The Center for Teaching and Learning supports numerous programs and projects designed to improve teaching and learning at Hampshire. At present, these include:
Quantitative Skills and Thinking (QST): Fifteen Natural Science and Cognitive Science faculty participated in a program designed to improve the teaching of QST, with particular focus on “scientific teaching” (faculty approach their teaching with the rigor and methods of scientific research). These faculty identified specific aspects of QST they wished to study, such as statistics or working with figures and tables. Their experimental designs included pre/post tests of these abilities. Faculty worked in teams over the semester, attending workshops and meeting informally. Post-workshop interviews show that while many faculty have continued using the scientific teaching approaches to examine QST, they would like the CTL to lead a follow-up program for them.
Division 1.5: Developed for third semester students, this new course includes four components: lecture; discussion; film and television screenings; and a writing workshop. In fall, 2009, faculty from a range of disciplines are concentrating on a course about the “1950s”. The course is designed to address retention issues by giving students the opportunity to work on a serious independent project; these students should be better prepared to take on the rigorous expectations of Division III. Upper level students lead discussion groups in dorms and campus living rooms to better integrate academic and community aspects of the course. Evaluation includes interviews with teaching fellows, formative assessment by the faculty teaching the course, and course evaluation.
Dialogue in the Classroom: A group of faculty and students have received training in Intergroup Dialogue, facilitating face-to-face interactions between groups that have a history of conflict or potential conflict. This approach is designed to foster positive conversations around issues of diversity, conflict, community, and social justice. Institutional Research at Hampshire, including the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, identified this as an especially challenging aspect of teaching. Faculty participating in this program will be evaluating the success of changes they implement in courses. The core group of trained mentors are now training a new cohort of faculty in these techniques.