Thursday, December 5, 2013

Frequent Tests, Learning, and the Achievement Gap

Recent research suggests that there is value to be had in replacing large-scale exams (midterms and finals) with several short-form quizzes. The study published at PLOS ONE argues that daily online quizzing in class improves performance overall, but especially for students from lower-income households who may have thrived at poor-quality schools. Dr. Samuel Goslin, one of the co-authors of the study suggests “(Those students) get here (to college) and, when they fail the first midterm, they think it’s a fluke. By the time they’ve failed the second one, it’s too late. The hole’s too deep. The quizzes make it impossible to maintain that state of denial.” According to the study, this system of daily quizzes resulted in a 50% reduction in the achievement gap as measured by grades among students of different social classes.

Read article

Read the study

What MOOCs deliver...and what they don't

Recent revelations that MOOCs are not quite the education revolution they promised to be have opened up serious questions about what the purpose of open online education is and whom it serves best. A new profile of Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Udacity, reveals that the completion rate for MOOCs is painfully low, especially for underprivileged students – the very demographic that was supposed to benefit the most from online education. As recent research from the University of Pennsylvania points out, “The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most—those without access to higher education in developing countries—are underrepresented among the early adopters.” But before celebrating the demise of the MOOC revolution, “traditionalists” in education need to come to terms with the factors – such as affordability and access - that have put MOOCs on the map in the first place.

Read article

Read Thrun article

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No More Digitally Challenged Liberal Arts Majors

"The liberal arts have been at the forefront of supplying the kind of graduates that employers say they like: critical thinkers who can write, ask the right questions, and learn on their own.  But we have also been slow to encourage the kinds of specific skills that most employers demand of even entry-level graduates." As William Pennapacker points out in his recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Rather than mere assertions of ability, employers want concrete examples of how job candidates have demonstrated those skills." So what kinds of things can we do to ensure that our students are not only well-rounded when they leave campus, but truly viable as well?

Read the article

Do You Really Want to Be the Rules Sergeant?

Does having clear guidelines and rules for conduct in class necessarily mean that you need to be inflexible with your students?  What value do we get form treating students as adversaries?  David Evans writes in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education of the value he finds in treating students with respect and consideration in the classroom.  Evans’s experience has shown him that “the most effective faculty members were those who treated their students with professional affection and respect, and engaged them seriously, without condescension, and, where appropriate, with enthusiasm.”

Read the article

Grants Workshop

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Julian 135.

The Grants Workshop will focus on three issues: 1) using GrantsForward and the Foundations databases for identifying funding agencies; 2) familiarizing faculty members with the institutional procedure for applying for grants; and 3) providing faculty members with helpful hints about grantsmanship. Lunch will be provided.


Pedagogical Strategies for Winter Term

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Harrison Hall Room 101. An opportunity to exchange ideas, tactics, activities, inspirations - whatever has worked for you thus far for the very different time (and space!) structure of Winter Term teaching.  Lunch will be provided.

RSVP to Misti Scott ( )

Sustainable Librarianship: Building Libraries for a Warming World

Tuesday, December 3, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Union Building Room 231/232. Lunch will be provided.

Mandy Henk will discuss her forthcoming book which offers a path toward a new kind of library and a new kind of information system, one based in care for the planet, people, and firmly grounded in the reality that burning carbon is a losing proposition.

With the advent of the full text database, the integrated library system, and now e-books, libraries (and librarians!) have transformed themselves from gatherers and keepers of society's stories and knowledge into conduits for access.  This book is about the dark side of that transformation, which has allowed a few massive corporations to claim ownership of what was previously understood to be common property, the library collection itself.  This transformation has also yoked libraries to a moribund system that is profoundly damaging to the planet, to societies across the globe, and to librarians and library patrons themselves. In response to these issues, the book makes the case for another massive transformation of the contemporary library. This book sketches a path toward a more sustainable library and a more sustainable information system by examining the normative basis for librarianship and looking closely at the challenges of the 21st century, including climate change, rising inequality, and oncoming limits to growth. This path will allow us to maintain the benefits of the information revolution while still tending to our larger moral duty toward future generations.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Papers Demo

Papers representative Bob Schatz and senior developer Christine Buske will be at DePauw on Tuesday, November 19, at 9:00 a.m. in the Roy O. West Library Conference Room to demonstrate Papers. Papers is reference management software used to manage citations, and it will also help organize PDFs. It was previously available by individual subscription, but it currently is offered as a group subscription. Previously it was only available for Macs, but it is now available for Windows.

Read more:

Teaching Students to Write Terribly

What's wrong with the SAT essay section?  According to an article at, just about everything. 

Read article

Publishing with Students

Friday, November 22, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. in Julian Room 135

Last year, Jenny Shanahan (Bridgewater State) visited to talk about undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.  Meanwhile, several of our faculty members are deeply involved with CUR (Council on Undergraduate Research) and a number of our faculty involve students in their own research projects during the regular school year and over the summer months.  Given the increasing focus on undergraduate research and the vast potential for working closely with students on our own research, we are offering a roundtable on the prospects of publishing with students across a variety of disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.  We will hear from several faculty members who have worked with students in the past or are working with students currently on manuscripts.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cheating Lessons...

Academic integrity issues continue to plague universities, perhaps even more than ever in this age when the information at our students' fingertips is nearly limitless.  What are some things we can do about it?  Three articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education point to some intriguing possibilities.

