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Teaching Arts Lunches

teaching arts lunches Archive


FALL 2015


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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 Amadeus Mack: http://www.newsweek.com/what-does-koran-say-about-being-gay-470570

A short article about representations of homosexuality in The Kite Runner: http://uwf.edu/bookclub/sexlovesin.html


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.

The handouts for the Teaching Arts Luncheon and Workshop:
Therese Huston's Handout for Teaching Arts Luncheon
Therese Huston's Handout for Workshop


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 Department 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:
Teaching with Digital Narratives - Outlines and Resources
Student 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 USA 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.

Team-Based Learning 4S Task Handout
Team-Based Learning Fact Sheet
Dynamic Discussions with TBL Powerpoint

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:

Link to Sarah Orem's Powerpoint Slides
Link to a 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:

Link to the powerpoint 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?

Post-Election Teaching Resources Compiled by Zoe Wool
Post-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.

Handout for "New Tools for Authentic Assessment" TAL

The Council 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.

Link to Patricia 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.


Spring 2016

January 29, 2016
Lecture Me?

Kate Queeney (Chemistry)
Greg White (Government)

At Smith many of our classes are formally called “lectures.” Studies have shown fairly convincingly that a pure lecture format is not the most effective way for all students to learn; at the same time, many of us recognize the effectiveness of the traditional lecture for conveying new information to students. As the suggested readings (and our own experiences) indicate, the answer is probably not as simple as endorsing one particular teaching approach or another for all disciplines, all teachers or all students, or even for all moments in a given class. In the spirit of embracing the idiosyncrasies we all bring to the classroom, we will lead a discussion of strategies for effectively integrating the traditional lecture format with other approaches, with a particular focus on how to accomplish this in larger classes.

Suggested readings (that will also be made available in hard copy at the TAL):

Molly Worthen, “Lecture Me. Really,” The New York Times, Oct. 18, 2015. http://nyti.ms/1jLwbBk.

Rebecca Schuman, “Professors Shouldn’t Teach to Younger Versions of Themselves,” Slate, Oct. 21, 2015.
Link to article at www.slate.com

John Barone et al., “A Lecture From the Lectured,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 4, 2016. http://chroniclevitae.com.


February 5, 2016
Topic: Honor Board

Kate Queeney (Chemistry)
Chris Aiken (Dance)
Nabilah Ahmed ’16 (current Chair of the Honor Board)
Donna Lisker (Dean of the College)

Data from a number of colleges and universities across the US suggest that, even at institutions with Honor Codes, more students cheat than we as faculty would probably like to think.1 While the Honor Board at Smith (particularly the student Chair) plays a role in educating Smith students about academic dishonesty, the primary role of the Board is adjudicating cases of possible Honor Code infractions brought to its attention and determining sanctions when a student is found to have violated that Code. We would argue that the job of educating our students about academic (dis)honesty falls, whether explicitly or not, primarily to the faculty in our roles as instructors and advisers. Using our collective experience as recent members of the Honor Board, we will lead a discussion on how we as a faculty might do a more effective job both of making sure all our students understand the various ways they might run afoul of standards of academic honesty and of encouraging them to maintain those standards in our classes.

1 see for example Jessica Cheung, “The Fading Honor Code,” The New York Times, April 11, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/education/edlife/the-fading-honor-code.html


February 12, 2016
Shifting Paradigms for World Language Education: Digital Storytelling and Poster Presentation

Sujane Wu (East Asian Languages and Literatures)
Yuri Kumagai (East Asian Languages and Literatures)

In this presentation, based on our recent book Multiliteracies in World Language Education, we will present a new language teaching approach that capitalizes the learners’ needs and resources for rapidly changing communication landscape of digital era. Sharing concrete examples of student projects from Japanese and Chinese classes, we discuss and highlight the importance of developing multiliteracies by going beyond ‘mere literacy,’ a significant paradigm shift emerging in the field of world language education.

Suggested Reading:
Dan Berrett, "Flagging Disciplines Reclaim Their Relevance". The Chronicle of Higher Education. February 10, 2016. http://chronicle.com/article/Flagging-Disciplines-Reclaim/235253/


February 19, 2016
A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Instructional Technology Collaborations

Yasmin Eisenhauer (Educational Technology Services)
Deborah Keisch (Educational Technology Services)

How are faculty and students using technology in teaching and learning at Smith? What new national trends are emerging in the field of education technology? What influence might these have on your pedagogical approaches? Join ETS instructional technologists Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer and Deborah Keisch for an interactive session that will explore Smith’s technology ecosystem and related research questions. Participants will learn about collaborative projects, play with current and emerging technologies, and imagine new ways to engage students and enhance content.


March 4, 2016
Beyond the Fragile Student: A Conversation about Mental Health in the Classroom

Laura Rauscher (Director, Disability Services)
Sarah Orem (Instructor, American Studies - teaching Disability Studies)
Pam McCarthy (Director of Counseling Services)

Colleges are increasingly concerned by the growing number of students with significant mental health challenges. Several studies show a marked increase in first year students who report being overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, or anxious and many wonder if students are becoming less resilient. In response, schools are expanding counseling services and implementing wellness programs, but the larger social context must also be considered. Even when schools recognize that cultural beliefs, social problems, economic stressors, and world politics impact students, the dominant narrative of mental illness as an individual problem can mask the larger causal context and make invisible structural changes within our schools necessary for many students to thrive. In this session, we will discuss trends in mental health, legal considerations, campus services and cultural resources for struggling students. We will examine ways classroom policies, practices, and campus climate can influence, perpetuate, or mitigate difficulties our students experience. As a group, we will share examples and strategies to empower and help all students find and build on their strengths, including those with diagnosed conditions. Accommodations and possible alternative evaluation methods for students with psychological disabilities will be considered.

Finally, we will tackle the question of how staff, faculty and students can collaborate to support student engagement and persistence while challenging the cultural message that stress is inevitable, necessary, and even a point of pride.

