The Serie Center hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the academic year.

Every week, we hold Conversations about Scholarship and Teaching. All faculty and staff are welcome to join us at noon over lunch in the Barbara Davis S.P.A.C.E., DeWitt Wallace Library 309. 

Spring 2020 Conversations about Scholarship and Teaching 

Friday, January 31
“Approaches to Teaching Chinese International Students
International students from China now account for 6% of Macalester’s total student body. It is axiomatic that education is most effective when professors meet students where they are and push them to develop new skills and examine pre-existing beliefs. Yet many professors know next to nothing about the diversity of experiences and beliefs Chinese nationals bring to campus. This panel seeks to shed light on Chinese students’ experiences prior to and at Macalester. It also prompts participants to question our role as educators: are we providing a meaningful education to these students? How can we do better? In addressing their educational needs, what ingrained pedagogical habits ought we re-consider? What new pedagogical strategies ought we adopt? Please join Rivi Handler-Spitz, Xin Yang, Andrew Beveridge, Aaron Colhapp, and Luyen Phan for an engaging and important conversation.

Monday, February 3
“Incorporating Well-being into the Classroom”
Utilizing Simon Fraser University’s SPACE model, which is focused on creating space for evidence based well-being concepts in classrooms and workplaces, Liz Schneider-Bateman, Lisa Broek, and Stephanie Walters will lead this session about how to incorporate well-being into your classroom to create an environment that supports students and faculty alike.

Friday, February 7
“Everything (hopefully!) You’ll Need to Know about Applying for Collaborative Summer Research Grants and Wallace Scholarly Activity Grants”
The Collaborative Summer Research (CSR) Program supports student-faculty summer research collaborations in any discipline. The Wallace Scholarly Activities Program is an intramural funding source to support faculty scholarship and scholarship-related travel. Both are competitive, and require applications that are due in mid-February. You are invited to join a discussion/workshop about what makes an effective CSR or Wallace proposal. What are the different opportunities for faculty associated with each of these sources of support? What kinds of activities are likely to be funded? What makes a funding request persuasive to an interdisciplinary jury? Join Devavani Chatterjea, Paul Overvoorde, and other knowledgeable and experienced colleagues to learn more and get your questions answered.

Friday, February 14
“Curious City Saint Paul: The Making of a Cultural Atlas”
What makes a place special? What does a place feel like? Sound like? Smell like? These are the kinds of questions examined in a cultural atlas. Following in the example of “Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas” by Rebecca Solnit, and “Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas” by David Banis and Hunter Shobe, 18 students in Ashley Nepp’s (Geography) spring 2019 Cultural Atlas Production course created “Curious City: In, Out, Above, Beyond Saint Paul” a cultural atlas of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Each student created a two-page spread that “tells a story with data” on a topic of their choosing. These stories explore different aspects of the city from a fossil hunting field guide, to a visualization of the book “The Latehomecomer” a Hmong family’s migration story, to the changing role of local libraries, and many more. To create these stories, students spent the semester conducting interviews, meeting with community members, exploring archives, and conducting field work around the city. For 13 weeks the class worked as a team to create a print atlas from start to finish; determine topics, gather data, designing their spreads and the atlas artwork, organizing the atlas, writing an introduction, and finally working through the publishing process. This presentation will offer reflections on successes, failures and lessons learned during this process!

Monday, February 17
“Faculty Perspectives on Disability Accommodations at Macalester: A Report from a 2018 Survey”
In the Spring of 2018, Macalester students Tess Huber ’18, Dylan Larsen ’20, and Leah Wilcox ’18 initiated a survey of faculty perspectives on student accommodation requests. Please join these three, and Director of Disability Services Melissa Fletcher, for a presentation of survey findings and a discussion of what processes and resources are available to faculty – and students – for accommodating disability at Macalester.

Friday, February 21
“Scripts, Stereotypes, and the (Hyper) Sexualization of Black Women”
Contemporary media are riddled with images that present gendered, racial stereotypes of Black women, such as the hypersexual Jezebel stereotype. Using quantitative and qualitative data, Morgan Jerald (Psychology) will explore how Black women negotiate cultural stereotypes that stigmatize their sexuality and the associated consequences for their sexual attitudes, sexual behavior, and experiences of sexualization.

Wednesday, February 26
“An Informal Conversation with Katie Rose Guest Pryal about Writing for the Public”
A chat with Katie Rose Guest Pryal, columnist, speaker, occasional law professor, and bestselling author of Life of the Mind Interrupted and The Freelance Academic. Pryal is a frequent contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education, including on the topic of writing for the public.

Friday, February 28
“Idea Lab: How Is This Space a Resource for Faculty?”
Are you curious about using the Idea Lab and not sure how it works? Are you wondering how the space can be used to enhance your courses? Perfect! Come hear examples of how faculty have already been using the space to promote creativity, team work, and new ways of thinking and learning within their classes. Learn the process for how to bring your class to the Idea Lab, as well as what materials and support the Idea Lab staff offers. All faculty are welcome! Co-sponsored with the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Monday, March 2
“Enhancing our Pedagogy with Open Education Resources: What’s Happening at Macalester?”
Interested in providing flexible and maximally available resources to your students? Concerned about the skyrocketing cost of textbooks? Join us during Open Education week to learn about your colleagues’ experiences using pre-existing open textbooks, or creating their own educational materials. Ariel James (Psychology), Sonia Mehta (Educational Studies), and Christie Manning (Environmental Studies and Director of Sustainability) will share insights and perspectives about using and building open course content. Librarians Louann Terveer and Beth Hillemann will share their expertise and facilitate a Q&A about Open Education Resources at Macalester.