Cheating Lessons, Part 1

Cheating Lessons, Part 2

Cheating Lessons, Part 3

Academic Integrity

Wednesday, November 13, 2013,  at 11:30 a.m. in Union Building room 231/232.

As a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education argued, "the amount of cheating that takes place on our campuses may well depend on the structures of the learning environment. The curriculum requirements, the course design, the daily classroom practices, the nature and administration of assignments and exams, and the students' relationship with the instructor—all of those can be modified in order to reduce (or induce, if we so wanted) cheating" (Lang, "Cheating Lessons, Part 1").  Our discussion during this teaching roundtable will focus on these issues as opposed to the more common approach to cheating which focuses on the student rather than the environment."


Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Power of Patience

Art Historian Jennifer Roberts responds to the question “In this time of disruption and innovation for universities, what are the essentials of good teaching and learning?” posed at the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) conference last May. Her response is a surprising lesson for all of us who worry about how to meet student expectations in this age of high-speed data retrieval and information overload and hinges on a simple idea: patience.

Read Harvard Magazine article here.

Grading and Feedback

November 6, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. in Union Building room 231/232. Grading can be one of the most vexing parts of our roles as teachers. And our students often consider our processes for assigning grades to be mysterious. How can we best provide feedback that matters for our students? How can we make our feedback meaningful, impactful, and instructive all the while managing the time it takes to provide such feedback? 


Experiencing eReaders: Kindle Fire and Nook

November 8, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. in Julian 135. Explore recent versions of eReaders for their ability to assist with close reading and reader collaboration. In addition we will discuss what else eReaders can provide readers to enhance the reading experience. FITS will provide a Kindle Fire and Nook for participants to explore, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own eReaders.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why Do Our Students Choose College in the First Place??

Recent data from the Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac explores the reasons for going to college.

Why Are Students Going to College and What Are They Studying?

Topics: Open Access Publishing

Open Access publishing remains a central topic among academics - one that we will be discussing on Nov. 1. Read about some pros and cons.

Open Access: Six Myths to Put to Rest

Open But Not Free - Publishing in the 21st Century

Open Access Publishing

Friday, November 1, 2013, at 11:30 am in Julian 135.

The Library Advisory Committee is currently drafting an Open Access policy for publishing. This policy will be presented to the faculty for consideration within the academic year. As DePauw contemplates adopting such as policy, Faculty Development and the Center for Teaching and Learning are sponsoring a roundtable discussion on the issue. Bruce Sanders (Roy O. West Library) and Jonathan Nichols-Pethick (Faculty Development Coordinator) will lead a discussion charting the pros and cons of Open Access publishing and the journals that support this endeavor.   Lunch will be provided.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Technology and Academe: Scholarship on the Go--iPad and Nexus

Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 11:30 am in Julian 135.  Speakers: Veronica Pejril and Jin Kim.

This year’s ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology revealed that 44% of DePauw students own 3 or more Internet-capable devices. Moreover, almost a third of DePauw students use a tablet (iPad, Nexus, Surface, etc.) for academic work. Learn about what tablets and mobile technologies in general have to offer students' collaborative work, field research, and data collection. FITS will provide an iPad and Nexus for participants to explore, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own mobile technologies to discuss.


Article from Inside Higher Ed: "Teaching With Tablets."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Manifesto for Active Learning

One professor rebuilds his teaching philosophy from the ground up: “I realized that everything I had taken for granted about my own teaching wasn’t always the best approach. I very quickly realized that each one of my assumptions had to be reevaluated, beginning with the idea that I was a good teacher.”

Read "A Manifesto for Active Learning."

Teaching With Tablets

While the prospect of using emerging technologies (such as tablets) can seem both daunting and potentially liberating (for students and faculty alike), the actual experience of using these tools can provide some surprising results. In the following articles, one professor recounts the mixed results of his experiment teaching with iPads while another makes the case for embracing the capabilities of these tools even in the face of their shortcomings.

Read "What I've Learned From Teaching With iPads."

Read "Encouraging Distraction Classroom Experiments With Mobile Media."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Defense for Sedition: The Role of Ethos in the Cases of Eugene V. Debs and Scott Nearing, 1919

Speaker, Jennifer Adams.  Tuesday, October 8, 2013, at 11:30 am in the Union Building, room 231/232.

Between 1918 and 1920, known colloquially as the Red Scare, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his special assistant J. Edgar Hoover used the Espionage Act of 1917 to arrest large numbers of leftist radicals and organizations. Overall, more than 1500 citizens were arrested and tried for sedition during these years, and the vast majority of these individuals were found guilty and prosecuted for their words. Included among those individuals was four-time presidential nominee for the Socialist Party, Eugene V. Debs as well as a well known former economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Nearing. In this presentation, I explore the different ways these two defendants constructed ethos in self-authored statements read to the jury in their defense against federal charges of sedition. 


Email and the College Generation

Most of us use our email accounts to communicate with our students outside of class. But they may not be getting the message. Why? Because it turns out they barely use their email accounts. Recent studies suggest that college students may be using their email as little as six minutes per day while spending at least 30 minutes per day on social media sites and texting. Why are our students so reluctant to use email? The answers may surprise you. The following student’s response to the question seems like something concocted by the staff at The Onion:

“I never know what to say in the subject line and how to address the person,” Ms. Carver said. “Is it mister or professor and comma and return, and do I have to capitalize and use full sentences? By the time I do all that I could have an answer by text if I could text them.”

