Fall 2019

Friday, September 13
“The Pivot to Public Intellectual”
Please join Lesley Lavery (Political Science) and Julian Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Macalester’s 2019 Phi Beta Kappa speaker, for a conversation about sharing scholarship with the general public.  An author of numerous books and edited volumes on American political history, Zelizer is also a frequent commentator in national and international media and a CNN Political Analyst and will provide tips for translating and promoting scholarship for the general public.

Monday, September 16
“After Promotion to Full…”
Macalester’s Making Meaning grant from the Mellon Foundation includes funding for programming related to life cycle issues for full professors. All faculty (regardless of rank or status) and staff are welcome to join Sarah Boyer (Biology), Bill Moseley (Geography), Patrick Schmidt (Political Science), and Chris Willcox (Art and Art History) for a brainstorming session to address not only what post-promotion faculty need or want, but also what pre-tenure, post-tenure, and non-tenure track colleagues might want from senior colleagues.

Friday, September 20
“#scholarship@Mac”
Scholarship at Macalester takes many forms – disciplinary, interdisciplinary, digital, archival, community-based, public, etc. We navigate our scholarly lives amidst our teaching responsibilities, challenges of locating and obtaining support (financial or otherwise), and the institutional expectations of particular deliverable scholarly products. What are the different kinds of scholarly lives – familiar and newly emerging – we live at Macalester? How do our scholarly lives unfold in the context of the resources, infrastructures, opportunities, and challenges on our campus? How can the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching provide our colleagues with meaningful support for this rich and diverse work? Please join us for an open conversation on these important topics. Devavani Chatterjea (Biology and Serie Center) and Joan Ostrove (Psychology and Serie Center) will facilitate.

Friday, September 27
“Do ‘Safe Spaces’ Reduce Sensitivity Bias?”
This article tests whether judgment-free “safe spaces” encourage open expression in surveys.  Lisa Mueller (Political Science) will present evidence that safe spaces elicit honest answers to sensitive questions. She randomly assigned survey respondents to reassurance of a safe space, comparing sensitivity bias across treatment and control groups as measured in two ways: 1) a standard psychometric scale; and 2) the difference between “true” attitudes toward a contentious issue (revealed through a list experiment embedded within the main survey experiment) and attitudes that respondents feel safe divulging in response to a direct question. Improving upon conventional list estimates, she combined information from list and direct questions to estimate the prevalence of the sensitive trait: disapproval toward African-American athletes who protest racial injustice. Results suggests that safe spaces make respondents more willing to divulge common sensitive behaviors but not sensitive attitudes about race.

Monday, September 30
“DLA@Mac: An Introduction to Support for Faculty in the Digital Liberal Arts”
Your Digital Liberal Arts (DLA) Team includes our new postdoc, Aisling Quigley, AIAs, and librarians, who collaborate to help you plan, implement, and evaluate digital projects — whether scholarly, public, pedagogical, or some combination of all three. This session will explore ways that the DLA Team may support your scholarly and pedagogical work at Macalester, including introductions and project examples for the DLA-curious. It will also include time to workshop ideas, assignments, or opportunities that you may be just beginning to consider implementing. If you are at the early stage of thinking, “could a DLA approach be right for me?” this session should be informative and maybe even inspiring.

Tuesday, October 1
“Having Difficult Conversations”
This session, the first in a three-part series on mental health for 2019-2020 (designed in collaboration and co-sponsored with the Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness), is focused on how to engage in difficult conversations and identify your own boundaries. Our goal is to help faculty feel empowered to have conversations with students about their wellness without feeling overwhelmed. Join Health and Wellness colleagues Lisa Broek, Liz Schneider-Bateman, and Steph Walters, and Christina Esposite (Linguistics), for this important conversation.

Friday, October 4
“Writing Effective Wallace Proposals”
The Wallace Scholarly Activities Program at Macalester is a competitive, intramural funding source to support faculty scholarship and scholarship-related travel. Award decisions are made by the faculty members (from a broad range of disciplines) of the Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) committee and the awards are administered through the Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching. You are invited to join a discussion/workshop about what makes an effective Wallace proposal. What kinds of activities are likely to be funded? What kinds of travel-associated costs, equipment purchases, student assistantship might Wallace funds support? What makes a funding request persuasive to an interdisciplinary jury? Discussion leaders include Devavani Chatterjea (Biology and Serie Center and former chair of SPA), Michelle Epp (Grants, Foundations and Corporate Relations), and Christie Manning (Environmental Studies and Psychology).

Monday, October 7
“Spotlight on GER, the Writing General Education Requirement”
This session is the first in a series sponsored by the General Education Requirements Committee. Britt Abel (German Studies and Director of Writing) and Scott Legge (Anthropology) will provide a brief history and overview of the writing GER at Macalester, followed by time for discussion, e.g.: What would you like GERC to know about the writing requirement? What questions do you have about the writing GER? What suggestions might you have for the future of W-courses? What types of faculty development opportunities would best support you?

