Monday, March 31, 2014

Microaggression is the new racism on campus

The current debate about microaggression and privilege on college campuses is in danger of creating a Catch-22 in which no discussion of diversity can be safely undertaken. McWhorter suggests that the notion of microaggression is potentially as counterproductive as accusations of outright racism and he exhorts us to begin our discussion from a place that doesn’t just simply foster endless conflict.

Read the article...


"Walking on Eggs"

Recent debates about privilege and micro-aggression on campus (and across the nation) resonate with discussions about diversity and inclusiveness that have been ongoing for decades. In his 1995 article “Walking on Eggs,” Wabash College professor Peter Frederick argues for teaching styles that are holistic, cooperative, connected, caring, and interactive. Pulling from the work of bell hooks, Frederick attempts to provide a guide not only to the issues that confront us in the classroom but to the practical approaches that we might incorporate as a way of moving forward. “As hooks suggests, putting the ideas - and practice - of democratic inclusion, multicultural content, and of students themselves, with all their untidy confusions and emotions, at the center of our pedagogy, is truly ‘transformative’.”

Read the article here.


Classroom Climate: Building Inclusive Classrooms

This roundtable/workshop is designed to respond to recent debates on campus around the issue of privilege and micro-aggression. We will build from Peter Frederick’s article “Walking on Eggs” as a way to begin imagining what we might do to improve classroom climate and to ensure the most inclusive and “transformative” educational experience possible for all of our students.

Read the article here.


ELI Spring Focus Session Faculty Engagement and Development: Effective and Innovative Practice

More than any other core mission in higher education, teaching and learning is the focus of change, innovation, and strategic re-imagining at the institutional level. As new teaching and learning options proliferate almost daily, faculty engagement and development is of fundamental importance to institutional success. Faculty development improves practice and manages change by enhancing individual strengths and abilities, as well as organizational capacities and culture. How is the teaching and learning community rethinking its approach to this task? What innovations are we seeing in faculty engagement and development, given higher education’s re-examination of its teaching and learning mission?

ELI Spring Focus Session Program some sessions only 15-20 minutes long, so please take a look at the schedule.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Teaching in the Economy of Information Abundance

The widespread availability of mobile technologies and the increased ability to access vast amounts of information has dramatically changed the practice of teaching. How do we adapt to an information economy built on abundance and speed when we were trained in an era of scarcity? Shawn McKusker suggests that this new information economy holds the promise of making us more flexible and dynamic teachers. Instead of "devaluing" the role of the teacher, McKusker argues that "the new economy of information has freed teachers from their role as 'font of knowledge' and allowed them to become chief analyzer, validity coach, research assistant, master differentiator, and creator of a shared learning experience."

Read the article Teaching in the New (Abundant) Economy of Information

Your PowerPoint May Be the Problem

Ever wonder why your students can't remember what you say in class? Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's your PowerPoint. Rebecca Schuman explains in one PowerPoint presentation why PowerPoint is becoming a scourge of higher education.


STEM Brown Bag

DePauw's science and math division has begun a discussion regarding STEM general education learning goals. Join us for this ongoing informal discussion of science and math education.


Chair's Workshop

There will be a Chairs' workshop on this coming Monday, March 17 from 11:30 to 1:00pm in UB 231/232. We will be discussing Program Assessment and Long-Term Planning.


Blogs and Publishing

Nicholas Kristof's recent article in the New York Times raised the question of why academics seem to have abandoned their roles as public intellectuals. But there are numerous examples of scholars using blogs and other online forums to disseminate knowledge. What does this mean for the future of academic publishing?  This roundtable will address a number of questions that deal with the value and possibilities of blogging and online forums as sites for scholarly output. Do they count? Why or why not? How do we assign value to these forms?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Liberal Arts College That Gets It Right

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the challenges that Davidson College, a traditional liberal arts college, faces in a time of accelerated expectation and high expense. The author profiles the college's president as she grapples with balancing the traditions of the college (and the liberal arts in general) and changing expectations of students. The author concludes:

