- Alice Clark Mentoring
- Faculty Study Seminars
- On Teaching Seminars
- Reflecting on Teaching Colloquium
- Faculty Writing Groups
Faculty Study Seminars
Faculty Study Seminars provide a means for faculty with common interests to learn more about a teaching-related topic. Each group meets four times a semester, at times mutually agreed to by participants, to read and discuss a teaching-related book (books provided by OID). Your only obligation is to read and to show up for discussion.
To sign up for a group, e-mail the facilitator noted below with your contact information (e-mail and phone) and a copy of your semester schedule (noting the times you cannot meet). You will be contacted once an initial meeting date is set. For more information about Faculty Study Seminars, contact Anne Kelsch , 777-4233.
Assignments Across the Curriculum: A National Study of College Writing (2014) by Dan Melzer.
All around campus, students are beginning to mark due dates for writing assignments onto their calendars, and faculty are likely imagining what those papers will look like. When we think about improving student writing, we often start with a critical look at the final drafts as we note what students haven't done. What happens if we start by taking a close look at our own writing assignments? What do our writing assignments tacitly tell our students about the reasons for writing? What do we really ask students to write in college? How good are we at creating good writing assignments? Does it matter what students are asked to write in other courses?
In Assignments Across the Curriculum: A National Study of College Writing, Dan Melzer offers a way for us to answer these types of questions as he presents an analysis of over 2,000 undergraduate writing assignments from the natural sciences, social sciences, business, and humanities in 100 postsecondary institutions in the United States. Analyzing the writing assignments as classroom artifacts, Melzer gives us a nearly unprecedented opportunity to understand undergraduate college writing more broadly and to consider our own writing assignments in that context.
Join us for this faculty study seminar focused on a broad view of college writing assignments and the implications for anyone interested in helping students become better writers. This seminar will be facilitated by Jessica Zerr. To join the group, contact jessica.zerr@UND.edu
How College Works (2014) by Daniel Chambliss and Christopher Takacs
"In an era of fixed or even shrinking resources, can the quality of collegiate education be improved at no additional cost?" This is the provocative question that Daniel Chambliss and Christopher Takacs set out to answer via a 10-year longitudinal study of undergraduates at his own institution. Chambliss and Takacs did not begin with the assumption that students themselves "know" what they needed in order to learn and grow. Quite the contrary, in fact. Many student assumptions turn out to be highly questionable: some assume that more small classes are always better, for example, but making classes smaller can increase difficulty in enrolling in the classes of their choice, perhaps making it impossible to stay on track for graduation. Similarly, their preferred living arrangements (private rooms, bathrooms shared with a minimal number of suitemates) are not conducive to making friends with peers – and yet developing close (and intellectually engaging) relationships with peers will enhance the undergraduate experience.
Still, Chambliss and Takacs believed that by following students and tracking the experiences that actually changed their trajectory – whether students had desired and sought those experiences or not – it should be possible to determine the kinds of experiences that we can be more purposeful about providing more broadly.
Chambliss and Takacs characterize one particular finding as "most striking to us." They go on to explain: "Time after time, in descriptions of a wide variety of situations, students told us of how encounters with the right person could make a decisive difference." In fact, they say, "This pervasive influence of relationships suggests that a college – at least insofar as it offers real benefits – is less a collection of programs than a gathering of people."
So what do we do with that finding at UND? With our own student population and our own distinctive challenges – given a student population of almost 15,000 and research expectations that continue to ratchet up – where are our opportunities to intervene in the student experience? Would a study of our students even lead to the same findings? If not, what might we predict would be the take-home? Are there ways to learn more about what makes a difference for our students – and if so, how might we do that? These are the questions we'll discuss as we read the 2014 book, How College Works, winner of the Harvard University Press's prize for an outstanding publication about education and society.
This seminar will be facilitated by Joan Hawthorne. To join the group, contact joan.hawthorne@UND.edu.
Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014) by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel.
Have you been asking your students to underline, reread, memorize, or review the material you cover in class? Did you learn and study this way yourself? In the new book, Make it Stick; The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel report that so many of the study techniques that we teach our students to use in order to succeed in our classes only create temporary, ephemeral knowledge that disappears very rapidly over time. The authors have synthesized recent findings in cognitive psychology and other fields to provide practical learning techniques that we can use to improve our teaching and increase our students' learning. Surprisingly, Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel argue that innovative, student-tailored teaching strategies are not the answer to more successful, long term learning. What is the answer? Join this faculty study seminar to find out.
The authors of Make it Stick employ a broad array of examples to illustrate their findings, ranging from the choices seasoned pilots make to avert disaster, to the training practices of Minnesota police officers, to the ingenious knowledge retention strategies a medical school student devised in order to pull himself from the bottom of his class to the top. The chapters build toward practical study techniques that we can use to teach students, train athletes, or learn new information ourselves.
In this Faculty Study Seminar participants will read and discuss Make it Stick, while also sharing their own experiences and interpretations of the text and its suggestions. The book uses informative and lively writing (Brown is a professional writer of fiction and nonfiction) as it examines a revisionary approach to teaching and poses arguments that readers may or may not accept. As a result, group members will have an opportunity to discuss the applicability of these findings in the context or their own classroom and their teaching and learning experiences.
This seminar will be facilitated by Kim Stewart. To join the group, contact kimberly.stewart@UND.edu .