Friday, October 11
No Serie Center programming.
Please attend the
International Roundtable on Incarceration (Un)Interrupted: Reclaiming Bodies, Lands, and Communities.

Friday, October 18
“Reflections on Incarceration (Un)Interrupted: Reclaiming Bodies, Lands, and Communities”
Members of the IRT planning group will create space for reflecting on the themes and sessions of the 2019 International Roundtable, which will be held on October 9-12. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the college as a setting for engaging with issues of mass incarceration, immigration detention and deportation, and removal from Indigenous lands. Facilitators will also lead a conversation about ways to continue to engage with the issues and themes of the IRT.

Monday, October 21
“Library Master Space Planning”
The DeWitt Wallace Library staff are engaged in developing a Master Space Plan that includes exploring changes that might take place throughout the library. Between September 23rd and October 4th, all faculty and staff will be invited to participate in a survey about the project. This session will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more, engage in conversation, and hear some preliminary survey results. Please join Katy Gabrio, Angi Faiks, and Terri Fishel (DeWitt Wallace Library) to share your ideas, suggestions, and hopes for the future of the Library.

Friday, November 1
“Graphs Galore! Representing Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities”
Data and information in both the biological sciences and the humanities are highly interconnected to such an extent that it can be difficult to build fully from existing knowledge when exploring new ideas. Many of the connections among ideas in these domains come in the form of scholarly texts, which can be hard to work with from a computational standpoint. In this talk, Leslie Myint (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science) will discuss her efforts to use graphs to organize biological information from texts and how these ideas might also be useful within the digital humanities.

Monday, November 4
“Equity and Inclusion in our Classes: Continuing the Work”
Have you thought about equity and inclusion in new or different ways since our work last year with Jamie Washington? Have you tried alternative ways of being or new strategies in your classes? Come share your insights, ideas, questions, and next steps. Co-sponsored with the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship.

Friday, November 8
“The Halfway House Scam”
Matt Burgess (English) will discuss his bumbling and occasionally frightening attempts to research his current novel-in-progress, about the institutional barriers facing formerly incarcerated individuals upon their re-entry into society.

Friday, November 15
“The Future of Liberal Education”
President Brian Rosenberg will discuss the future of higher education via a response he wrote in the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Fall 2018 edition of Liberal Education. In the issue, leaders from a range of higher ed institutions shared their thoughts about “rethinking and remaking liberal education.” President Rosenberg’s The Rigidness of Academic Routine is one of two concluding pieces in the issue and will ground what is sure to be an engaging conversation.

Monday, November 18
“Culture Change: Mental Health at Macalester”
Join us for a conversation about mental health grounded in the Socio-Ecological model of health, with Lisa Broek (Health and Wellness), Olga Gonzalez (Anthropology and Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship), Liz Schneider-Bateman (Health and Wellness), Steph Walters (Health and Wellness), and others. We will explore mental health at Macalester (both student and faculty) from an environmental lens, and have a discussion about how faculty can play a role in fostering everyone’s well-being. This is the second event in a three-part series on mental health for 2019-2020, designed in collaboration and co-sponsored with the Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness.

Friday, November 22
“Plants, Carbon, and Time Travel”
Plants and photosynthetic organisms act as Earth’s primary energy conduit, transforming solar radiation and atmospheric CO2 into biologically usable energy and resources. Climate change is impacting this flow of energy, especially in the ecologically vulnerable and carbon-rich regions of the Arctic tundra and boreal forest. Mary Heskel (Biology) will discuss her research on the current and forecasted impacts of climate change on plant processes using field experiments and modeling.

Monday, December 2
“Language, Free Speech, and Critical Thought in the Classroom”
In recent years, the Macalester community has made a concerted effort to adopt more inclusive language in the classroom. How can we further improve this effort while still supporting principles of free speech and critical thinking? A panel of faculty and students will discuss these issues and consider methods that could be adopted in different kinds of teaching situations. Panelists will include Traci Badu ‘21, Ron Barrett (Anthropology), Macalester College Student Government President Blair Cha ‘20, and Marianne Milligan (Linguistics and Environmental Studies).

Friday, December 6
“End-of-Course Evaluations: A Conversation”
Macalester has been engaged in a process of re-envisioning our end-of-course evaluation process, and many of you have already been involved in piloting the new College-wide survey. Join Karin Aguilar-San Juan (American Studies), Devavani Chatterjea (Biology and Serie Center), and Joan Ostrove (Psychology and Serie Center) for a conversation about what it’s like to *read* those end-of-course evaluations (or even open the envelope or file that contains them!). Do you look forward to reading them? Do you dread it? What strategies do you have for incorporating student feedback? How do you manage apparently conflicting comments?