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 to 1 p.m., with lunch provided.
Further dates/topics will be announced soon. Please check back.
September 12, 2104
Teaching and Advising Diverse Students: What Can We Learn from Whistling Vivaldi?
Floyd Cheung (English and American Studies)
Lauren Duncan (Psychology)
Kate Queeney (Chemistry)
Many of us read Claude Steele's Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do for first-year book discussions. According to Steele, as teachers and advisers, we can moderate the effects of stereotype threat, which can hinder student learning and performance. Stereotype threat has pernicious effects on the college performance of first generation and students of color, and on women’s performance and persistence in STEM fields. Based on research, Steele suggests these ways to ameliorate the negative effects of stereotype threat:
- By emphasizing high standards and your belief that the student can meet them when giving critical feedback on student work, you can dramatically improve students’ motivation to improve their work.
- By increasing a group’s critical mass in a particular setting, you can increase levels of student trust, comfort, and performance in the setting.
- By simply fostering intergroup conversations about challenges faced by all students at Smith, you can improve threatened students’ academic performance and comfort at Smith.
- By encouraging students to affirm their own personal values, you can improve threatened students’ academic performance
- By helping students develop a narrative about college that explains their frustrations while projecting a future of positive success, you can greatly improve students’ sense of belonging and achievement--which if done at a critical time could redirect the course of their lives. (p. 216)
How does stereotype threat play out at Smith? What are we already doing at Smith to ameliorate it? What can we do better? What questions remain about Steele's research and suggestions? Even if you haven't read Steele's book, come and talk with us. Lauren Duncan has done work herself on stereotype threat. Kate Queeney is the Faculty Director of Advising. Floyd Cheung is the Director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning.
September 26, 2014
Online Learning Task Force
Joseph O'Rourke, Associate Provost
A report by the Online Learning Task Force on recent activities, and a discussion of future directions.
October 17, 2014
Tricky Advising Moments for Study Abroad
Lisa Johnson, Assistant Dean for International Study
Janie Vanpée (French Studies, Comparative Literature, Lewis Global Studies Center)
Most advising for study abroad can be relatively straight forward. As long as students can rationalize their academic goals and demonstrate the necessary (and sometimes required) preparation, there shouldn’t be anything keeping them from studying abroad during their tenure at Smith. But how do you work with the student whose plans or goals would be better fulfilled by doing something other than the status quo? As sophomores gear up to apply for study abroad approval in February, and/or first year students are considering which classes they need to take next year so they can study abroad during their junior year, this session will provide helpful information and generate discussion on how to have an
effective interaction about study abroad - and perhaps help you answer some of the tricky questions - with your advisees.
November 7, 2014
The Landscape of Education Technology at Smith
Deborah Keisch (Education Technology Services)
What technology is being used in teaching at Smith, and what are the patterns of use? What does it mean to be a tech ‘innovator’ at Smith? What do we know about the culture of educational technology use on campus? Findings will be presented from a study of technology in teaching at Smith that was conducted over the 2013-2014 academic year.
November 14, 2014
Refreshed, Revised, and Reinterpreted: The New Permanent Collection Galleries at the Smith College Museum of Art
Maggie Lind (Associate Educator for Academic Programs)
Join Museum staff for a behind-the-scenes look at the process of reinstalling the permanent collection. Hear about the Museum's institutional history and shifts in interpretive strategies, and learn more about how the refreshed display of the collection can serve as an important teaching resource.