September 2021

27. September 2021

 

Good morning!

 

I don't have anything profound to say this morning as we head into Week 5. We're either hitting our stride, or finding out that we need to make some adjustments to our classes this semester. I'm feeling a little of both this morning.

 

I need to finish up some second-half of the semester assignments, so I'm looking forward to participating in tomorrow's CELT workshop with Mike Garcia (registration below)  Other than that, I've been enjoying the camaraderie in my classroom. It's such a difference from last fall when we had to work so hard to make connections.

 

I was coaching my adult Masters swimmers this morning (interested? email me and I can tell you more!) and I glanced over at the Luther swimmers, who were about to start a new set. They were all on the wall waiting for their interval. The music was blaring. And every single one of them had a huge smile on their faces. They were working hard and having fun at 6:38 in the morning. What a great way to start off the week. That's what I'm noticing when I'm walking around campus. They are enjoying themselves again.

 

Enclosed is a reminder about the CUTE Survey, registration information for upcoming CELT workshops and reading groups, and some just-in-time suggestions for making tests more meaningful beyond the grade.

 

CUTE Survey Reminder

As a reminder  - the CUTE Survey will close later this week. We appreciate the time it takes to fill out the survey (and yes, it took me more than 15 minutes too!). Your feedback is especially appreciated as we build out future programming and other faculty development initiatives. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you!

 

Upcoming CELT Workshops 

Lunch and Learn: How to Write More Transparent Assignments (Tuesday, September 28) (12:00 to 1:30 pm) CELT Conference Room - Valders 240

This workshop, led by Writing Director Mike Garcia, will focus on strategies for writing clear, specific, and engaging writing assignments. We'll break down the elements of assignment handouts, discuss common obstacles to student understanding, and practice some revision. Feel free to come with an idea for a writing assignment and/or an existing one you'd like to improve. Register here.

Lunch and Learn: Katie Gradebook  (Tuesday, October 5) (12:00 to 1:30 pm) CELT Conference Room - Valders 240 

How can Katie gradebook help keep you organized before midterm grades are due? How can Katie gradebook help students to track their progress in their courses? Join Holly White for a hands-on workshop on setting up and using the Katie gradebook feature. In this session, you will learn to use the KATIE gradebook efficiently and effectively. Bring your laptop and syllabi and leave with a fully-configured KATIE gradebook. We will spend some time discussing how the KATIE gradebook works, looking at examples of setups, and figuring out how to best use the tools and resources available in KATIE to calculate your midterm grades. Contact Kate Elliott if you don't have a laptop, we'll check one out for you to use during the workshop. Register here. 

 

Fall 2021 Reading Groups - Registration Closes Thursday, September 30. 

Join one of our two Fall 2021 Reading Groups. These are low-lift, on your own schedule, faculty reading groups designed to allow you to engage in current scholarship on Teaching and Learning, but at your own space. We also throw in coffee. 

Here is the registration link for the two reading groups. Group 1 will be reading Tracie Addy et al - What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching. Group 2 will be reading selections from Mary E. Kite Navigating Difficult Moments in Teaching...

 

Exam Wrappers - Helping Students Reflect on their Performance

Chances are you have either just given an exam or you are about to give an exam this week. We give important feedback when we hand back those exams, but we can really leverage the learning power of an assessment/test if we build in a bit of reflection. 

Exam wrappers are an easy way to get students to think beyond their grade on an assignment. They are usually short handouts that help students to review their preparation and performance -- all with an eye towards improving in the future. Here is a great quick guide from Carnegie-Mellon that I'm quoting below.  These exam wrappers:

  • identifying their own individual areas of strength and weakness to guide further study;
  • reflecting on the adequacy of their preparation time and the appropriateness of their study strategies; and
  • characterizing the nature of their errors to find any recurring patterns that could be addressed.

That Carnegie-Mellon page offers several examples from their institution. This summer several Luther faculty members worked on developing exam wrappers as part of their Inclusive Excellence work.

Amanda Lindsay (Economics) offered the attached example that she plans to use in her courses this year. She's not planning to collect the students' responses. She will just set aside time for the students to think and write about their preparation strategies. I plan to do the same --  but make myself a note to have the students refer to the handouts later as they are preparing for the next test. Feel free to adapt with credit to Amanda.

 

Hope that you all have a good week. As always, let me know if you have any questions!

 

Kate

 

21. September 2021

 

Good morning!

 

I just returned to the office from the Curriculum Committee conversation on our Gen Ed revision. Among the many, many good points made today was the repeated sentiment that anti-racist work is all of our work and whether or not we have a Gen Ed requirement that addresses Systemic Inequalities in our new curriculum, each of us can address historic and endemic inequities in our own classes.

 

Hear, hear.