Supporting documents for Beyond the Fragile Student

Course Policy on Trigger Warnings by Sarah Orem

Classroom Access and Inclusion Strategies and Decision Tree

Universal Accessibility Statement by Elizabeth Pryor


March 11, 2016
Experiments in Transforming Classrooms by Engaging Students as Collaborators Working on Big Questions that Matter

Patricia DiBartolo (Psychology)
Kevin Shea (Chemistry)

High-impact educational practices identified by the Association of American College and Universities include a range of established and tested approaches that foster learning with a broad range of students. Much of this work centers around collaborative learning environments that connect deep disciplinary knowledge with the big questions that drive faculty as scholars. This talk will present the lessons learned from recent efforts to shift the curriculum in the sciences to provide collaborative research opportunities that are tied to faculty scholarship and at various stages of student development. We will discuss promising models of these course-based research experiences in the sciences, describing their outcomes, challenges, and principles, while highlighting factors that are critical to their success.


April 1, 2016
A Discussion of AEMES (Achieving Excellence in Math, Engineering and Science) Mentoring Programs in the Sciences

Sara Pruss (Geosciences)

Nearly a decade ago, Smith College launched AEMES (Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) Programs when research showed that historically underrepresented students were over-represented in life science gateway courses (biology, chemistry, physics) but underrepresented in related majors and in independent research experiences. We hypothesized that an obstacle that attributed to the discrepancy between early interest in science and persistence for historically underrepresented students in the sciences was the lack of personalized connections. To address this obstacle, the AEMES programs seek to foster strong connections with faculty mentors, peer mentors and the larger AEMES community. Under the AEMES “umbrella” sit several programs that we will discuss, including: 1) the AEMES Scholars program; 2) the McKinley Fellows Program; 3) the Peer-Mentoring Program; 4) Early Researchers; and 5) STEM Posse. Since the launch of these programs, we have seen progress in some areas. We will discuss recent data, some future directions of our programs in light of our findings, and how we think these programs can be envisaged beyond the sciences at Smith.


April 8, 2016
SGA Curriculum Committee-Led Discussion on Class Participation

SGA Curriculum Committee

Join the SGA Curriculum Committee in an interactive discussion about class participation. In this workshop we will examine how student learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and educational experience influence participation dynamics in the classroom and discuss strategies to clarify expectations and make class participation more accessible and productive.


April 22, 2016 (postponed from orginally scheduled date of April 15, 2016 due to schedule conflict)

Discussion of the Smith College Course Evaluation System

Conversation will be led by the members of the Committee to Review Teaching Evaluations

This teaching arts luncheon will give everyone in attendance the opportunity to talk about the pros and cons of our current course evaluation system, which is under review this year. What's working? What could be improved?


April 29, 2016
Topic: Retention of Underrepresented Students

Dominique Thiebaut (Computer Science)
Sarah Moore (Engineering)
Ben Baumer (Statistical & Data Sciences)
Joseph O'Rourke (Computer Science & Mathematics)

Liberal Arts Modules (LAM). Under the hospices of a grant from the AAC&U, faculty from Engineering, Computer Science and Statistics have introduce new modules in their first-contact programming courses, with the aim of attracting and retaining under-represented students in computer science. Members from the different departments and program will present examples of the Liberal Arts Modules that they have created to let the students experience coding in a different, culturally aware context.

Logic Model- Handout from Teaching Arts Lunch on 4-29-2016

Fall 2015

September 11, 2015
Snapshots of a Digital Humanities Classroom [Renaissance Literature Version]

Katherine Rowe (Provost & Dean of Faculty)

Via a few modest course assignments and one grander initiative, Prof. Rowe will illustrate some of the values for humanities classrooms that are realized when we bring our students under the hood of digital scholarly resources.

September 18, 2015
Building Liberal Arts Capacities through Digital Social Learning

Rebecca Frost Davis (Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, St. Edwards University)

How can assignments that take advantage of digital tools and methods build student capacities in critical reading, thinking, and writing? What do community-engagement, global learning, and problem-solving look like in our globally-networked, data-driven, participatory digital culture? In short, how do we do liberal arts learning in the emerging digital ecosystem? This talk will explore strategies for uniting the best of liberal arts education with our constantly changing digital culture.

Please see Rebecca Frost Davis's entry on wordpress about this presentation.

October 2, 2015
Integrating and Evaluating Creative Projects in a Traditional Course

Thalia Pandiri (Classics)
Michael Barresi (Biological Sciences)

What a scientist and a humanist have learned over the years, and their different approaches to assignments and evaluation.

October 16, 2015
Study Abroad Advising - Making the Most of the Before, During, and After

Lisa Johnson (Assistant Dean for International Study)

During this session we will talk about the different types of study abroad programs/host institutions, explore ways advisers can encourage their advisees to create learning goals for their abroad experience, and ways to improve what and how advisers can learn from students upon their return.

Study Abroad Approved Programs List 2016-2017

October 23, 2015 - No teaching arts lunch due to scheduled visit from The Dalai Lama.

October 30, 2015
What is a Class Dean for?

Margaret Bruzelius (Dean of the Senior Class & Associate Dean of the College)
Class Deans

The Class Deans will talk briefly about the ways in which they help, advise, exhort, and encourage student in navigating their academic careers. They also provide advice and direction to faculty in their instruction and advising of students.

November 6, 2015
The Coltrane Elegies: the collaborative, digital 'critical edition' as an approach to teaching literary texts.

Rick Millington (English Language & Literature)

An account of a compact, collaborative digital humanities project using Smith-supported (and easy-to-use!) WordPress software-and designed to bring together some of the skills developed in an introductory course in literary interpretation.

