Every semester, the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning sponsors a variety of Teaching Circles where faculty come together to discuss a teaching topic of shared interest. These have proven especially useful for many faculty over the past several years, and we encourage faculty to consider leading or participating in a Teaching Circle this semester. Teaching Circles generally meet on three specific Fridays (see current semester's schedule below) in Neilson Browsing Room from noon until 1:00 with lunch provided (see below for any alternate locations).
The following are Teaching Circles that are continuing or currently forming for fall 2013 with others to be announced. If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please contact the faculty organizer noted below. If you have ideas for other Teaching Circle topics, please contact Kevin Shea to discuss it further.
Fall 2013 Dates:
September 27, 2013
October 25, 2013 - CAMPUS CENTER CARROLL ROOM (208)
November 22, 2013 - CAMPUS CENTER CARROLL ROOM (208)
Online Learning Teaching Circle
Joseph O'Rourke, Associate Provost
This is a forum to continue the campus-wide discussion surrounding online learning in all its guises. We expect to share experiences with employing technology in flipped or blended classes, to canvass possible goals for Smith's involvement in online learning, and to discuss routes to achieving those goals.
Flipped Classroom/Blended Learning
Mary Murphy (Mathematics & Statistics)
The Flipped Classroom Teaching Circle will examine the concept of "flipping" or "blending" course content and learning activities. We will discuss a variety of methods for taking first exposure to content outside the classroom, potentially freeing more class time for problem solving, group activities and other active learning.
Lucy Mule (Education & Child Studies; Faculty Co-director, Center for Community Collaboration)
This Teaching Circle is meant for those who teach (or are interested in teaching) community-based learning/research courses. CBL/R courses involve students in meaningful real-world activities that advance curricular goals while benefiting off-campus communities. Participants will explore broader issues related to CBL/R pedagogy and share pedagogical strategies with which they have experimented.
Amanda Gilvin (MHC)
One potential topic suggested last year is writing letters of recommendation. We encourage you to discuss this and any other topics on your mind.
Multidisciplinary Inquiry Based Intro Science
Denise Lello (Mathematics and Statistics; Four College Biomathematics Consortium Coordinator)
HHMI has funded Smith to develop three new inquiry-based introductory science courses. These courses are designed as an experiment to test a model that uses participation in authentic research to engage students in the sciences. All three courses are multidisciplinary. This teaching circle continues a Smith science community conversation about: the challenge of balancing knowledge acquisition with understanding process and the design of inquiry; ways to alter assessment to reflect the different skill set; ways to involve faculty from multiple departments and re-distribute teaching responsibilities; and the potential for integrating these courses with the existing curriculum and major requirements (e.g., in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Mathematics).
Diversity in the Curriculum
Dawn Fulton (French Studies)
This group will discuss strategies for promoting our students' awareness of how power and privilege function in society. We will exchange ideas on course development, mentoring, teaching approaches, and curricular planning to think about how to clarify and support the College's commitment to diversity in the classroom.
Teaching Food and Sustainability
Drew Guswa (Engineering; Director, Center for the Environment)
DATES AS LISTED ABOVE. MEETING LOCATION: CEEDS OFFICE, WRIGHT HALL 005
As an interdisciplinary field about a familiar life necessity, teaching about food and food systems can open creative ways of learning about the social sciences, the sciences and the humanities. This Teaching Circle will allow participants to explore the challenges and possibilities of drawing on unfamiliar fields connected to food issues to enrich their courses or to develop a new course.
The group will workshop a range of topics, including questions we're facing in our classrooms, ways our courses can cover cross-disciplinary materials with rigor and care, and developing discrete projects in our courses that illuminate course readings. The circle is open to anyone who has an interest in joining, whether you are teaching about food in your classes, want to develop a food-related component to an existing course, or want to create a new course.
Students in the Environmental Concentration on Sustainable Food