Faculty Services & Resources
At the Jacobson Center, we offer faculty support through workshops on the teaching of writing, a mid-semester assessment program, individual consultation on classroom issues, and an array of additional resources on teaching and learning. In addition, we provide helpful links to several online teaching resources.
Teaching WI Courses: Recommendations from the Writing and Public Discourse Committee
Smith has a long tradition of valuing writing as an essential capacity in the liberal arts, so much so that we created a Writing Intensive (WI) Requirement in our otherwise open curriculum. We recognize that writing is thinking, that writing is a tool and a process as much as it is an outcome, and that becoming a stronger writer is an ever-evolving, lifelong pursuit. Recently we have also broadened our understanding of college writing to include public-facing writing presented in print and in digital platforms, in addition to traditional scholarly work.
Peer Review Guide
We offer advice and guidance on peer review along with actual examples of and procedures for several approaches to peer review.
Effective Feedback Strategies for Busy People
The following documents were presented during a Teaching Arts Luncheon (October 25, 2019).
Use the button below to access the materials for this course on Moodle.
Please access the materials using the button below.
Teaching Writing Online: Tips for Faculty
The following document offers helpful advice when transitioning in-person courses to an online environment.
Public Speaking Resources for Faculty
Faculty can incorporate public speaking instruction into their classes by showing and discussing our selection of speeches in conjunction with Guidelines for Public Speaking and our Speech Evaluation Form. Additional speeches on a range of topics can be found at TED Talks. Here is a video on public speaking feedback by staff member Peter Sapira.
Mid-Semester Assessment (MSA)
The Mid-Semester Assessment (MSA) offers faculty of all ranks and from all divisions the chance to receive feedback on their teaching and students’ learning. The MSA is an individualized assessment that requires only 20 minutes of students’ time to complete.
Since 2007, the MSA has provided instructors with feedback on what’s working best in the course and in their teaching, feedback on those aspects of the course that could be strengthened and improved (and how to do so), and the chance to implement meaningful change while the course is still in progress.
The MSA is completely confidential from start to finish for both students and instructors. Only the instructor receives the results once the students complete the MSA.
We offer two MSA formats. The first is an in-class MSA which takes place during a regularly scheduled class meeting. In this format, the MSA specialist will solicit feedback from students who work in small focus groups to discuss and provide written answers to three targeted and open-ended questions about the course and the instructor’s teaching. The students produce comprehensive qualitative data.
The second MSA format is an online Qualtrics survey which allows each student to offer their opinions by completing a questionnaire that produces comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data.
Instructors teaching courses with fewer than 30 students can choose either MSA format. However, instructors teaching courses with more than 30 students will benefit most from the online Qualtrics MSA survey.
Significantly, instructors who have received student feedback via both MSA formats report that they are equally helpful. And, in both formats, the instructor may design an additional question soliciting student feedback on a particular aspect of the course or teaching that the instructor is curious about.
After the students have completed the MSA, the MSA specialist will compile and analyze the results and then meet with the requesting faculty member to discuss them. Finally, the MSA specialist will write a report for the faculty member, synthesizing the results and their implications for the course going forward.
Additionally, we have developed short modules on dealing with the common teaching and learning issues that many Smith faculty encounter. Instructors can access these modules by logging on to Moodle and going to The Jacobson Center Teaching Series. (All faculty are enrolled in this Moodle course.)
For more information, please contact Debra Carney in the Jacobson Center, 413-585-3035.
Writing Enriched Curriculum (WEC)
An innovative model for writing across curriculum, supported by a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation. Learn more about how departments are rethinking their writing curricula and making them more public-facing.