November 13, 2015
Strengthening and Diversifying Women's Voices in the College Classroom
Benita Jackson (Psychology)

"Speaking articulately" is one of the key capacities Smith College has designated as crucial to student success. In collaboration with the Wurtele Center for Work and Life, we studied student perspectives and practical steps faculty can take to help students cultivate a growth mindset around speaking in classes. The goal is to help you increase and sustain participation from a wider range of students to make your teaching more effective for the students and fun for you.

December 4, 2015
Teaching for Inclusiveness
Dwight Hamilton (Chief Diversity Officer)

Students are coming to Smith from a wider variety of backgrounds than ever before. While this diversity provides many opportunities for teaching and learning, professors must be intentional about the informal and formal methods they exercise for creating inclusive and equitable classrooms to make the most of this diversity. Come hear about some of the best practices being used across the country and share your own.

Please see an online copy of the handout titled "Mananging Hot Moments in the Classroom" by Lee Warren and Derek Bok Center.

Please see the powerpoint from this presentation.

Teaching and Learning with International Students: Perspectives on the Global Learner

Rebecca Hovey (Dean for International Study and co-Director, Lewis Global Studies Center)
Caitlin Szymkowicz (Associate Dean for International Students & Scholars)
Nathan Hammond (Student Programming and Support Coordinator)

Please see the additional resources handout from this presentation.

Spring 2015

January 30, 2015
A Summer Humanities Lab--Some Thoughts about Expanding Research Opportunities

Kevin Quashie (Afro-American Studies)

Are there ways to expand research opportunities for students in the humanities, especially beyond assistantships and fellowships both of which tend to be limited in number and/or serve students who have already demonstrated a facility with developing or asking research questions? That is, are there ways to provide opportunities for students in the humanities--as part of a cohort--to explore their capacity for "research-thinking"? And, most importantly, are there ways to think through some of the persistent institutional barriers (especially those of race and class) to research experience?

February 6, 2015
Learning and the Brain: what brain science is teaching us about learning in the age of information overload

Kathleen Casale (Education & Child Study)

Today's students must grapple not only with ever-increasing demands for academic learning, but also a near-constant stream of requests for their attention from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, text messaging and numerous other digital platforms. This will be a discussion about how we can we help students better manage and prioritize the onslaught.

February 13, 2015
What Makes Teaching Sink and Float: Lemons, limes and being ‘in it together’

Shannon Audley-Piotrowski (Education & Child Study)

So often our students know the ‘right words’ and the ‘correct answers’ to the questions that we ask. Yet, what do they notice about the topic at hand; what are their thoughts about the matter; what do they really understand? This interactive presentation will examine how we can facilitate students understanding by examining our own thinking and knowledge about subject matter, about the “it”, the third, often ignored component, in the student-teacher relationship. We will focus on examining what we know, how to choose items that facilitate noticing and confusion, and force us all, students, teachers, and the subject matter alike, to be “in it together” in a way that allows students to refine their own ideas about the subject matter.

February 20, 2015
The Smith Libraries' Information Literacy Program

Anne Houston (Libraries’ Director of Teaching, Learning & Research)
Barbara Polowy (Head of Hillyer Art Library)

The Smith Libraries' information literacy program (https://www.smith.edu/libraries/services/faculty/infolit/program) was instituted in 2001 to help students learn to be effective, thoughtful researchers in the library. The program is based on standards published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2000 and has been successful to a great extent in incorporating information literacy throughout the Smith curriculum. Now the national conversation among academic librarians is challenging the basis of the 2000 ACRL standards, and a major revision is underway which will reframe the standards around two broad approaches: metaliteracy and threshold concepts. We will present the current status of Smith’s program and the proposed changes to the national standards, with time for discussion: How well are our current efforts preparing students to do library research? How do we teach students to be responsible creators as well as consumers of information? Does the proposed new framework offer promise for improving how we approach information literacy at Smith?

February 27, 2015
How and Why to Engage Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching

Alison Cook-Sather (Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College, Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, and Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar at University of Cambridge)

Deeper engagement. Enhanced classroom experiences. Shared responsibility for learning. These are, increasingly, areas of focus in educational research and faculty development. They are also, according to a growing body of scholarship, key outcomes of student-faculty partnerships. Drawing on research literature, case studies presented in Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014), and my own experiences of supporting student-faculty partnerships at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges and around the country, we will explore premises, examples, and outcomes of student-faculty partnership as well as discuss the challenges posed by engaging students as partners in learning and teaching.

March 6, 2015
Grading for Growth

Joshua Bowman (Mathematics & Statistics)

Grades are a key component in our communication with students, but they also can be a distraction from the learning process. How can we set up grading systems that encourage students to develop the skills we want to see them master? This session will present alternatives to traditional, "linear" (point-based) grading methods, with a focus on the standards-based grading I and several other college faculty have been using.

March 13, 2015
Lessons from the Field: How a sabbatical in industry informed and invigorated my teaching

Susannah Howe (Engineering)

Sabbatical experiences provide an opportunity for faculty to immerse themselves in current scholarship, to explore new areas of research, and/or to pursue professional development. I chose to spend my sabbatical in an industry "deep-dive", immersing myself in a variety of industry-based engineering experiences to expand my own knowledge and inform my teaching. During this Teaching Arts Lunch, I will share details and outcomes from the sabbatical, including new ideas for teaching and advising. I will also discuss my process for coordinating the sabbatical and provide recommendations for others interested in pursing a related experience.

April 3, 2015
Teaching Large Classes: Strategies to make students feel like they are in small classes

Kevin Shea (Chemistry)

Many disciplines currently find themselves teaching large introductory and intermediate courses.  How can we construct learning environments in these classes that are consistent with our mission of student-faculty engagement and critical thinking in our field of study?  We will discuss strategies to address these questions, with and without technology, and tackle stereotypes associated with teaching large classes.

April 10, 2015
The Logic of Stereotypes

Stereotypes are presented as inductive generalizations that resist alteration.

