CTL Faculty E-Newsletter


Susan Hess publishes article in College Composition and Communication

Susan Hess, Assistant Director of the First-Year Seminar Program and Writing and Teaching/Learning Specialist at CTL, has recently published “Privileging Pedagogy: Composition, Rhetoric, and Faculty Development” in the journal College Composition and Communication’s September 2013 edition.

In the article, Hess and her co-authors draw on their own experiences to reflect on the connection between a Composition and Rhetoric background and a career in faculty development, and examine ways in which these two fields inform and enrich one another. Full text of the article can be found here

Reaching out to FSEMs

Professor Jenny Tessendorf and CTL Assistant Director Ruth Shields have been collaborating this fall to provide students in her First-Year Seminar “Why Aren’t All Countries Rich?” with a full toolkit of strategies to adapt to the demands of college.

“FSEMs are a great place to connect with students early in their college career,” says Shields, “and Professor Tessendorf is a strong proponent of studying smart, not studying more.” Shields visited the class twice in the first few weeks of the semester to lead workshops in time management. Other workshops have followed, including a session where Study Mentors worked in small groups with students on study skills and on fine-tuning their time management strategies. In October, Shields presented two further workshops, on note-taking and on critical thinking, and she will be meeting with the students one last time before the end of the semester.

2nd Annual Writing Prize

The CTL Writing Fellows and the Writing Colleagues Program are thrilled to announce the return of the First-Year Writing Prize.  Last year, the Prize recognized excellent writing by Emily Fearey, Kristin Ressel and Brian Schimmel, who were honored at a reception in April and received a cash prize.  

Nominations for this year’s prize are due January 29, 2014. Faculty who are currently teaching First-Year Seminars are invited to nominate work which exemplifies excellent college-level writing. Nominated students will be asked to submit a cover letter detailing their writing process in addition to their essays, and a selection committee of Writing and Rhetoric Faculty, CTL staff, Writing Colleagues and Writing Fellows will review the essays and select finalists in the spring semester. For more information, please contact Hannah Dickinson at or Ingrid Keenan at

Spotlight on CTL’s Lending Library

A new addition to CTL’s Lending Library is the much-talked-about Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, by José Antonio Bowen. In Teaching Naked, Bowen examines the impact of technology on education, and explores ways in which educators can adapt and thrive in the new digital landscape. Bowen argues that technology will be most useful to educators when it is used outside of the classroom, and provides a wealth of strategies on how to do so, from effective ways of using social media to communicate with students, to using podcasts and other digital media to introduce and contextualize content before it is discussed in class. Rather than deploring video games, he argues that educators should learn from them, and writes:

Games are really just an endless series of tests, a constant stream of problem solving and assessment. Future educators will need to understand how games take the part of school that most students dislike the most and make it fun.

If you would like to read more, drop in to CTL and sign out our copy of Teaching Naked, or search our library at

Faculty Learning Community: Re-Discovering the Liberal Arts

What do we mean by a liberal arts education? How can we address the challenges we face as an institution? How do liberal arts institutions remain relevant in light of the current national push for college programs that prepare students for specific employment opportunities? What should a liberal arts education look like in 2020 or 2050? How can we contribute to the challenges faced by liberal arts institutions across the country?

These are just a few of the questions being explored in a Faculty Learning Community entitled Re-discovering the Liberal Arts. Faculty members have been meeting since September to discuss the book Liberal Arts at the Brink by Victor Ferrall, and the culmination of these discussions will be a professional development workshop in mid-January open to all faculty, followed by various projects in the spring semester.

Open Classroom Week

Twelve faculty members made twenty-two visits to their colleague’s classrooms during Open Classroom Week (October 21 to 25).  The program started last spring as a way for junior faculty to learn more about teaching strategies, and this year the invitation was extended to all faculty. Participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to observe their colleagues, and to learn more about the variety of teaching styles and innovations.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.