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Provost Briefs

Center for Teaching and Learning

This year marks the 5th annual Senior Symposium. On April 19th, 100 students will present on a variety of topics including cancer cures, identity formation, fracking, social justice, and more. Sixty-five faculty and staff are contributing to the Senior Symposium by sponsoring students, moderating panels, or facilitating abstract writing or presentation practice workshops. This year also, several faculty have integrated the Senior Symposium into their classes: all students in Assistant Professor Khuram Hussain’s EDUC 307 Civil Rights Education class will be presenting group projects; Associate Professor of Dance Donna Davenport has embedded the Senior Symposium into her DAN 432 Dance Education Seminar (which includes service learning at North Street School in Geneva); Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Beth Kinne’s ENV 301 Senior Integrative Experience students will present their class projects; and several students Assistant Professor of Music Charity Lofthouse’s students in Music 401 will present. The day-long, conference-style event continues to be a visible and tangible representation of the academic engagement and critical thinking capacity of soon-to-be HWS graduates. This semester, the CTL embarked on a new venture: an e-newsletter for HWS faculty and staff. This e-newsletter, which will come out twice each semester, is a forum for sharing innovative pedagogy and an opportunity to contribute to current conversations about teaching and learning happening both at HWS and other institutions. Already the e-newsletter has become a place for faculty and staff to contribute ideas and enrich dialogue surrounding teaching and learning. Our first edition, which features a variety of articles from faculty and staff, can be found here. This semester the CTL has invited faculty to participate in two Learning Communities: Teaching for Critical Thinking - The nine faculty in this Learning Community have read and discussed Stephen Brookfield’s Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help students Question Their Assumptions and as well as other texts. Whiteness Theory and Critical Race Theory: Implications for Course Design and Pedagogical Strategies - The thirteen faculty in this Learning Community have read and discussed Barbara Applebaum’s Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy as well as additional texts. The discussions have been rich as faculty across the disciplines discuss the meaning of race in their own contexts. This group is developing a plan to share their work, thinking, and outcomes with HWS faculty colleagues. In addition, on April 22, faculty in this Learning Community will partner with the Race and Racism Coalition and the Social Justice Studies Program to welcome Barbara Applebaum to campus. Applebaum, an Associate Professor of Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University, will give a talk entitled “Being White, Being Good, Being Vigilant” on April 22. She will be meeting with the Faculty Learning Community to discuss her book as well as a group of students from the Race and Racism Coalition during her visit. Classroom Observation Process -This semester, the CTL has partnered with the Committee on the Faculty to provide a series of learning opportunities around the new requirement for faculty teaching observations. We’ve began with a series of informal lunch discussions where faculty share their own experiences observing colleagues and being observed, and where their audience can raise questions and trade insights. As a result of these lunches, the CTL organized HWS’s first “Open Teaching” weeks. This is an “open house” style opportunity for untenured faculty to informally observe their colleagues’ classes and learn more about teaching at HWS. Assessment of the lunch discussions and Open Teaching weeks is being completed using the new HWS survey tool, Campus Labs, and these assessment results will be presented to CoFac and the faculty.