Redesign of Teaching Fellow Training
Based on feedback from exit interviews with graduating Teaching Fellows (TF) and conversations with last year’s Lead Teaching Fellows (LTF) and faculty liaisons, it became evident that while TF training was enriching and covered general issues faced by TFs, such as ethics, different learning styles, common and difficult situations, many issues of importance were not addressed. Hence, this year Ruth Shields, in collaboration with faculty liaisons, redesigned the TF training to include sessions that address skills useful for specific departments and disciplines. During the first weekend of the semester, seven sessions were offered; facilitated by three CTL staff, eight faculty liaisons, and seven Teaching Fellows (including the five LTFs).
An example of one session is Statistics: Learning without Answers. In the three departments (Economics, Biology and Sociology) that support students taking Statistics, TF’s continually report it is challenging to support students without simply telling them what to do. As a result, Professor Christina Houseworth designed a session to demonstrate strategies for facilitating learning without giving the answer.
Development of the Quantitative Reasoning Program
Over the past several years, an increased number of students have requested academic support in courses that require students to know and apply algebraic concepts; yet do not have a math pre-requisite. These students can find some support in departments with Teaching Fellows, but are often frustrated because of the lack of an algebraic refresher course or workshop/session. In response, the Assistant Director of the CTL, Ruth Shields, has offered several one-on-one refresher sessions with students, as well as preparatory sessions for the quantitative portion of the GRE. However, while this service exists the CTL has not formalized advertising quantitative reasoning support to students and faculty.
This summer the CTL staff researched Quantitative Reasoning Programs offered at other liberal arts institutions, specifically support around mathematical representation, logic and symbolic reasoning, and statistical analysis. This semester the CTL will be formalizing a Quantitative Reasoning Program to enhance and enrich the quantitative reasoning requirement at HWS. This program will work in unison with faculty to support students, as well as offer enrichment opportunities to students across campus, which may include content support (collection of resources for students and faculty, refresher sessions, interdisciplinary statistics support), community building (problems of the week, math club events), and enrichment opportunities (presentations on and off campus, math competitions, financial literacy courses).