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Teaching Arts Lunches

Professor Suleiman Mourad teaching a class

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 (meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free/grain-free options). The primary aim of these lunches is to provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn from one another as they share their practices and experiences as teachers. We generally hold 6–8 lunches per semester and have a diverse array of participants, including guest presentations. Students from the SGA Curriculum Committee or other groups lead at least one Teaching Arts Luncheon each year.

Spring 2017

JANUARY 27, 2017
Discussion of Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, Can We Talk About Race?
Shannon Audley (Education & Child Study)

After teaching high school science, Audley earned her doctorate in educational psychology and has taught at Smith College since 2012. Her research is interdisciplinary and currently examines issues surrounding children’s (and teachers’) experience of justice and injustice within the school context. Please contact the Sherrerd Center if you are a Smith faculty or staff member and would like a copy of this book. Additional copies are also on reserve at Neilson Library.

FEBRUARY 3, 2017
This luncheon will include reflections from four Smith faculty members on Peer Teaching Partnerships.

Pedagogy in and Beyond the Classroom
Mukaram Hhana (History) & JT Roane (Africana Studies)

While we initially imagined our feedback and scholarly community building to simply edify our pedagogies inside the classroom, the relationship we built took on new dimensions in the political climate leading up to and following the national elections. Faced with anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-Black rhetorical and physical violence, we hosted a series of on-campus safe spaces in which we sought to model and practice community through cross-racial dialogue. The results of this team-teaching effort outside the classroom, in turn, positively affected our pedagogy in our courses for the semester. In our talk, we will narrate these developments and discuss how the lessons will continue to shape the ways that we approach teaching.

Co-teaching, Co-llaborating, Co-learning
Suzanne Gottschang (Anthropology/East Asian Studies) & Susannah Howe (Engineering)

We have explored and greatly benefited from collaborations over two years in several classes. In 2015–16, with funding from a Course Enhancement Grant from the Design Thinking Initiative, we co-advised an interdisciplinary student team via the Engineering Design Clinic class. It included students from engineering, anthropology and computer science on a project with a Baystate Health System pediatric clinic. As part of this collaboration, Gottschang sat in on Howe's EGR capstone class for the entire year, observing approaches and providing informed feedback. This year, with support from another DT grant, Howe is sitting in on two of Gottschang's ANT classes, one each semester, to learn about ANT approaches and to build a foundation for future cross-departmental collaborations. In this panel, we discuss coordinating class shadowing, what we learned from the experiences and how the collaborations have impacted our teaching.

FEBRUARY 10, 2017
The Benefits of Slowing Down

Floyd Cheung (Director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning)

As a result of the snowstorm, our scheduled guest presenter, Debbie Bial from the Posse Foundation, will not be able to lead this luncheon. We will work with her to reschedule. We invite you to join us in a spontaneous Teaching Arts Luncheon about the benefits of slowing down, both in our own lives and for student learning. I will share some ideas from Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy and techniques for managing the pace of a class for the benefit of all students.

Jennifer L. Roberts -The Power of Patience: Teaching students the value of deceleration and immersive attention. Harvard Magazine. November–December 2013
James M. Lang - Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class. The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 11, 2016.
James M. Lang - Small Changes in Teaching: The Last 5 Minutes of Class. The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 7, 2016.Maggie Berg & Barbara Seeber. Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. University of Toronto Press. April 2016. Available in the Sherrerd Center's Resource Library.

FEBRUARY 24, 2017
Electronic Submission of Assignments and Marking Digitally

Marney Pratt (Biology)

Why embrace technology to the point of giving students feedback digitally? Not only does it save paper, but there are many other good reasons to do it as well. Of course there are also drawbacks to doing everything digitally. We will discuss the pros and cons of marking digitally as well as see some examples of how it can be done. We will discuss some methods for electronic submission, digital marking and how to get your feedback back to students.

