2008 Events Summaries

Date Title and Description


Academic Advisors Workshop

At this workshop, led by Kevin McKenna and Judy Miller, we used case study discussions to examine advisors' responsibilities, review academic policies and procedures, and discuss the various academic and personal supports available to students. The workshop was intended to be particularly helpful for new advisors or faculty who had not recently advised new students.


Academic Orientation Book Discussion Lunch

This event was a continuation of the advisors' workshop. The lunch was an opportunity to get a preview of the comments of the panelists who were speaking at Academic Orientation (which took place on Friday, August 29, from 2:45 to 4:00 PM) on the summer reading book, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy. Although there will be no small group discussions this year, advisors of first year students are asked to accompany their advisees to the panel sessions. At this session, we discussed how panelists could engage students in the large group discussion sessions on Aug. 29, and how advisors and first year seminar instructors might productively engage with the book with their students in other venues.


Articulating Course Objectives Using IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction

Faculty who volunteered to participate in the IDEA student ratings pilot test in 08-09 (and others who were interested) were invited to attend one of two preparation sessions for IDEA (SIR-II does not require special training). In IDEA, students rate the extent to which they have made progress on each of several course objectives that the instructor has identified as important. Because course objectives dictate teaching strategies and grading, effective use of this system depends on instructors clearly articulating and communicating objectives for their courses before the course starts. This session included a brief description of how the IDEA system works; discussion of the general objectives on the IDEA form; and a work session in which faculty write objectives for their own courses.


New Faculty Teaching Workshop

This interactive session, designed especially for faculty new to Clark focused on teaching topics, with sessions on constructing a syllabus, grading, and incorporating Clark's signature "learn through inquiry" pedagogy into your teaching. It was led by Judy Miller, Associate Dean for Special Academic Initiatives.


CETL Lunch: Syllabus Swap

Do you have a yearning to talk with your colleagues about what they do in their courses? This "syllabus swap" was intended to prompt informal small group discussions about course design. Small groups, organized by disciplinary area, had sample syllabi to consider.

Syllabi used at the lunch are attached below. 


Discussion with Lewis Hyde

Who Owns Culture? Why?

The rise of digital copying and of the internet has made the ownership of creative work a much contested topic. On the one side we have the entertainment industry trying to secure and enlarge its holdings; on the other we have a variety of open source models, not just in software but in cultural production generally (as with, for example, musicians who post their work on the internet in search of audience rather than income, or as with the Public Library of Science which now produces half a dozen open-access journals).

In the background lie questions that have been debated ever since the seventeenth-century: How exactly can incorporeal things be made into 'property'? What is the best way to balance the public good and individual incentive? When does the ownership of ideas become a form of speech control? How shall be distinguish piracy from simple access to knowledge?

Our discussion with Professor Hyde will explored these and other questions.


First Year Seminar Faculty Lunches

Faculty who were  teaching a First Year Seminar, and faculty contemplating doing so, were cordially invited to attend one of two FYS lunch get togethers. We wish to thank you for your hard work this fall, to hear your perceptions of how your FYS is going, to identify any ways in which we can better support FYSs, and to answer the questions of faculty who are new to FYSs.


ITS/CETL Lunch: Two, Three, Four, or More? Strategies for Facilitating Group Work and Collaborative Learning

The benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning include more and deeper learning, higher levels of motivation, better participation, and improved social relationships. But group work presents logistical challenges, including its demands on class time and faculty time. In this jointly sponsored ITS/CETL lunch, we will explore strategies, including but not limited to the technological, for facilitating pedagogically meaningful student collaboration while keeping the logistics under control. 

This session was conducted as parallel small group discussions on each of several questions about group work. Each group reported out, and the whole group chimed in. Cheryl Turner Elwell suggested technological strategies (such as wikis) relevant to each question, and Judy Miller suggested pedagogical strategies (such as the use of undergraduate Peer Learning Assistants). Resource materials provided included:

• a short paper on group work (IDEA document)
• a sample team contract
• two sample forms for students to use to give feedback on each other's team work and a groupwork rubric
• a description of a method for using student evaluations of each other's team work in grading a group project. Judy has used this multiplier method in a large class where PLAs worked with each group to both develop a group contract and to facilitate group dynamics.
• Cheryl provided a printout of a paper on using technology to achieve the second (encouraging cooperation) of Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles of Good Practice.


PLA Training: Facilitating Online and Face to Face Discussions

Kevin Keenan, CETL graduate assistant, lead a discussion about how PLAs can lead small group discussions. This session dealt with both online and face to face discussions because the principles of effective discussion leadership are the same. The mechanics of facilitating discussions using Blackboard or CICADA course management systems are dealt with in the relevant video modules.


PLA Training:  How's It Going?

In this midterm "checkup" session, teaching teams (faculty, TAs, and PLAs) are asked to bring the results of midterm feedback they have collected from their students. We discuss what's going well, and brainstorm mid-course changes that might be helpful.

Judy Miller, Director of CETL, lead participants in role plays and discussion of PLA response to disruptive and disengaged student behavior.


PLA Training:  How's It Going?

In this midterm "checkup" session, teaching teams (faculty, TAs, and PLAs) are asked to bring the results of midterm feedback they have collected from their students. We discuss what's going well, and brainstorm mid-course changes that might be helpful.


PLA Training: Working with Students Outside Class

Kevin Keenan, CETL graduate assistant, lead an interactive workshop on how to work productively with students in office hours and help sessions.


Presidential Scholars Reception

Kick off the academic year by getting to know your fellow Presidential Scholars, and, if you wish, invite your favorite faculty member to accompany you (s/he will be honored!). This reception was purely social, with good food and drink.


CETL/UAB Lunch: Exploring the Student Ratings Options

At the January Faculty Assembly, UAB alerted faculty to its report suggesting changes to the UWTE form and process, a report that was discussed at the February Faculty Assembly. At this informational lunch session, we reviewed the two commercial systems that UAB considered (IDEA and SIR-II). We examined at sample forms, and reviewed how each system is used.


TA Training: Fall 2008

In this interactive workshop, TA's learned some absolutely essential basics that will save you time and enhance your enjoyment of the TA position.
Topics included communicating with your professor with Clark's feedback and evaluation system; what makes a good TA; conducting review and help sessions; and grading.
This session was mandatory for all first year TAs.


TA/PLA Training

Jen Plante, Director of Clark's Writing Center, discussed with TAs and PLAs sample student work designed to help them provide constructive and useful feedback on student writing.