Al Mosley (Philosophy)

April 24, 2015
Solving Conflicts around Technology in the Classroom

Katherine Rowe (Provost, Dean of Faculty)
Julia Collins '17 (Student Government Association)
Anna Sternberg '15 (Student Government Association)

We will explore together some of the hot topics that generate conflicts over technology in the classroom, the different perspectives students and faculty bring to those conflicts, and the teaching and learning opportunities they offer to all.

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FALL 2014

September 12, 2014
Teaching and Advising Diverse Students: What Can We Learn from Whistling Vivaldi?

Floyd Cheung (English and American Studies)
Lauren Duncan (Psychology)
Kate Queeney (Chemistry)

Many of us read Claude Steele's Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do for first-year book discussions. According to Steele, as teachers and advisers, we can moderate the effects of stereotype threat, which can hinder student learning and performance. Stereotype threat has pernicious effects on the college performance of first generation and students of color, and on women’s performance and persistence in STEM fields. Based on research, Steele suggests these ways to ameliorate the negative effects of stereotype threat:

How does stereotype threat play out at Smith? What are we already doing at Smith to ameliorate it? What can we do better? What questions remain about Steele's research and suggestions? Even if you haven't read Steele's book, come and talk with us. Lauren Duncan has done work herself on stereotype threat. Kate Queeney is the Faculty Director of Advising. Floyd Cheung is the Director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning.

September 26, 2014
Tricky Advising Moments for Study Abroad

Lisa Johnson, Assistant Dean for International Study
Janie Vanpée (French Studies, Comparative Literature, Lewis Global Studies Center)

Most advising for study abroad can be relatively straight forward. As long as students can rationalize their academic goals and demonstrate the necessary (and sometimes required) preparation, there shouldn’t be anything keeping them from studying abroad during their tenure at Smith. But how do you work with the student whose plans or goals would be better fulfilled by doing something other than the status quo? As sophomores gear up to apply for study abroad approval in February, and/or first year students are considering which classes they need to take next year so they can study abroad during their junior year, this session will provide helpful information and generate discussion on how to have an
effective interaction about study abroad - and perhaps help you answer some of the tricky questions - with your advisees.

October 3, 2014
Teaching with the Archives

Carrie Baker, Director of the Archives Concentration (Study of Women & Gender)
Susan Van Dyne (Study of Women & Gender)
Shannon Audley-Piotrowsky (Education & Child Study)
Sara Eddy, Writing Instructor, Jacobson Center (English)

The Sophia Smith Collection is an internationally recognized repository of primary source materials documenting the history of women. Not just for history classes, these archival primary documents enhance courses across many disciplines. Faculty will share how they have incorporated hands-on work with primary documents from Smith’s Special Collections into their courses. Highlighting assignments to engage students in brief encounters as well as longer, scaffolded projects, they will address why they use the Archives in their teaching and the impact on students. The panel will also explain grant opportunities to get you started exploring these resources.

October 17, 2014
Online Learning Task Force

Joseph O'Rourke, Associate Provost

A report by the Online Learning Task Force on recent activities, and a discussion of future directions.

October 31, 2014
The Intersection of Faculty Mentoring and Student Research, with Fellowships Advising

Margaret Bruzelius, Associate Dean of the College
Don Andrew, Smith Fellowships Program Adviser
Jess Bacal, Director of the Center for Work & Life 

When a Smith student pursues a fellowship to conduct research, study for a degree, or teach English, that student is invariably inspired and guided by faculty.

This presentation sparks an important conversation about the inter-relatedness of faculty mentoring and student research, with fellowships advising.

Faculty fellowships advising is an extension of teaching: not only do fellowships proposals grow out of what students learn from their coursework, but also it is the research opportunities that faculty offer students which often lead to the most interesting and important fellowships research proposals.
These teaching and research avenues are capped when faculty teach the art of crafting compelling fellowships applications, be these to conduct a research project, study for a degree, or to teach English.

This mentoring extends further in the guidance that faculty members give students to broaden their experience by informing them of fellowships opportunities.
There is a natural relationship between the Class Deans’ Fellowships Program and the Wurtele Center for Work and Life, which supports students to get the most out of what the faculty offers, that in turns prepares students to be successful fellowships candidates.

For this reason the Fellowships Program in partnership with the Center for Life & Work is collaborating with the Sherrerd Center to highlight how faculty can identify, recruit and mentor both student researchers and fellowships candidates.

Faculty are the reason students become enthusiastic and ambitious enough to pursue fellowships. 

November 7, 2014
The Landscape of Education Technology at Smith

Deborah Keisch, Instructional Technologist, ETS

What technology is being used in teaching at Smith, and what are the patterns of use? What does it mean to be a tech ‘innovator’ at Smith? What do we know about the culture of educational technology use on campus? Findings will be presented from a study of technology in teaching at Smith that was conducted over the 2013-2014 academic year.

November 14, 2014
Refreshed, Revised, and Reinterpreted: The New Permanent Collection Galleries at the Smith College Museum of Art

Maggie Lind, Associate Educator for Academic Programs, Smith College Museum of Art

Join Museum staff for a behind-the-scenes look at the process of reinstalling the permanent collection. Hear about the Museum's institutional history and shifts in interpretive strategies, and learn more about how the refreshed display of the collection can serve as an important teaching resource.

December 5, 2014
Discussion of the First-Year Reading Experience

Jane Stangl, Dean of the First-Year Class
Floyd Cheung (English and American Studies)

While every book that we have chosen to discuss with first-years during orientation has had its benefits, this is a good moment to reflect on the practice itself.

What have been the goals and objectives behind this project?

Is it always a good idea to assign a common book? What are the characteristics of our best choices in recent years? What motivates or discourages faculty members with regard to leading discussions? What are the benefits or potential drawbacks to having a common reading? Should we always assign a book, or should we try film, performance, art or essays? We look forward to learning what our colleagues think.




