B. Annual Lecture on Linguistic Pedagogy

This is a lecture series that was begun in 2002, drawing on funds made available from our University Departmental Teaching Award.  We bring in a speaker each year known to be an excellent teacher or to be innovative in some way connected with instruction (e.g. in curricular planning, promotion of undergraduate research, etc.).  The lectures to date are listed above with an asterisk (*), since they serve as the Conversation on Teaching in the quarter in which they occur.


C. “teachling” listserv

For the past several years we have maintained a departmental listserv dedicated to instructional matters; anyone is free to join in (we have subscribers from outside the university!).  The address is teachling@ling.osu.edu; to subscribe, please visit the following website and enroll yourself onto the list:  https://mail.ling.ohio-state.edu/mailman/listinfo/teachling.


D. Conferences

In Winter 2010, a conference is being held on Linguistic Pedagogy, exploring aspects of linguistic education such as innovative course design, proven methods for teaching particular subjects, reflections on appropriate content, linguistics outside the classroom, etc.  The keynote address is to be given by Dr. Kirk Hazen (see above in A) as part of the departmental annual lecture series on linguistic pedagogy (see above in B).


E.  Awards 

The Linguistics Department sponsors several awards for outstanding teaching, and in addition, departmental members have won outside teaching awards.

I. Linguistics Department Teaching Awards

An annual departmental graduate teaching award was awarded to one (sometimes two) outstanding graduate teaching associates each year, beginning in 1989. The award was split into two beginning in 2000, so that now two graduate teaching associates are recognized each year for outstanding teaching, one for a 200-level class, and one for a 300-level class. Here is a list of the winners:

--Linguistics teaching award

1999 Jennifer S. Muller

1998 Elizabeth Strand

1997 Kim Ainsworth-Darnell

1996 Frederick Parkinson

1995 Karin Golde

1994 Michael Calcagno

1993 Andreas Kathol

1993 Nasiombe Mutonyi

1992 Joy Hoyte

1991 Ruth Roberts-Kohno

1990 Andrew Saperstein

1990 Monica Crabtree

1989 Gina Lee


--Linguistics 200-level teaching award

2009 Vedrana Mihalicek

2008 Sharon Ross

2007 Angelo Costanzo

2006 Julia Porter Papke

2005 Grant McGuire

2004 Andrea Sims

2003 Jiri Hana

2002 Pauline Welby

2001 Georgios Tserdanelis

2000 Hope Dawson


--Linguistics 300-level teaching award

2009 Crystal Nakatsu

2008 Ila Nagar

2007 Steve Conley

2006 Stacey Bailey

2005 Xiaofei Lu

2004 Robin Dautricourt and Wesley Collins

2003 Soyoung Kang

2002 Allison Blodgett

2001 Laurie Maynell

2000 Thomas Stewart


The annual Linguistic Department Chair's Teaching Award was recently created to recognize excellence in teaching and mentoring by a faculty or staff member in the department.

2009 Hope Dawson

2008 Mary Beckman

2007 Julie McGory


II. Departmental winners of university teaching awards

The Graduate School also gives out 10 awards each year to graduate student instructors from the entire university in recognition of exceptional teaching.

--Graduate Associate Teaching Award

2009 Sharon Ross

2008 Anouschka Bergmann 2008

2004 Wesley Collins 2004

1997 Kim Ainsworth-Darnell

1995 Andrew Saperstein

1994 Christine McDougall


The Department of Linguistics has also had a number of faculty awarded outstanding teaching awards on the university and college levels. The most prominent among them includes:

--Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award

Charles J. Fillmore 1966-1967

Brian D. Joseph 1994-1995


F. Textbooks authored by members of the department

Another way in which the members of the Linguistics Department have shown their commitment to high-quality education in linguistics is by producing textbooks for wide use in OSU classes and elsewhere. A selection of these works includes the following:

--Language Files, currently in its 10th edition, is an introductory linguistics textbook written and edited by faculty and graduate students in the Linguistics Department. It is used by over 100 colleges and schools around the world. Ohio State University Press, 10th ed. 2007.

--Acoustic and Auditory Phonetics is an introductory phonetics textbook by Keith Johnson while he was at OSU. Blackwell 1997, 2nd ed. 2003/4.

--Basics of Language for Language Learners by Peter Culicover and Elizabeth Hume, in press, is a textbook developed for use in classes such as Ling 170.

--Introducing Phonology by David Odden. Cambridge 2005.

-- Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship: an introduction to historical and comparative linguistics is a historical linguistics textbook co-authored by Hans Henrich Hock and Brian Joseph. DeGruyter, 1st ed. 1996, 2nd ed. 2009.

--Natural Language Syntax by Peter Culicover. Oxford 2009.

--Principles and Parameters: an introduction to syntactic theory by Peter Culicover. Oxford 1997.


G.  Support for graduate teaching associates

--The Linguistics Department offers excellent training and support for its graduate teaching associates, which prepares them to be the instructor of record for any 200 or 300 level course they may teach while here.

--The department has a dedicated staff position for TA supervision. The TA Coordinator (Hope Dawson) meets with GTAs twice a quarter to discuss their progress and any issues that may come up. The TA coordinator is available at any time for consultation.

--Every spring quarter, the departments offers a teacher training course (Ling 830), which prepares students for their first quarter of teaching by walking them through each step of preparing and teaching a course, from syllabus design to handling special issues like ODS or student atheletes. The course is mandatory for all GTAs.

--Every quarter we offer a training follow-up seminar (795.01), which allows GTAs to share ideas, collaborate on problem solving, or just discuss how their courses are going. Implementation of new university or department-specific policies or procedures are brought to this forum to help GTAs stay on top of current policy.