Faculty Conversations: 2013-2014

Spring 2014

February 18. Academic Civic Engagement and the Liberal Arts Foundation. Paul Schadewald, Associate Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College

Several recent studies have identified broad challenges to the mission of residential liberal arts colleges. These challenges include concerns about the responsibilities that colleges have to the multiple communities of which they are part and concerns about how an undergraduate education promotes the skills of active citizenship, while deepening disciplinary knowledge and vocational formation. The Civic Engagement movement in higher education is attempting to respond to these broader challenges of community responsibility and undergraduate education.Paul Schadewald will provide a brief overview of key questions, resources, and terms in the larger Civic Engagement Movement and of concepts from William Sullivan, John Saltmarsh, and Caryn McTighe Musil to understand the place of civic engagement in undergraduate education. He will then share specific examples of Academic Civic Engagement from Macalester College and other liberal arts colleges in the Project Pericles, Imagining America, and Bonner networks.

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Maximizing Student Learning Abroad: Reports from 2014 Interim Program Leaders. Dana Gross (Psychology 223), DeAne Lagerquist (Religion 272), Jonathan O'Conner (Spanish 322)

In October 2013, Dr. Michael Vande Berg (former Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Council on International Educational Exchange and co-editor of Student Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They’re Not, and What We Can Do About It?) gave two presentations on campus: a lecture entitled “What Can Students and Faculty Do to Maximize Learning Abroad?” and a workshop for faculty and staff that moved from the theory and research of the lecture to practical considerations regarding how to work with students before, during and after study abroad.Three leaders of 2014 off-campus Interim programs who attended these events will discuss the impact of Vande Berg’s presentations on their pre-departure activities and their experience teaching/learning abroad last month.

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How can Faculty work with the Board of Regents to achieve the St. Olaf Mission? Rick Goedde (Economics - Faculty Observer to the Board of Regents), Mary Wakczak (Chemistry - Faculty Observer- Elect to the Board of Regents)

As faculty, we are fairly well removed from the Board of Regents in tending to the matter of delivering a St. Olaf education to our students. You may have wondered about the people who serve the College on the Board: who they are and what they do. The Regents care deeply about the College, but the College has changed considerably since they were students. What information would help them execute their oversight responsibilities? The Regents have requested more interaction with the Faculty, but what should be the focus and structure of this interaction? The Board Observer and Observer-Elect will first provide some information about the Board and then lead a discussion to answer these two important questions. At a time of dramatic change in higher education, don’t miss this opportunity to share your ideas on how Faculty should communicate with these important members of the St. Olaf community.

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March 13. Provost’s Sabbatical Series LuncheonKathryn Ananda-Owens (Associate Professor of Music), Anna Kuxhausen (Associate Professor of History)

March 18. Diversifying Diversity: Perspectives on Mixed Race. Professor Jennifer Kwon Dobbs (English, Race and Ethnic Studies), Britt Letcher (co-founder and president of Hybrid Vigor)

What is mixed race? How might an understanding of this identity enhance advising, campus conversations, and classroom practices? Facilitated by Britt Letcher (co-founder and president of Hybrid Vigor) and Jennifer Kwon Dobbs (English, Race and Ethnic Studies), this presentation will share both student and faculty experiences of developing learning opportunities focused on mixed race as a historically situated racial formation. The presenters will lead lunch participants in activities and reflection based on curriculum created as part of the Asian American Literary Review national teaching initiative on mixed race studies and Hybrid Vigor’s campus-wide workshops on rethinking diversity.

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April 15. Design Thinking, Sustainability, and Spanish: Applying Design Thinking in an Interim Course. Maggie Broner (Romance Language-Spanish)

Design Thinking is a structured method for tackling problems and producing innovative solutions. It has evolved from the world of design and has expanded into many other areas.
In this presentation, Maggie Broner shares lessons learned from an Interim course in which she used Design Thinking to get students to unleash their creativity, work collaboratively, and experiment as they explored the topic of sustainability in Latin America.
Participants will take part in a short collaborative exercise as a brief introduction to Design Thinking.

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April 22. Troublesome Teaching Situations? Moving Past Panic toward Constructive Action. Karen Cherewatuk (English), Connie Ford (Student Accessibility Services)

Today’s St. Olaf classroom sometimes includes students with needs that can overwhelm even experienced professors and staff. Both locally and nationwide, colleges and universities are seeing an increase in the number of students with disabilities and in the complexity of their situations. There have also been increases in the number of students with mental health concerns and those with chronic health issues.

Karen Cherewatuk and Connie Ford will draw on their experiences from the 2014 Interim abroad course, “Literature of the Eastern Caribbean,” to lead this interactive CILA lunch and demonstrate a model for moving past the stage of worry and frustration and toward specific strategies to support all students, even those with significant need for support.

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Fall 2013

September 25. Connecting Students with the Global Commons through Teaching and Research: Visions of Internationalization. Dana Gross, Psychology, and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary and General Studies; Tim Howe, History

“Ours is a world being transformed by transnational flows of goods and capital, peoples and practices; by the unraveling of the nation state; and by the rapid rise of new forms of instantaneous electronic communication. There is an urgent need to prepare young people to negotiate such complexity, and to enter into thoughtful stewardship of initiatives, resources, languages, and cultures.”   – Bennet et al, “An Education for the Twenty-first Century” (Liberal Education, Fall 2012)

St. Olaf’s Strategic Plan invites all of us to help our students acquire the capabilities listed by Bennet and his colleagues by offering greater access to study abroad opportunities, integrating on- and off-campus learning more intentionally, and coordinating services for international students and scholars.