MARCH 3, 2017
Ada Comstock Scholars’ Experiences in the Classroom
Andrea Rossi-Reder (Dean of Ada Comstock Scholars)
Katie Wing & Maria Wood (Ada Class Presidents)

Dean Rossi-Reder will provide an update on the Ada Comstock Scholars Program, and we will hear from several Ada Comstock Scholars about their experience as learners in Smith College classrooms.

MARCH 24, 2017
Blind Grading in the Undergraduate Classroom
Alice Hearst (Government) & Tina Wildhagen (Sociology)

Undergraduate classrooms in liberal arts colleges often pride themselves on creating strong ties between students and faculty. That relationship, however, can be problematic when it comes to grading, as students frequently build expectations around the relationship between grades and class participation. We will discuss our experiences with blind grading and will offer suggestions about how, when and where to use this approach.

PDF iconContribution Rubric (PDF)

MARCH 31, 2017
Making the Most out of the Mellon Student-Faculty Collaboration Grant
Marnie Anderson (History)
Mehammed Mack (French)
Reyes Lazaro (Spanish & Portuguese)

We reflect on our experiences running three distinct student-faculty collaborative grants over the past academic year.

APRIL 7, 2017
Inclusiveness in Office Hours and Advising
Scott Bradbury (Classical Languages & Literatures)

Scott Bradbury, faculty director of advising, will lead a discussion focusing on how we might make advising meetings and office hours more inclusive and welcoming, so that both students and faculty can reap the benefits of a good working rapport and, in particular, so that students feel comfortable and confident enough to seek out the advice faculty advisers and mentors have to offer.

APRIL 14, 2017
What’s Up with Writing at Smith?

Julio Alves (Director of the Jacobson Center & Co-chair of the Writing Committee)
Alice Hearst (Director of the First Year Seminar Program & Co-chair of the Writing Committee)
Cate Rowen (Executive Director for Institutional Research and Educational Assessment)
Minh Ly (Associate Director for Assessment)

Join members of the Writing Committee and the Office of Institutional Research for a discussion about writing. We will review data from a recent assessment along with data gathered through the Cycles Survey, for which we asked students to identify what helped them improve as writers in their four years at Smith. We will also discuss some ideas emerging from the recent outside assessment of the writing program as a whole.

PDF icon"What's Up with Writing at Smith?" Powerpoint Presentation (PDF)

APRIL 28, 2017
Creating Inclusive Classrooms

Dwight Hamilton (VP for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity)

Past Teaching Arts Lunches

Below is the list of last semester’s Teaching Arts Lunches. We keep an archive of all Teaching Arts Luncheons and their supporting documents, so please contact us if you are interested in receiving more information about past programming.

Fall 2016

After Orlando: Teaching About Sexual Diversity in the Arab-Islamic Diaspora
Mehammed Mack (French Studies)
What is Islam’s stance on homosexuality? This question is highly vexed and impossible to answer, as there are not one but many stances, not one but many Islamic schools of thought, and scholars have rightly offered much-needed criticism of the idea that there is one monolithic body called Islam that can be consistent over time and space, let alone have stances. An equally thorny and interesting question regards what we mean by “homosexuality.” Can we define it as same-sex desire, homosexual acts, or is homosexual identity more central to its meaning? The answer to this question greatly impacts whether this highly variable assembly of beliefs, practices, institutions and texts we call “Islam” actually condemns what we might think it condemns.