But we shouldn’t let ourselves off the hook so easily. As Eric Stoller, a consultant who works with universities on social media use points out, “Faculty and staff love to blame students for not checking e-mail instead of owning up to the fact that no one ever got that good at using e-mail in the first place.” Stoller suggests that there may be a mismatch between our way of communicating via email and students’ expectations for engaging with electronic communication. 

Read New York Time's article.

The Case Against Algebra II

Should we be requiring high school students to take advanced mathematics courses? A recent article in Harpers makes the case against it, citing Professor Emeritus Underwood Dudley.

Read article.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Student Views on Technology in the Classroom: DePauw's Participation in the ECAR Study 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at 11:30 am in the UB 231/232

Learn about our students have to say about technology in the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology from this past spring. What do students say they need to succeed academically? Participate in a lively discussion on technology in the classroom with your colleagues. Only information from DePauw students will be presented.


Link to article.

Professional Development Roundtable: Writing Effective Book Proposals

Friday, October 4, 2013, at 11:30 am in Julian 135.

A good idea for a book doesn't sell itself. Whether we are working on a scholarly monograph, a textbook, or a writing a book aimed at a broader audience, we need to be able to persuade publishers to take on the project. This roundtable will feature three of our colleagues who have had success in different realms of publishing.  They will discuss how they approach their projects, write effective proposals, and find the right publisher for their desired audience. Lunch will be provided.


As Slurs and Offenses Multiply, Colleges Scramble to Respond

Responding to incendiary speech from students and community members can be challenging for colleges and universities. How do institutions condemn the bias and prejudice in such acts without impinging on rights to free speech and how do they craft responses and policies that will have a lasting impact beyond immediate incidents?

Link to article.

Keeping An Eye on Social Media

Northern Illinois University recently established reporting requirements for all university-related social media accounts. In an environment where almost any faculty or staff member can set up a social media account affiliated with the institution, many colleges and universities are weighing the risks and rewards of social media engagement, both in an out of the classroom. 

Link to article.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"This is Not An Assessment Roundtable"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 11:30 am in Union Building 231/232.

Too often we think of “assessment” as a series of bureaucratic rubrics designed from above to keep watch on us as teachers. It feels punitive and meddlesome. But really assessment is something that should come from us and be part of the very design of our courses. Are we setting useful and appropriate goals for our students? Are we meeting those goals? How can we make our classes even better, more dynamic, and meaningful experiences for our students (and for us)? This roundtable is designed as a forum to discuss techniques that we might use to explore our own approaches to setting and meeting goals for our students. We will be pulling from Angelo and Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd edition (Josey Bass, 1993) but also hearing form a range of colleagues across campus. 

RSVP here.

"Down the Rabbit Hole: Using the Web to Generate Curiosity-Driven Research"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at 11:30 am in Union Building 231/232

Richard Miller (Rutgers University) will conduct a workshop for faculty on using digital tools to enhance writing assignments for students. Miller says that “This workshop introduces teachers to Diigo, a free social bookmarking tool, that allows users to share annotated web pages" and will also discuss general issues of using technology for better student writing.   Lunch will be provided.  Please contact Michael Sinowitz at

"Cultivating Curiosity in These Our Distracted, Polarized, Irate, Ill-Informed Times"

Monday, September 23, 2013, 4:15 pm in Peeler Auditorium.

Richard Miller (Rutgers University) will present a public lecture on the challenges for public education in an era of ubiquitous digital information. Miller describes the focus of his talk this way: “Educators have always worked to unsettle confirmation bias--the tendency we all have to seek out information that confirms our biases. But what are educators to do now that the algorithms of the search engines, the online shopping sites, and the many forms of social media all generate bias-confirming information that seeks us out? This talk will discuss how the shift from a paper-based world to a screen-based world requires a redefinition of both the form and the function of public education.”

On The Value of College

What’s the value of a college degree? Literally. In the September 14 issue of the New York Times, James Stewart (’73) unpacks a new metric for measuring the value of our colleges: alumni income. As Stewart details, the rankings that we have come to know through U.S. News and World Report don’t necessarily align with those put together by, a site that calculates the worth of an institution based upon such metrics as: average earnings of graduates, return on investment, and percentage of graduates holding jobs with “high meaning.” PayScale’s rankings comport well with the growing concern about the cost of higher education and the increasing debt load that many graduates are carrying. But what does tis mean for the way we understand the value of a college education as something more than a stepping stone to a specific career?

Read article here.

"Can the (Writing) Center Hold?"

Richard Miller and Paul Hammond of Rutgers University question the paradigms that have guided our teaching and that are shifting in the age of digital information technologies. As Miller writes: “Web 2.0 technology has underwritten a radical redistribution of expertise. Have a question about an ailment? The cost of an automobile? Comparative mortgage rates? Competing theories of religious freedom? Approaches to reading the Constitution? It's all just a few clicks away on the internet. How can we prepare students to think amidst this depthless flow of information? How do we go about cultivating curiosity? Creativity? Understanding? Composing with new media is not analogous to writing; collaborating with new media is not analogous to co-editing; the creation of the internet is not analogous to the invention of the printing press. Our 2.0 World is not an upgrade of what came before. The paradigm for human communication has shifted. Is there a place for the teaching of writing in the 21st century?” In this collaborative presentation, Dr. Miller and Dr. Hammond explore the possibility of constructing a rich and productive learning environment for the 21st century, one equal to addressing the global problems that have already come to define the new millennium.

Watch Youtube video from Richard Miller and Paul Hammond.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

College Students: Media-Savvy Multitaskers or Scatterbrained Procrastinators?

