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Teaching Circles

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. The Sherrerd Center arranges for Teaching Circles to meet on three specific Fridays from noon until 1:00 in Neilson Browsing Room with lunch provided. See below for this semester's dates and specifics.

The following are Teaching Circles that are continuing or forming for the current semester. 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 Floyd Cheung to discuss it further.

Spring 2015 dates are below with each group's tentative participation dates noted. Please check back or contact the Teaching Circle organizer to confirm.

March 27, 2015
April 17, 2015
May 1, 2015


Online/Blended Learning
(March 27, April 17, tentative: May 1)
Joseph O'Rourke, Associate Provost

The Online/Blended Learning Teaching Circle examines the concept of "flipping" or "blending" course content and learning activities. We discuss a variety of methods for moving first exposure to content outside the classroom, potentially freeing more class time for problem solving, group activities and other active learning. We exchange experiences with software tools and techniques to help one another incorporating these techniques into their teaching.

Teaching Circle on Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching
(March 27, April 17, May 1)
Floyd Cheung (English Language & Literature, American Studies)

Following Alison Cook-Sather’s presentation and workshop on ideas from her book Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty, this circle will convene faculty members interested in talking more about their own attempts at engaging or possible plans to engage students as partners. How can partnership increase student engagement and learning? How can partnership improve our teaching? What principles ought we to follow to assure respect, reciprocity, and responsibility? How can we make sure that our efforts reach the widest range of students possible?


Teaching Large Classes

Kevin Shea (Chemistry)
(March 27, April 17, tentative: May 1)

Do you teach a large class? What strategies do you use to succeed in this environment? What questions do you have for colleagues who also teach large classes? Come join us for an informal discussion of what is happening in our classrooms with our students.

Diversity in the Curriculum
Dawn Fulton (French Studies)
(March 27, April 17)

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.


Designing More Meaningful, Challenging and Engaging Learning Experiences
Laura Kalba (Art)
(May 1)

Are you interested in exploring ways of designing more integrated and engaging courses? Do you need new ideas for creative assignments that spark your students' interest and boost their learning? This teaching circle will meet to discuss strategies presented in the revised and updated edition of Creating Significant Learning Experiences by L. Dee Fink (2013).

The first five people to respond (to Laura Kalba) to will receive a free copy of the book.


Creating Student-Centered Learning Opportunities in Foreign Language Classrooms
Atsuko Takahashi (East Asian Languages & Literature)
(March 27, May 1)

In this Teaching Circle, foreign language educators are invited to gather to discuss the latest trends in language teaching and issues in language classes, and to share ideas about curricula. This semester, we would like to focus on discussing how to create student-centered learning opportunities.