Conversations about Scholarship and Teaching

Spring 2023

Conversations about Scholarship and Teaching (including “Dilemma Mondays”) are held in the Barbara Davis S.P.A.C.E. (Library 309). All faculty and staff are welcome.

Dilemma Mondays: A series of conversations about pedagogical challenges
January 30, February 6, April 17, April 24 (12:00-1:00 PM)

Are you struggling with student engagement as we transition into a post(?!)-COVID era? Have you continued with a flexible deadline policy for all of your students but are finding it’s not quite working? Are you challenged about course content decisions as you work to make your curriculum more liberatory and representative of a range of cultures, experiences, perspectives, etc.? Do you find yourself at a loss when students have conflicts with one another in your classes? If your answer to any (or all!) of these questions is “yes,” or if you have other pedagogical dilemmas you’d like to discuss with colleagues, please join us for “Dilemma Mondays” on January 30, February 6, April 17, and April 24.

Friday, January 27 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Supporting scholarship: An invitation to a brainstorming session
As the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching continues to define and refine our work, we are interested in hearing from our colleagues about ways we can support scholarly activity more intentionally. Would you appreciate programming that focuses on different phases of scholarly and creative work (e.g., idea generation, background research, writing/creating, publishing/performing)? Are you looking for ways to collaborate with other colleagues? Would you like more company or accountability as you do your work? What spaces need to be curated that can support your and our collective growth? Join us for our first CAST session of 2023 so that we can brainstorm together how to build out opportunities to further our scholarship and reach our goals together. 

Friday, February 3 – 12:00-1:00 PM
A Chat about ChatGPT
Britt Abel (Director of Writing; German Studies), Alyssa Adkins (MAX Center), Paul Cantrell (Math, Stats, Computer Science), Diane Michelfelder (Philosophy), Jake Mohan (MAX Center), Tamatha Perlman (Academic Technology), Shilad Sen (Math, Stats, Computer Science)
Are you curious/terrified/dismayed/intrigued/excited (or some combination thereof) about ChatGPT and other ways in which artificial intelligence has entered the domain of writing and may change higher education more broadly? Have you started to think about how it might inform or affect your teaching? Please join us for a conversation about the problems and possibilities raised by ChatGPT. Colleagues from a number of departments around campus will share their perspectives and experiences, and there will be plenty of time for open discussion. 

For a useful and brief intro into the conversation about AI writing and academia, check out the Jan. 5 “Teaching” newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, February 10 – 12:00-1:00 PM
A Shared Sense of Place:  Working Together at Ordway to Expand Collaborative, Cross-Disciplinary, Outdoor Experiential Education
Mike Anderson (Biology), Jerald Dosch (Biology), Scott Legge (Anthropology), and Megan Vossler (Art and Art History)
We will present our experiences and outcomes of an ACM FACE grant supported collaboration between Macalester and St. Olaf faculty and staff entitled “Exploring collaborative, cross-disciplinary, outdoor experiential education and a sense of place using examples from ACM field stations and natural lands”.  Our goal is to develop interdisciplinary outdoor experiential learning opportunities for our students and ourselves primarily utilizing Macalester’s Ordway Field Station and St. Olaf’s Natural Lands.  Come and share your ideas and join the conversation as we continue our work to expand teaching, learning and scholarly work at Macalester’s “other campus.”  A selection of books purchased through the grant will be available.

Friday, February 17 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Karin Aguilar-San Juan (American Studies)
My Experience as Posse Mentor, So Far
Posse is a leadership, merit-based scholarship that brought 10 students from Twin Cities public schools to Macalester for the first time in Fall 2022, and will continue to do so every year. As the first Posse Mentor, I have stepped into a new role that is world’s apart from anything I have done before. In this talk, I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve gleaned so far.

Friday, February 24 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Karin Aguilar-San Juan (American Studies) Ruth Janish (Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship), Sedric McClure (Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship)
Continuing the conversation: Supporting students in Posse and other cohort-based programs
Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Ruth Janish, and Sedric McClure will share perspectives about and recommendations for ensuring that all of our students can thrive at Macalester. Come learn from their extensive collective experience working closely with students in the Bonner and Posse programs, as well as with other groups of historically under-represented students.

Friday, March 3 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Brian Lozenski (Educational Studies)
Educating in the Blacklight: Fugitivity, Abolition, and Accommodation
Drawing from his recent publication, “My Emancipation Don’t Fit Your Equation”: Critical Enactments of Black Education in the U.S., Lozenski will explore how the practices of fugitivity, abolition, and accommodation have framed the education of African American communities. The discussion will cover a wide historical range from pre-colonial West African education to contemporary educational politics in Minnesota.

Monday, March 6 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Louann Terveer (Library), Angi Faiks (Library), Kelsey Grinde (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Gabe Lade (Economics), Bethany Miller (Institutional Research and Julie Rogers (French and Francophone Studies)
Open Educational Resources and Textbook Affordability: Macalester Environmental Scan and Survey Results
We will preview results of the February survey: Course material adoption at Macalester: Current practices and challenges and of the Fall 2022 Student Textbook Affordability Survey. A cohort of faculty participating in the AAC&U Institute on Open Educational Resources will share key take-aways from their participation in the institute and motivations for conducting this environmental scan. 