Current research on digital multi-tasking among college students provides conflicting results about the effects that constant attention to digital devices has on their cognitive abilities. A 2009 study by Ophir, Nass, and Wegner compared “heavy media multitaskers” with others who relied on multitasking less frequently.  The study concluded that heavy multitaskers were less successful at filtering distractions and switching between tasks.  However, a 2013 study by Alzahabi and Becker suggests the opposite.  This research raises important questions about how we engage our students in the kind of work we typically assign - work that requires sustained focus and attention.  Should students be working to adapt to the academy or should the academy adapt to them?

 Here’s a link to a story about these studies.

Abstract of the Ophir, Nass, and Wegnerstudy.

Abstract of the Alzahabi & Becker study.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Technology and Academe: Developing Digital Storytelling and Multiple Literacies - How and Why

Speakers: Donnie Sendelbach, Veronica Pejril, and Jin Kim. Wednesday, September 8, at 11:30 am in Julian 135.

This session will begin with a short discussion of Jason Ohler's Digital, Art, Oral and Written (DAOW) literacies of storytelling and how to develop multiple literacies through digital storytelling projects. Participants will see brief demonstrations of some technologies useful for these types of projects: VoiceThread, Audacity, Pixlr.

Read Jason Ohler's article.

RSVP here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Talk About Higher Education - Academic Freedom

An open discussion of the purposes and limits of academic freedom. Friday, September 13, 11:30 am, Julian 135.

Recent revelations that former Indiana Governor (and current Purdue University President) Mitch Daniels assailed the use of Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States in Indiana Classrooms" offers us a renewed opportunity to discuss the purposes and limits of academic freedom. Where do we draw lines about what we can and cannot teach in our classrooms? Who gets to draw them? How do we decide what counts as “proper” material for our classes? How do assuage the fears of those who are concerned about propagandizing and indoctrination in the classroom? Most importantly, how do we communicate to the community at large about what we are teaching, why we are teaching it, and what our goals are? This event is designed as an open forum for discussing these and other questions surrounding academic freedom.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Academe's Still-Precarious Freedom

A history of academic freedom, adapted from the book "Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge," by Marjorie Heins.

Read Chronicle of Higher Education - February 8, 2013 article here.

Faculty Forum - Self-Help Literature and Capitalist Culture in Egypt

Speaker Jeff Kenney, September 10, 2013, in the UB 231/232, beginning at 11:30 am.

News coming out of Egypt these days suggests a country at war with itself, and one where progress toward modernization has been reversed. A very different picture of Egypt emerges when one scans the bookstalls that pepper the old downtown area of Cairo, the nation’s capital. At these stalls, personal growth and self-help literature has become the mainstay. The growth in this literature over the past two decades provides powerful evidence that Egyptians are intent on becoming better public speakers, better spouses and parents, better lovers, better workers, better individuals overall in their public and private lives. A main feature of the genre is its focus on the self, not a moral "Muslim self" in line with traditional Islamic medicine and psychology but rather an "enterprising self" that reflects modern psychological insight into the self as a project and capitalist concerns with autonomy and self-reliance. The popularity of this enterprising self attests to the dominance of (neoliberal) capitalism in Egypt, and establishes the groundwork for a spiritualization of class-based lifestyles—two trends that parallel economic and social developments in the West. In the talk, Kenney will outline the contours of his research on self-help in Egypt and what drew his attention to the subject. (This project has been supported, in part, by a New Directions Initiative grant, which allowed Kenney to travel, in January 2013, to Oman, Morocco, and Egypt to survey the depth and extent of the self-help genre in the Middle East.)


Seeking Edge in Academics, Chinese Spend Summer in U.S.

Chinese students are flocking to summer programs to improve their English and learn about American culture.

Read article here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Topics: Best Practices for Laptops in the Classroom

Faculty are concerned about students being distracted by electronics. This article offers five tips for dealing with gadgets in the classroom.

Read article:
Best Practices for Laptops in the Classroom

Topic: An Open Letter to Incoming Freshmen

In this letter a faculty member implores first-year students to think carefully about how they use cell phones in the classroom.

An Open Letter to Incoming Freshmen

Teaching Roundtable: Classroom Management

Wednesday, September 4, 2013, beginning at 11:30 am in the Union Building 231/232.

We’ve all read the lists that circulate about what makes our students different from us: the ones that tell us that they’ve never lived in a world without MTV or CDs, that they can’t remember not being able to “Google” (if they had a computer and an internet connection, that is), that they got trophies for just participating in youth sports leagues, and that they have never not known standardized testing in school as the primary barometer of academic success (as Tom Dickenson pointed out me last year, this is the first class of (domestic) students that has experienced nothing but the policies of ”No Child Left Behind”). Whether these differences are truly significant or not, they do point to the fact that our students inhabit very different cultures from their professors. And these cultural differences raise questions about how we interact with our students and manage our classrooms on a daily basis. How do we accommodate/incorporate technologies in ways that are relevant to our students and in line with their expectations and experiences without inviting disruptive distractions into our classrooms? How do we manage their potentially very different ways of communicating with us in an age of texting, Facebook, and Twitter? How do we choose and present information that they find relevant to their lives? How do we help them grapple with questions that cannot be answered on a standardized test? How do we help them manage the inevitability of failure that is at the heart of all creative and intellectual endeavors? This roundtable will focus on these kinds of questions and is open to all faculty members, from the most experienced among us to the newest to the profession. The goal here is not to come up with a list of “good practices.” Rather, we should share our ideas in ways that inspire each of us to think through these questions differently and more intentionally.

