Faculty Conversations: 2003-2004

Fall 2003

“The High School to College Transition” Tuesday, September 23. Randy Bailey, Visiting Master Teacher, Mathematics; Rich DuRocher, English; Michelle Sonnega, English, Northfield HS; Charles Umbanhowar, Jr, Biology.

“Why Bother Teaching with Technology? (Not a Rhetorical Question)”(co-sponsor: IIT) Wednesday, October 8 LUNCH – 11:45-1:15Diana Postlethwaite, English and 2003-04 CILA Associate; Mary Steen, English.

“Teaching Senior Capstone Seminars” Tuesday, October 14. Sheri Breen, Political Science and 2003-04 CILA Associate; Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Sociology and Anthropology; Meg Ojala, Art and Art History; Barbara Reed, Asian Studies.

“The First Year Experience at St. Olaf: Announcing a New Grant-Funded Initiative” Thursday, October 23. Mary Cisar, Registrar and Romance Languages; Diane LeBlanc, Director of Writing; Barb Lundberg, VP for Enrollment; Pat Smith, Dir Career Connections, CEL; Kurt Stimeling, Assoc Dean-First Year, Student Life.

“Provost’s Sabbatical Series” (co-sponsors: CILA, Faculty Development Committee). Wednesday, October 29. Paul Humke, Mathematics; Meg Ojala, Art and Art History.

“How We Learn versus How We Think We Learn”Monday, November 3. Visiting Speaker: Robert Bjork, Department of Psychology, UCLA.

“Teaching as a Skill to be Learned Across a Lifetime” Tuesday, November 4. Visiting Speaker: Robert Bjork, Department of Psychology, UCLA.

“Mentoring Faculty” Tuesday, November 11. Gwen Barnes-Karol, Romance Languages; Jim Farrell, History and American Studies; Beth McKinsey, English and former Dean of the College, Carleton College.

“Obtaining and Using Student Feedback” Wednesday, November 19.Jo Beld, Dir, Pol Sci and Dir Academic Research & Planning; David Schodt, Econ and CILA Director.

Spring 2004

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Just-in-Time Teaching: Tailoring Your Class to Student Needs. WEDNESDAY, February 18. Rick Goedde, Economics and Management Studies, with other contributors.

Experiential Learning: The Math Practicum and the Political Science New Hampshire Interim. Tuesday, Tuesday, February 24. Bruce Dalgaard, Director of the Center for Experiential Learning, Economics; Matt Richey, Mathematics, with students; Dan Hofrenning, Political Science, with Jeff Foels and Laura Wilkinson.

Using WebCT: Reports from the field. Wednesday, March 3rd. Dan Beach, IIT, Stephen Cronin, Biology, DeAne Lagerquist, Religion, Anne Sabo, Norwegian.

Technology and Teaching in the Liberal Arts College: the view from the Midwest Instructional Technologies Center (MITC). Wednesday, March 17. Nancy Millichap, Director; Alex Wirth-Cauchon, Associate Director.

PROVOST’S SABBATICAL SERIES LUNCHEON Wednesday, March 31, 2004. L. Henry Kermott, Professor of Biology; Mary Carlsen, Associate Professor of Social Work.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Are Students Learning What I Think I’m Teaching?: Examples of Classroom Assessment. Wednesday, April 14. Mary Walczak, Chemistry; and 2003-04 CILA Associate Shelly Dickinson, Psychology; Paul Jackson, Chemistry.

Accommodations for Student Disabilities – Myth and Reality. Tuesday, April 20. Kathy Quade, Coordinator of Student Disability Services; Kurt Stimeling, Associate Dean of Students for First-year Students.

Experiential Learning and the Liberal Arts: Closing the Loop. Thursday, April 22.Bruce Dalgaard, Director of the Center for Experiential Learning, Economics/Asian Studies; Steve McKelvey, Associate Dean of Students for Juniors and Seniors, Mathematics.

Learning Skills Instead of Learning Styles? Wednesday, April 28. 11:45-1:15 Buntrock 142. Chuck Huff, Psychology.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: The Whole Enchilada: Towards ‘Transparent’ Technology in the Humanities Classroom. Wednesday, May 5. Diana Postlethwaite, English and 2003-2004 CILA Associate.

