|Two faculty study seminars scheduled for fall|
Faculty Study Seminars (FSS) offer an opportunity for faculty to meet with a small group of colleagues sharing an interest in teaching and learning. Two groups will be offered this fall, each organized around a recent book or set of readings, provided for participants by the Office of Instructional Development. Groups typically meet four times during a semester –- first holding a planning session and then meeting to discuss readings at a pace and on a schedule agreed to by group members during their planning session. Study Seminars for fall 2006 are:
1. "Leaving the Lectern: Cooperative Learning and the Critical First Days of Students Working in Groups" by Dean A. McManus (Facilitator: Libby Rankin).
Here’s how the author describes this book: Reading a story is an old and familiar way to learn. This book is my story, about one particular course. It tells how I taught for years as I had been taught. Then after making minor changes in my teaching, I made a major change -- from lecture and examination to cooperative learning and student projects. You will read what I did during those first several days, when neither the students nor I knew for sure what was coming next. But by working together, we succeeded.
The challenges facing me ranged from turning lecture notes into student activities that required group work to accepting that I was a novice again in teaching, after years of teaching only by professing expert knowledge. But the greatest challenge demanded that I think more about what the students should learn and were learning than about what information I would put into the course and ask them to recall. Never before had I been expected to think more about the students than myself. It was difficult.
I tell you about each step I took during those days and reflect on the meaning of what I did properly and successfully or just flat wrong. At each of those steps I offer citations to references that will better prepare you to make the change. When you change your teaching, you enter a whole new world of education, and so I also share with you my emotions, from anxiety to joy, and encourage you to begin the journey.
2. "Beyond Grade Inflation: Grading Problems in Higher Education" by Shouping Hu (editor).
According to the publisher (the ASHE Higher Education Report series), "This report presents a conceptual framework that can aid in understanding the complexity of grading problems in higher education. It takes into account individual course-grading philosophy, students' choice of coursework, changes in composition of the faculty, and changes in the student population, among other factors. The conceptual framework helps professionals to understand that grading practices need to be examined at multiple levels, not just in the aggregate at the institutional and national levels. Practices and problems vary by discipline, institutional type, faculty rank, and other such conditions. The framework also provides advice about where policymakers and leaders can target efforts (state aid policy) and other areas where they can have little or no impact (student demographic shifts)."
Capitalizing on the knowledge that senior faculty have related to grading, this monograph examines changing institutional practices, fluctuations in departmental and school norms, and various strategies for grading. It argues for the need for institutional policies related to grading and more discussion on campuses about standards and norms.
To sign up for one of these Faculty Study Seminars, contact Libby Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 777-4233. Mention the book you’d like to read, and include a copy of your fall semester schedule. Your group will begin meeting later this month after books for all participants have arrived.
-- Libby Rankin, Director, Office of Instructional Development, email@example.com, 777-4233