Additional readings:

Teaching Millennial Students

10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sabbatical and Pre-tenure Leaves for 2014-15 and 2015-16 Informational Meeting

On Wednesday, September 11, the Faculty Development Committee will host our annual informational luncheon for faculty members eligible to take sabbaticals and pre-tenure leaves for AY 2014-15 or AY 2015-16. This meeting will take place in the Union Building 231/232 from 11:30-1:00 pm (feel free to come late or leave early if you need to do so).

Basic information, helpful hints about preparing your leave application, and financial support available through Fisher funds will be discussed. 

Please RSVP to me ( by Tuesday morning (so that we can have an accurate count for catering)
. Also let us know of any special dietary needs. 

General information regarding leaves can be found online on the Faculty Development website.

Fifth House Ensemble

On Friday, September 13, at 4:00 pm, Inn at DePauw (Social Center B), Fifth House Ensemble will make a presentation/discussion on their interactive, integrated-arts programs and how they fit transactional/transformative model, and discuss their project they are developing throughout the academic year, culminating in a May 11 performance at DePauw.
On Saturday, September 14, they will present two workshops in the GCPA 1115:

Curriculum-Integration on Stage and in the Classroom (1:30-2:30 PM)
Fifth House Ensemble’s Director of Educational Programming demonstrates live examples of the ensemble’s curriculum-integrated programming. Feel like a kid again as you participate in small and large-group activities, presented in the same way as they have been in classrooms and assemblies throughout the Chicago area and nationwide. We share our philosophy as teaching artists, techniques for engaging students with limited musical backgrounds in composition activities, and practical examples of how to design lessons that create connections between musical concepts and core curricular subjects.

Music Can Tell a Story (2:45-3:45 PM)

Fifth House Ensemble members teach participating musicians to perform their signature OneShot! concert titled Music Can Tell a Story. In this interactive performance, the chamber ensemble uses small and large-group activities to explore the ways that composers create character, setting, and plot through music. Fifth House Ensemble performs this show side-by-side with participating musicians in local public schools.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Not Everyone Thinks Beloit's Annual Mindset List is Awesome

Two anonymous professors create a website "dedicated to the mockery and eventual destruction of the Beloit mindset list."

Please note viewers need to login to their DePauw account to view this post.

Inside Higher Education, August 20, 2013

Wish You Could Engage Your Students More During Class?

Explore the flipped classroom! As defined by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, the flipped classroom involves a "pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements are reversed." Drawing on student engagement, active learning, and hybrid or blended course design, it transforms class time into a "workshop" in which students apply knowledge, actively engage with material, and receive immediate feedback from the instructor, including answers to questions clarifying course content.

Seven things you should read about flipped classrooms. (Please login to your DePauw Google Apps account to view.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Open Access Gains Major Support in U. of California's Systemwide Move

"The University of California's Academic Senate has adopted an open-access policy that will make research articles freely available to the public through eScholarship, California's open digital repository... It will affect as many as 40,000 research papers a year..."

Chronicle of Higher Education 8/2/13

Thank You, Governor Daniels

Former DePauw professor, Carl Weinberg, weighs in on the Mitch Daniels/Howard Zinn story in this story of academic freedom issues which made national news.

Inside Higher Education - 7/22/13

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One-Day Workshop on Writing Assignments to Promote Transfer

The one-day workshop on writing assignments to promote transfer will be held on Monday, August 19th, from 9:30-noon and 1-3:30pm in the Union Building, room 231/232. The workshop will be conducted by Professor Rebecca Nowacek of Marquette University.  This is a rare opportunity for us to work with a specialist in the field of writing transfer, so please consider taking advantage of this chance.  Please contact Michael Sinowitz ( for more information.  All faculty members are invited to attend.


Designing Assignments to Promote Transfer of Learning

Faculty often bemoan students’ seeming inability or unwillingness to draw on their prior learning (writing-related and otherwise) in new contexts.  In this workshop, participants will learn more about specific obstacles to the transfer of writing-related knowledge, as well as develop strategies to facilitate integrative learning.  More specifically, drawing on their own experiences in the classroom as well as the research provided in this workshop, participants will engage in a process of “backwards design” of writing assignments and in-class activities to promote transfer of learning within a single course and across multiple courses. These discussions of integrative learning will also consider the special contexts of interdisciplinary classrooms and multidisciplinary learning communities.

Rebecca Nowacek is Associate Professor of English at Marquette University, where she directs the Norman H. Ott Memorial Writing Center.  Rebecca's research focuses on writing across the disciplines and writing transfer.  Her publications include Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011) and Citizenship Across the Curriculum (Indiana University Press, 2010); her work has also appeared in College Composition and Communication, College English, Research in the Teaching of English, and the Journal of General Education.  Rebecca was a Carnegie Scholar with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning, and the 2012 recipient of Marquette University's Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Educational Theories and Pedagogies

This reading looks at educational learning theories in the context of both student and instructor behavior.  It is from the chapter, Best Practices and Models in Learning Assistance, in the book, Access at the Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Education, by David R. Arendale.  It is part of the ASHE Higher Education Report: Volume 35, Number 6, Kelly Ward, Lisa E. Wolf-Wendel, Series Editors. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company. All rights reserved.

Click here to read article.

