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Talking about Teaching

"Talking About Teaching" provides a forum for all faculty to discuss a wide range of topics, mainly related to classroom teaching. Talking about teaching sessions are large, cross-school programs in which panels of faculty and staff present their current practices and discuss possible applications and ideas for innovation.

Past topics included:

    What Makes a Good Division II??
    Thursday, September 22, 3:30-5:00 p.m.: Faculty Lounge, FPH
    While we all spend a good deal of time working with students to develop and carry out strong Division IIs, we rarely have the opportunity to talk with each other about the components of an excellent Division II. Faculty from across the college will discuss this issue based on their disciplinary areas and experience at Hampshire.
    Presenters: Bill Brayton, Jane Couperus, Sue Darlington, Brown Kennedy

    Why is the Division I-Division II Transition So Hard--and What Can Faculty Do About It?
    Thursday, October 20, 3:30-5:00 p.m.: Faculty Lounge, FPH
    Many students struggle in their attempt to move from Division I to Division II. This discussion will focus on various reasons why this transition is so challenging for some students and how faculty across schools have attempted to help students understand what Division II is, see themselves as Division II students, and begin to develop strong concentrations.
    Presenters: Aaron Berman, Kim Chang. Jason Tor

    What Students Need in Division II to Help Them Thrive in Division III
    Tuesday, November 15, 3:30-5:00 p.m., Faculty Lounge, FPH
    We have very high expectations for our Division III students to accomplish advanced, independent, and creative work. Given the epistemological and discipline-based sophistication required, what courses and other experiences prepare student well for Division III work? Have faculty developed specific strategies that appear effective in their particular disciplines?
    Presenters: Melissa Burch, Annie Rogers, Laura Wenk

    Experiments with Ongoing Feedback: Writing and Quantitative Reasoning*
    Wednesday, February 17, Noon-1:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: Michele Hardesty, Melissa Burch, Cindy Gill, Jennifer Hamilton
    A diverse group of faculty have tried different ways to get feedback about students' abilities and progress with writing and quantitative reasoning, including rubrics, concept maps, and minute papers. Here they will discuss what they have learned about their students and their own teaching. Lunch will be provided.

    Promoting Real Dialogue in the Classroom*
    Monday, March 8, Noon-1:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: Rachel Conrad, Susan Tracy, Jim Wald, Laura Wennk.
    Over the last year, 12 faculty have worked intensively together to explore how to promote real dialogue in their classes so that students can talk more effectively about challenging issues. Lunch will be provided.

    Two Recent Experiments with Teaching and Learning*
    Wednesday, April 7, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: Elly Donkin, Karen Koehler, Becky Miller
    In the spirit of an experimenting college, Hampshire faculty have developed programs and courses designed to address critical issues such as: Division I independent projects; how to prepare students for Division I and II work; engaging and training Division III TAs; and a living-learning component. These include the recent new course "The 1950s: Cold War Culture and the Birth of the Cool" and the ongoing "MIS: Mentored Independent Study" program. Faculty will describe their experiences with these experiments. Light refreshments will be served.

    Hampshire Transcripts: Implications for Writing Evaluations*
    Wednesday, April 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: L. Brown Kennedy and Roberta Stuart
    Hampshire faculty spend a great deal of time writing evaluations but most have no idea how these appear on students' transcripts. For example, when grad school committees look at a Hampshire transcript, do they see the Division III evaluation first? In some Division II evaluations, faculty select course excerpts while others embed quotes from evaluations within their prose. Does this matter? This session is part of the ongoing series about evaluations at Hampshire. Light refreshments will be served.

    2009 Fall "TALKING ABOUT TEACHING" Discussion Series

    Writing Workshop
    September 23, 4:30-7:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Workshop Leaders: Deb Gorlin, Will Ryan, and Ellie Siegel
    In interviews about Division III, many Hampshire faculty have expressed concern about the quality of student writing. In this workshop, faculty will work with papers from courses they are currently teaching to develop criteria for evaluating high-quality writing and explaining what this means more clearly to students.

