The Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching hosts
faculty reading groups each spring by providing meeting space, books,
and light refreshments. If you are interested in participating in any
of these proposed reading groups, please contact one of the listed faculty
Thinking Fast and Slow - Organizational meeting Friday, February 8, 2:30-3:30 PM at the Serie Center
Convened by Jaine Strauss (Psychology) and Peter Ferderer (Economics)
Professors Strauss and Ferderer are organizing a reading group that will meet four times this semester to discuss Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Faculty members interested in joining the group are invited to attend an organizational meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, February 8 in the Serie Center. If you are interested but cannot attend the meeting at that time, please contact and Jaine Strauss or Pete Ferderer. Thinking, Fast and Slow covers Kahneman’s early research (much of it with the late Amos Tversky) on cognitive biases, his challenges to expected utility theory which won him the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, and his more recent work on the nature and causes of happiness. Psychologist Steven Pinker describes Kahneman as “the most important psychologist alive today” and the appearance of Thinking, Fast and Slow a major event. Economist Steven Levitt asserts that there is “no other person on the planet who better understands how and why we make the choices we make” and he describes Thinking as “an absolutely amazing book… simple and engaging, but nonetheless stunningly profound.”
Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom - Friday February 15 9:45-10:45 AM at the Serie Center. Group will meet every other Friday.
Convened by Jim Dawes (English)
Professor Dawes will lead a reading group that meets every other week on Fridays at 9:45 in the Serie Center to discuss John Bean's "Engaging Ideas". The first edition of this book became a faculty development classic and this edition is even better! This reading group is especially geared for faculty who want to discuss research on writing and critical thinking and to discover practical ways to incorporate them into their classroom teaching. Faculty who teach a First Year Course in Fall 2013 will receive a $100 stipend for participating in this reading group. Carol Rutz, director of writing at Carleton College, writes of Bean's book: "Refreshed by current research, new practical examples, and theoretically sound pedagogical principles, this is a book for teachers of all subjects, regardless of level or institution. Faculty who dip into these engaging ideas will find dozens of ways to promote their students' success as thinkers and writers—and have fun doing so." If you are interested in participating but cannot attend the first meeting on Friday, February 15
, please contact Jim Dawes.
College: What It Was, Is and Should Be - Tuesday, March 5, March 26 and April 2 1:30-2:30 PM
Convened by Karen Saxe (Mathematics) and Erik Larson (Sociology)
Professor Larson and Saxe will lead a reading group focusing on "College: What it was, is, and should be", by Anthony DelBanco. This book was recommended reading by President Rosenberg. It provides a summary of the history and evolution of the uniquely American four-year college, and provides an argument for its continued relevance. Part of the focus is on the tension between research and the needs of undergraduates. Much of what he writes about is relevant for us, as we think of how to move Macalester forward. We will meet three times during the semester, all Tuesdays 1:30-2:30. On March 5 we will discuss the first 3 chapters (100 pages). On March 26 we will discuss the rest of the book. On April 2 Brian Rosenberg will join our final discussion.
If you have questions regarding this reading group, please contact Karen Saxe or Erik Larson.
Institutional Ethics, Social Responsibility, and the American College and University - Organization meeting February 12 3:45-4:45 at the Serie Center
Convened by Terry Boychuk (Sociology)
Should colleges and universities take a stand on political, economic, and social controversies? Or, does advocacy jeopardize the unique mission of higher education? These questions became pressing during the 1960s when the Civil Rights Moment and the Vietnam War tore apart US campuses, and they remain insoluble riddles to this day. We will survey a number of landmark statements from academic writers and university bodies issued in the wake of campus unrest over the role of universities in sustaining/challenging the American political order. When is it appropriate for colleges and university to take sides? When should they abstain from taking sides? The first organizational meeting will be held Tuesday, February 12th at the Serie Center 3:45-4:45. No books required but the group will read various pdfs.
If you have questions regarding this reading group, please contact Terry Boychuk.
Forming "Civic Professionals": An Inquiry into Liberal Arts Education, Vocational Discernment and the Common Good.
Convened by Paul Schadewald (Civic Engagement Center) and Karin Aguilar-San Juan (American Studies)
Several recent studies have identified broad challenges to undergraduate education. These include: curricular fragmentation, the narrowing of higher education to workforce development, and the perception that liberal education has only limited public value or vocational worth. An inquiry into the concept of “civic professionalism,” may be useful to formulate responses to these challenges and to reconsider our work with students inside and outside the classroom. Using the work of William Sullivan, we employ the term “civic professionalism” to mark the integration of formal knowledge, vocational exploration/ development, and a commitment to the common good, as key components of liberal education. This reading group will meet four times during the spring 2013 semester when participants are available to engage short articles about civic professionalism and its place in the larger society and in an undergraduate educational context. With support from the Teagle Foundation through Imagining America, participants in the reading group will be eligible to request small grants this year or next year for projects or initiatives that could integrate some aspect of civic professionalism (civic engagement, mentoring, vocational reflection, work with alums, or other creative ideas) into courses, advising, department initiatives, or collaborations across campus. Please contact
Paul Schadewald or Karin Aguilar-San Juan if you are interested in participating in this reading group and they will contact you directly to find a mutually agreeable time for this group to meet.
It's not too late to propose another reading group for the spring semester. Please contact
Adrienne Christiansen with your ideas.