 

As the curriculum conversations continue -- we can do something about infusing examinations of systemic inequalities now. I've extended the application for our Faculty Learning Communities until this Friday. Consider applying to join the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Learning Community for 2021-2022.

 

One aspect of Inclusive Excellence is diversifying the content of your course and the voices that are represented. This we know takes time and support. The FLCs will give you both. The application for the Inclusive Excellence and the Ungrading/Alternative Grading FLC can be found here.

 

Included below is an announcement for this quarter's ACM Anti Racism workshop, registration information on upcoming hands-on CELT workshops on Transparent Assignment Design and Katie Gradebook, as well as a couple of just-in-time tips for the fourth week of classes.

 

Cultures Collide - ACM Antiracism 

Registration is open for the Fall 2021 antiracism workshop scheduled for Thursday, September 23 at 4:00 pm (CT) Register for the workshop here. 

Title: Cultures Collide

Description: In this day and age, the ability to appreciate, accept and maybe even, internalize different cultures is vital. As individuals, we experience ‘our place’ or indeed the world around us in our own unique way. So, when cultures collide within us, each of us is equipped differently to handle the situation. Nevertheless, the options to reconcile the differences in cultures are often limited - we either fight the collisions or we find a way to be flexible. This talk will explore how and when these cultural collisions happen, the stakes of not being a culturally competent leader, and practical lessons to maintain your authentic self when working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Presenter: Adirupa Sengupta - Group Chief Executive of Common Purpose.

 

Upcoming CELT Workshops

Lunch and Learn: How to Write More Transparent Assignments (Tuesday, September 28 12:00 to 1:30) Valders 240

This workshop, led by Writing Director Mike Garcia, will focus on strategies for writing clear, specific, and engaging writing assignments. We'll break down the elements of assignment handouts, discuss common obstacles to student understanding, and practice some revision. Feel free to come with an idea for a writing assignment and/or an existing one you'd like to improve.The Lunch and Learn series begins with a social lunch from 12 to 12:30. Programming runs from 12:30 to 1:30. Please register here. 

Lunch and Learn: Katie Gradebook (Tuesday, October 5 - 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm) Valders 240 - CELT Conference Room

How can Katie gradebook help keep you organized before midterm grades are due? How can Katie gradebook help students to track their progress in their courses? Join Holly White for a hands-on workshop on setting up and using the Katie gradebook feature. In this session, you will learn to use the KATIE gradebook efficiently and effectively. Bring your laptop and syllabi and leave with a fully-configured KATIE gradebook. We will spend some time discussing how the KATIE gradebook works, looking at examples of setups, and figuring out how to best use the tools and resources available in KATIE to calculate your midterm grades. The Lunch and Learn series begins with a social lunch from 12 to 12:30. The program begins at 12:30. Please register here.

 

Just-in-Time Tips 

Well, for better or worse, Fall 2021 is up and running. I was skimming through a recent Inside Higher Ed article. While most of it wasn't immediately applicable to our context the authors did include a couple of quick reminders and tips that we can incorporate into our classes today to keep the momentum going, or maybe re energize our classrooms.

  • Have students present projects. "A three-minute student-created digital story or PowerPoint presentation can really enliven a class and make students feel like creators of knowledge. You’ll be astounded by how creative your students can be. In a course on museums, past, present and future, I had students design a museum exhibition; in a relatively small section of an introductory U.S. history class, students drew upon their own family’s experience to create a visual montage on migration or the experience of war or participation in a civil rights movement."  Note: I  did this on Monday. I had students briefly introduce their research topics to the class with a very quick powerpoint presentation. We haven't had such high energy in the classroom yet this fall (and it was after a quiz!)
  • "Work on the grading rubric together prior to the assignment due date. Precisely because a grading rubric makes the criteria for evaluating student work explicit, developing a rubric collectively offers a powerful way of making your expectations and achievement measures clear. This also has the added advantage of helping students understand that grading isn’t an utterly arbitrary and subjective process but, rather, rests on carefully considered standards and benchmarks. This process also allows you to provide students with models or examples." Note: I've got time set aside late next week to do this work in class. Double bonus -- they'll keep me accountable so I actually get the rubric done.
  • "Check in with your students frequently. Regularly survey your students to get a sense of their concerns, interests and state of mind. Don’t limit this check-in to academic matters." Note: We're a quarter of the way in -- maybe now is a good time to check in on how the students are feeling in your course? Do they feel included? Do they have recommendations for how you can make your classroom even more inviting?


A final note: Cheers to those of you with littles in the Decorah school system. I hope last night's School Board decision helps alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of this unusual semester. Always happy to talk. Pop by or schedule an appointment.

 

Yours in good health,

 

Kate

 

10. September 2021

 

Good morning!

