Spring Professional Activities Workshop (SPAW)
Monday, May 16, 2011 and Tuesday, May 17, 2011
8:30 AM -4:00 PM

The Spring Professional Activities Workshop (SPAW) is a faculty development conference at Macalester designed to provide hands-on activities in the major areas of faculty professional activities: scholarship, teaching, advising, and service. All faculty members are welcome and may attend as many or as few of the sessions as their interests and time allow.

Department Chair’s Workshop with Mary Lou Higgerson
Dr. Higgerson is currently Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Baldwin-Wallace College.  Higgerson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas where she studied and conducted research in organizational communication.  Her selection as an American Council on Education Fellow in 1986-87 propelled her to move her consulting and research interests from the corporate world to higher education administration. Combining her knowledge of communication with her administrative experience, Higgerson’s focus in her writing, consulting, and training activities is on leadership communication as it supports effective leadership at all levels of higher education administration.   Higgerson’s published work includes Effective Leadership Communication: A Survival Guide for Department Chairs and College Deans and The Department Chair as Academic Leader.  

Scholarly Writing and Publishing with Rachel Toor
Rachel Toor was an acquisitions editor for a dozen years at Oxford and Duke University Presses. She now teaches creative nonfiction in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University in Spokane. She is the author of three books, and her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Glamour, Ploughshares, Reader's Digest, Runner's World, Ascent, the LA Times, and JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. She writes a monthly faculty advice column on writing well for The Chronicle of Higher Education and a bi-monthly column for Running Times.


Monday, May 16

Department Chairs Workshop
4th Floor Old Main Breakfast
4th Floor Old Main

Managing Conflict in Our Departments (for Department Chairs) - Mary Lou Higgerson
The ability to effectively manage conflict is essential to leadership success. Yet, the task of managing conflict can be uncomfortable for even seasoned academic leaders. In this session, participants will hear and have an opportunity to practice leadership communication strategies that enhance their comfort and proficiency for managing conflict and difficult personalities.

4th Floor Old Main Lunch
4th Floor Old Main

Managing Difficult Performance Conversations (for Department Chairs) - Mary Lou Higgerson
Department and program chairs are responsible for the professional development of faculty and staff.  This includes the need to counsel individuals who are not meeting acceptable performance levels and to mange the conflict that can develop when faculty do not meet performance expectations. In this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice some specific communication strategies for effective performance conversations.

Scholarly Writing and Publishing
Serie Center

Thinking Well, Writing Well: How Smart Academics Write to Get Published - Rachel Toor
Why is academic prose so bad? Rachel Toor, a recovering book editor turned creative writing professor, will discuss the bad habits of mind and language that make academic writing so painful to read. She will spend a surprising amount of time talking about sentences and will give scads of suggestions--stolen from better writers--on how to do the hardest part of your academic job. If you want to get published, you have to care about your sentences.

Serie Center Lunch
Serie Center

Getting it Done - Rachel Toor
If you want to get published, you need to create a good manuscript. How do you that? Where do you find the time? How do you know it's any good? Who can help you? Once you have the manuscript, how do you find a publisher? Do you need an agent? What do you need to know about marketing? In this informal session, Rachel Toor will try to give some pointers about dealing with the intangible aspects that make writing so hard (the shame of not writing; the fact that writing is hard) and will also take questions about finding your way through the publishing process.

Tuesday, May 17


Campus Center 215

You're Going Where?:  Funding Ladders for International Projects, Michelle Epp, Abby Showalter-Loch, and Helen Warren (Corporate and Foundation Relations)
The costs of faculty scholarship that spans international boundaries far exceed the funds Macalester can devote to them.  This program considers how faculty can strengthen projects they conduct abroad through a combination of internal and external support.  In addition to identifying external sources of support for international research, staff in Corporate and Foundation Relations will describe how to conceive and build “funding ladders” in support of projects from inception to culmination. 

Campus Center 214

What is Internationalism? What is Multiculturalism? What is Service to Society? Kendrick Brown (Psychology and Associate Dean of the Faculty) and Nancy Bostrom (Assessment Office)
Get a preview of how our first year students relate to Macalester’s mission – upon arrival at Macalester. The purpose of the session is to share preliminary results from a newly developed assessment instrument. We hope this session sparks conversations about the many ways the institution engages students with our mission.  

