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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 the Carroll Room (Campus Center) 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 2018

January 26, 2018 - Laptop Time! Pedagogically-informed Teaching with Technology
Randi Garcia (Psychology, Statistical & Data Sciences)
Simon Halliday (Economics)

How do laptops and other internet-connected devices contribute to active learning and to inclusive teaching practices? Taking the learning sciences as our starting point, we shall demonstrate how we use technology in our classes, from Google apps to PollEverywhere, from GapMinder to Think-Pair-Share. We integrate the analog with the digital: with pen-and-paper and chalk-and-talk collaborating with ones-and-zeros and touch screens, too. We will discuss our classes as case studies for potential policies and practices. We shall devote time at the end to an open discussion with colleagues. Please bring a device! If you don’t have a device, let us know and ETS can provide one for you.

Resources for this presentation are posted on Simon Halliday's site

February 2, 2018Teaching Circles Friday - Meet in the Conference Center

February 9, 2018 The View of the Classroom from College Hall 101: How Class Deans Can Support Faculty in Their Work with Students
The Class Deans:
Jane Stangl (Dean of the First-Year Class)
Andrea Rossi-Reder (Dean of the Sophomore and Ada Comstock Scholars Classes)
Tina Wildhagen (Dean of the Junior Class)
Danielle Carr Ramdath (Dean of the Senior Class and Associate Dean of the College)

February 16, 2018 – Discussion of “What I Wish My Professor Knew”*
SGA Curriculum Committee 
Rosie Altucher (Class of '18, Curriculum Committee Chair) - Please contact Rosie with questions or requests to access the document. 
Ahana Raina (Class of '20)
Maddie Wettach (Class of '20)

During fall 2017, members of the SGA Curriculum Committee collected anonymous responses from current students to one question: “what do you wish your professors knew?” This open-ended format allowed them to get honest and thoughtful responses on a wide range of topics outside of the confines of their expectations. They collected and sorted some of the most thought-provoking comments. This discussion will highlight selected responses and invite conversation.

*Please meet in Campus Center 103/104 this week.

February 23, 2018 – The Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Program
Floyd Cheung (Faculty Leader, Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Program)
Gary Felder (Physics) & Tare Suriel (Class of 2018, Sociology)
Elizabeth Klarich (Anthropology) & Rose Silverman (Class of 2018, Government)

The Smith College Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Program engages students as partners to observe and give feedback to professors who have chosen to analyze their teaching over an entire semester. Students themselves are validated as expert learners who have much to contribute through affirming what is working well in faculty members’ courses and supporting faculty in developing a more inclusive learning environment at Smith. At this luncheon, we will describe the program, hear from two pairs of student-faculty partners about their experiences, and answer questions. If you are interested in participating as a faculty partner, please see this invitation.

March 2, 2018 – Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing: "The most beneficial class I have taken at Wellesley"
David Lindauer (Stanford Calderwood Professor of Economics, Wellesley College)

Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing develop students’ writing skills for external audiences. The program includes seminars at Wellesley which are taught across the disciplines and enroll about 15 percent of each graduating class. These upper-level seminars employ a distinctive pedagogy and provide a framework for students to learn to translate their disciplinary knowledge into writing for the public. Public writing—the ability to translate complex arguments and professional jargon to a broad audience—is different from the academic writing done in most courses and is central to success in life beyond college. Wellesley students and faculty have been enthusiastic about these capstone seminars which not only improve student writing but increase students’ command over their major field of study.

The program began at Wellesley in 2013-14 and is now being expanded to other colleges and universities. You can read more about the program here:


Friday March 9, 2018 – Mitigating Anxiety through Mindful Assessment Design 
Catherine McCune (Director, Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning)
Kelly Vogel (Learning Specialist and Coordintator of Tutorial Services, Jacobson Center)
Jessica Bacal (Director, Wurtele Center)
Kris Evans (Associate Director, Smith Counseling Service & Adjunct Assistant Professor SSW)
Laura Rauscher (Director, Office of Disability Services)

Test taking anxiety can have factors arising from a variety of places-- anxiety that is particular to the topic (e.g. math), performance anxiety, anxiety about tests generally, generalized anxiety that is exacerbated by testing, anxiety disorders linked to disabilities, etc.  Topics will include types of anxiety, classroom practices and designing assessment structures to mitigate anxiety, and resources for further support.


March 23, 2018 The Wright State Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: Uncorking the Bottleneck to Student Success
Nathan Klingbeil (Professor and Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Wright State University)

Guest-speaker, Dr. Nathan Klingbeil, is Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University, where he has led efforts to “uncork math-related curricular bottlenecks” across the curriculum. His experience at WSU can inform ours at Smith.

