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Exploring Topics and Developing Background Expertise

If you are thinking about branching out in a new scholarly direction or are looking to develop background expertise in preparation for developing or supporting assignments, there is an impressive array of resources at Carleton. Some of the following resources and events are associated with specific curricular initiatives and others are more general in nature.

Workshops and Presentations

Workshops and presentations are typically opportunities to learn about effective pedagogies, resources, and expertise.

Consultations and Funding

Faculty colleagues and academic support professionals can help you consider learning goals; estimate time requirements; identify sources of support for students as they work on assignments; and secure access to data, tools, or expertise including guest lectures or focused instruction sessions.

  • In addition to contacting colleagues in one's own field, the Director of the Perlman Learning and Teaching Center is a senior Carleton faculty member well versed in teaching theories and strategies in addition being able to help to identify problems and suggest solutions for classroom practice.
  • Academic technologists and reference librarians are great resources if you have questions about tools or information resources available to you or your students.
  • The Director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Director of Academic Civic Engagement are expert in community-based learning, community-based research, and service learning.  The initiative site contains links to both a list of potential community projects and opportunities and a collection of data sources about Northfield.
  • There is a wealth of information about interdisciplinary and integrated-systems research that involve the interplay of biology, physical sciences, and mathematics at the CISMI web site.
  • The Humanities Center cultivates interdisciplinary collaboration and research that interrogates the relationship between humanistic study and artistic, ethical, and political issues in the contemporary world.  Each year, the Center sponsors a faculty-lead seminar that provides funding and support to a small group of scholars working on projects that relate to an annually chosen theme in the humanities.The Center's site also contains information about creating student research assistantships.
  • If you are interested in exploring topics related to quantitative literacy, the QuIRK initiative has grant opportunities for course revision/creation, pedagogical research, as well as a program which provides summer research assistants for faculty pursuing new quantitative directions in either teaching or research.
  • Projects that might entail creating, interpreting, and employing visual images, media and models could benefit from curricular grants from the Viz initiative. 
  • There is a long-standing conversation about writing across the disciplines through the Carleton Writing Program.  Contact Carol Rutz, Director of the College Writing Program.
  • Additional consultation and funding are available through the Dean of the College's Office Curriculum Development Fund.  Contact Beverly Nagel, Dean of the College about this and other institutional funding options.
  • If you would like help in identifying resources or expertise on campus for a particular project, contact Andrea Nixon, Director of Curricular and Research Support.

Assignment Collections and Models

Sometimes it is helpful to look at examples of assignments that colleagues have already created.  There are a growing number of assignment collections that are associated with interdisciplinary curricular initiatives at the College.  Here are links to a few collections.

  • Carleton's Science Education Resource Center (SERC) Pedagogy in Action is a collection of over 800 assignments contributed by faculty members from Carleton and elsewhere.  Increasingly SERC has been working with the interdisciplinary initiatives at Carleton and the assignment collection increasingly reflects disciplinary diversity.  Assignments are categorized by subject areas as well as pedagogy.
  • Quantitatively Rich Courses and Assignments
  • Project assignment models for academic civic engagement

Software and Information Resources

While developing background expertise in a new area it can be particularly helpful to get a sense of what tools and information resources are available or could be licensed on your behalf.  Academic technologists and reference librarians are great resources if you have questions in this area.

Copyright and Institutional Review Board

If you are considering working with a new type of information or media, it can be helpful to get a brief introduction to relevant copyright issues.  If you come from a field in which it is not common to do research involving human subjects, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with the Institutional Review Board.

  • New to working with a particular media type (e.g. film) and are not sure about copyright issues?  There educational materials at Carleton's Copyright Committee web site.  Have a specific question?  Just send the committee an email.
  • Thinking about having your students work with members of the community but are not sure if this entails human subject research?  The Institutional Review Board has a web site that includes a brief quiz that will help you determine if and IRB application might be necessary.

Production Meetings, Scheduling, and Reservations

While you may be at a preliminary stage in your thinking and planning, it can be helpful to size up resources available on campus.