For this Conversation, Dana Gross will give an overview of the college’s initiative for comprehensive internationalization and share some of her experience incorporating global perspectives into her courses, both on and off campus. She will also discuss how the goals of internationalization influenced the development of her Interim psychology course in India.

Tim Howe will talk about his experience with taking undergraduate researchers overseas for fieldwork, and about the pairing of research and teaching internationally.

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October 1. Digital Scholarship for Teaching and Research: New Models, New York, New Lives. Karen Achberger, German; Will Bridges, Asian Studies-Japanese; Mary Titus, English

This summer, the Mellon Foundation supported several St. Olaf faculty in projects designed to enhance their teaching and scholarly work through the use of digital tools and technology. Join us as we discuss their experiences and explore the role of digital scholarship in academia.

Karen Achberger will share her work on the “flipped” German Cinema classroom. In this model, students view digital lectures outside of class via Moodle and then use class time to complete written “homework” assignments collaboratively in small groups with immediate instructor feedback and guidance.

Excited by the collaborative, open-ended, and visual quality of digital scholarship, Mary Titus has begun developing a website that maps the physical New York City of 19th and early 20th century American literature. In her course “New York, New York!” next interim, her students will collaboratively write and edit short essays, locate and annotate images, maps, and other primary and secondary resources and work together to build the site.

Will Bridges will discuss his work in developing a set of online learning materials that assist students in autodidactic Japanese language study in a course (SL Japanese 111.5). The materials include animated online lectures, language learning activities in the online virtual environment Second Life (hence “SL”), and Moodle quizzes. The course is to be used over the January Interim to bridge Japanese 111 and 112.

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October 9. The Innovative Classroom - unleashing the creativity in our students and ourselves. Irve Dell, Art and Art History; Sian Muir, Management Studies

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”  – Albert Einstein

In an ever-changing, complex and chaotic world, the ability for our students to think critically and to develop creative solutions to problems becomes all the more important. According to Dan Berrett in Creativity:a Cure for the Common Curriculum (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2013), “Today’s students will need such tools to tackle the problems they stand to inherit. Climate change, income inequality, and escalating health-care costs cannot be remedied by technocratic solutions alone… Knowledge will need to be combined across disciplines, and juxtaposed in unorthodox ways.”

This interactive session will present findings indicating a decrease in creative thinking in our students, discuss the challenges associated with teaching creativity and provide some practical recommendations for tools that can be used in any classroom to promote innovation.

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October 17. Provost’s Sabbatical Series Luncheon. Anantanand Rambachan, Religion; Doug Casson, Political Science

October 22. Exploring Class and Classism. Sharon Lane-Getaz, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Classism is discussed less often than other “isms” and sometimes not at all. Nevertheless class and classism affect classroom dynamics as they do all other social dynamics. Before we can try to create a classless classroom, we need to be aware of our own contributions to classist culture.

A class consists of a large group of people who share a similar economic and/or social position in society based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, or power in the economic and political sphere. Class is determined not just by “economic capital” (what you earn or own) but also by “social capital” (who you know) and “cultural capital” (what you know). We will create a safe space to explore our own class identity, how it affects us on the personal and emotional level, and the strengths we enjoy and limitations we carry based on our class identity.

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November 6. Identity and Diversity: Lutheran Tradition and St. Olaf's Future. Darrell Jodock, Martin E. Marty Professor of Religion and the Academy

Members of the St. Olaf community appear to have different views on this issue. Some worry that religious diversity will undermine the College’s Lutheran ties. Others worry that too little diversity will isolate the College and leave students unprepared for the pluralism in today’s world.  Going forward, is conflict between the college’s Lutheran identity and an increased religious diversity our only alternative? Is there anything helpful in the Lutheran tradition itself? Could St. Olaf’s choices about how to deal with this question offer anything beneficial to American society?This one of several conversations with various campus groups supported and facilitated by the Marty Chair. It will be an exploratory session, with brief introductory comments and discussion.

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November 14. What's Left of Affirmative Action Admissions? Devon W. Carbado, Hon. Harry Pregerson Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Devon Carbado teaches Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, Critical Race Theory, and Criminal Adjudication. He is an outstanding teacher who was elected Professor of the Year by the UCLA School of Law classes of 2000 and 2006. In 2003 he received the Law School’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he has also received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching.

Professor Carbado has established himself as a nationally recognized figure in the field of Critical Race Theory and he is actively involved with shaping a nationwide discourse on race, identity, and the law. He writes in the areas of Critical Race Theory, employment discrimination, criminal procedure, constitutional law, and identity. He is editor of Race Law Stories(Foundation Press) (with Rachel Moran), and the author of Acting White? Rethinking Race in “Post-Racial” America (Oxford University Press) (with Mitu Gulati). He is faculty director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA Law School, a faculty associate of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and a board member of the African American Policy Forum. In 2005 Professor Carbado was named an inaugural recipient of the Fletcher Foundation Fellowship. Modeled on the Guggenheim fellowships, it is awarded to scholars whose work furthers the goals of Brown v. Board of Education.

Professor Carbado graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994. At Harvard, he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, a member of the Board of Student Advisors, and winner of the Northeast Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition. Carbado joined the UCLA School of Law faculty in 1997. He served as Vice Dean for Faculty and Research at the School of Law from 2006-07, and again in 2009-10.

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November 19. Teaching Calculus Online: A Liberal Arts Approach. Tina Garrett, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Last year, Tina Garrett co-designed and co-taught an online course, Calculus: A Modeling Approach, with Chad Topaz from the Mathematics Department at Macalester College. The project, sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), provided on opportunity to investigate online techniques that may enhance teaching at liberal arts colleges.

Tina will discuss the design and implementation of the course, exhibit the technology used and discuss the choices made around technology, and share some of the assessment of their efforts. Skeptics of online education welcome!