February 7, 2014
How Well Are Our Students Writing After One WI Course?
Julio Alves (Jacobson Center)
Cate Rowen (Office of Institutional Research)
Alice Hearst (Government)

In January 2013, the Jacobson Center and the Office of Institutional Research conducted an assessment of a random sample of best papers written by first-year students (class of 2016) in First-Year Seminars and ENG 118, Colloquia in Writing. We report on the findings.

February 21, 2014
I Didn’t Know Moodle Could Do That
Kevin Wiliarty (Smith College Moodle Administrator)

Kevin will suggest ways teachers can use Moodle to engage students outside the classroom in order to enrich the learning experience inside the classroom. At the same time, he will highlight some lesser known features of Moodle, both old and new, and give us a preview of enhancements that will become available to us in the months ahead.

February 28, 2014
Outside-Outside Teaching and Learning
Ginetta Candelario (Sociology; Latin American & Latina/o Studies)

This presentation will include two different adaptions of the Inside-Outside Prison-Based Education Model, developed by Prof. Candelario and piloted with students from a Smith CBL class, two different groups of adults in Holyoke, GED students in the Fall 2012 and Community Workers in the Fall 2013.

March 28, 2014
Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your Classroom Will Improve Student Learning
José Antonio Bowen (Dean of the Meadows School of the Arts and Professor of Music at Southern Methodist University)

Please bring a web-enabled device.

Technology is changing higher education, but the greatest value of a physical university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. New technology can increase student preparation and engagement between classes and create more time for the in-class dialogue that makes the campus experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver. Students already use online content but need better ways to interact with material before every class. By using online quizzes and games, rethinking our assignments and course design, we can create more class time for the activities and interactions that most spark the critical thinking and change of mental models we seek.

April 4, 2014
The Importance of Movement in the Learning Environment, and Strategies For Bringing Movement Into the Classroom.
Angie Hauser (Dance)


April 11, 2014
Group work: Why bother?
Patty DiBartolo (Psychology)
Lauren Duncan (Psychology)
Borjana Mikic (Engineering)
Al Rudnitsky (Education and Child Study)

A group of faculty, supported by a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, has been exploring the use of online, asynchronous discourse with their students. The project, in its second year, includes faculty from many disciplines and a wide variety of courses. Pedagogy featuring this kind of discourse works best when students have a good problem to talk about and when they engage in effective discourse practices. Several members of the group will be on hand to show examples and discuss this work.

April 25, 2014
Learning Catalytics: A New Tool for Student Responses Inside and Outside of Class
Kevin Shea (Director, Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning; Chemistry)

Kevin will describe his experiences using Learning Catalytics in two large introductory courses, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, focusing on similarities and differences with traditional clicker technology. He will also comment on student feedback using the program and demonstrate how the program works from a faculty perspective. Attendees should bring a web-enabled device (smart phone, tablet, or laptop) to participate in Learning Catalytics questions during the session.

Additionally, faculty are encouraged to answer four "homework" questions prior to Friday's luncheon to experience how the program works before the presentation.  To do so, please follow the directions below.  (The entire process, including answering the questions, will take less than 5 minutes.)

1. Go to: www.learningcatalytics.com/demo
2. You will be prompted to enter your name, email address, and agree to the terms
3. On the next screen, enter the ID 10019908 to join Kevin's "course"
4. Answer the questions

Online Learning Task Force
Joseph O'Rourke (Associate Provost)



Fall 2013

September 13
Pirate Parties, GPS Devices, Buses, and Elevators: Bringing the everyday into every classroom.
Bill Leonard (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

This presentation will describe some everyday situations that may inform what teachers do in the classroom, in the hope of sparking a lively debate of what and why teachers do what they do.

Prof. Leonard was in the UMass Physics Department for 21 years, studying how people learn physics, before switching to ECE and engineering education three years ago.

September 19
Research and Teaching From A Growth-Mindset Perspective
Carol Dweck, PhD. (Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University)

Over the past decades, our research has shown that a growth mindset (the beliefs that abilities can be developed) promotes greater motivation and achievement than the belief that abilities are fixed. In this talk, Dr. Dweck will discuss key findings from research on students' mindsets, new findings on growth-mindset interventions, new work on women's achievement, and the implications of the research for teaching college students.

October 4
Contemplative Pedagogy
Jennifer Guglielmo (History)

Jennifer Guglielmo will share her experience at the Contemplative Pedagogy Summer Session, an intensive week-long conference organized by leaders in contemplative education that is held at Smith every summer. This will include what it means to incorporate contemplative practices into course design, classroom teaching, mentoring, and other aspects of higher education, and the ways such pedagogies can deepen the educational experiences of both students and teachers.

Link to the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Online Learning: Updates and Prospects
Joseph O'Rourke, Associate Provost

The Online Learning Study Group will discuss some of what they learned about the efficacy and variety of online-learning vehicles and their environments. We elicit an open discussion of possible paths forward for Smith in the online-learning landscape.

Online Learning: Possible Foci and Goals for Smith

November 1
Department Discussions About Teaching & Learning

November 8
Liberal Arts Advising
Lauren Duncan (Psychology)

Just in time for pre-registration and advising for spring semester, join us for an interactive lunch and discussion of common issues that come up in liberal arts advising. Using case studies derived from real advising experiences at Smith, participants will work with their lunch tables to develop promising solutions to problematic advising situations. Help solve the case of Sara, the pre-health student who’s doing poorly in her math and science classes, or Bridget, the English major who only seems to contact you when she needs her reg code.

Please feel free to contact Lauren Duncan, Interim Faculty Director of Liberal Arts Advising, with additional ideas for case studies you would like to discuss.

November 15
Emerging Technologies for Teaching & Learning
Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer (Education Technology Services)
Deborah Keisch Polin (Education Technology Services)

Whether you characterize yourself as a technology enthusiast or late-adopter or somewhere in between, one thing is certain--you teach, learn and, at this very moment, exist in the Connected Age. Join Smith's ETS instructional technologists for a hands-on demonstration of educational technology tools (including mobile apps) that enrich the teaching and learning experience and connect learners to content. They will also share a newly developed evaluation tool through which instructors may critically vet new, existing and emerging technology applications. Sure, there may be an app for that. But is it pedagogically appropriate for instructional design and delivery?

