Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN
The Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning has had two teaching mentors since 2018–19 whose job it is to share innovative practices and strategies with colleagues.
We are delighted to announce that our Teaching Mentors program continues through the 2020–21 academic year. This year, we will have Liz Pryor (history), who will continue in her role as teaching mentor for inclusive and equitable pedagogies. Liz has done work organizing faculty of color and has facilitated many conversations with faculty about inclusive and equitable teaching—aspects that are critical to consider at all times, and perhaps especially as we approach this remote fall semester.
This year, we are adding Caroline Melly, who will serve as a teaching mentor for learning differences and disabilities. We are excited for Caroline’s new role, especially as our country celebrates the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act this year, and she hopes to help us increase accessibility in our courses and to raise awareness about learning differences and disabilities, with an emphasis on the online sphere. The teaching mentors program exists to help all members of our community with their teaching, so if you wish to schedule a meeting with either of our teaching mentors or members of our advisory board, please fill out the registration form.
Sherrerd mentors Caroline Melly and Liz Pryor are available to faculty who teach to talk about anything related to your teaching. A conversation can happen once or can be ongoing through the year or semester. Please know these conversations are confidential and not evaluative. The conversations are an opportunity to talk with a colleague about some aspect of the teaching-learning process. Conversations may be philosophical or operational or anything in between. Topics may include sequencing a course or lesson, getting students to be more aware of their own learning, assessment, grading, designing group activities, establishing norms or making sense of student feedback.
Teaching Mentors for 2020–21
Caroline Melly will serve as a teaching mentor for learning differences and disabilities. We are excited for Caroline’s new role, especially as our country celebrates the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act this year, and she hopes to help us increase accessibility in our courses and to raise awareness about learning differences and disabilities, with an emphasis on the online sphere.
The structure for these conversations is a work in progress. We imagine most to be one-on-one but they could include another colleague (or even two). The whole idea of “conversation” suggests a discourse that develops over time. Therefore, we imagine most (but not all) to be more than one-time events. We imagine many topics for the conversations; for example, designing learning activities, improving collaboration and discourse, thinking through assessment strategies and measures of student learning, supporting a “meta-discourse” with students about pedagogy and learning. The hope is to ground these conversations in our best understanding of how people learn.
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor is a teaching mentor for inclusive and equitable pedagogies. She explores the conundrum: How to teach difficult racial subjects, especially from the past, without inflicting harm in the present. Her particular interest focuses on the “n-word”—a word that is prevalent in both racist and anti-racist documents, art, literature and politics—but one that poses a problem when invoked insensitively in academic spaces. Pryor will work with faculty (using the Teaching Circle paradigm and other strategies) to imagine pedagogical techniques that seek to mitigate n-word incidents (and the like) in the Smith community. Using the classroom itself as a point of entry, she will create strategies for navigating difficult language in the classroom as well as the increasingly intense student responses to the political and social landscape of Smith and the nation.