Faculty Achievement Recognition

Faculty Development would like to extend an invitation to you for the Faculty Achievement Recognition event that will be taking place on Thursday, May 9, from 4 to 5:30pm in the Student Social Center at the Inn at DePauw.  During this event, we will be celebrating the achievements of the entire faculty as well as reviewing specific significant achievements of selected colleagues by having their work reviewed by a person of their choice.

Of course, there will plenty of good food and drink, and we will also have time to converse with each other informally.  Please join us on the last day of class to celebrate the successes of our colleagues!  No RSVP is necessary!

Click here to view Faculty Achievement Booklet.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Misunderstandings of Critical Reading

“One of the barriers students face in writing critically is their misunderstanding of exactly what this process entails. For example, if a student thinks a critical analysis of a major theorist in the field, a canonical text, or a widely accepted theorem involves showing how the theorist, author, or proof is wrong, this is an incredibly intimidating prospect. It would take an extremely confident, or extremely foolish, student to produce a demolition of a piece of work that was widely referenced, published in several languages, and generally regarded as authoritative.”  The article then presents five misunderstandings students have about critical reading.

Full Reading

Community Engagement in our Curriculum - Faculty Luncheon

Monday, April 29, 11:30 am, in UB 231/232

This year Doug Harms has been an Indiana Campus Compact (ICC) Faculty Fellow, and one of his projects involves investigating ways to appropriately incorporate community engagement into DePauw's curriculum.  Working with the Center for Student Engagement (CSE) staff, there was a well-attended luncheon for faculty in fall, and this spring  there have been two faculty focus groups where meaningful information about the current state and future potential of community engagement activities in our curriculum was gathered.  The next event will be the faculty luncheon on Monday, April 29th (11:30-1:00 in UB 231/232) where they will share the data collected so far and solicit input and critique of this data that will help shape the inaugural summer workshop on community engagement, which will be offered on May 28-31 on community based learning for 10-20 DePauw faculty; this workshop will be facilitated by Indiana Campus Compact.

Faculty Forum - Dana Dudle, Biology

WHAT:     Faculty Forum
WHO:       Dana Dudle, Biology
WHERE:   UB 231/232
WHEN:     Tuesday, April 30 @ 11:30

Soapwort is Pink; Harebells are Blue: Studying Floral Color Variation on New Zealand Mountainsides and Indiana Roadsides

The persistence of variation in floral color within a single population of plants is a classic puzzle for plant reproductive biologists.  Because flower color is strongly associated with pollinator attraction in many species, a common expectation is that a plant's pollinators will drive the evolution of flower color toward their own preferences.  Explaining how different colors persist in a plant species raises interesting questions about correlated selection on associated plant traits, environmental effects on flower color and/or subtle preferences of pollinators.  While on sabbatical last year, I studied variation in the floral color of two species: Wahlenbergia albomarginata (New Zealand harebell) and Saponaria offic diinalis (common soapwort, or bouncing bet).  Wahlenbergia flowers are abundant on the slopes of the Southern Alps in New Zealand, and vary from bright white to pale blue.  Though it is native to southwest Europe, Saponariagrows along roadsides and fields in the midwest.  Individual flowers in this species change from white to pink as they age.  In both of these studies, my collaborators and I described the extent and pattern of floral variation among native populations and studied pollinator preferences.  We considered a variety of hypotheses that might explain the persistence of the floral color variation, including the influence of abiotic factors such as light environment, water availability and soil pH, and the possibility of selection for pigmented leaves that might indirectly influence the expression of color in flowers. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

CUR Workshop on Undergraduate Research - Lunch Session

WHAT: "Expanding Undergraduate Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences."

WHO: Jenny Shanahan, Director of Undergraduate Research at Bridgewater State University

WHERE:   UB 232

WHEN: Thursday, April 25 @ 11:30 am
“What’s in it for Faculty? Some Benefits of Mentoring Undergraduate Research”
Undergraduate research is a high-impact practice that sparks students’ interest in learning and inspires creativity and independent thought. It can also be very costly in terms of faculty workload and academic budgets, so it is essential to work out a feasible UR model that includes administrative support and incentives for the work of mentoring (e.g., in the tenure and promotion process), as well as other professional and personal rewards for mentors.  This session will highlight what the literature suggests about benefits to faculty of mentoring undergraduate researchers, from scholarly productivity to rewarding relationships. It will also show why some universities’ UR programs enjoy enthusiastic participation by faculty across the disciplines: key components that bring rewards to mentors as well as their students. Based on other campuses’ models and especially the particular needs of DePauw humanities and social sciences faculty, participants develop goals for the UR program in terms of faculty development and support.

Please read this document if you plan to attend the workshop:
"Undergraduate Research in the Humanities: Challenges and Prospects."

CUR Workshop on Undergraduate Research - Afternoon Session

WHAT:     "Expanding Undergraduate Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences."

WHO:       Jenny Shanahan, Director of Undergraduate Research at Bridgewater State University

WHERE:   Emerson Room, Inn at DePauw

WHEN:     Thursday, April 25 @ 4:00

 “Models of Undergraduate Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, and Education”

This session addresses the reasons that faculty in some disciplines do not participate in undergraduate research (UR) in significant numbers and suggests ways to change that situation, to the great benefit of students. We will discuss the fact that certain definitions of and assumptions about “undergraduate research” inadvertently leave out what scholars in many disciplines (and interdisciplinary programs) actually do. Successful, disciplinarily appropriate modes of involving students in significant scholarly work will be presented. Together we will examine UR models from underrepresented disciplines that were presented at NCUR, funded in comparable institutions’ summer research programs, and published in undergraduate-research journals. The aims are to ascertain and advocate support for the skills, methods, and learning outcomes of UR that takes place outside of laboratories—in library stacks, archives, museums, fieldwork, schools, and other sites in the community.