Campus Center 206

Teaching with Technology Tapas - Barron Koralesky & the Academic Information Associates
Come whet your appetite by sampling some of the many social networking tools you can put to good use in your courses, such as Facebook, Twitter, Voice Thread, Diigo, and more! These tools will help you and your students build community, share information, and collaborate. We'll demo the technology and discuss how your colleagues are using them effectively in their teaching. Come hungry for new possibilities!  

Campus Center 214

Plenary Session: The Nature of our Lives: Sustainability and College Culture, James Farrell, Professor of History at Saint Olaf College
Working from research for his book The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World, Professor Farrell explores the intersections of student culture, consumer culture and the environment, and offers suggestions for connecting curriculum to the everyday lives of college students in ways that can help them change the cultural scripts that shape their environmental values and behavior.

Jim Farrell is Professor of History, American Studies, Environmental Studies and American Conversations. An interdisciplinary scholar and teacher, Jim's courses include Environmental History, the Mall of America, Nuclear Weapons and American Culture, Walt Disney’s America, Consuming College Culture, and Campus Ecology.  He was chosen as St. Olaf’s first Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities.  As a member of the college’s Sustainability Task Force, he’s had a hand in the greening of St. Olaf.  Most recently, he served as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Summit on Sustainability in the Curriculum,held February 2010 in San Diego, CA.  Farrell’s  books include Inventing the American Way of Death 1830-1920 (Temple University Press, 1980),  The Nuclear Devil's Dictionary (Usonia Press, 1985), The Spirit of the Sixties: Making Postwar Radicalism (Routledge, 1997); and One Nation Under Goods: Malls and the Seductions of American Shopping (Smithsonian, 2003). His new book, The Nature of College: How A New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World was published in 2010.

Campus Center Atrium, 2nd Floor
Campus Center 214

Across the Curriculum - and Beyond, James Farrell, Professor of History, Saint Olaf College
In the Spring of 1965, faculty at colleges across the country began to hold “teach-ins” on Vietnam because students couldn’t learn much about this critical topic in the formal curriculum. In 2011, sustainability seems to be a similar issue for students. This workshop, therefore, offers perspectives and insights on how to bring the best practices of the disciplines to teaching sustainability—and the best practices of “sustainability thinking” to the disciplines (and interdisciplines) as well.

Campus Center 215

Bringing Outside Guests and Speakers into the Classroom, Andy Overman (Classics), Jeff Thole (Geology), Fritz Vandover (AIA)
More and more faculty at Macalester are seamlessly bringing outside scholars, speakers, and guests from all over the world into their classes through a variety of freely available technologies. Andy Overman and Jeff Thole will relate the impact of these exchanges with outside guests on their students and teaching.

Campus Center 206

Fostering the Growth of Reflective Learners: Why Not Be Explicit in the Classroom?, Karl Wirth (Geology)
Helping students develop as lifelong and reflective learners is among the greatest gifts that we can give them as instructors.  What are the essential skills for lifelong learning?  Can they be taught?  Several decades of research indicate that a distinguishing characteristic of ‘expert’ learners is that they exhibit well-developed metacognitive knowledge and skills (for thinking about thinking and learning), and that metacognition should be taught at all levels and in all disciplines.  Participants in this session will learn the basics of metacognition, they will examine several examples of metacognitive activities, and they will design a metacognitive activity for use in their own courses.  

Campus Center 214

The Art and Practice of Advising, Ann Minnick (Academic Programs and Advising)
CC Room 214

The session will investigate the process and content considerations involved with advising students.  Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their own practice in light of institutional guidelines, while working through various advising scenarios.  Both new and experienced advisers are welcome.  

Campus Center 215

Online Class Projects with Google Sites, Britt Abel (German and Russian Studies), Brett Wilson (Religious Studies), and Alison Sommer (AIA)
Faculty across our campus are using web-based course projects to facilitate learning among their students. Google Sites allows students to build knowledge and share their perspectives with peers on campus or the entire world without struggling with the technology. It can even allow you to chronicle class projects across many semesters to create something much larger than is possible in one class. Hear about the triumphs and lessons learned from this style of pedagogy with Britt Abel (German) and Brett Wilson (Religious Studies). 

Campus Center 206

Running a Preceptor Orientation: Guiding Our Students Toward More Rewarding Work, Victor Addona (Math, Statistics, and Computer Science)
In Fall 2010, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) held its first preceptor orientation. Addona will discuss the program and the motivations behind the training -- establishing a sense of camaraderie amongst the department's preceptors, impressing upon them the importance of their job in the success of any course, and of ongoing communication with the course professor, and instilling in them a feeling of pride regarding their job. Plenty of time will be left for discussion.