Exerpt from "What Does the Koran Say About Being Gay?" by Mehammed Amadeus Mack. Published in Newsweek on June 15, 2016.
The article in Newsweek by Mehammed Mack.
A short article about representations of homosexuality in The Kite Runner

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016
The Joys and Challenges of Teaching Outside Your Comfort Zone
Therese Huston, Author of How Women Decide and Teaching What You Don't Know, Faculty Development Consultant, Center for Faculty Development, Seattle University
Most people don't like to admit it, but we know it's true: As faculty, we often find ourselves teaching the unfamiliar. In some instances, we're adding cutting edge research into our courses, and in others, we're teaching topics we haven't studied (or used) since we were sophomores ourselves.We can immediately picture the pitfalls of this scenario, but in what ways can this make us better teachers and our students better learners? In this interactive seminar, Therese Huston shares her research and interviews with faculty from across the country. What are best practices from professors who teach material outside of their comfort zone and do it well? What are some of the common but avoidable mistakes we all tend to make? Whether you’re teaching a course for the first or the umpteenth time, we hope you’ll join us to examine this experience of “teaching while learning” and what it suggests for how we can work more creatively and innovatively with students.
The handouts for the Teaching Arts Luncheon and Workshop:
PDF iconTherese Huston Handout

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Teaching with Digital Storytelling
Nancy Sternbach (Spanish & Portuguese)
Molly Falsetti-Yu (Spanish & Portuguese)
In this presentation, we discuss how we use Digital Narratives—a three-minute "documentary"—as a research tool in the classroom. In one instance, we show how the Department of Spanish and Portuguese created a team-taught class called Digital Storytelling for students to showcase and reflect on their study-abroad experience. In the second example, a digital narrative was the final research project in two different departmental classes, one in English and one in Spanish. Digital Storytelling methods were adapted to encompass the research process, producing a final outcome, whether in English or Spanish, that included a collaborative input requirement from students at the beginning, a multi-draft writing process, and several one-on-one meetings between student and professor. Whether the narrative is in English or another language, we lay out the technology, language, and research steps that we used to have our students produce these short films.

The handouts for this Teaching Arts Luncheon:
PDF iconTeaching with Digital Narratives Outlines and Resources
PDF iconStudent Assessment Rubric

OCTOBER 7, 2016
What Makes a Healthy College/Community Partnership?
Denys Candy (Director of the Jandon Center for Community Engagement)
While many colleges and universities in the United States and beyond place importance on engaging local communities in social change projects and on the practice of partnership, what is meant by key terms such as “partnership,” “engage” and “community” is by no means self-evident. This is because partnership is not a “thing” that can be achieved by following a fixed set of steps. Rather, it is a process that necessarily evolves over time. In this session we will explore the questions: What processes of engagement enable effective partnerships? How do we align rhetoric that “we must have a partnership” with actual collaborative practice among people with diverse affiliations on campus, in organizations and in public communities? Examples of effective college/community work will be offered, along with an introduction to the newly named Jandon Center for Community Engagement. Jandon Center faculty director Phil Peake (Psychology) and faculty director emerita Lucy Mule (Education and Child Study) will share their partnering experiences.

OCTOBER 14, 2016
Dynamic Discussions with Lessons from Team-Based Learning
Kimberly Van Orman (Instructional Consultant, Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership, University at Albany)
Team-Based Learning uses small groups and in-class activities to drive students learning, engaging all students and keeping discussions focused. Participants will experience Team-Based Learning to learn about it and how to modify its approach to group discussions for non-Team-Based Learning courses.
PDF iconTeam-Based Learning 4S Task Handout
PDF iconTeam-Based Learning Fact Sheet
PDF iconDynamic Discussions with TBL

OCTOBER 28, 2016
Invisible Disabilities in the Classroom 
Sarah Orem (American Studies)
When we think about creating accessible classrooms, our first thought is often of students with visible disabilities. We think of ramps and elevators for wheelchair users, captions for d/Deaf or hard of hearing students, and accessible PDFs for visually impaired students. But what about those other disabilities—ones that might not be immediately apparent? This workshop will address how we can support students with invisible disabilities—from mental illnesses and chronic fatigue to illness, processing disorders and everything in between. Through discussion and group strategizing, this workshop will address:

  • The challenges that students with invisible disabilities face in the academy
  • How our classroom policies can enable their learning 
  • The issue of disclosure
  • And hot-button issues like trigger warnings and technology in the classroom

