Workshops 2019-2020

The 2019-2020 workshop series on “Creativity and Collaboration” is designed to inspire “out of the box” thinking, collaboration across the disciplines, and intellectual play.

Spring 2020

Teaching Across the Social/Natural Sciences and Humanities
Thursday, April 23, 3:45-5:15 DiSCO Loft

Michael Fuerstein, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Public Affairs Conversation;
Brian Borovsky, Professor of Physics, Former Director of the Science Conversation

Everyone loves interdisciplinary teaching in principle. Indeed, it seems to define the ery ideal of the liberal arts as a free ranging, integrative conversation. In practice, however, the idea often seems daunting. Every field fosters its own unique set of internal practices, presumptions, skills, questions, values, and stylistic tendencies. These disciplinary divisions are particularly pronounced across the humanities and sciences, where interdisciplinarity may feel more like navigating an alien landscape than exchanging ideas.

Are you looking for ways to make your courses more interdisciplinary? Perhaps you are a scientist interested in unlocking some of the more humanistic dimensions of your field for students. Or perhaps you are a humanist looking to bring history, ideas, the arts, or imagination into a richer dialogue with the world of empirical inquiry. If so, this workshop is for you. We will discuss the most significant obstacles to teaching across the social/natural sciences and humanities, we will offer some strategies for addressing these obstacles, and we will look at some examples from our own experiences with interdisciplinary teaching. There will be plenty of time for brainstorming and discussion, and the primary goal of this workshop will be or you to leave with some ideas of your own.

Implementing Prototyping and Design Thinking in the Classroom
Thursday, March 12, 3:45-5:15 DiSCO Loft and Maker Space

Alden Adolph, Assistant Professor of Physics
Margaret Bransford, Associate Director of Entrepreneurship and Outreach
Sian Christie, Entrepreneur in Residence
Ezra Plemons, Instructional Technologist for Digital Media

January lends itself to collaboration and creativity in teaching and scholarship. Our team (Alden Adolph, Margaret Bransford, Sian Christie, Audrey Gunn, Ken Johnson, and Ezra Plemons) took this opportunity to enhance the student experience in two existing Interim courses, Introduction to Engineering Design and New Venture Formulation. The overall goal was to expose students to all aspects of creativity, design and entrepreneurship in a dynamic, team-based setting. Participants in this CILA workshop will learn the methods and processes that we used to pilot the collaboration and the procedures that students used in the course to develop and iterate prototypes. Through this interactive workshop, participants will come away with key activities they can employ in their classrooms to enhance creativity and problem solving, and we’ll also have some fun!

Fall 2019

'Odd Socks' Comes to St. Olaf'
Thursday, November 21, 3:45-5:15 Holland 502

Irve Dell, Emcee
Juliet Patterson, Poet (Visiting Assistant Professor of English)
Jason Engbrecht, Engineer (Professor of Physics)

Created at The Gymnasium, a Twin Cities consortium of creative thinkers, Odd Socks is–in the words of their website— “a scintillating smash up of mismatched ideas.” Two “mismatched” presenters tell a gathered audience about their passions and then the audience makes associative connections. You are invited to come and play.

Get Their Attention: Tell a Story!
Thursday, October 17, 3:45-5:15 Holland 502

Sian Christie, Entrepreneur in Residence

We are teaching in a time of information overload. The average US worker receives 121 emails each day,  checks their email inbox 30 times every hour, and picks up their phone more than 1,500 times per week. In the past 15 years, the average attention span has decreased markedly. In 2000, it was 12 seconds. In 2015 it had shrunk significantly to 8.25 seconds (shorter than the attention span of a goldfish). 

How can we, as educators, get our student’s attention in a world pervaded by technology? This workshop will introduce you to the power of story-telling, how you can use stories to cut through the “noise” and communicate.  Participants will hear about recent scholarship on storytelling and communication, will learn the techniques of good storytelling, and will practice constructing an effective story related to their teaching content.