Please read this document if you plan to attend the workshop:
"Undergraduate Research in the Humanities: Challenges and Prospects."


Thesis Hatement

This jeremiad recently posted on Slate about one person’s experience trying to navigate the academic job market in English literature should lead to interesting conversations about whether we should be encouraging our students to pursue graduate studies in this area.


Undergraduate Research in the Humanities: Challenges and Prospects

This article from CUR Focus provides general information about faculty working with undergraduates on research in the humanities.

Undergraduate Research in the Humanitites

Teaching Roundtable on Writing

WHAT:     Teaching Roundtable on Writing

WHO:       Writing Program Coordinating Committee

WHERE:   UB 231/232

WHEN:     Wednesday, April 24 @ 11:30

Texts, Tweets, and Blogs: If the Nature of Writing Has Changed, Do We Need to Change How We Teach Writing?

In the last few years, there has been a great deal of debate about the nature and degree of change in our culture—and our brains—brought about by the widespread use of new technologies.  These debates have also touched upon writing. In this Teaching Roundtable, the Writing Program Coordinating Committee would like begin a conversation about the relationship between writing and these new technologies and about whether we as a university need to reconsider our approach to writing in light of these changes.   We have chosen a blog post from Richard E. Miller, who is a professor specializing in Literature, New Media, and Writing Studies at Rutgers where he currently serves as the Executive Director of the Plangere Writing Center and Culture Lab.  Professor Miller falls into the camp that believes that recent technologies have dramatically altered our culture and that the university must adapt to those changes.  You may also get some idea of Professor Miller’s project by following this link (the focus on student writing projects comes around the 8 minute mark).

Blog post


Friday, April 12, 2013

Talk About Teaching: ECAR Study of Student Academic Technology Use

What   Talk About Teaching: ECAR Study of Student Academic Technology Use

Who    Kayla Birt, Library and Information Technology Assessment Graduate Intern

Where FITS/CTL Lounge

When  Friday, April 19, 11:30 am-12:30 pm

 Think your students know everything about technology and use everything available for their academic work? Guess again! Join Kayla Birt, Library and Information Technology Assessment Graduate Intern, for an informative discussion on what the ECAR study entails, what last year's findings reveal, and DePauw's participation in this year's study. The ECAR study is an access point to student technology use and preference in and out of the classroom. It can further inform us on the best ways to leverage technology for learning and provide students the needed support for academic work through FITS/Student Technology Support.

Please check the topics section for more information about this subject.


ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012

"The annual ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology is an invaluable resource for monitoring the ongoing evolution of undergraduate students’ relationship with the digital technology that is increasingly integrated into their academic lives. Understanding this relationship is important because student preferences are crucial to their motivation and attention to their academic work. Furthermore, although their preferences can be driven by technology trends, under the right circumstances students are quite capable of reflective choices about the technology that helps them learn."

Digital Reading Practices for the Liberal Arts Classroom

What: Digital Reading Practices for the Liberal Arts Classroom
Who: NITLE Webinar
When: Thursday, April 18, 3-4 pm
Where: Julian Science and Mathematics Center, Room 157

Geoffrey Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair, co-directors of TAPoR, a gateway to the tools used in sophisticated text analysis and retrieval, lead "Digital Reading Practices for the Liberal Arts Classroom," a seminar on text analysis and why and how to teach it. Drs. Rockwell and Sinclair will explain methods of computer-assisted text analysis and share proven recipes for student assignments. 

Faculty Forum - Rebecca Schindler and Terri Bonebright

WHAT:   “What Students Think about Cultural Heritage:  Teaching Archaeological Ethics to Undergraduates”

WHO:      Rebecca Schindler & Terri Bonebright

WHERE:  UB 231/232

WHEN:    April 16, 2013 11:30

As the world’s cultural heritage is increasingly threatened by looting, military action, and modern development, the education of the public and, in particular, our students is critical if we are to work towards preserving that heritage. Most college students have not seriously considered the ethical issues related to cultural heritage in general, and more specifically the potential effects of private versus public ownership of cultural objects. Nevertheless they have been exposed to presentations of archaeology in the popular media and may have had limited first-hand experience in a museum setting or site visit. As an archaeologist who regularly teaches archaeological ethics, and a psychologist who has an interest in how students' misconceptions may influence their ethical reasoning in the classroom, we wanted to understand better the underlying attitudes towards cultural heritage that our students may have.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Faculty Life Roundtable on Community

What:  Faculty Life Wine and Cheese Roundtable Discussion About Community.
Who:  Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Life
Where: Inn at DePauw, Social Center B
When: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 4:00 pm

Autonomy and community: both are important, yet there is sometimes a tension between the two.  How do, or can, we find a satisfying balance?

Center for Digital Storytelling Blog

This blog about digital storytelling provides a forum for faculty members to present and discuss their work in this area.  It is a good place to see examples of digital story telling.

Digital Storytelling Blog

Digital Storytelling Website

This website has good information about digital storytelling along with a number of excellent resources.  It is the site for a book titled Digital Storytelling in the Classroom by Jason Ohler, and is a good place for faculty members to learn about this pedagogy.

Digital Storytelling website link.

