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, 2014
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
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.
October 3, 2014
Teaching with the Archives
Carrie Baker, Director of the Archives Concentration (Study of Women & Gender)
Susan Van Dyne (Study of Women & Gender)
Shannon Audley-Piotrowsky (Education & Child Study)
Sara Eddy, Writing Instructor, Jacobson Center (English)
The Sophia Smith Collection is an internationally recognized repository of primary source materials documenting the history of women. Not just for history classes, these archival primary documents enhance courses across many disciplines. Faculty will share how they have incorporated hands-on work with primary documents from Smith’s Special Collections into their courses. Highlighting assignments to engage students in brief encounters as well as longer, scaffolded projects, they will address why they use the Archives in their teaching and the impact on students. The panel will also explain grant opportunities to get you started exploring these resources.
October 17, 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 31, 2014
The Intersection of Faculty Mentoring and Student Research, with Fellowships Advising
Margaret Bruzelius, Associate Dean of the College
Don Andrew, Smith Fellowships Program Adviser
Jess Bacal, Director of the Center for Work & Life
When a Smith student pursues a fellowship to conduct research, study for a degree, or teach English, that student is invariably inspired and guided by faculty.
This presentation sparks an important conversation about the inter-relatedness of faculty mentoring and student research, with fellowships advising.
Faculty fellowships advising is an extension of teaching: not only do fellowships proposals grow out of what students learn from their coursework, but also it is the research opportunities that faculty offer students which often lead to the most interesting and important fellowships research proposals.
These teaching and research avenues are capped when faculty teach the art of crafting compelling fellowships applications, be these to conduct a research project, study for a degree, or to teach English.
This mentoring extends further in the guidance that faculty members give students to broaden their experience by informing them of fellowships opportunities.
There is a natural relationship between the Class Deans’ Fellowships Program and the Wurtele Center for Work and Life, which supports students to get the most out of what the faculty offers, that in turns prepares students to be successful fellowships candidates.
For this reason the Fellowships Program in partnership with the Center for Life & Work is collaborating with the Sherrerd Center to highlight how faculty can identify, recruit and mentor both student researchers and fellowships candidates.
Faculty are the reason students become enthusiastic and ambitious enough to pursue fellowships.
November 7, 2014
The Landscape of Education Technology at Smith
Deborah Keisch, Instructional Technologist, ETS
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, Smith College Museum of Art
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.
December 5, 2014 - CONFERENCE CENTER OAK ROOM
Discussion of the First-Year Reading Experience
Jane Stangl, Dean of the First-Year Class
Floyd Cheung (English and American Studies)
While every book that we have chosen to discuss with first-years during orientation has had its benefits, this is a good moment to reflect on the practice itself.
What have been the goals and objectives behind this project?
Is it always a good idea to assign a common book? What are the characteristics of our best choices in recent years? What motivates or discourages faculty members with regard to leading discussions? What are the benefits or potential drawbacks to having a common reading? Should we always assign a book, or should we try film, performance, art or essays? We look forward to learning what our colleagues think.