Talking About Teaching
Spring 2014

Please join us for a new term of Talking About Teaching, a weekly series (Friday 12:00-1:00 PM) where faculty gather together to discuss teaching, learning, students, and other related topics. Discussion leaders will share an experience, frame a question, or introduce an idea to get the discussion started. Lunch will be provided and no RSVP is necessary.

January 31 - Neil Chudgar (English) and Tina Kruse (Educational Studies).  “Surprise! Unexpected Benefits of Co-Teaching”  
When Kruse and Chudgar began teaching a course together, they expected to learn some things about each other’s discipline.  So they did.  But they were surprised—sometimes startled—by the altogether unexpected benefits of their collaboration. Join Kruse and Chudgar for a conversation about the surprising rewards of co-teaching. If you’ve co-taught a course, bring your experiences to share; if you’re curious about the prospect of co-teaching, bring your questions.

February 7- David Bressoud (Math, Statistics, and Computer Science), Erik Larson (Sociology), and Diane Michelfelder (Philosophy).  “On the Q.T. Coming modifications to the Quantitative Thinking requirement”
Last spring, EPAG adopted a collection of modifications to the Quantitative Thinking requirement that had been recommended by the ad hoc committee chaired by Jaine Strauss. These were announced at last April's faculty meeting and will go into effect for the 2014–15 school year. This will be a discussion of the coming changes, their rationale, and the streamlined application process for Q course designations.

February 14- Tom Halverson (Math, Statistics, and Computer Science).  “Talking About Calculus”
The MSCS department is planning a revision of the calculus courses Math 137 Single Variable Calculus and Math 237 Multivariable Calculus. Halverson will present the proposed changes and discuss how these may affect students with majors in departments such as chemistry, biology, economics, environmental studies, geology, or physics. Faculty in those departments may be especially interested in these changes, but everyone is invited to come see what is going on in calculus at Macalester.

February 21-  Marlon James and Kristin Naca (English).  "More Creative or More Writing?"
If Creative Writing is so based in the imagination, why are CW students some of the best scholarly writers in the English department? What happens in a creative writing classroom that fosters the kinds of thinking that's productive for scholarly and argumentative writing -- or any other kind of academic writing for that matter.

February 28 - Ann Minnick (Director of Academic Programs).  “Advising Across the Student Life Cycle:  Strategies and Resources”
What are the advising needs of incoming first-years?  How do those differ from the concerns of juniors? What assistance do seniors need as they prepare to leave Mac? This session will explore the year by year advising needs of students and provide resources for faculty to effectively engage their advisees during their time at Macalester (and beyond!).

March 14 - Beth Severy-Hoven (Classics).  “Career Development and the Curriculum: Experiments with the Classics Senior Seminar"
For the past four years, the Classics department has been embedding some basic career development work into our Senior Seminar. Severy will describe why and how the department began that experiment and what those components look like within the course as a whole. Severy will also do a little bit of thinking out loud about the way we as an institution prepare students for college in the First Year Course and how we might do better in consistently preparing them to leave. Then the floor will be open for a hopefully wide-ranging discussion of curriculum and vocation.

21 March - Spring Break.  No program.

March 28- Nancy Bostrom (Campus Assessment Facilitator) and Kendrick Brown (Psychology and Associate Dean of the Faculty).  “GERC Invites you to Discuss Results of the Internationalism Requirement Assessment”
The General Education Requirements Committee (GERC) will present findings from the assessment of our Internationalism requirement.  Please join us to discuss the results and recommendations and to plan next steps.

April 4- Cat Jacquet (History).  “Teaching Transgender History: Challenges and Surprises”
Jacquet will discuss her experiences teaching courses on transgender history for two semesters at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and now for the third time at Macalester. Teaching these courses has been a labor of love, yet it has also presented her with challenges unique to teaching about sexual and gendered minorities. Jacquet will reflect on the challenges and surprises that have presented themselves along the way and how she’s had to rethink her own basic assumptions and naïve expectations.

April 11- Adrienne Christiansen (Political Science and Serie Center Director) and Shilad Sen (Math, Statistics, and Computer Science).  “Python and Prose: The Experimental "Embedded Writers' Workshop" in a Computer Science First Year Course”
In Fall 2013, Sen undertook a semester-long experiment with the students in his course "Computing and Society: Exploring the Political and Social Structure of the Web" by building in an extra weekly course period for a writing lab--taught by Christiansen. Their collaboration was designed to explore new models of teaching writing in the first year course and new models of faculty development re: writing pedagogy. They will share data from their experiment and lead a discussion about whether the "embedded writers' workshop" is a viable model for faculty teaching a first year course at Macalester.

April 18- Tom Christensen (Physics and Astronomy).  “What are our Students Thinking?”This program will explore how to use Just-in-Time Teaching (JITT) to get a sense of what students are thinking before going into class.  Christensen will also offer observations about the differences in Macalester students and students from a mid-sized public University where he taught for 24 years.

April 25- Vicky Karaiskou (Art History).  “Teaching ‘Blended’ Art Classes at an Online University”
For more than ten years, Karaiskou has taught art courses in the Department of Hellenic Culture at the Open University of Cyprus.  She joins us this year to do art-related faculty development work at the Serie Center and to teach in Macalester’s Art History Department. In this talk, Karaiskou outlines the advantages she has observed while teaching art at an online/blended university.  She argues that virtual space definitely fosters engagement and reflection on the parts of students and, curiously, promotes discussion.

May 2- Britt Abel (German and Russian Studies).  “Teaching Writing with Write Well” Buzzfeed gave our Write Well video series a boost in January, but how can we faculty boost our writing instruction by using these handy-dandy micro-lectures?  Sample lesson plans and activities based on Write Well videos will serve as a springboard for discussion and comparison.