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Fall

“The High School to College Transition”

Randy Bailey, 2003-2004 Visiting Master Teacher, Mathematics. Michelle Sonnega, English, Northfield High School. Rich Durocher, English. Charles Umbanhowar, jr – Biology and Environmental Studies. Co-sponsored by the Education Department

Please join us for the first Faculty Conversation of the new academic year. Understanding more about how our students learned in high school, and what they learned, should help us when these students arrive in our college classrooms. We have invited two high school teachers to give us their views on our students’ high school experiences. They will be joined by a GE111 instructor and an instructor in the SSS Summer Bridge Program, who will provide some observations about these students from the perspective of the college classroom.

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“Why Bother Teaching with Technology? (Not a Rhetorical Question)”

Diana Postlethwaite, English and 2003-04 CILA Associate; Mary Steen, English. Co-sponsored by IIT

Please join us for the first Faculty Conversation of the new academic year.

By 2003, most (all?) St.Olaf faculty use e-mail on a regular basis. But we’re not all creating web syllabi, sending our students to internet resources, or maintaining online class discussion boards.

When, why, and how does technology pass from the provenance of the technologically venturesome into the mainstream? What are the (genuine) obstacles, as of fall 2003, to using technologyas an aid to teaching at St. Olaf College? This CILA “conversation” invites an honest and open dialogue between “disciples” of/”converts” to teaching with technology, and those among us who may remain (for very good reasons) skeptical.

Our “theological” goal for today’s conversation: not just to preach to the choir, but to listen to the devil’s advocates. If you’re the kind of person who might never consider attending a teaching-with-technology “conversation,” this one’s for you!

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“Teaching Senior Capstone Seminars”

Sheri Breen, Political Science, Environmental Studies, Women’s Studies, and 2003-04 CILA Associate
Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Sociology and Anthropology
Meg Ojala, Art and Art History
Barbara Reed, Religion, and Asian Studies

What are the goals and needs of a capstone seminar, and what role can they play in a department or interdisciplinary program? How do we balance thematic focus of the course as a whole against the desire of seniors to pursue widely disparate senior research projects? How do we balance the course’s reading/discussion load with students’ independent research work? Can reflective electronic portfolios or web-based presentation of student research projects play an important role? What strategies can we use to evaluate student work in these intensive research-based courses? Finally, should we be doing more of them?

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“The First Year Experience at St. Olaf: Announcing a New Grant-Funded Initiative”

Mary Cisar, Registrar and Romance Languages-French – convenor of the ACM-FYE Group; Diane LeBlanc, Interdisciplinary Studies, Director of Writing; Barb Lundberg, Vice President for Enrollment; Pat Smith, Director, Career Connections, Center for Experiential Learning; Kurt Stimeling, Associate Dean of Students, First Year

Several members of the ACM First Year Experience Group will present an initiative that has recently been funded by a grant from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. The goal of this two-year initiative is to conduct a systematic inquiry into the first year experience of our students (with special emphasis on groups whose numbers are on the rise, such as first generation students and students from other under represented groups). We will be studying the profile of our students and examining the component parts of the first year experience (academic, residential, support services, etc.) at St. Olaf. Come hear more about this project and find out how you can contribute to the initiative over the next two years.

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“How We Learn versus How We Think We Learn”

Robert A. Bjork, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Visit coordinated by Mary Walczak, Chemistry and 2003-04 CILA Associate. Co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts, the Education Department, and the Psychology Department.

ABSTRACT: Paradoxically, certain manipulations that promote forgetting and impair performance during instruction and practice actually enhance long-term retention and transfer. Conversely, conditions that retard forgetting and enhance performance during training frequently fail to support long-term, post-training performance. From a theoretical standpoint, such findings have implications for the functional architecture of humans as learners. From a practical standpoint, they point to reasons instructors are susceptible to choosing less effective conditions of instruction over more effective conditions, why learners are prone to illusions of comprehension, and why real-world instruction is seldom as effective as it might be.

