Faculty Summer Institute
Blair strategically invests in its faculty, helping them to become the best teachers they can be by supporting their education and professional development. During school breaks, Blair provides funding for faculty to attend professional conferences, complete continuing education courses, enroll in graduate programs, travel, conduct research and collaborate with colleagues on projects that inform their work in the classroom.
Gwyneth Connell, Dean of teaching & learning
To maximize the number of teachers benefiting from such professional development opportunities, Blair created a Faculty Summer Institute in 2017. During week-long, on-campus programs held in June and August, teachers and administrators focus on specific topics and work to design projects and pedagogies that will best serve Blair students—important but time-consuming collaborative work that is often difficult to accomplish during the busy school year. Each session incorporates guest speakers, one-on-one instruction, attendee presentations and feedback, and affords teachers a range of experiences and knowledge that will help to inform their teaching during the upcoming school year and beyond.
Projects Across the Curriculum
Blair’s inaugural Institute, focused on project-based learning, collaborative work and innovation, resulted in 10 well-designed projects that teachers could incorporate in variety of classes that spanned the curriculum. The value of such projects extends far beyond a single academic year and a single academic department. In fact, these initial projects serve as a resource to the faculty as a whole and across academic disciplines. Blair's academic office has encouraged other teachers interested in tackling similar work to consider adding these project-based course plans to their own future curriculum design.
Honing the Art & Craft of Teaching
Meaningful relationships have always been central to the Blair experience, and fostering connections among students and faculty members remains among Blair’s highest priorities. We place an equally high value on teachers honing their art and craft, exposing them to new pedagogies and encouraging them to incorporate into their “toolboxes” approaches that meaningfully impact students and lead to lasting learning. That’s why the annual Summer Faculty Institute emphasizes different methods and gives teachers dedicated and protected time to experiment with them when school is not in session.
Unique Annual Focus
Each winter, administrators determine the focus for the coming summer and encourage faculty members to engage with colleagues in on-campus collaborative work. With the opening of the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration, project-based learning took center stage in 2017. The following summer, Institute attendees from Blair’s science and history departments delved into elements of their core curriculum. Programming continues to reflect the needs and interests of faculty members to help them create outstanding learning opportunities for students and become the best teachers they can be.