PDF iconSarah Orem's Powerpoint Slides
PDF iconA Classroom Policy on Trigger Warnings

NOVEMBER 4, 2016
Fostering inclusion in today’s geopolitical climate - what does it mean to be “international” either in the in the US or abroad?
Rebecca Hovey (Dean for International Study, Co-director of the Lewis Global Studies Center)
Caitlin Szymkowicz (Associate Dean for International Student and Scholars)
Lisa Johnson (Assistant Dean for International Study)
During this session we will discuss possible answers to the following questions:

  • Are students choosing different study abroad destinations due to the current geopolitical situation? Where and why?
  • How do students feel when their home countries are in the spotlight? When home events are not picked up in local media or campus dialogue? Or when national identities are “hidden”?
  • How do we talk about these kinds of issues with our students? What inclusive approaches enhance understanding and learning of contemporary global affairs?
  • What can students learn from studying abroad that sheds insight on local US race and ethnic issues such as Black Lives Matter or the anti-immigration debates?

PDF iconFostering Inclusion Slides

NOVEMBER 18, 2016
Teaching in the Post-Election Context
Katherine Rowe (Provost)
Floyd Cheung (Director of the Sherrerd Center)
In this Teaching Arts Luncheon, we will open a space for conversation about how conditions for teaching may have changed since the presidential election, as well as how the conditions for teaching ought not to change. How do we as professors make sure that all students feel included, heard, and safe enough to learn? How do we acknowledge the emotional reverberations of the post-election context at the same time that we carry on the usual intellectual work we've been called to do? What are principles to keep in mind as we finish this semester and plan for the next?
PDF iconPost-Election Teaching Resources Compiled by Zoe Wool
PDF iconPost-Election Teaching Resources Complied by Tasha Souza

DECEMBER 2, 2016
New Tools for Authentic Assessment 
Jessica Bacal (Wurtele Center for Work & Life)
Janie Vanpee (French Studies)
Joseph Bacal (Information Technology Services)
We will share how a faculty member, administrator and educational technology staff member developed an integrative curriculum, designed to get students thinking about their own cross-cultural experiences and to self-assess their language skills. The collaboration evolved from the interests of Janie Vanpee, director of Smith's Global Studies Center and Translation Studies Concentration, who wanted concentrators to develop their own "European Language Portfolios." (The European Language Portfolio, or ELP, is used across the EU to assess language skills and cross-cultural fluency.) Professor Vanpee worked with the Wurtele Center and ETS, and together they created a set of curricular tools to engage students in talking and writing about the evolution of their cultural competence. They also built a WordPress plugin that allows students to self-assess language-learning within an “exportable” digital rubric, and to include multimedia proof of their levels of proficiency. The end product is a curriculum and digital tool that guides students in a kind of "authentic assessment," easily-adaptable to any set of academic goals.

PDF iconNew Tools for Authentic Assessment

PDF iconCouncil of Europe's Self Assessment Grid

DECEMBER 9, 2016 
Better Science, Better Learning through Inclusive Teaching
Patricia DiBartolo (Faculty Director of the Sciences, Caroline L. Wall '27 Professor of Psychology)
In this talk, Patricia DiBartolo will discuss the principles of teaching that foster inclusive excellence in our classrooms and learning communities and provide some concrete strategies for equitable teaching that can be used in science but also across disciplines. In addition, she will provide a brief update on the ideas included in the final HHMI Inclusive Excellence grant application.

PDF iconPatricia DiBartolo's Powerpoint Slides
Key Referenced study: Tanner, K.D. (2013). Structure matters: Twenty-one teaching strategies to promote student engagement and cultivate classroom equity. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 12, 322-331.
Key Referenced study: Cohen, G.L., Steele, C.M., & Ross, L.D. (1999). The mentor’s dilemma: Providing critical feedback across the racial divide. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1302-1318.