    Designing Courses that Promote Real Dialogue in the Classroom*
    September 30, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: Sue Darlington, Kristen Luschen, and Jana Silver
    Faculty who participated in the "Dialogue in the Classroom" program will discuss changes in their teaching designed to help students engage in real dialogue about issues such as race and gender.

    Getting Honest, Useful Midterm Feedback from Your Students*
    October 19, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Bradford Room, 2nd floor Library
    Bill Timpson, School of Education, Colorado State University (and current Hampshire parent)
    Dr. Timpson is the author of 11 books about teaching, including several that address issues of diversity, sustainability, peace, and reconciliation. In this session, Bill will use several faculty as "guinea pigs" to demonstrate creative and effective ways to get useful feedback from those potentially most able to provide it--our students!

    Writing Effective Course Evaluations Efficiently*
    November 16, 12:00-1:30 p.m., Faculty Lounge
    Featured Discussants: Charlene D'Avanzo and Laura Wenk
    Although most Hampshire faculty greatly value our evaluation-based system, writing evaluations is extremely time-intensive. What makes for an explicit, clear, and useful evaluation? Can we write them more quickly? This session will provide practical suggestions about course evaluation writing including the use of rubrics and clear goals.

    2009 Spring "TALKING ABOUT TEACHING" Discussion Series

    Division II: First-rate ones, preparation, working with students along the way*
    February 20, 2009
    Featured Discussants: Myrna Breitbart, Sue Darlington, Eva Rueschmann, Stan Warner.
    Division II is a key component of a Hampshire education, and there is much to discuss across and within schools. Do we share a vision about what makes a strong Division II? How do we prepare students to shape full, interdisciplinary, cohesive concentrations? How do we work with students as their studies and ideas evolve? Given the scope of this topic, this session will lead to more specific discussions in the future.

    Argument and Evidence*
    March 25, 2009
    Featured Discussants: Christoph Cox, Jill Lewis, Laura Sizer.
    In papers and discussion we ask students to express a point of view on a subject and support it with evidence. This is also an essential aspect of Division III. In courses, how do we help students understand what "argument and evidence" means in our various disciplines? What qualities should we look for in papers and oral presentations? Presenters will describe their approaches to teaching this aspect of critical thinking in their courses.

    Writing Evaluations*
    April 15, 2009
    Featured Discussants: Margaret Cerullo, Jackie Hayden, Jim Wald, Laura Wenk.
    Hampshire faculty spend a great deal of time writing evaluations but surprisingly little time talking about them. What are the elements of a good course or exam evaluation? What are evaluations for? Can we write effective evaluations in less time? Faculty should leave this session with some helpful ideas and approaches they can use for writing evaluations at the end of the semester.

    Creating Writing Assignments that Engage and Challenge
    September 26, 2008
    Featured Discussants: Bob Rakoff, Rachel Rubinstein, Eva Rueschmann, Will Ryan.
    The design of writing assignments is a key ingredient in the success of any course. This discussion will consider how to pose assignments that draw students into course content, build the skills necessary for advanced work, and provide insight into the workings of various discourses. Faculty will leave with specific strategies they can use in the assignments in their courses.

    Helping Students Reach Your Goals and Their Own Expectations*
    October 22, 2008
    Featured Discussants: Aaron Berman, Djola Branner, Alan Goodman, Annie Rogers, Lee Spector.
    This session will focus on various ways faculty help students achieve their best in classes by developing professional practices such as coming to class fully prepared. It is difficult to know how to facilitate such practices; the discussion will emphasize "what works."

    Co-Teaching: Examples of Successful Teaching Relationships*
    November 11, 2008
    Featured Discussants: Merle Bruno, Chris Jarvis, Kristen Luschen, Chis Perry, Abraham Ravett, Natalie Sowell.
    Although Hampshire emphasizes co-teaching, for many newer faculty in particular the nuts and bolts of co-teaching seem a little mysterious. How do you find the right people with whom to co-teach? What aspects are especially challenging and what works? This session will feature several different co-teaching relationships: some brand new, others longstanding. We will see if common themes emerge.


Contact Us

Laura Wenk, Director
Center for Teaching and Learning CSC 104
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

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