How to Vet a Apps

Educause Video: "Connected Age"

December 6
Advising for Study Abroad
Lisa Johnson (Assistant Dean for International Study)
Greg White (Faculty Co-Director, Lewis Global Studies Center)

Would you like more information about the resources available to help you with advising students who are interested in study abroad? Would you like to hear from colleagues about their “best practices” in advising for study abroad? As sophomores gear up to apply for study abroad approval in February, and/or first year students are considering which classes they need to take next year so they can study abroad during their junior year, this session will provide helpful information and generate discussion on how to have an effective interaction about study abroad with your advisees.




February 1
Developing an Online Course on Film
Jefferson Hunter (English Language & Literature)

This presentation will introduce some of the procedural issues in getting an online course approved at Smith, some of the technical issues behind producing the videos that will be the material of the course, and why the presenter is interested in developing an online course. A portion of his most recently completed video about film costumes will be screened.

February 8
Optional Department Teaching Discussions

February 15
Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

February 22
Where Pedagogy Meets Technology: The Role of an Instructional Technologist in ETS
Aisha Gabriel, Faculty Development Coordinator
Deborah Keisch Polin, Instructional Technologist
Tom Laughner, Director of Educational Technology Services

In order to provide faculty with more information about how others, at Smith and elsewhere, are using technology to help with pedagogical questions, the ITS strategic plan proposed the hiring of two instructional technologists. This presentation will provide an overview of the new instructional technology team in ETS and how it will work. We will also simulate a consulting call between an instructional technologist and a member of the Smith faculty.

March 1
Scientific Teaching: A Primer
David Gross (Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst)

The presentation will involve a discussion of the principles of Scientific Teaching. The pedagogy of the presentation will use these principles.
Five Colleges Institute on Scientific Teaching - May, 2013

March 8
Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

March 15 - ADDED DATE
Prompted by President-elect McCartney's and Associate Provost O'Rourke's attendance at a prominent conference entitled "Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education," a "Teaching Circle" conversation on MOOCs and online learning was held on Friday, March 8. The response was quite positive, even overwhelming, so we will continue the conversation at this Teaching Arts Lunch with the sole focus on online learning. Several of the faculty have experiences to share. It is anticipated that this will be a conversation led by Provost O'Rourke, rather than a presentation.

March 29
Cognitive Development and Reading Skills in College: An Introduction to the Harvard Course in Reading and Study Strategies
Abigail Lipson (Director, Bureau of Study Counsel, Harvard University)

All students arrive at college knowing how to read. However, college-level work presents students with unprecedented challenges with regard to the nature and the amount of required reading and also in terms of the expectations for analytical, critical, and original thinking related to their reading. Students coming from a wide diversity of cultural/linguistic backgrounds and educational systems find they must question their assumptions and develop new skills and approaches to learning at the university level. The Harvard Course in Reading and Study Strategies is a ten-session mini-course enrolling over 400 student each year. Through practical exercises, Guided Eye-Movement (GEM)TM films and class discussion, the Course is designed to help students develop a broader repertoire of reading approaches to read more purposefully and selectively and with greater speed and comprehension. The Bureau is currently working with Pearson to develop the Course as an interactive online learning environment. A brief presentation of the Course curriculum, including a GEM film, will be followed by an open discussion of how students learn how to learn in college.

April 5
The Flipped Classroom
Kevin Shea (Chemistry; Director, Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning)

After several years of struggling with the best way to help students prepare for class, Kevin decided to try recording short videos focused on topics needed to solve homework problems. This helped students come to class more prepared and improved class discussion. He will show an example video, discuss student feedback, and provide technical tips.

To view Kevin's presentation "The Flipped Classroom," click here.

April 12
Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

April 19
Critical Multiliteracies in a Foreign Language Classroom: Becoming an Intercultural and Interlanguage Mediator
Yuri Kumagai (East Asian Languages & Literature)

In this presentation a classroom-based project conducted in an intermediate Japanese language classroom will be introduced. In the project, on-line news reports (both in English and Japanese) were used as teaching materials. The results show that the classroom helped foster learners' understanding of language choices in texts and develop their confidence as intercultural/interlanguage mediators with social agency.

April 26
Transcending Sites, Crossing Disciplines
Ninette Rothmueller (Art)

This presentation will reflect on the challenges and values of interdisciplinary teaching between theory and hands on art production. This reflection includes insights on teaching methods that are inclusive to off-site teaching and embodied forms of knowledge production.


Fall 2012

September 14
A New Approach to Teaching Math for Engineers and Scientists
Gary Felder (Physics)
Kenny Felder

Many science and engineering curricula, including physics and engineering at Smith, require a "math methods" course that briefly covers a large grab-bag of math topics useful to engineering and science students. Unfortunately, spending a week on an unfamiliar math topic with no physical context and then being asked to recall it a year later when you need it for another class is not always a successful strategy. We are developing a new approach in which students work through exercises where they solve physical problems and uncover the need for mathematical techniques, are guided through their own discovery of the math, and then apply the techniques to physical problems. Our conjecture, supported by educational and cognitive research, is that their later recall will benefit both from learning the material in the type of physical context where they will need it, and from developing the ideas themselves through active-learning exercises. These exercises will form part of a new math methods textbook that we expect to publish in two years. We would strongly welcome ideas and feedback from anyone interested in the engineering and science curriculum or in the general educational issue of transfer of learning from one course to another.