ʺWe expect much, perhaps too much, from liberal-arts colleges these days. We ask them to represent goals and ideals that many institutions of higher learning have abandoned or never represented in the first place. Four years is a small amount of time to fully ground people in the complex traditions of philosophy, art, science, history, and literature. Eighteen-year-olds are free to make choices that are understandably pragmatic when tuition is dear and jobs are hard to come by.ʺ

Read the article A Liberal Arts College That Gets It Right

What I Learned in College

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed details a program at Evergreen State University which requires students to write and revise (throughout their 4 years) an academic statement, pushing them to think about how all their college experiences are integrated and the kind of goals they have in choosing their paths. This approach asks students to come to terms with the values that they bring to their education, and to re-assess those values at regular intervals. It asks the faculty and the college as well to see students in a different light. As one faculty member states in the article:

“They need faculty to help them learn how to think about how their education will interface with the world. Students tend to be both practical and idealistic. They want to their education to matter in practical ways: to help them develop skills, funds of knowledge, and conceptual connections that will demystify the world and help them learn how to navigate and change it. But they also want their education to matter in ethical ways: to help them understand the implications of knowledge, and to better face the unpredictable but certain-to-arise dilemmas, personal and political, that they face as a function of simply being human.”

Read the article What I Learned in College

Extended Studies Information Meeting

In light of the recent developments regarding changes to Winter Term and Extended Studies, FDC is hosting some additional events this semester to help people think through the process of developing these types of courses. The very first of these meetings will take place on March 13 at 11:30 in Julian 147. This will be a time to hear from you all about what your specific pedagogical concerns and what would be the most helpful kind of panels/speakers/meetings for FDC to schedule in order to address those questions and concerns.

There is no need to RSVP for this first event. Lunch will be provided.

Faculty Forum: Market Aims and Managerial Responsibility

There is an attractive elegance in linking the methods of business ethics with an understanding of the market and its institutional purpose. Recent scholarship at the intersection of political philosophy and management captures this elegance by arguing for variations on a position that grounds standards of corporate conduct upon the normative presuppositions of markets. Thusly construed, there are two basic categories of responsibilities that corporations and their managers possess: to refrain from actions that would undermine the basic conditions of free and fair contracting; and to refrain from profit seeking that results from the exploitation of failures in the market, such as information asymmetries, negative externalities and imperfect competition.

This paper critically examines the aspirations of this literature by embracing its basic method but questioning how well it understands the institutional aims of the market. It is undoubtedly the case that markets are endorsed for their tendency to improve welfare through the efficient allocation of goods and services. Markets, however, also reflect a mode of design as to how particular goods and services are produced and distributed. Allocation through the market, in other words, is a governance choice about which goods and services are to be produced and distributed according to the norm of competitive, self-interested exchange. In this respect, the market is not only an institution with the general aim of improving welfare but also an institution that expresses decisions about what goods are—and to what extent—effectively realized through the market’s internal norms of competitive, self-interested exchange. It is argued that this governance aim of markets give rise to special responsibilities for certain firms in certain industries based on the social goods provisioned within certain markets. This implication is explored through an examination of the moral problems faced by the pharmaceutical industry and the responsibilities that pharmaceutical firm managers possess with regard to biomedical research, pricing and public health.


Teaching Roundtable: Collaborative Information/Data Collection during Class

Friday, March 14, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in Julian Room 135

Regardless of your discipline, the collecting of information or data from student collaborations has been made easier through various online resources. One way in which student labs can be made more relevant and engaging is by having the entire group work to produce a communal dataset; each student or student group runs an experiment in parallel, then the data are aggregated for the entire class. This provides a larger sample size than any individual can achieve on his or her own in a reasonable time, and illustrates the replicability of experiments as well as the importance of larger datasets for greater statistical power.

The problem can come with getting all of the data in one place and giving students access to it. Simple methods, like entering the numbers on a grid on a board, work well, but Google Docs allows for real-time entry of data in a standardized format, and can even allow for real-time representation of the data in graphical format, providing instant, ongoing feedback on the progress of the lab exercise.