Dear Colleagues:

I hope this finds you well, and that you’ve had a chance to get out into the snow, if even just for a little bit. The focus of today’s newsletter is on upcoming events:

 

The BYOL Luncheon Series:

  • February 18, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: We’ve got the Data. Now What???
  • March 9, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: Building a Collaborative Community in the Classroom
  • March 30, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: Co-Writing ‘Our’ Classes: Engaging Students in the Course Design Process

Student Writing in the Quantitative Disciplines–A Mini-Series:

  • February 26, 2021 | 12:00pm-1:30pm: Balancing “Coverage” with Composition…and How Low-Stakes Writing Can Help
  • March 5, 2021 | 3:30pm-5:00pm: Assessing and Responding to Writing in STEM Classes

 

The BYOL Luncheon Series

That’s right: just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, we’re offering you a luncheon series . . . with no lunch! On the upside, this series of workshops is an opportunity for all of us to explore our work in the classroom–and to consider how that work is part of the larger ecosystem of learning at W&L. While, indeed, we can’t supply you lunch, we do hope these events give you much to digest. (Sorry. Bad pun. We couldn’t resist.) Sign up for any of these three events by clicking here.

 

February 18, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: We’ve got the Data. Now What???

Every three years, W&L participates in a nationwide effort to collect data on student engagement inside and outside of the classroom. Some of it’s interesting and surprising, but . . . simply having surprising and interesting data doesn’t deepen engagement and improve the experience of our students. The purpose of this session is to explore what’s next: drawing from W&L’s participation in The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Kristy Crickenberger will highlight several key findings from our results in 2020. Our role is to take what we know from our students’ feedback on NSSE and brainstorm ways to improve their experiences at W&L. What can we do institutionally? Individually? What are our collective next steps? If you’re interested in being a part of ongoing conversations about improving our learning environment, this is the session for you!

 

March 9, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: Building a Collaborative Community in the Classroom

W&L prides itself on creating a sense of community for our students, but as we’ve worked our way through a year+ of Zoom classes and/or socially distanced instruction, it’s become clear that, especially when we can’t be physically near each other,  creating that sense of collective belonging is difficult.  Spring term classes have always offered an opportunity to create close bonds, but how do we do that in the current reality?  And what skills can we learn for this year that will also help us moving forward? To explore this issue, we call on two instructors whose work in and outside of the classroom requires them to be very deliberate about building a sense of ensemble—a group of individuals working together as a single unit. Jemma Levy and James Dick will talk about what they do in their respective settings to develop a sense of shared purpose amongst their students—and together we’ll explore ways we might translate those practices into our own classrooms.

 

March 30, 2021 | 12:30pm-1:30pm: Co-Writing ‘Our’ Classes: Engaging Students in the Course Design Process

This panel presentation will describe and discuss a unique course-design process used by Jim Casey and Art Goldsmith as they created a new ECON course. Working with a pair of upper-class students and supported by the SRS Program and Lenfest funds, Casey and Goldsmith reconsidered every aspect of the course’s design, from day-to-day discussion to readings to major assignments. The first implementation of this course is now nearly complete. So: How did it go? What were the benefits—and the challenge–of this process? And why might the rest of us want to explore a similar process for our courses? Zoom in and find out the answers to these questions and more!

 

 

 

Student Writing in the Quantitative Disciplines–A Mini-Series 

Teaching writing is always hard–and teaching writing in the quantitative disciplines often feels like it presents additional layers of challenges. This “mini-series” of workshops featuring Dr. Patrick Bahls (UNC-Asheville) will focus on some of the challenges of teaching writing particular to STEM fields, offering tried-and-true solutions and providing faculty with time to explore approaches that serve their fields and their courses.

 

February 26, 2021 | 12:00pm-1:30pm: Balancing “Coverage” with Composition…and How Low-Stakes Writing Can Help

One of the most common objections faculty give to incorporating writing activities in their classes is along the lines of “I’ve got so much content to cover…I can’t possible throw writing in on top of that!” As we will learn in this workshop, writing need not, indeed, should not, be merely an “add-on” that takes students’ time and attention away from course content. In fact, there are a number of low-stakes writing activities that enhance students’ engagement with a course’s ideas and improve their understanding of those ideas. Best of all, these activities can be worked into courses in nearly any discipline and they require little, if any, feedback or grading. Participants will come away from this short workshop with easy-to-implement ways to incorporate writing into almost any course.

 

March 5, 2021 | 3:30pm-5:00pm: Assessing and Responding to Writing in STEM Classes

Responding to student writing is challenging, even for seasoned instructors of writing. Instructors in STEM fields, in particular, often struggle when they first begin to give their students feedback on their disciplinary writing. In this workshop we will discuss a number of helpful strategies, including using rubrics, guiding students in peer review, and giving multi-modal feedback, that will help faculty in any discipline give meaningful feedback to their students’ writing, effectively and efficiently.

Interested in either of these events? Click here to enroll.

 

Patrick Bahls received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University and completed a post doc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the faculty at UNC Asheville, where he currently teaches in the Math Department and directs the school’s prison education program. Through most of his nearly quarter-century of teaching at the college level, Patrick has worked to use writing to help students grapple with concepts from their discipline, regardless of their field of study. He has led dozens of workshops on writing in the disciplines, writing to learn, and writing across the curriculum and authored the text Student Writing in the Quantitative Disciplines: A Guide for College Faculty (Jossey-Bass 2012).