Noontime Conversations

The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning sponsors two or three conversational lunches per semester focused on topics of special interest to Faculty. Past Noontime Conversations have included Navigating Diverse Political Ideologies in the Classroom and Beyond, Addressing Students’ Stress and Mental Health Issues, Active Learning: Why It Matters, and Building a Culturally Sustaining Classroom. If you have a particular issue you would like to share with faculty in this venue, please contact Anna Olsson, at x6077.

Fall 2018

Classroom Observations and the Evaluation of Teaching

Tuesday, September 25 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | MGC 3-5

Sarah Irvine Belson, School of Education, CTRL Faculty Fellow

In spite of the well-documented short-comings and biases of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET), the SET remains as the mainstay of how faculty are reviewed for merit, re-appointment, tenure, and promotion. Given that student evaluations are comparatively easy and inexpensive to collect, they are unlikely to be discarded anytime soon. As a counterweight to SETs, there is growing interest in employing classroom observation as a component of a broader approach to evaluating teaching. In this Noontime Conversation, we will discuss what this approach entails, what the best practices are, and when and how they should be deployed as part of a larger narrative of teaching by a faculty member.

Reducing Unconscious Bias in Teaching and Learning: Strategies for Inclusive Pedagogy

Wednesday, October 10 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | MGC 1st Floor, Rooms 3-4

Amanda Taylor, Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Traci Dennis, School of Education
Lilian Baeza-Mendoza, CAS-World Languages & Cultures
Gorky Cruz, Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition & Research (CLEAR)

Despite our best intentions, our unconscious biases—and those of our students—often play a key role in shaping the quality of the learning environment in our classrooms.  This session will include but go beyond describing common manifestations of unconscious bias in teaching and learning, and will explore tools for inclusive pedagogy to recognize and address the impact of bias.

All Due Respect: Speech, Inclusion and Academic Freedom in a Diverse & Politicized Environment

Wednesday, October 24 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | McDowell Formal Lounge

Lara Schwartz, School of Public Affairs, CTRL Faculty Fellow
Rose Shinko, School of International Service
Maya Vizvary, Health Promotion & Advocacy Center

Hardly a day goes by in which we don’t read about professors indoctrinating students, students protesting guest speakers, students demanding trigger warnings or safe spaces, or students being hostile to free speech.  This narrative persists in spite of the fact that data shows college students are more supportive of free speech than the general population; students who spend time with professors moderate their views.  This hostility, a polarized political environment, proliferation of opinion media, and student evaluation-driven contingent employment present challenges for faculty. At the same time, increasingly diverse student bodies require us to visit whether our learning spaces are truly inclusive. At American, we are engaged in efforts to address the fact that students of color report feeling less welcome and included. In this noontime conversation, we will talk about building learning environments that are equally respectful of intellectual and personal diversity. We will introduce concepts civil discourse, inclusively-designed curricula,  universal design for learning, trauma-informed discourse, and pedagogical strategies for balancing political neutrality with respect and inclusion.

Collaborative Research: Understanding Benefits & Avoiding Pitfalls

Wednesday, November 28 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Butler Board Room

Sarah Irvine Belson, School of Education, CTRL Faculty Fellow
Simon Nicholson, School of International Service
Maria Floro, CAS-Economics

Collaborative research is now de rigueur in many fields, reflecting the known benefits of multidisciplinary approaches to scholarship. Indeed, funding agencies and foundations have also embraced this trend and are favoring requests for proposals from multidisciplinary teams. However, collaborative research can present a set of challenges and costs related to finding and assessing potential collaborators, managing group dynamics, dilution of effort in multi-authored articles, among others. In this Noontime Conversation, we will reflect on several successful multidisciplinary research projects carried out at AU to highlight and offer insights into factors and approaches for ensuring that benefits of collaborative research projects outweigh their potential costs.


Previous Session Topics

AY 17-18

Canons Under Fire: Struggles in Decolonizing University Curriculum
(4/25/18) (watch the video-recording)

Faculty Development Leadership Cohort: Creating Inclusive Classrooms

Enhancing Community-Engaged Scholarship and Teaching

Navigating Diverse Political Ideologies in the Classroom and Beyond
(3/6/18) (watch the video-recording)

Financial Challenges Faced By Many of Our Students
(2/19/18) (watch the video-recording)

Racial Literacy in the Wake of Charlottesville

Building a Culturally Sustaining Classroom
(9/19/17) (watch the video-recording)

AY 16-17

Judging the Veracity of Sources of Information
(2/28/2017) (watch the video-recording)

Bringing DC to Your Classroom

Strengthening Our Interactional Competence with Students

Free Speech and the Classroom: What to Consider
(10/20/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students
(9/21/2016) (watch the video-recording)

AY 15-16

Teaching First Year Students: Challenges and Opportunities
(3/31/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Transforming Courses through Open Educational Resources
(3/22/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Dealing with Conflicting Political Ideologies in the Classroom

Addressing Students’ Stress and Mental Health Issues: Strategies for Faculty
(1/28/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Internships as a Pathway from Liberal Arts to Careers

Active Learning: Why It Matters

Navigating Difficult Conversations in the Classroom
(8/26/15) (watch the video-recording)

AY 14-15

Reacting to the Past

Problem Based Learning

Combine Your iPad and iPhone To Teach, Present, Write, and Conduct Research

Doing the Reading: Is the Cost of Textbooks a Factor?

Student Voices: AU Undergraduate Curriculum

Ways To Help Students Improve Their Writing Skills

AY 13-14

eBooks in Higher Education: Reading Between the Lines

Learning and the Brain: Cognitive Processes that Underlie Learning (with Daniel Willingham)

“Out of Print” Film by Vivienne Roumani

Where’s Professor Waldo in the Lands of MOOCs

Connecting the Dots: Aligning Course Content in Undergraduate Curriculum

AY 12-13

Teaching with Research

Student Voices: Lessons from Student Survey Data

Another Student Recommendation?

Beyond SETs: Continuing the Conversation

The Art of Teaching – Perils and Pleasures of Pedagogical Interdisciplinarity

AY 11-12

Beyond SETs: Brainstorming the Possibilities

Teaching with Research

Can’t Get to Campus? How to Keep Your Class Going Anyway

Food for Thought – Using Gastronomy as an Incentive to Learn

Face time with the Teaching Coach: Tips and Tricks for Better Teaching

AY 10-11

Measures of Good Teaching

How to Quantify Great Ideas

Facebook Startup – New Classroom Tools

Valentine’s Luncheon: Researching Teaching and Teaching Research

Learning from Our Students: How Research on Our Teaching Informs Practice and Policy

Hybrid Courses: The Best of Both Worlds

AY 09-10

Mobility Learning in Education: The Future is Now

Reflections on What We Learned from the February Snow and Class Continuity

Evaluating Capstones, Comps and Significant Research Papers

Teaching with Research

Reflections on “Inspired Teaching”

Making Your Own Film As a Learning Tool