Biography: Robert A. Bjork received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research focuses on how humans learn and remember and on the implications of that research for training and instruction. He is currently co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest; his earlier responsibilities include editing Psychological Review (1995-2000), and chairing a National Research Council Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance (1988-94). He has served as President of the American Psychological Society, President of the Western Psychological Association, Chair of the Psychonomic Society, and Chair of the Council of Editors of the American Psychological Association. He is a recipient of UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Award of the American Psychological Association. In 2001-02, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford CA, and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Bjork has published numerous articles on memory, retention, retrieval, and forgetting. Among others: With D.A. Simon. (2002). Models of performance in learning multi-segment movement tasks: Consequences for acquisition, retention and judgments of learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8, 222-232. With P.A. deWinstanley. (2002). Successful lecturing: Presenting information in ways that engage effective processing. In D.F. Halpern & M.D. Hakel (eds.), Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond (pp. 19-31). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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“Teaching as a Skill to be Learned Across a Lifetime”

Robert Bjork, Professor and Chair of Psychology, UCLA

Some believe that teaching is an innate gift – people either have it or they don’t. In this CILA lunch discussion, Robert A. Bjork will discuss the ways in which teaching should be considered a skill, much like skiing, that can be learned. By cooperating, sharing, and seeking feedback about our teaching, both new and experienced faculty can continue to improve their skillfulness as teachers.

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“Mentoring Faculty”

Gwen Barnes-Karol, Romance Languages; Jim Farrell, History and American Studies; Beth McKinsey, English and former Dean of the College, Carleton College

Please join us for what promises to be a particularly interesting session on an important topic. Beth McKinsey, former Dean at Carleton College and current member of their English Department, will share her thoughts on mentoring faculty, something that was a high priority for her as Dean, and which is an area she continues to study. She will be joined by Jim Farrell, who explored interesting ways of mentoring faculty while occupying the Boldt Chair in the Humanities, and by Gwen Barnes-Karol, who is developing an innovative mentoring program for new faculty in Romance Languages.

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“Obtaining and Using Student Feedback”

Jo Beld, Political Science and Director, Academic Research and Planning; David Schodt, Economics and Director, CILA

Please join us for the last CILA conversation of the fall semester, “Obtaining and Using Student Feedback.” Not just another course evaluation system: Jo Beld, Political Science and director of Academic Research and Planning, will explain St. Olaf’s new online feedback system (replacing our old “gold form”) that can be adapted to individual teaching needs. David Schodt will share some ideas about using an electronic version of the “one minute paper,” another approach to obtaining and using student feedback. All are welcome, but we would particularly like to encourage faculty who have used the new online system to come and share their experiences.

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Spring

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Just-in-Time Teaching: Tailoring Your Class to Student Needs

Rick Goedde, Economics and Management Studies, with other contributors

JiTT is a teaching strategy that uses Web-based technologies to provide instructors with regular and timely information about their students’ learning. Based on information received from students prior to each class period, both teachers and students can focus their efforts, spending more time on areas where students appear less confident and less time where they have demonstrated competence. A number of St. Olaf faculty members have been working with JiTT in their classes and report very positive results. The Mathematics Department used JiTT in all sections of introductory calculus last spring, and several faculty members in the Economics Department have incorporated JiTT into their teaching. Please join us for a discussion of this promising technique for improving student learning.

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Experiential Learning: The Math Practicum and the Political Science New Hampshire Interim

Bruce Dalgaard, Director of the Center for Experiential Learning, Economics;Matt Richey, Mathematics, with students; Dan Hofrenning, Political Science, with Jeff Foels and Laura Wilkinson.

Join us for a discussion of two different models for experiential education during the January Interim. The Math
Practicum uses student teams to do consulting projects for local organizations; the New Hampshire Interim took students to New Hampshire to study political campaigns.

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Using WebCT: Reports from the field

Dan Beach, IIT; Stephen Cronin, Biology; DeAne Lagerquist, Religion; Anne Sabo, Norwegian

(co-sponsor: Information and Instructional Technologies)

Please join us for a conversation about the pros and cons of course management systems, such as WebCT, the system currently made available to faculty at St. Olaf. WebCT provides a large set of tools for course management, such as threaded discussions, quiz administration and grading, student presentations, and the posting of course materials. This session should be of particular interest to all current WebCT users, as well as to any faculty who would like to learn more about the instructional possibilities of course management systems. We will also have an opportunity to talk about the future of course management systems at St. Olaf.

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Technology and Teaching in the Liberal Arts College: the view from the Midwest Instructional Technologies Center (MITC)

Nancy Millichap, Director
Alex Wirth-Cauchon, Associate Director

MITC, which is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, serves the 26 member institutions of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the Great Lakes Colleges Association. It is part of a national initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, to promote the use of instructional technology in the liberal arts colleges. MITC provides support for project-based collaborations among faculty, administrators, librarians, and technologists. For more information, please see their website at http://www.midwest-itc.org.

