Upcoming Events:

Teachers Talking Intellectual Engagement:  Alumni Panel
Friday, April 27th
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Hoffman House

At this final event of the year-long Teachers Talking Intellectual Engagement series, we have invited a small number of Muhlenberg alumni to share their thoughts and reflections on their intellectual experiences and development both during and after their time at the College.  They will comment on questions such as:   What Muhlenberg learning opportunities most helped you develop your intellectual life?  Are there moments of intellectual engagement experienced at the college that you appreciate in hindsight?  Can you give examples of when you were especially challenged in your academic work at Muhlenberg?  Did grades matter to you then and what, if any, role did they play in your post-Muhlenberg lives?   What teaching techniques and pedagogical practices did you find to be especially effective with regard to your developing an intellectual life?

The discussants will be Melissa Bodnar (2013), Steven Feldman (2016), Jen Freed (2015), Mitch Hanna (2014), Eric Thompson (2010), and Christopher Zumberge (2014).

We are planning so that there is ample time for Q&A and post-panel mingling.  Refreshments will be available including wine, beer, other beverages, and assorted appetizers.

Pardon me, SIR…
A Session on How to Understand and Use Course Evaluations
Monday, March 19, 2018
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Hoffman House

This session will be facilitated by Christine Ingersoll (Chemistry), Eduardo Olid Guerrero (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Daniel Leisawitz (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), and Mark Sciutto (Psychology).

Our course evaluation system, SIR II, offers a lot of data on our teaching and courses, but many of us are not sure how to understand the results or how to best present the data in our tenure and/or promotion files.  In this session, a panel of faculty will share their ideas and engage all participants in discussion about creative and innovative ways of understanding and making use of the data to improve both teaching and pedagogy. 

We are sharing two readings for you to consider in advance of the session:  a brief piece by Colleen Flahtery (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/20/new-app-seeks-shake-student-ratings-instruction-facilitating-open-ended-feedback) and an excerpt from the book Student Ratings of Instruction by Nira Hativa (view here)

The Bias Resource and Education Team (BRET), the Faculty Center for Teaching (FCT), and the Intergroup Dialogue program (IGD) are pleased to co-sponsor the event:

Classroom Surprises:  Managing Unexpected, Difficult Moments
Tuesday, February 20th
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Seegers 111 - 112

From bias motivated incidents to exclusionary pedagogical practices, how do we effectively respond in the moment to difficult classroom situations?  In this session, we will use selected prompts and case studies to stimulate discussion about faculty/staff responsibilities, classroom strategies, and appropriate professional responses when challenging interactions occur inside the classroom.

Refreshments will be available including wine, beer, other beverages, and assorted appetizers.

Teachers Talking Intellectual Engagement:  What’ve grades got to do with it?
Wednesday, January 24th 
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Seegers Union, Rooms 111 - 112

Refreshments will be available including wine, beer, other beverages, and assorted appetizers.  All interested faculty and staff are welcome. 

In this second session of the Teachers Talking Intellectual Engagement series, we will explore the connections between intellectual engagement and grades.  In particular, we will focus on questions such as:

  • What and who are grades for?  What function(s) do they serve?
  • To what extent do grades reflect intellectual engagement?
  • To what extent do grades promote intellectual engagement?
  • How do grades matter to the student?  The institution?  How do grades factor into a student’s life plans beyond Muhlenberg?
  • Can intellectual engagement be measured, especially via mechanisms such as grades?
  • How do faculty address issues of student participation versus student performance?
  • Are there structures in faculty grading systems that effectively reflect student engagement?  What are they?
  • Does promoting engagement detract from other learning opportunities?

We will begin the session by sharing some interesting, Muhlenberg-specific data on what our students report related to intellectual engagement.  To further stimulate discussion, we are sending along a few brief readings to consider before the event.

  1. Page 8 of the December 2017 issue of The Teaching Professor
  2. Susan D. Blum:  https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2017/11/14/significant-learning-benefits-getting-rid-grades-essay
  3. https://www.wellesley.edu/admission/why/firstyearexp/shadowgrading

Finding Your Way to Integrative Learning (IL)
Facilitated by Sharon Albert and Kimberly Heiman
Monday, December 4th
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Seegers Union 111 - 112

This session will provide an opportunity for participants to brainstorm with other faculty and co-curricular staff about how each individual's teaching and/or work with students might fit into an IL experience. Participants will work collaboratively to develop models for IL that reflect their pedagogical interests and goals.