Friday, March 24 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Myrl Beam (Women and Gender Studies) and Roopali Phadke (Environmental  Studies)
Building Campus-Community Solidarities: Reflections from Project Pericles Fellows
In this talk, Myrl Beam and Roopali Phadke reflect on their work as Project Pericles fellows.  They will discuss the complicated work of building campus-community solidarities and grappling with what it means to be in right relationship with community. Specifically, Beam describes the work of mapping the landscape of abolitionist organizing in the Twin Cities alongside students in his Abolition Feminism: Race, Gender, Sexuality and Critical Prison Studies course. In Phadke’s Energy Justice course, students are collaborating with the Citizens Utility Board to understand how utilities can better address energy poverty and unequal energy burdens for Minnesota households. Their projects illustrate both the opportunities and the challenges of community-engaged teaching and learning.

Friday, March 31 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Leah Witus (Chemistry) and Erik Larson (Sociology)
Our Fantastic Voyage: Some Highlights of A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration on Vaccination Intent

How did a phone call about IRB procedures lead to a collaboration between a chemist and a sociologist? What happens when colleagues across campus start asking each other questions outside of their usual fields? In early 2021, as the first COVID-19 vaccines became available, we teamed up on a research project studying how watching an educational video affected viewers’ intention to get vaccinated. In this Serie center presentation, we’ll talk about the twists and turns in the study from design, to analysis, to publishing. Of course, we’ll share some of our findings, but also want to discuss what the cross-disciplinary collaboration process itself was like, our experience publishing our results, and how we’ve since incorporated the study into our teaching.

Friday, April 7 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Leslie Myint (Math, Statistics, & Computer Science) and  Ahoo Najafian (Religious Studies)
Alternative Grading for “Rigor” and Beauty
At its heart, alternative grading is a quest to make learning beautiful and lasting. In this talk, we’ll share strategies attempted, lessons learned, and hopes remaining based on our engagement with the alternative grading community over the last few years.

Monday, April 10 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Lauren Milne (Math, Statistics, & Computer Science)
Non-visual Visualizations: Making Accessible Data Visualizations in R
At the beginning of the pandemic, data visualizations such as the CDC’s “Flatten the Curve” graphic and the COVID dashboards on government and media websites became increasingly important tools for people to understand the pandemic and make informed choices about their safety. However, those (and most other data visualizations) are completely inaccessible for someone who is blind. In this talk, I will cover how to make accessible data visualizations, from alt text to sonification, using the Highcharter package in the R programming language. I will present the (freely available) module I created for my Introduction to Data Science class on creating accessible visualizations in R and talk about other efforts to bring accessibility into my curriculum. This event is part of Macalester’s Radical MacACCESS programming.

Friday, April 14 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Katie Aulwes Latham (Grants, Foundation and Corporate Relations), Brian Carlson (Grants, Foundation and Corporate Relations), Susanna Drake (Religious Studies), Brooke Lea (Psychology), Joslenne Peña (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Roopali Phadke (Environmental Studies) and Leah Witus (Chemistry)
Perspectives about and Recommendations for Writing Effective Grant Proposals
Looking for some “insider tips” about what makes for an effective grant proposal? Colleagues from the Grants office and faculty from across the college who have reviewed grants for federal, state, and private funding organizations will share insights based on their experience supporting grant proposal writers and reviewing grant proposals. Please join us, whether or not you have a lot of grant-writing experience or have never submitted a grant in your life!

Friday, April 21 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Joelle Vitiello (French and Francophone Studies) and Sophie Kerman (St. Paul Academy)
Decolonizing the Curriculum in a French Course on “Francophony in/of America” During Spring 2022, we paired a Macalester College French course on the Francophone heritages in North America and the Caribbean with an advanced French class on the same topic at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. The course, which received a small grant from the Pericles Foundation, confronted official French narratives with traditionally silenced or marginalized accounts. It integrated local history as well as the history of Francophone/French heritage in Quebec, the Midwest, Haiti and its diaspora, Louisiana, and history and resources about the Metis, Innu, Native American and First Nations. The course provided opportunities to meet with and learn from community leaders from a variety of backgrounds.

We would like to share both the highlights and the challenges of the course as well as the units produced by student groups focusing on decolonial knowledge, anchored in intersectional perspectives that will be made accessible to the public. 

Friday, April 28 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Macalester AIAs (Academic Information Associate)
Who Moved My Button?: An Upgrade to Moodle
Moodle will have a new look in Fall 2023 and a few tricks up its sleeve. This is the first major redesign in some time and a cleaner, more contemporary look means they’ve moved some things around. Join Academic Technology Services for a tour of the new Moodle layout and learn about the changes.

Monday, May 1 – 12:00-1:00 PM
Joe Linstroth
New Media Opportunities for Faculty 
Please join Joe Linstroth, Media Relations Director, to learn about two exciting new initiatives designed to help faculty share their expertise and work with the media that are launching this fall. The Public Impact Fellowship program will bring together a cohort of faculty from across the college for group workshops and conversations, as well as develop custom media engagement plans for each participant. Also starting this fall, Macalester will become the newest member of The Conversation, a powerful media outlet with a unique model that specializes in working with academic experts to reach global audiences.

Wednesday, May 3 9:30-10:30 AM
Pooja Lakshmin
“Real Self Care:” A conversation with Pooja Lakshmin, M.D.
You are warmly invited to a conversation with Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, author of Real Self Care (2023) on Wednesday, May 3 from 9:30-10:30 AM in Theater 205.  Dr. Lakshmin is clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine; the founder of Gemma, the digital community focused on women’s mental health and equity; and a contributor to The New York Times. Come learn how she supports women and marginalized groups heal from the tyranny of faux self-care, while exposing the systems that have gotten us here. All faculty and staff are welcome to join us for the opportunity to focus on your *real* self care.