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Teaching Arts Lunches

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).

FALL 2016

After Orlando: Teaching About Sexual Diversity in the Arab-Islamic Diaspora

Mehammed Mack (French Studies)


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

Teaching Arts Lunch from 12:00-1:00 pm, Workshop to follow from 1:00-2:00 pm

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 poster for this event can be found here.


SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Teaching with Digital Storytelling

Nancy Sternbach (Spanish & Portuguese)
Molly Falsetti-Yu (Spanish & Portuguese)

OCTOBER 7, 2016
Topic: Center for Community Collaboration

Denys Candy (Director of the Center for Community Collaboration)

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.


OCTOBER 28, 2016
Topic: TBA

Sarah Orem (American Studies)


NOVEMBER 4, 2016
Topic: TBA

Speaker: TBA


NOVEMBER 18, 2016
Object-Based Teaching: Integrating Art Across the Curriculum

Maggie Lind Newey (Associate Director for Academic Programs and Public Education, Smith College Museum of Art)

With scholars embracing the “visual turn” across disciplines, interpreting visual material is becoming increasingly central to college-level teaching and learning. Art objects are inherently interdisciplinary and can inspire deep critical inquiry and expansive student-driven discussion. But for our students who are constantly bombarded with visual media in their daily lives, how can we slow down their looking to unpack the multiple meanings in a work of art? Join in discussion about strategies for integrating art into your teaching and assignments, and learn how staff at the Smith College Museum of Art can support you in this endeavor.


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.


DECEMBER 9, 2016
Topic: Inclusive Teaching in the Sciences

Kelly Mack (Vice President and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope, Office of Undergraduate Science Education (PKAL/STEM), AAC&U)

*Please note that the Teaching Arts Luncheon on December 9th will take place in the Carroll Room in the Campus Center instead of the Neilson Browsing Room.