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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Are Students Learning What I Think I’m Teaching?: Examples of Classroom Assessment

Mary Walczak, Chemistry, and 2003-04 CILA Associate; Shelly Dickinson, Psychology; Paul Jackson, Chemistry

What are students learning in my classroom? How can I help them learn better? Classroom Assessment Techniques, short, focused inquiries that start a “feedback loop”, can help answer these very important questions. By using any of several easy-to-implement techniques, instructors can quickly find out which concepts or topics their students understand as well as those that they find confusing. In this session, presenters and participants will use the completed Angelo and Cross teaching goals inventory to help make their course goals explicit. Then the presenters will provide examples of different classroom assessment techniques they have used to elucidate particular student learning gains, and the kinds of information those assessments have provided.

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Accommodations for Student Disabilities – Myth and Reality

Kathy Quade, Coordinator of Student Disability Services; Kurt Stimeling, Associate Dean of Students for First-year Students

(Co-sponsor: Student Disability Services)

Suppose a student asks you for extra time on an exam. How should you respond? What are you required to do by law? How many students are likely to make such requests? Join us for a discussion of these and other questions about accommodations faculty may be asked to make for students with disabilities. Kathy Quade will provide a brief overview of Student Disability Services, followed by a discussion of several short cases involving faculty and students. Kurt Stimeling will explain the role of the Dean of Students Office in these matters.

Student Disability Services (SDS) is the designated office on the St. Olaf College campus that acts as a resource/ advocate for students with disabilities, verifies and files documentation, certifies eligibility or services, and establishes reasonable accommodations.

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Experiential Learning and the Liberal Arts: Closing the Loop

(Co-sponsor: CEL)

Bruce Dalgaard, Director of the Center for Experiential Learning, Economics/Asian Studies; Steve McKelvey, Associate Dean of Students for Juniors and Seniors, Mathematics.

This session will provide an update on the programs of the Center for Experiential Learning, and will examine the idea of experience as a complement to the liberal arts curriculum. This idea is receiving growing attention as “service learning”, or, in a more formal approach, as the “scholarship of engagement”. The session will illustrate how experiential learning is at work here at St. Olaf by drawing on the initiatives of several faculty members. One or two short readings will be provided.

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Learning Skills Instead of Learning Styles?

Chuck Huff, Psychology

(Co-sponsor: Department of Psychology)

Learning styles have received considerable attention in educational circles, yet a large literature on how people learn concludes that focusing on learning styles runs the risk of decreasing rather than increasing student learning. Wilbur McKeachie, a national leader in the psychology of teaching and learning cautions that:

“Thinking about learning styles can lead a teacher to think about different ways of teaching, and that is good. …Nonetheless, as inmost things, there are potential undesirable side effects from the use of learning style concepts. Probably the most serious is that styles are often taken to be fixed, inherited characteristics that limit students’ ability to learn in ways that do not fit their styles.”

Please join Chuck Huff, who will lead a discussion of this issue.

We encourage those planning to participate in this conversation to read the short article by McKeachie before the session. (McKeachie, W. J. (1995). Learning Styles Can Become Learning Strategies. National Teachers and Learner’s Forum, Vol.4 No.6, Oryx Press. http://www.ntlf.com/html/pi/9511/article1.htm.)

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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: The Whole Enchilada: Towards ‘Transparent’ Technology in the Humanities Classroom

Diana Postlethwaite, English and 2003-2004 CILA Associate

Few teachers in 2004 would describe xeroxed hand-outs, word processing, or e-mail as “using technology.” What are today’s teaching technologies that faculty someday will no longer call “teaching technologies,” because they will have become seamlessly integrated into the daily practices of teaching and learning? What will it take for these technologies to become “transparent”?

Based on her experiences in teaching a seminar capstone course in the English department in Fall 2003, Diana will lead this CILA Conversation through four categories on the (sometimes bumpy) road to “transparent technology” in the humanities classroom:

  1. Dread-full Machinery: the computer/camera/DVD “Smart Carte”; the web-based class discussion board;
  2. Click/Thud (Great Format, Problematic Content): designing a course-specific web site;
  3. Should We Even Call This “Technology?” (e-mail; word processing; the on-line library catalogue; full-text databases; web browsing)
  4. Transformative Technologies: weekly electronic journals deposited in a class “drop box” on the college server; End Note bibliographical software; posting final student papers online.

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