March 30, 2018 - Cultivating Risk: A Pedagogical Approach to Learning, Failure, and Experimentation
Zaza Kabayadondo (Co-Director, The Design Thinking Initiative)

During this session we will explore the relationship between risk taking and the development of metacognitive skills—skills that aid students in learning how to think their way through a problem or failure. We will discuss the role of metacognition in collaborative learning and outline the power of risks in the classroom and beyond.


April 6, 2018 - Teaching Circles Friday - Meet in the Davis Ballroom

April 13, 2018 – no Teaching Arts Luncheon this week due to Discovery Weekend events

April 20, 2018 - Digital Sandbox: A Hands-On Exploration of Learning Technologies
Yasmin Eisenhauer (Associate Director, ITS)

Join Educational Technology Services for an interactive session showcasing collaborative projects from the 2016-17 academic year. Participants will have an opportunity to play with current and emerging technologies, and imagine new ways to enhance the teaching and learning experience.


April 27, 2018 - Combining Community-Based Research, Public History/Cultural Studies, and Digital Humanities*
Jennifer Guglielmo (History)
Michelle Joffroy (Latin American Studies; Spanish & Portuguese)
Miriam Neptune (Digital Scholarship Librarian)

For the last two years Michelle Joffroy and Jennifer Guglielmo have been teaching connected courses in which our students are working in service of the domestic workers movement, which has emerged with new force in recent years with major legislative victories, including the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (signed into law in eight states since 2010). We will share the collaborative public history/cultural studies digital humanities project we’ve been developing with our community partners and students, with the support of Miriam Neptune (Digital Scholarship Librarian), which include digital storytelling, short videos, and a Smartphone-accessible timeline on the history of domestic worker organizing in the United States, and discuss the kinds of pedagogies that this kind of work has necessitated.    

*Please meet in Campus Center 103/104 this week.

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.

September 8, 2017
Gender Identity and Pronouns in the Classroom
Carrie Baker (Study of Women and Gender)
Jennifer DeClue (Study of Women and Gender)

This teaching arts luncheon will be a conversation about ways to discuss pronoun usage in the classroom that remain attentive to students' needs while fostering inclusive and respectful spaces for learning.


September 15, 2017
Integrating Art Across the Curriculum at the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA)
Maggie Newey (Associate Director of Academic Programs and Public Education, SCMA)
Charlene Shang Miller (Associate Educator for Academic Programs, SCMA)
Henriette Kets De Vries (Cunningham Center Manager, SCMA)

Works of art are inherently interdisciplinary and can inspire deep critical inquiry and expansive student-driven discussion. Hear from fellow faculty members about their experiences working with the art museum to integrate art into their teaching in deep and transformative ways. SCMA colleagues will also discuss approaches to unpack the multiple meanings in a work of art through various teaching and learning strategies across the curriculum. 


September 29, 2017
Culturally Responsive Teaching in STEM
Kelly Mack (Vice President and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope, Office of Undergraduate Science Education (PKAL/STEM), AAC&U)

Kelly Mack is the vice president for undergraduate STEM education at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and executive director of its Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), which now serves as the center for STEM higher education reform. Prior to joining AAC&U, Mack was the senior program director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Program while on loan from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), where, as a professor of biology, she taught courses in physiology and endocrinology for 17 years.


October 6, 2017
Constructing Critical Conversations in your Classroom: Creating Change
Peggy O’Neill (Assistant Professor and Associate Dean of Academic AffairsSchool for Social Work)

The Critical Conversations (CC) model provides a framework for facilitating conversations to directly and constructively engage immediate discussions of power and privilege, oppression, and structural inequalities active in the classroom. Although such issues often activate emotional tension and conflict in classrooms, they can produce fruitful dialogue that fosters critical analysis when facilitated effectively. The CC model, grounded in dialogic learning principles provides a pathway for faculty and students to deconstruct how power dynamics that perpetuate inequities across relationships and structures are enacted within their immediate conversation and explore the inherent relationship to the content of the course.

Critical conversations are those in which power dynamics in social context are illuminated, substantively examined in the moment and subsequently reflected upon in order to produce change—personal, systemic, institutional.

The Teaching Arts Luncheon will provide an introduction to the Critical Conversations model, its theoretical underpinnings, and the framework itself. 


October 13, 2017
A Few Things Cognitive Science Teaches Us About Effective Teaching
Rebecca Brent (President, Education Designs, Inc. Cary, NC)
Richard M. Felder (Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University)

For most of the last nine centuries, the standard model for university teaching has been simple: professors lecture and students listen, and then the students try to replicate on assignments and examinations the facts and methods presented in the lectures. Throughout those centuries, some philosophers and psychologists and educators disagreed with this formula, but they were generally ignored by most university faculty members and administrators.