As proposed class listings for Fall 2018 will be due to the Registrar in January and applications for IL designations for that semester will be due shortly after, we hope this session will help generate ideas and plans for future IL courses.

All interested faculty and staff are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Grants Fair
Thursday, November 30th
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Seegers Union 111 - 112 

All interested faculty and staff are welcome.  An assortment of appetizers, wine, beer, and other beverages will be provided.

This will be an interactive event highlighting faculty work that was supported by the types of grant funding linked to FCT:  New Course Development grants, Pedagogical Development grants, or Small Group Pedagogical Development grants.   Faculty discussants will share information about how they framed and executed their pedagogical projects and how the grant funding facilitated their progress.  As the next round of applications for such funding will be due early in the spring semester, we believe this session will also provide timely opportunities to talk about potential projects.

Participants include Chrysan Cronin, Allison Davidson, Laura Edelman, Brett Fadem, Kenneth Michniewicz, Matt Moore, Dustin Nash, Tad Robinson, James Russell, Jeremy Teissere, Mirna Trauger, Patrick Williams, and Connie Wolfe.

Digital Brew II
Co-sponsored by the Digital Learning Team and the Faculty Center for Teaching
Wednesday, November 8th
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Language Commons, Ettinger Hall 

This session is designed so that participants have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with some of the digital technologies in use on campus.  In addition, faculty from a variety of disciplines and digital learning collaborators will be on hand to demonstrate how available technologies are being integrated into Muhlenberg courses.  Whether you are a "digital beginner" or have some background with these tools already, we are confident you will come away from this event with new ideas for effectively integrating these technologies into your courses and your student-faculty research collaborations.

All interested faculty and staff are welcome.  If this isn't enticement enough, we will also offer craft beers, other beverages, and assorted snacks.  Please see the accompanying flyers for additional details.

Digital Brew II Flyer
Digital Brew II Menu

Teachers Talking Intellectual Engagement – Beyond Academic Rigor
Wednesday, October 11th from 5 PM – 6:30 PM in Seegers Union 111 – 112

Recently, calls by politicians, executives, trustees, and others to increase and measure rigor in college and university courses have become even more vocal.  As Muhlenberg strives to raise the overall academic profile of the college and promote its academic reputation, faculty and staff will find it increasingly difficult to avoid responding to these concerns. 

While the shopworn phrase “academic rigor” permeates higher education literature, it is proving to be a term that is, at best, loaded and misunderstood.  FCT has found, in its own deliberations and in conversations with colleagues across disciplines, greater interest in promoting intellectual engagement instead of maintaining narrower ideas of academic rigor.  Thus, we are inclined to examine the ideals of academic excellence in terms of intellectual engagement.  A multi-faceted concept that encompasses curricular, institutional, and contextual faculty and student behaviors, intellectual engagement incorporates concerns about pedagogy and assesibility often overlooked in conversations about “academic rigor.”

At this first event in the 2017 – 2018 Teachers Talking series, we will begin interrogating the concepts of engagement and rigor by discussing questions such as:

  • Do faculty share a common understanding of intellectual engagement?
  • How can we encourage it? How can we model it?
  • What intellectual standards are we as a faculty committed to upholding?
  • How can we establish and uphold these standards?
  • How can we communicate to students “intellectual engagement” aspirations?
  • Can “rigor” or “intellectual” be measured?

FCT would like this first conversation to help us move toward identifying behaviors and approaches that promote intellectual engagement at Muhlenberg and considering how we might articulate and institute ideals and standards of intellectual engagement. 

We anticipate offering two additional programs in this series, both in the spring 2018 term.

Faculty Center for Teaching OPEN HOUSE + Wine + Cheese
Wednesday, September 6th from 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM in Seegers 111 - 112

First and foremost, this wine & cheese event is intended to be a social get together for faculty and staff.  Similar to formats used in past years, there will be many opportunities for participants to offer suggestions regarding directions and programming that FCT might pursue. The FCT Board welcomes thoughts, wish-lists, and recommendations regarding the future work of the FCT. 

It is important to note that this information is invaluable to FCT as we work to meet a diverse range of community needs at individual, group, and institutional levels..  The majority of programming offered over the last two years was created in direct response to ideas brainstormed at this opening event.  Shortly after the Open House, we will provide the community a detailed summary report of the input gathered.