Friday, March 6
“Just Me and My 3 Trillion Microbial Friends”
Robin Shields-Cutler (Biology) explores the many roles played by the diverse microorganisms that populate the guts of humans and some smaller, hairier primates. New technology has given biologists fascinating new lenses into the friend vs. foe duality of bacteria in our lives. Come learn about all the wonderful things you can discover from poop. While eating lunch.

Friday, March 27
“Linguistics in Concert”
While linguists have long examined language in musical contexts, linguistic scholarship has traditionally analyzed this language separately from its musical components. In this talk, Morgan Sleeper (Linguistics) will introduce new methodologies for integrating musical and linguistic data in both structural and sociocultural linguistic analysis, and aim to show how a wholistic combination of music and language offers insights not possible when examining language or music alone.

Monday, March 30
“Whose House is This? Thinking about First-Year Students of Color and International Students in Our Classrooms”
Using Mac’s new First-Year Survey as an avenue into student thinking, this session provides faculty with a chance to consider implications of the survey findings — especially with respect to students of color and international students – for their teaching and advising. Polly Fassinger, Adam Johnson (Institutional Research) and Aaron Colhapp (International Student Programs) will highlight key trends and group differences, in collaboration with Donna Maeda, Olga Gonzalez, Harry Waters Jr., Sedric McClure, Ruth Janisch, and Joan Ostrove, who will provide focused questions and facilitate this discussion.

Friday, April 3
“Does Starting with a Hypothesis Work for Humanities Research?: A History Book Project that Confounded Expectations”
Trained as a historian, but inspired by her father who is a neuroscientist, Karin Vélez began research for her dissertation in graduate school with a working hypothesis–a methodology which her history professors sharply rejected and challenged. But she found it hard to let her hypothesis go. In this talk (which she likens to a “confession”), Vélez will share how beginning with a hypothesis has helped and hindered her research. It took her nearly 15 years to complete her first book on the global spread of Catholicism. She will briefly explain how two of her early hypotheses in particular–one on Jesuit missionaries, and one on bishops–played out. Her experience illustrates the complexity of bringing advance expectations (and grand theories) to the study of the past. What happens when scientific methodologies are modified and implemented in humanities disciplines? Can it work? If not, what are the alternatives for historians writing for audiences who bring preconceptions and hypotheses to the table anyway?

Monday, April 6
“Universal Design for Learning: Before and After”
“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework for creating accessible learning environments. UDL builds flexibility into the educational context with the understanding that barriers to learning and engagement are structural and not based within individuals. At Macalester our goal is to use UDL principles and practices to create inclusive learning experiences for all members of our community.” -from the Macalester College UDL Task Force

In the Spring of 2019, several faculty and staff participated in a Talking about Pedagogy group focused on UDL in which we read Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone. We had extensive discussion about how to implement UDL design features in our courses. Please join Britt Abel (German Studies), Morgan Sleeper (Linguistics), Brad Belbas (AIA) as we share one thing we have changed in our courses or our consulting to reflect principles of UDL. What simple steps can faculty take to increase the accessibility of their assignments, classroom practices, or assessment activities? After our specific examples, we’ll have plenty of time for discussion and brainstorming.

Friday, April 10
“A Collective Pursuit: Teachers’ Unions and Education Reform”
Lesley Lavery (Political Science) argues that teachers’ unions are working in community to re-invigorate the collective pursuit of reforms beneficial to both educators and public education. Her book explores recent unionization efforts in charter schools, union work between and within contract negotiations, and the immense challenges today’s public educators must confront.

Friday, April 17
“What Your Eyes Reveal When You Listen”
Eye movements are one of the many observable behaviors that psychologists use to make guesses about the workings of the mind. Since the 90s, psycholinguists have sat people in front of eye trackers while they listen to speech as a way to understand language processing as it unfolds over time. In the decades that followed, the so-called “visual world paradigm” has taught us about how we recognize words, make meaning, and unpack grammatical structure in all sorts of different situations. In her talk, Ariel James (Psychology) will discuss her attempts to characterize individual differences in eye movement behavior within this paradigm.

Monday, April 20
“Deep Classroom Observations: Faculty Lessons from Cross-Auditing Entire Courses”
Much as we’d like to audit each other’s courses, it is very difficult to find the time. Yet the investment offers important lessons for teaching, advising, and future collaborations. In this session, Harry Waters Jr. and Ron Barrett Jr. share their experiences and lessons-learned from auditing each other’s courses from start to end. The resulting discussion will provide opportunities for faculty to share similar experiences, and hopefully, inspire others to do the same. Please join us as we reflect on the experience. Death and Dying at one end/The Rocky Horror Show at the other. Divergent styles, expectations and outcomes.

Friday, April 24
Title and description forthcoming

Friday, May 1
Title and description forthcoming