In the past three to four decades, cognitive scientists have discovered a great deal about the learning process—what happens in the brain when we learn something and what methods and conditions of instruction promote learning. It turns out that the practices of the standard teaching model are not on the list of promotive factors. This presentation reviews some of the principal findings of the scientists, suggests teaching practices consistent with those findings, and points to research-based evidence that those practices are indeed more effective than the traditional ones.


October 20, 2017
Conversation about New Course Feedback Questionnaire
Nat Fortune (Physics)
Susannah Howe (Engineering)
Floyd Cheung (Director of the Sherrerd Center, English & American Studies)

In 2016, the provost charged an ad hoc committee to review our old course evaluations. After reading relevant scholarship and consulting with many groups from junior and senior faculty to T&P to students via the SGA Curriculum Committee, the ad hoc committee recommended changes which were approved by the provost in 2017. Major changes include moving from course evaluation to course feedback, shifting the period when students fill them out, eliminating the fine for not filling them out, rewording the questions so that they are less repetitive, clarifying that the primary purpose of the questionnaire is to gather data for teaching improvement, and including a new question whose data will be available to all students for the purpose of course selection. There were opportunities to discuss these and other possible changes during the study phase. A few courses volunteered to pilot the new course feedback questionnaire in the spring of 2017. We learned from that experience and made adjustments. Now we are about to implement the questionnaire college-wide. This Teaching Arts Luncheon will review the new questionnaire, discuss the option for and logistics regarding asking custom questions of your own creation, and provide an opportunity for us to talk about how to use the questionnaire to improve teaching.

October 27, 2017
Advancing Chemistry Through Diversity

Rigoberto Hernandez (Gompf Family Professor of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University)

The Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE) is aimed at institutional reform so as to lower inequitable barriers hindering the success of faculty from diverse groups. The collaborative itself is a partnership with the department heads of research-active chemistry departments, social scientists and other key stakeholders. The lowering of these barriers increases the likelihood that individuals already in the tenure pipeline will have equitable chances of success and thereby leads to changes in faculty demographics closer to those of the broader U.S. population. The creation of a more equitable climate is also expected to encourage more disadvantaged students to enter academic careers in the chemical sciences. We will report on OXIDE's approaches to increase awareness of effective policies and practices that decrease inequitable barriers and improve the diversity climate in chemistry departments.     Resources:

November 3, 2017
The Teacher Roundtable:  Practices for Sustaining Close Attention to Student Thinking
Robbie Murphy (Campus School teacher)
Jan Szymaszek (Campus School teacher)
Lara Ramsey (Director of Teaching and Learning at Hilltown Community Charter School and former Campus School teacher)

For the past twelve years we have facilitated Teacher Roundtables, which are collaborative assessment conferences for area educators working in grades K–college. Our monthly sessions are aimed at developing reflective practices to increase awareness and visibility of student thinking. Building on the protocols described by Steve Seidel (Project Zero), this work provides opportunities for systematically and collectively considering a single piece of student work. The observations, questions and emergent theories about the artifact inform our approach to assessment, teaching and learning. The process fosters insight to our profession and encourages a reflective teacher presence in the classroom. We will describe the history of the Roundtable, offering examples of key themes that have emerged over the years: the value of multiple perspectives in looking at work; the freedom of structure gained by use of a protocol; and nurturing a neutral stance that allows educators to assess student understanding more fully. Participants are invited to attend any of the monthly Teacher Roundtables in Campus Center, Room 204 on Sat., Oct. 14, and in Campus Center, Room 205 on Sat., Nov. 18; Sat., Dec. 9; Wed., Feb. 7; Wed., Mar. 7; Sat., Apr. 28..

November 10, 2017
Capen Annex: Rethinking and Redoing Classroom Space*
Zaza Kabayadondo (The Design Thinking Initiative)
Judith Keyler-Mayer (German Studies)
Sam Intrator (Education and Child Study)

Capen Annex opened in January 2016 after undergoing a makeover to become a flexible new learning space where learners and teachers can move around dynamically and question the boundaries between “outside class” and “inside class.” At a time when Smith is rethinking its classrooms, Capen Annex has been a resource for transforming existing courses, conceiving new collaborative or co-taught courses and adding new learning opportunities that go beyond the traditional. Join this panel in exploring lessons we’ve learned by offering full courses in and group visits to Capen Annex.

*Please meet in Campus Center Room 205 for this Teaching Arts Luncheon

December 1, 2017
Listening and responding to diverse students: Examples from the SCCD (Science Center Committee on Diversity)
Laura Katz (Biological Sciences)
Bosiljka Glumac (Geosciences)
Other members of SCCD

SCCD is a group of students, staff and faculty concerned with questions of access, inclusion and equity that focus on, but are not at all limited to just STEM disciplines. SCCD hosts annual listening sessions with students and crafts its agenda based on the issues raised. Members of SCCD will share various formats and contents of the listening sessions together with examples of follow up actions and outcomes.