Inclusive Teaching Workshop: How does ‘who we are’ affect ‘what we do”?

The UMass Center for Teaching & Faculty Development is hosting a series of diversity-related workshops this spring that are open to Five College faculty.  Please sign up for the first this spring!

What: Positionality: How Does ‘Who We Are’ Affect ‘What We Do’?
Speaker: Dr. Jesse Tauriac
Audience: All instructors
When: Thursday, January 29th from 9 AM to 11 AM
Location: UMass Amherst Campus Center (room given after registration)
Register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/positionality

DESCRIPTION: Often when educators consider starting classroom discussions about multiculturalism and bias, emphasis is placed on analyzing student viewpoints or societal perspectives about various diverse communities and forms of oppression. Much less considered but, arguably, more important is an exploration of our own personal backgrounds and identity dimensions, and recognition of the ways these shape our perceptions of and experiences with individuals from a range of backgrounds. This two-hour, interactive workshop will guide participants in examining and discussing meaningful aspects of our identities, and drawing links to the ways we engage diverse individuals and multicultural topics.

SPEAKER: Dr. Jesse Tauriac is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Social Sciences at Lasell College. He has delivered trainings on multicultural teaching and mentoring, culturally competent management and service delivery, respectful workplace environments, and building student cross-cultural alliances. His research interests include factors promoting academic engagement and success among racially and ethnically diverse students, particularly Black American males and first generation college students.

Feb. 2nd Deadline for 5 College Blended Learning Grant Submission

REMINDER: there is a February 2nd deadlin

e for the 2015-2016 Five College Blended Learning grant cycle. There are two separate blended learning grants:

1. Mellon Foundation: 8-10 projects per year, approximately $13,000 per grant for one year, for a blended course in the humanities or humanistic social sciences (multicampus collaboration is possible, but not required);

2. Teagle Foundation: 2-3 projects per year, approximately $15,000-25,000 per grant for one year, for a blended course in any area by a team of faculty members from at least two different Five College institutions.

For more information and application materials, go to https://www.fivecolleges.edu/blended, or contact Rogelio Miñana, Faculty Director of the Five College Blended Learning Program (rminana@mtholyoke.edu) and Nate Therien, Five College Director of Academic Programs (ntherien@fivecollege.edu).

New Spring Course Explores Enduring Questions about Art

This spring semester marks the start of a new course that explores the enduring question, “What is Art?” The course will be taught by Dr. Karen Koehler, professor of architectural and art history, with support from a $22,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Organized around five concepts (Origins, Authenticity, Spirituality and Transcendence, Mimesis, and Commitment), this course will use selected texts in philosophy alongside literature, film, visual art and performance to probe a series of sub-questions, such as:

  • What is creative expression?
  • What is artistic authenticity?
  • What makes art transcendent?
  • How do artists see themselves?
  • What is political art?

The course features a film series component, including two films at Amherst Cinema, and a trip to New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  A final digital exhibition culminates the course, where students will explore an object of their choice that raises an enduring question about art.

The Enduring Questions grant program sponsored by NEH is a wonderful opportunity to develop new inquiry-based curricula. For more information visit: http://www.neh.gov/grants/education/enduring-questions

Back to Eval Writing?

Back to eval writing? Check out our resource page on writing student evaluations (under “teaching resources”). There are resources that might be helpful. In particular, check out the work done by some of your colleagues developing guidelines for writing Division II evaluations. It grows out of an evaluation analysis workshop in which they learned that many evaluations were descriptive and lacked evaluative comments that help students know what they are doing well and what they need to work on next.

e-portfolios and reflection

YanceyIn creating an e-portfolio, a student essentially curates their work. They decide how to group their artifacts (written work, photographs, films, music, visual arts pieces, etc.) and in presenting them, they write across what they have done to demonstrate what they have learned. As faculty, we can ask them to show particular kinds of learning that might suggest to students ways to organize their work and reflect on it.

What we are likely to find as faculty is that having students create e-portfolios puts more of the onus on making meaning on the student and less on us.

Watch this talk by Dr. Kathleen Yancey to learn more.

Creating Visual Models for Learning

PolioIn Megan Dobro’s Virology class, students chose a “pet virus” that they will study in depth for the semester. The first assignment was to create a physical model of their virus. She has no artistic requirements; it just needs to be accurate. Megan gave ideas such as using clay, paper mache, found objects, or origami using online guides. Students presented their models to the class and showed how they represented the virus’s symmetry, structural components, and maybe dynamic processes. More important than the product, the process of creating a seemingly silly model got students to think more deeply. Looking only at two-dimensional pictures of viruses, students may not have realized that the viral shell has a complex, beautiful symmetry. Or that there are specific ways each viral component fits together, and that tells you something about which pieces rely on each other. Or that viruses are relatively simple particles and it’s amazing they wreak so much havoc on the world. Students might spend 15 seconds looking at a picture, but in the process of making a virus, they take time with their virus, studying all of the shapes and possible ways it can be built and taken apart. They start to ask questions that introduce advanced concepts. See the results of this year’s class models.

Blended Learning Resources and Conference

Interested in Blended Learning?

Visit the Bryn Mawr Blended Learning Initiative Blog. If you’d like to be kept up to date on the Bryn Mawr project developments and opportunities, please add your name to their mailing list.

OR: Attend the  the fourth annual conference on Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts on May 20-21, 2015 at Bryn Mawr. The focus of the conference will be on using blended learning to improve student learning outcomes and support the missions and cultures of liberal arts colleges. Come share ideas and information about findings, experiences, and best practices with LAC faculty and staff, and get some hands on experience with materials and technologies.

Contact Laura Wenk (lwenk@hampshire.edu) to see if the CTL can help support your attendance.

 

 

Grant Writing Shouldn’t Make You Sob (Okay, you can shed a single tear.)

'It's a foolproof formula for writing grant applications.'

“It’s a foolproof formula for writing grant applications.”

After a five-minute Google search for “grant writing cartoons,” it became very clear that applying for grants gets a bad rap. It’s true—grant writing can be an arduous, tedious process, in which you can put forth tremendous effort with potentially little return. Writing a grant proposal is very much like preparing for a big life event (a wedding, a major trip, or having a child). You plan. You stress. You dedicate tremendous time to make sure everything is perfect. And then your great aunt complains that her piece of the wedding cake was stale. Or your friend looks at the photos from your trip to Europe and tells you that his trip to Europe took a more original, “off the beaten path” approach. All your planning and care seems to fly out the window and what you’re left with is dismay and disappointment.

And you know what? It can hurt. Hearing that your proposal was not selected for funding can be a real drag, but it can also present you with a learning opportunity. We’ve been told by many Hampshire faculty who are new to grant seeking that they don’t “get grant writing” and that it seems like “some sort of mystical thing that doesn’t make sense” to them. Good news: Grant writing doesn’t have to be nebulous.

One of the best ways to learn why certain grants get funded is to serve on a grants review panel. There are many government agencies who are constantly looking for peer reviewers (and most pay a stipend!) for grant applications. In turn, you get the chance to see how grant proposals are evaluated, giving you key insights into approaches to your own proposal writing. Being a peer reviewer on a grants panel is also a great addition to your CV!

Here are a few opportunities for you to consider: