Faculty Conversations: 2002-2003

Fall 2002

“Sabbaticals: Planning, Enjoying, and Returning” Friday, October 4.Dana Gross, Psychology; Colin Wells, English; Anne Walter, Biology.

“Copyright in the digital age: What faculty need to know” Wednesday, October 16. David Lesniaski, Librarian.

“Making Effective Use of Technology in Teaching: Does the Web Help Students Learn? How Do We Know?” Thursday, October 24 . Scott Simkins, Dept of Economics and Transportation/Logistics; Operating Board Member, Academy for Teaching and Learning – North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC.

“Teaching Students Good Visual Explanations Across Disciplines” Wednesday, October 30. Matt Rohn, Art and Art History and 2002-03 CILA Associate

“Teaching with Cases” Thursday, November 14. Mary Walczak, Chemistry; David Schodt, Economics 

“Scholarship Reconsidered: What’s In? What’s Out?”
Wednesday, November 20. Dan Hofrenning, Political Science and 2002-03 CILA Associate.

Spring 2003

“Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Supporting and rewarding the Scholarship of Engagement” Thursday, February 27, Jo Beld, Political Science and Director, ARP.

“What National and Local Surveys Tell Us About Our Students – and What It Means” Tuesday, March 4. Lynn Steen, Director, IRP; Roberta Lembke, Director, IIT; Greg Kneser, Dean of Students; Elizabeth Hutchins, Librarian; John Hensel ’05; Seth Heringer ’05. 

“Learning Communities at St. Olaf – A Conversation about ‘Conversations’ Program” Thursday, March 13. Matt Rohn, Art and Art History and 2002-03 Cila Associate.

“Electronic Communications with Students” Tuesday, March 18, Lunch -11:45-1:15. Sheri Breen, Political Science; Jim Farrell, History; Paul Zorn, Mathematics 

“Addressing Multicultural Issues in a Predominantly White Classroom”Tuesday, April 1. Bruce Nordstrom-loeb, Sociology and Anthropology.

“Electronic Maps for Teaching and Learning” Wednesday, April 9. Charles Umbanhowar jr., Biology. 

“Just-in-Time Teaching” (co-sponsor: IIT) Tuesday, April 15, 3:15-4:45pm. Rick Goedde, Economics 

“Provost’s Sabbatical Series” Wednesday, April 16. Inaugurating a biannual series, sponsored by the Provost and Dean of the College, to celebrate sabbatical work by St. Olaf faculty. (co-sponsor: CILA, Fac Dev Committee)

“Scholarship of Teaching: How to Begin, Where to End” Thursday, April 24. Dan Hofrenning, Political Science and 2002-03 CILA Associate.

“Teaching Large/Larger Classes: Issues and Strategies” Wednesday, April 30. Mark Allister, English and American Studies; Chris Brunelle, Classics; Amy Kolan, Physics .

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Sabbaticals: Planning, Enjoying, and Returning

Dana Gross, Psychology; Anne Walter, Biology; Colin Wells, English

(co-sponsored by the Faculty Development Committee)

Please join us for a conversation about making the most of a sabbatical, and for some short presentations about what these three faculty members did on their recent sabbatical leaves. They will talk about how they prepared for their sabbatical, what they did, and what they see as some of the issues they encountered returning from a sabbatical. This session should be of particular interest to faculty members planning a sabbatical in the near future, but we also encourage any faculty members who have had a sabbatical to come and contribute to the conversation with lessons from their experiences. We also invite you just to come and listen to some of the interesting things your colleagues have done on their sabbaticals.

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“Copyright in the Digital Age: What faculty need to know”

David Lesniaski, Library

Please join us for a CILA Faculty Lunch Conversation on electronic copyright, led by David Lesniaski. As more and more media, both text and images, becomes available in digital form, it also becomes increasingly difficult for most of us to figure out when our use of this material is legal and when it is not. David will lead a conversation in which he will help us try to sort out some of these questions. He will speak about copyright generally, and then briefly discuss a print copyright as a gateway to understanding some issues with electronic copyright.

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Making Effective Use of Technology in Teaching: Does the Web Help

Students Learn? How Do We Know?

Professor Scott Simkins, Dept of Economics & Transportation/Logistics, Academy for Teaching & Learning – North Carolina A&T State University

Co-sponsored by The Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts and Information and Instructional Technologies

The presentation will focus first on how we can make effective use of instructional technology generally: what do we want to accomplish? How can instructional technology tools help us accomplish these goals and objectives? Then we will look at Just-in-Time-Teaching (JiTT) as a specific example to illustrate how we can know whether the technology is helping students learn or not.

Discussion will include how faculty are currently integrating instructional technology into your teaching and about your goals and objectives for doing so, and how technology can be implemented with regard to principles of good practice in undergraduate education.

Scott Simkins has extensive experience – as a user, developer, and researcher – of the Web as a teaching and learning tool. In addition to integrating a variety of both Web-based and classroom-based active-learning techniques into his teaching pedagogy, he developed and maintains a widely used Web site of annotated economics links, ECONlinks(www.ncat.edu/~simkinss/econlinks.html). He also conducts workshops on using the Web to teach economics, and provides innovative, economic-based content for McGraw-Hill Web sites that support their leading economics texts. In addition, Professor Simkins is a regular presenter at regional and national economics conferences on topics of teaching pedagogy, assessment of learning outcomes, active learning, and integration of Web-assisted teaching pedagogy.


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“Teaching Students Good Visual Explanations Across the Disciplines”

Matt Rohn, Art and Art History2002-2003 CILA Associate Matt Rohn will present some of Edward R. Tufte’s principles for how people in all disciplines can convey ideas well in charts, diagrams, images, and other visual displays.

Edward Tufte, professor emeritus at Yale University, has written seven books, including “Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative,” “Envisioning Information,” “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,” and “Data Analysis for Politics and Policy.” (The first three are all in both St. Olaf and Carleton library collections.) His books have received more than 40 awards for content and design.

This will be an interactive session in which Matt hopes to learn how important the visual imaging of ideas is to your students and how we can help them convey ideas better through the use of images in papers, poster presentations, Web assignments, etc.

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Teaching with Cases

Mary Walczak, Chemistry; David Schodt, Economics

Teaching with cases in the classroom involves three elements: the case, discussion of the case in class, and student preparation of the case prior to its discussion. Case teaching provides students with opportunities for becoming actively engaged in their learning, it sharpens critical discussion skills, and it encourages group problem solving. Althoug initially developed in law and business schools, case teaching is now finding application in a wide range of disciplines. Join us for a conversation about the use of cases in the undergraduate classroom.

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Dan Hofrenning, Political Science and 2002-03 CILA Associate; Mary Cisar, Registrar, French; Rich Durocher, English and past Tenure&Promotion Chair.

2002-2003 CILA Associate Dan Hofrenning will help lead a discussion on definitions of scholarship. In recent years, many in the academy have called for new forms of scholarly genres such as “the scholarship of engagement” and “the scholarship of teaching.” Adapting to changing times, many departments have revised their statements of professional responsibility. This session will appraise these new genres of scholarship.

Dan will be joined by another (former) department chair, who will discuss the process of writing new statements of professional activity, and by a past Tenure & Promotion committee member, who will also comment on interpreting these new statements.

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“Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Supporting and Rewarding the Scholarship of Engagement”

(co-sponsor: Faculty Development Committee)

Jo Beld, Political Science and Director of Academic Research and Planning

Should the structure of faculty rewards explicitly promote the scholarship of engagement? If so, how? First, Jo Beld will describe her own “engaged scholarship” in the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, evaluating the benefits and costs of this work for her teaching, her disciplinary scholarship, and her service to the campus. Then, she and other participants will conduct a simulated Task Force meeting to determine whether and how departmental Statements of Significant Professional Activity used in tenure and promotion decision-making should embrace the scholarship of engagement.

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What National and Local Surveys Tell Us About Our Students – and What It Means.

Presenters: Lynn Steen, Roberta Lembke
Respondents: Greg Kneser, Elizabeth Hutchins, John Hensel ’05, Seth Heringer ’05.

Co-sponsored by the Library, IIT, Dean of Students, and SGA

St. Olaf gathers a substantial amount of information about our students through national and local surveys. Two national surveys that have received considerable attention are the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
and the Pew Internet and American Life Project. IIT also does periodic surveys of student use of computers on campus. Taken together, these surveys provide information that is valuable for all of us teaching St. Olaf students. This session will present some highlights from those surveys and begin a conversation about what the results may mean for teaching our students.

As a preview, we provide the following True/False quiz. Correct answers will be provided on Tuesday.

  • Ever since George Bush was elected, St. Olaf students have become more liberal.
  • 1/2 of today’s college students began using computers between the ages of 5 and 8.
  • The major American religious tradition that is least well represented at St. Olaf is Baptist.
  • 73% of college students say they use the Internet more than the library, while only 9% said they use the library more than the Internet for information searching.
  • Entering St. Olaf students are more able than are freshmen at other colleges to be able to name a minority writer or artist.
  • The Library of Congress is the web site with the highest proportion of college and university users.
  • Twice as many men graduate with humanities majors as enter with that intention.
  • The IRP web site describes St. Olaf using only 100,000 numbers.
  • 65% of St. Olaf students have their own computer.

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LEARNING COMMUNITIES AT ST. OLAF – A Conversation About “Conversations” Programs

Matt Rohn, Art and Art History, and 2002-03 CILA Associate

Learning communities have experienced a period of renewed growth at colleges and universities throughout the nation. A growing number of institutions have been creating these small enclaves for entering students to share classes and living experiences. Why? What lessons might this growth have for St. Olaf?

Come and learn more about what learning communities are and why they have proliferated of late. Converse about the learning community dimension of our own “Conversations” programs and share your thoughts about learning communities existing within our residential college environment.

Co-sponsored by American Conversations, Asian Conversations, and The Great Conversation.

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Electronic Communications with Students

Co-sponsored by IIT.

Sheri Breen, Political Science; Jim Farrell, History and American Studies; Paul Zorn, Mathematics

The ability to communicate electronically with students before and after class opens up new possibilities for continuing class discussion beyond the classroom walls and the class hour, for students to submit assignments electronically, and for faculty to provide additional, virtual, office hours. How do different kinds of electronic communication work in support of teaching and learning? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these new forms of communication with students?

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Addressing Multicultural Issues in a Predominantly White Classroom

Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Sociology and Anthropology

Co-sponsored by Community Life and Diversity

The title of this session could also be “Challenges of Teaching in the Multicultural Classroom,” since even a “predominantly white” classroom contains diversity. The kinds of questions we’ll explore include the following:

** What do we mean by “diversity” and “multicultural”? Do we need to pay attention to diversity issues only if our course content centers around them?

** How do faculty whose training occurred long ago feel competent or comfortable teaching about multicultural issues? What questions might we ask ourselves to help us get ready to teach in a diverse classroom?

** What differences does it make for students whether the professor is “white” or a person of color, a man or a woman? What does it mean for a middle-aged white male professor to be an ally of students who feel different than the norm in his classroom?

** What agendas and experiences do students, both white students and students of color, bring with them about multicultural issues, that will affect how we teach? What different learning styles and strengths do different students bring to class that we need to be aware of?

** What is the difference between a class with one student of color and one-third students of color, to us as faculty, and to the members of the class? How do we take account of “invisible” diversity (sexual orientation, social class, religion) as we teach?

** What problems are presented by white guilt and minority anger in conducting class discussions? Is there a way to reach “resistant” students about diversity issues?

** What is our goal for changes in value and attitudes when we teach about diversity issues, if any – over and above “learning the material”? Should we have such goal?

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Electronic Maps for Teaching and Learning

Charles Umbanhowar jr, Biology and Environmental Studies

co-sponsored by IIT

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide the electronic means to create and query spatial data. Their uses may vary from the production of publication quality maps of a range of data (demographic, economic, ecological…) to more formal analyses and modeling of correlation and cause and effect. In this CILA session, Charles Umbanhowar will introduce faculty to different ways in which GIS can be integrated into the classroom and into research, drawing on examples from the social sciences, humanities, and sciences. He will demonstrate some of the basic options available to faculty and, based on interest expressed during this session, will offer a 1-2 day training session this summer in the use of Arcview, the primary GIS software available in the market.

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Just-In-Time Teaching (JiTT)

Rick Goedde, Economics; Debbie Engelen-Eigles, Sociology and Anthropology; Matt Richey, Mathematics

co-sponsored by IIT

JiTT is a teaching and learning strategy designed to provide instructors with timely information about what and how their students are learning. In this session, faculty discuss their experiences implementing this system in their courses at St. Olaf.

JiTT comprises two elements: classroom activities that promote active learning and World Wide Web resources that are used to enhance the classroom component. Web-based preparatory assignments are due electronically a few hours before class.The instructor adjusts theclassroom lesson in response to the student submissions. Consequently, classroom activities are more efficient and closely tuned to students’ needs. St. Olaf faculty are working with IIT to try different types of software that facilitate JiTT and minimize the workload for the instructor. See: http://webphysics.iupui.edu/jitt/jitt.html for additional information about JiTT.

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Scholarship of Teaching: How to Begin, Where to End

Dan Hofrenning, Political Science and 2002-03 CILA Associate:
Dolores Peters, History (and 2001-02 CILA Associate)

As we develop new ways of teaching, is there a way to judge theeffectiveness of our efforts?

Dan Hofrenning has designed a research project focused on the political efficacy of the internet. In the context of the broader literature in political science, students will study the political uses of internet. Many have claimed that the internet has transformed politics; students will attempt to test those claims in a scholarly way. Dolores Peters has developed a series of exercises in which students use the internet as a medium to study primary sources. She has created a Virtual Archive that enables students to replicate authentic opportunities for doing research in a survey course.

Dan and Dolores will summarize their projects and the ways in which they have appraised the effectiveness of their teaching, and will ask others to share their ideas for “SoTL” projects that might assess the outcomes of a particular teaching venture.

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Teaching Large/Larger Classes: Issues and Strategies

Mark Allister, English; Chris Brunelle, Classics;  Amy Kolan, Physics

In recent years, some departments have experimented with larger classes as a means to achieve department curriculum objectives. Some faculty have simply experienced an increase in the size of their classes. Join us for a conversation about the challenges and rewards of teaching larger and large (over 50) classes. The presenters will discuss their experiences, and suggest strategies they have developed for effective teaching in large classes.

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