Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Tyranny of the College Major

A recent article by J.W. Powell writing in The Atlantic takes on the value of general education for undergrads versus increased focus in specific majors.  While liberal arts colleges have traditionally downplayed the importance of intense focus on majors, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the value we offer, especially as there are increasing calls for more professionalization and immediate career outcomes for undergrads.  As the author points out: “General Education could serve an anti-provincialism function.  It could and should provide a basic two-year sequence in intellectual history including many of the best ideas human beings have had and the attacks against those ideas.  It could get students to step outside their major disciplines to do a minor (the equivalent of a half a year work) in a social science, a minor in a science, a minor in one of the humanities.  It should equip a graduate to deal with complex and urgent issues, which are not all addressed by their majors.”

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Crowd-Sourcing Your Research

A project at University College London has opened up new opportunities for research in the humanities: crowd-sourcing.  While those of us in the humanities typically imagine our research as a mostly solitary undertaking, a recent experiment with crowd-sourcing the transcription of Jeremy Bentham’s papers has opened a range of possibilities – and concerns. A recent article in the New York Times in points out: “Other initiatives have recruited volunteers online, but the Bentham Project is one of the first to try crowd-sourced transcription and to open up a traditionally rarefied scholarly endeavor to the general public… This experiment, part of the way technology is revolutionizing the study of the humanities, has the potential to cut years, even decades, from the transcription process while making available to the public and the general pool of scholars miles of documents that are now off limits, difficult to read or unsearchable.”

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Crowd-sourcing for Research!

Friday, February 7, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Julian 135

Discussion of how scholars have begun using crowd-sourcing as a tool in their research. 

Many scholars have turned to crowd-sourcing, which is when researchers solicit help from an online community in collecting or reformatting content, in conducting research with large amounts of information or data. Along with discussing how scholars at other institutions leverage crowd-sourcing for their research, this session will feature DePauw’s own crowd-sourcing project, transcribing the diary of civil war soldier and DePauw faculty member, James Weaver. Wes Wilson will discuss the origins of the project as well as the process of putting a call out for volunteers to transcribe the handwritten diary into digital text. Participants will brainstorm how crowd-sourcing might facilitate time-consuming research tasks that others interested in the topic could help complete.

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FYS Workshop

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Union Building Room 231/232.

Faculty colleagues will discuss their experiences with teaching FYS with the new writing requirements. 

This session will feature 3 faculty colleagues who taught first-year seminars in the fall discussing their experiences, reflecting on what worked and what they might change, and offering advice for folks who will be teaching first-year in the near future.  After short presentations, we'll open it up to Q & A and open discussion.

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STEM Brown Bag

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in Julian 152.

Come join a discussion on science and math learning goals.

DePauw's science and math division has begun a discussion regarding STEM general education learning goals. We'll discuss this paper as it relates to ongoing conversations within the division. In this very brief paper the authors argue that learning goals help faculty develop courses and assessments, facilitate discussion about teaching and learning with their colleagues, and help students know what they need to know. The paper also provides a practical suggestions for writing learning goals.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Value(s) of the Liberal Arts

The Liberal Arts and Employment
This article from Inside Higher Ed discusses the findings in a new report, “How Liberal Arts and Science Majors Fare in Employment.” The report is a joint project by the AAC&U and The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and investigates the long-term career paths of undergraduates form liberal arts institutions.  The article points out: “While making the case that liberal arts graduates are perfectly payable and employable, the report also drives home the fact that there’s one area where humanities and social sciences majors have everyone beat: meeting employers' desires and expectations.  Employers consistently say they want to hire people who have a broad knowledge base and can work together to solve problems, debate, communicate and think critically, the report notes – all skills that liberal arts programs aggressively, and perhaps uniquely, strive to teach.”

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The Choice of Those in the Profession
A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University finds that college professors are far more likely to send their children to liberal arts colleges than other parents with similar income and education.  A key reason for this discrepancy, according to the research, is the premium that liberal arts colleges place on teaching and student/faculty interaction.  “These insiders understand that liberal arts college focus exclusively on educating undergraduates and offer a boutique education with small classes and personal attention from professors.  In contrast, the main focus for professors at private and public research universities is conducting their own research and training graduate students. Educating undergrads is a lower priority. In fact, at universities graduates students often teach many undergraduate classes."

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Coming soon...

No new events this week.  A full schedule of CTL, FDC, and FITS events will be posted soon.