The Learning Community
Fall, 2015 (November 9, 2015)
I have been meeting with a small group that Dean Nagel has convened to explore how faculty could lead on issues of diversity. She started this process before we had some of the events that took place last spring. I have always felt that the LTC has an important role in campus discussions on matters like this, so I am glad that the LTC is a part of this current process. We have added a section to the LTC website that includes articles and films on diversity issues.
I have noticed several articles in teaching journals recently that raise the issue of how much content we should try to include in a class. They discuss the trade-off between a rich amount of content, and going too far, to the point at which students don’t keep up or are unable to retain material. This is probably an acute issue for us due to our 10- week schedule. We have prided ourselves on keeping a high degree of rigor and a fast pace. I have heard people say numerous times that we expect our courses to cover what is normally done in semester classes. I don’t doubt that this is true. I am not raising the calendar issue here, but instead asking more broadly about issues of pace and what we can expect from students.
On October 23rd we held the student research celebration in the Weitz commons. As always, this is a large event where students show posters that display work that they have done. Much of the work is from projects of the previous summer. The science and social science departments are always strongly represented, but in recent years there have been more projects that show work from the humanities. Both on campus, as well as working abroad or in research groups at large universities, our students are incredibly active and productive. It is fun to see the well-deserved pride that they feel in their accomplishments. It also speaks well for our teaching climate to see how much students have gained from these experiences that are guided by faculty mentors. Click here, for a link to the research booklet.
I am happy to include in this newsletter an introduction for the four LTC fellows for this year. They serve as student observers for class visits, and they also help out with various duties for the LTC. I am particularly pleased with this group of fellows. This fall they have already led their first book groups. They did a great job, and I had good feedback from the faculty and staff who participated. They each have an interest in educational issues, and they are the kind of students who make teaching here a joy. I have asked each of them to provide a short bio. If you have any interest in having a student observer for your classes, let me know and I will connect you with one of these new LTC fellows.