September 21
Optional Department Teaching Discussions

September 28
Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

October 5
Assessing Student Learning in the Chemistry Major: the pHunger Games
Betsy Jamieson (Chemistry)
Dave Gorin (Chemistry)
Carrie Read (Chemistry)

We will describe our pilot implementation of the "pHunger Games", an examination given to graduating seniors to assess learning in the chemistry major. Designed to test specific learning outcomes, our assessment required students to referee a research manuscript by providing written feedback on the presented experimental design, data analysis, and conclusions.

October 19
Teaching Social Justice, Activism, and New Media on Otelia Cromwell Day
Lisa Armstrong (Study of Women & Gender)
Kevin Rozario (American Studies)

The theme for this year’s Otelia Cromwell Day is "Social Justice, Activism, and New Media." We will detail the presentations, workshops, and events offered for students and (exclusively) for faculty. We will also talk about how digital media is transforming the political imaginations, commitments, and activities of students today.

Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

November 2 - FORD HALL 240
Blending Online Learning and Liberal-Arts Classroom Interaction
Jennifer Spohrer (Bryn Mawr College)
Nicholas Horton (Mathematics & Statistics)

Bryn Mawr and Smith Colleges are part of a consortium funded by the Next Generation Learning Challenge with the goal of introducing open-source courseware modules into traditional courses to improve course and college completion. The project aims to assess if targeted use of this technology, blended with the traditional intimate classroom setting, will free up time for more in-depth coverage of complex material and create a more engaged learning environment. We will briefly introduce some of the open-source courseware modules that are available, as well as providing an overview of Massively Online Open Courses (MOOC's) and discuss their relevance at selective residential colleges.

November 9
Psychology Assessment Update
Patty DiBartolo (Psychology)

Measuring student learning is a daunting task. What are the possible concerns and opportunities emerging from a department's attempts to capture student knowledge within its discipline? A Teaching Arts Lunch last year described the work of some faculty in the Psychology Department to develop a tool assessing disciplinary knowledge, especially related to research methods, within our student majors. The pilot tool we created is an open-ended assessment that measures transfer and application of disciplinary knowledge aligned with our collective learning goals. We will provide an update on our work, sharing pilot findings from students assessed at various stages of our curriculum (from students taking our introductory course to majors nominated as the "best" in our department), describing how these data have begun to shape our understanding of student learning and subsequent revision of our curriculum. With this update, we will once again discuss the possibilities and pitfalls of our work and invite faculty discussion focused on the essential question of how best to measure what students know.

November 16
What is it Like Being a Smith Student Today? How are we preparing our students to enter the Knowledge Age?
Kevin Shea (Director, Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning)

Come join us for an open-ended discussion about teaching strategies that enable our students to ask and address important questions. We will begin the session by watching a TEDx talk by Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, entitled "From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able". We will then see how Wesch’s ideas resonate with what we are currently doing at Smith and how his ideas could transform our teaching in the future.

Michael Wesch TEDx Presentation: From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able

Discussion Questions
What is it Like Being a Student at Smith Today?

November 30
Informal Teaching Discussion and Potential Teaching Circle Meeting Time

Teaching with the Museum
Maggie Lind (Museum of Art)
Ann Musser (Museum of Art)

Join staff from the Smith College Museum of Art to learn more about incorporating visual material across the curriculum, with tips for encouraging close-looking and observation. We will engage in our own guided looking session with a work of art and talk about ways to discover the relevant connections to your own course topics within SCMA’s collection of approximately 25,000 objects.



Spring 2012

January 27
Interpreting the New Course Evaluations
Nancy Whittier (Sociology)

This Teaching Arts Lunch will focus on how to interpret the new course evaluations, particularly the qualitative portion. Bring your questions, bring your evaluations if you like, and we'll talk about how to make sense of the comments, look at examples, and consider how to summarize them.

February 3, 2012
Student Perspective on Classroom Discussion
Barbara Brehm-Curtis (Exercise and Sport Studies)
Floyd Cheung (English)
Jessica Bacal (Center for Work & Life)

When the Center for Work & Life advertised a workshop designed to help students feel more comfortable speaking in class, fifty students registered. During this presentation, we will share what we learned from reviewing current research on this topic and talking to students who attended the workshop. We will then facilitate a conversation about strategies that you have used to encourage students' speaking and engagement in class.

Cognitive Restructuring Exercise by Patty DiBartolo

GROUPTHINK: The Brainstorming Myth by Jonah Lehrer
The New Yorker, January 30, 2012

What's the Problem With Quiet Students? Anyone? Anyone? by Mary M. Reda
The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 5, 2010

Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic? by Susan Cain
The New York Times, June 25, 2011

February 24
Transitioning to a Workshop Format in Introductory Physics
Joyce Palmer-Fortune (Physics)
Gary Felder

Over the next two years Smith Physics will be doing away with separate labs and lectures in Introductory Physics, moving to an integrated model where students go back and forth between doing experiments, discussing the results, and solving problems. We will discuss our plans for making this transition and the open questions we are still working on in that process.

March 9
Mind in the Making
Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder, Families and Work Institute

For almost a decade, Ellen Galinksy worked with top researchers from across the country, filming their experiments and studying their results about how we learn best. In her acclaimed book, Mind in the Making (Harper Collins 2010), she identifies seven life skills that are essential to success in school, in the workforce and in life. They are: focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed engaged learning. In this presentation, Ellen will discuss her research and how it may be applied to work with college students.

March 30
Smith College Alumnae Outcomes
Cate Rowen (Institutional Research)
Minh Ly (Institutional Research)

What happens to our students after they graduate? What jobs do they hold? Do they complete advanced degrees? How do they compare to alumnae from peer institutions? What do they think about their Smith experience? Minh Ly and Cate Rowen from Institutional Research will present findings from Smith's alumnae survey, followed by a discussion about what we measure and what really matters in life after Smith.