Parental Involvement in the Lives of College Students

The posting looks at reasons behind the rise in parent involvement in the lives of their college students. It is from Chapter 4, Helicopters, Lawnmowers, and Stealth Bombers, in the book, Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student, by Arthur Levine.  Here are a few quotes from the material:  “The same way that some people say sixty is the new forty, twenty-one is the new sixteen.” “Mature adulthood” is delayed in this generation. “Their mothers make their doctors’ appointments and do their laundry and write their papers and …” There is “almost an expectation because the parents have been involved so much all through their lives that this is normal for them. They don’t really question their parents being involved in their college life, which they are.”

Click here to read article.

Teaching Roundtale on Digital Storytelling

 WHO:       Sheryl Tremblay and Veronica Pejril

 WHERE:   Julian 135

 WHEN:     Thursday, April 11 @ 11:30

Digital storytelling is being used increasingly at DePauw and at peer institutions – and in a variety of fields - to empower students to engage more personally, more deeply, more creatively in their thinking.  Whether we want to encourage our students to tell their own (or others’) stories, or to engage their scholarship from different angles with an eye towards different ways of knowing, digital storytelling is emerging as a powerful set of practices across the curriculum, from the humanities to the sciences.  Join Sheryl Tremblay and Veronica Pejril to find out how we can help our students develop new and multiple literacies (written, oral, artistic/creative, digital) through digital storytelling assignments.

As always, lunch will be provided.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about digital storytelling prior to the roundtable, please take a look at the following links:

Center for Digital Storytelling Blog

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The End is Not Nigh for Colleges

This commentary by Robert Sternberg argues that colleges are universities are not going out of business anytime soon due to MOOCs or for-profit educational companies.  He explains that “Those arguments are off track because they make two false assumptions: that participants in higher education have homogeneous goals, and that students are consumers and not producers, or constructors, of their own personalized product of higher education.”

Talk About Teaching: Inter-Institutional Collaboration

WHAT:     Talk About Teaching: Inter-Institutional Collaboration

WHO:       Veronica Pejril

WHERE:   CTL Lounge

WHEN:     Friday, April 5 @ 11:30

At this Talking About Teaching session, Veronica Pejril will talk about her experiences working with her partners in the NITLE Innovation Studio's "Collegiate Collaborations" project (, an on-and-offline community of university faculty, staff, and administrators who support inter-institutional collaborative projects in teaching/learning. Following her talk, she will take questions and lead a discussion to brainstorm ways that our faculty members can put these practices to work at DePauw.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Faculty Life Roundtable on Scholarship

WHAT:    Faculty Life Roundtable on Scholarship

WHO:      Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Life 

WHERE:  Inn at DePauw, Social Center B 

WHEN:    March 21, 2013 4:00 p.m.  

What is scholarship? What are the Boyer models that are used in our
tenure and promotion criteria?  What do they mean in your discipline?
What do they mean in other disciplines?

Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication

“The formal system of scholarly communication is showing numerous signs of stress and crisis. Throughout the second half of the 20th century commercial firms have assumed increasing control over the scholarly journals market, particularly in scientific, technical, and medical fields. The journal publishing industry has also become increasingly consolidated and is now dominated by a small number of international conglomerates. Prices for scholarly journals have risen at rates well above general inflation in the economy and also above the rate of increase of library budgets. Libraries have coped with price increases through a variety of strategies, including subscription cuts and reductions in monographic purchases. In addition, escalating prices have occurred at the same time that the quantity of scholarly information, including the number of scholarly journals, has increased substantially. The net effect of these changes has been a significant reduction in access to scholarship.”

Scholarly Communication: Crisis and Revolution

“Scholarly communication is in a time of great upheaval, in part due to profit-seeking behaviors of publishers, and in part due the enormous opportunities inherent in the electronic storage and quick internet retrieval of information." 

"Scholars create the intellectual content which they often give to publishers for free. Publishers, in turn, sell this same content back to the academic community, often at exorbitant prices. At the same time that prices rise, Library budgets at best are remaining flat. This model for scholarly communication is not sustainable."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Faculty Forum - Rick Provine

WHAT:   "Scholarly Publishing and Libraries:  Why we do what we do"
WHO:      Rick Provine, Director of Libraries
WHERE:  UB 231/232
WHEN:    March 19, 2013 11:30 am
Quite simply, the modes of scholarly communication are changing, and hence, so are libraries.  There has been a great deal of concern over the years about what these changes mean for us and how we engage with the libraries -- how it changes what it is that the libraries do and how they do it.  This promises to be an important discussion, so please join us for a talk about how the changes in scholarly publishing affect library services, collections, and the tools of access.

Please also see the following links for additional articles for Tuesday's discussion:

Scholary Communication: Crisis and Revolution

Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Teaching and Digital Humanities

Not sure how digital humanities fits into your teaching? Not sure what exactly is digital humanities? Faculty members have begun exploring how to engage students in analyzing primary materials through online collections and other materials through digital humanities. The digital humanities enable researchers to share their findings with a wider audience and, at times, enlisting the help of that audience in the research process.

Teaching Roundtable: Digital Humanities

What:  Teaching Roundtable: Digital Humanities

Who:   Harry Brown, Pauline Ota, Brooke Cox, and Donnie Sendelbach

Where: UB231/232

When: Thursday, March 14, 11:30-12:30

Please join the CTL for a teaching roundtable on engaging students in humanities research, especially the digital humanities. Harry Brown and Pauline Ota will discuss how students contributed to faculty research or conducted their own using technology in different ways. Brooke Cox and Donnie Sendelbach will offer suggestions for support and project planning. Lunch will be provided, so please RSVP.