Core Goals
Advisory Board
Board of Counselors
Teaching Arts Lunches
Teaching Circles
Pedagogical Articles by Smith Authors
In the News
For New Faculty
For Students
Teaching Arts Lunches

Please join us on the following Fridays for discussions focused on teaching and learning at Smith. Unless otherwise indicated, we will meet in Neilson Browsing Room from noon until 1 p.m., with lunch provided.


Further details will be announced soon. Please check back.

January 30, 2015
A Summer Humanities Lab--Some Thoughts about Expanding Research Opportunities

Kevin Quashie (Afro-American Studies)

Are there ways to expand research opportunities for students in the humanities, especially beyond assistantships and fellowships both of which tend to be limited in number and/or serve students who have already demonstrated a facility with developing or asking research questions? That is, are there ways to provide opportunities for students in the humanities--as part of a cohort--to explore their capacity for "research-thinking"? And, most importantly, are there ways to think through some of the persistent institutional barriers (especially those of race and class) to research experience?

February 6, 2015
Learning and the Brain: what brain science is teaching us about learning in the age of information overload

Kathleen Casale (Education & Child Study)

Today's students must grapple not only with ever-increasing demands for academic learning, but also a near-constant stream of requests for their attention from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, text messaging and numerous other digital platforms. This will be a discussion about how we can we help students better manage and prioritize the onslaught.

February 13, 2015
What Makes Teaching Sink and Float: Lemons, limes and being ‘in it together’

Shannon Audley-Piotrowski (Education & Child Study)

So often our students know the ‘right words’ and the ‘correct answers’ to the questions that we ask. Yet, what do they notice about the topic at hand; what are their thoughts about the matter; what do they really understand? This interactive presentation will examine how we can facilitate students understanding by examining our own thinking and knowledge about subject matter, about the “it”, the third, often ignored component, in the student-teacher relationship. We will focus on examining what we know, how to choose items that facilitate noticing and confusion, and force us all, students, teachers, and the subject matter alike, to be “in it together” in a way that allows students to refine their own ideas about the subject matter.

February 20, 2015
The Smith Libraries' Information Literacy Program

Anne Houston (Libraries’ Director of Teaching, Learning & Research)
Barbara Polowy (Head of Hillyer Art Library)

The Smith Libraries' information literacy program (http://www.smith.edu/libraries/services/faculty/infolit/program) was instituted in 2001 to help students learn to be effective, thoughtful researchers in the library. The program is based on standards published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2000 and has been successful to a great extent in incorporating information literacy throughout the Smith curriculum. Now the national conversation among academic librarians is challenging the basis of the 2000 ACRL standards, and a major revision is underway which will reframe the standards around two broad approaches: metaliteracy and threshold concepts. We will present the current status of Smith’s program and the proposed changes to the national standards, with time for discussion: How well are our current efforts preparing students to do library research? How do we teach students to be responsible creators as well as consumers of information? Does the proposed new framework offer promise for improving how we approach information literacy at Smith?

February 27, 2015
How and Why to Engage Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching

Alison Cook-Sather (Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College, Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, and Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar at University of Cambridge)

Deeper engagement. Enhanced classroom experiences. Shared responsibility for learning. These are, increasingly, areas of focus in educational research and faculty development. They are also, according to a growing body of scholarship, key outcomes of student-faculty partnerships. Drawing on research literature, case studies presented in Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014), and my own experiences of supporting student-faculty partnerships at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges and around the country, we will explore premises, examples, and outcomes of student-faculty partnership as well as discuss the challenges posed by engaging students as partners in learning and teaching.

March 6, 2015
Grading for Growth

Joshua Bowman (Mathematics & Statistics)

Grades are a key component in our communication with students, but they also can be a distraction from the learning process. How can we set up grading systems that encourage students to develop the skills we want to see them master? This session will present alternatives to traditional, "linear" (point-based) grading methods, with a focus on the standards-based grading I and several other college faculty have been using.

March 13, 2015
Lessons from the Field: How a sabbatical in industry informed and invigorated my teaching

Susannah Howe (Engineering)

Sabbatical experiences provide an opportunity for faculty to immerse themselves in current scholarship, to explore new areas of research, and/or to pursue professional development. I chose to spend my sabbatical in an industry "deep-dive", immersing myself in a variety of industry-based engineering experiences to expand my own knowledge and inform my teaching. During this Teaching Arts Lunch, I will share details and outcomes from the sabbatical, including new ideas for teaching and advising. I will also discuss my process for coordinating the sabbatical and provide recommendations for others interested in pursing a related experience.

April 3, 2015
Teaching Large Classes: Strategies to make students feel like they are in small classes

Kevin Shea (Chemistry)

Many disciplines currently find themselves teaching large introductory and intermediate courses.  How can we construct learning environments in these classes that are consistent with our mission of student-faculty engagement and critical thinking in our field of study?  We will discuss strategies to address these questions, with and without technology, and tackle stereotypes associated with teaching large classes.

April 10, 2015
The Logic of Stereotypes

Stereotypes are presented as inductive generalizations that resist alteration.

Al Mosley (Philosophy)

April 24, 2015
Solving Conflicts around Technology in the Classroom

Katherine Rowe (Provost, Dean of Faculty)
Julia Collins '17 (Student Government Association)
Anna Sternberg '15 (Student Government Association)

We will explore together some of the hot topics that generate conflicts over technology in the classroom, the different perspectives students and faculty bring to those conflicts, and the teaching and learning opportunities they offer to all.