April 6
Contemplative Pedagogy in Higher Education
Bernadine Mellis (Film Studies)
Jennifer Cannon (UMass)

For thousands of years, people have practiced mindfulness meditation to reduce suffering and cultivate peace. Contemporary Western research reveals that mindfulness also enhances learning and attention. Many educational institutions, including UCLA, Stanford, UCSF, and PENN have embraced mindfulness as an educational intervention by introducing it into their curricula and conducting research in the field. Bernadine Mellis, Five College Visiting Artist in Film & Video Production and Jennifer Cannon, PhD Candidate at UMASS, will introduce some of the basic ideas behind contemplative pedagogy. They will also lead participants in brief contemplative practices designed for the classroom.

What Are Contemplative Practices?

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACHME)

April 20
Mentoring Underrepresented Students
Gita Bosch, Academic & Educational Consultant

A key to student success is mentoring. This is especially true for underrepresented minority (URM) students who may not have the social structure that provides role models and intellectual and emotional supports that students need to succeed. Mentoring can provide this infrastructure and fill in gaps in knowledge and access to available resources which many URM students need. Peer mentoring is critical for student success, but it has to be supported with faculty mentoring for optimal effectiveness. Many non-minority faculty are wary about taking on the role of mentor for URM students. This is usually not because they do not want to but rather it is usually because they are concerned that they do not know how. The discussion will focus on how faculty mentors can overcome the barriers and gain awareness, insight and strategies on mentoring URM students to increase the chances for their future success professionally and personally.

Science Mentoring: Strongest Advocate, Strongest Critic - A Guide to Mentoring
nature.com, July 2, 2012


Fall 2011

September 23
Collaborative Online Writing Assignments
Richard Olivo (Biological Sciences)

Collaborative writing assignments, where students draft and edit a document collectively, can increase the amount of writing in a course without increasing the amount of grading. We will discuss the practicalities of working with two online collaborative environments, PBWorks (a wiki) and Google Docs. We will also hear about how Smith students reacted to working in assigned teams – Richard Olivo, Biological Sciences and Neuroscience, Smith College; and former Associate Director, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University

Olivo, R. F. Collaborative Online Writing Assignments to Foster Active Learning. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 2012. 11(1): A82-A89.

Oakley, Barbara et al. Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning, 2004 2, (1): 9-34.

North, South, East, and West: Compass Points
An Exercise in Understanding Preferences in Group Work

October 7
The Bechtel Environmental Classroom at the Ada & Archibald MacLeish Field Station: What can a building teach you?
Reid Bertone-Johnson (Center for the Environment)

October 21
The CMU Open Learning Initiative and Smith: Integrating pedagogies and technologies
Nick Horton (Mathematics and Statistics)

TED Talks - Salman Khan: Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education

Project Mosaic

Bryn Mawr Next Generation Learning

October 28
Skyping the French: A weekly intercultural conversation with a school in Paris
Christiane Metral (French Studies)

November 4
The Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning: Our first two years and plans for the future
Kevin Shea (Sherrerd Center Director, Chemistry)

November 18
Assessment of Deep Learning in the Methods of Psychological Science
Patty DiBartolo (Psychology)

December 2
Teaching Circles: Finding kindred spirits to support your work in the classroom
Borjana Mikic (Engineering)
Susan Van Dyne (Study of Women and Gender)

One of the main tenets of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning is the notion that teaching is always a work in a progress, and is always improvable. When we consider new approaches to our work in the classroom, however, the barriers to adopting new pedagogical strategies can often seem formidable. Teaching Circles provide an opportunity for faculty to learn from colleagues who are exploring similar pedagogical themes or approaches by engaging with one another in conversation about shared interests. In this Teaching Arts Lunch, Susan and Borjana will discuss two on-going Teaching Circles: one related to teaching with the archives, the other related to creativity and design. Although the focus of these two groups is quite different, we will explore several common themes as we invite you to join the conversation.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson


Spring 2011

March 4
Beyond Access: How Jacobson Center Services Develop Autonomous Learning
Julio Alves (Jacobson Center)
Gail Thomas (Jacobson Center)

March 11
Ability Matters: Students with Learning Disabilities Talk with Us about Teaching Strategies That Work
Laura Rauscher (Disability Services)

March 25
Liberal Arts Advising: A Report from the First Year Pilot
Kate Queeney (Chemistry)

April 1
Mobile Technology: A Survey of Applications for Teaching and Learning
Tom Laughner (Educational Technology Services)
Nat Fortune (Physics)

April 8
Transfer Maps: Identifying Transferable Knowledge and Skills from a Capstone Course
Susannah Howe (Engineering)
Mary Moriarty

April 15
The Value (and Privilege) of One-on-One Teaching in the Performing Arts
Judith Gordon (Music) and Friends

April 22
Supporting Good Classroom Talk Using Knowledge Forum
Patty DiBartolo (Psychology)
Glenn Ellis (Engineering)
Randy Frost (Psychology)
Al Rudnitsky
(Education & Child Study)


FALL 2010

September 17
What's New With Smith's Educational Technology Services (ETS) Group?
Tom Laughner (Education Technology Services)
Aisha Gabriel (Education Technology Services)

September 24
Active Learning
Richard Felder
Rebecca Brent

Achieving Excellence in Math, Engineering and Science: The AEMES Program
Peter de Villiers (Psychology)
Adam Hall (Biological Sciences)
Kate Queeney (Chemistry)

October 22
Report on Critical Thinking Assessment Test
Minh Ly (Institutional Research)

October 29
Educational Inequalities and Impacts on Entering Smith Students
Tina Wildhagen (Sociology)

November 5, 2010
Updates From Conferences on Teaching and Learning
Joyce Fortune (Physics)
Beth Powell (Psychology)
Kevin Shea (Sherrerd Center Director, Chemistry)

November 19
Incorporating Current Topics in Classes: Gulf Oil Spill Teaching Circle
Drew Guswa (Engineering)

December 3
Helping Underserved Students Succeed at Smith. Perspectives from the Founder of the Pathways to College Program
Judith Berry Griffin, Woodrow Wilson Fellow