 

I'll keep this brief today with just the links to our fall programming in CELT. First are our upcoming Lunch and Learn workshops. Then you will find the announcement and application for the 2021-2022 Faculty Learning Communities. Finally, there is information regarding our more informal Fall Reading Groups.

I am interested to know what's on your mind though as we finish off the first full week of classes. Send me an email with questions, concerns, or observations that you think may be helpful to colleagues across campus. I'll try to weave responses to them into upcoming CELT Notes.

Happy glorious Friday!

 

Upcoming CELT Workshops

Mental Health Mondays kicks off with QPR Training. QPR is a 60 minute suicide prevention training available to everyone at Luther. This free training will help you to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone in crisis. By taking action we plant seeds of hope and save lives. QPR training will teach you how to:

  • Recognize the warning signs of suicide
  • Ask someone if they are feeling suicidal
  • Persuade them to get help
  • Help them find hope
  • Refer them to resources that can help

Lunch and Learn: Reestablishing your Research Program. Tuesday, September 14 (12:00 to 1:30 pm) Valders 240 

This lunchtime workshop will focus on planning a realistic research agenda for the upcoming academic year. We will talk about balancing our scholarly work with continued COVID-19 challenges, as well as teaching and service obligations.The Lunch and Learn series begins at 12 with informal conversation. The program starts at 12:30.

Lunch and Learn: Rubrics. Tuesday, September 21, 2021 (12:00 to 1:30 pm) Valders 240 

This hands-on lunchtime workshop will briefly discuss different types of assessment rubrics and how they can be used to support student success and also save us time.Workshop participants will then apply what they learned to a fall 2021 assignment. Please bring an assignment or a rubric for a fall 2021 course that you would like to develop further. The Lunch and Learn series begins with a social lunch at 12. The program starts at 12:30. 

Register here

 

2021-2022 - Faculty Learning Communities

What’s a Faculty Learning Community? 

A faculty learning community is a cross-disciplinary faculty group of four or more members engaging in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum focus on specific topics about pedagogy in higher education.  

Unlike a brown bag workshop or a one-time faculty development event, FLCs allow participants extended time to explore the topic and to develop and implement a change in pedagogy. Meeting regularly with the same group of colleagues also fosters another goal of FLCs: to create a sense of community and common purpose among the participants.

The topic-based FLC themes for 2021-2022 will be:

  1. Inclusive Excellence in the Classroom 
  2. Ungrading and Alternative Grading Methods 

Structure and Application Process

Successful applicants will participate in a kick off meeting with CELT director, Kate Elliott in early October. During the academic year FLC members will engage in ongoing discussions with the other cohort participants to share ideas, work through challenges, and begin plans for dissemination of their work. Participants will also be asked to report back to the faculty in a CELT workshop or other venue during the spring semester.

Each FLC carries an award of $500.00, payable in two installments -- the first at the beginning of the FLC, the second payment will be made following implementation of a change in assignment, course, or classroom environment and creation of a deliverable to be reported back to the faculty. 


The application process to be considered for a Faculty Learning Community is simple. Please fill out this Google Form by September 17. Awardees will be notified in late September.

CELT Reading Groups 

CELT Reading Groups are more informal ways to learn more about pedagogical innovation. We will be running two reading groups this semester. 

Each reading group will set their own schedule. To express your interest in one or both of these groups, please fill out this Google Form.

I hope your semester is off to a smooth start. I look forward to our work together this fall!

 

Kate

 

7. September 2021

 

Good morning!

 

I just wrote Tuesday, August 7 as the subject line, which tells you where I'm at during this second week of classes. 

Yesterday my day was consumed with helping out my first year advisees adjust their schedules (and I think we are good to go now!), training my new student workers, and teaching my upper-division art history class. 

There are 19 students in Art of the 20th Century. I've had all but 1 of them before. In this course, we have a cumulative final, a short open-note midterm, and weekly Monday quizzes. These quizzes are frequent, low-stakes and designed to help them retain content in smaller chunks. 

I told them that this first quiz was a bit of practice. I wrote several different types of questions so they could see what each looked like. I scheduled the quiz to be taken on Katie, but in class, so I could be there if anyone had any difficulties (and yes, every single one of them remembered their phone for the two-step authentication). The whole quiz was designed to take less than 15 minutes. 

Even with all of this, I was surprised about how nervous these juniors and seniors were before their first quiz. They all did great though, and when we went through the answers, a couple of students physically seemed to relax, sit up straighter, smile bigger. If I read the room right, they all had a feeling of increased confidence that they could do this 300-level art history thing. We had a pretty lively conversation about Analytic Cubism after that. 

Building in practice assessment and  frequent, low-stakes, formative assessment, are two strategies we talk a lot about for inclusive teaching. This whole process took about 20 minutes, but the effects can be profound. I'm sure my 19 students benefited, but if this were a 100-level class full of first-year and sophomore students, these practices can be game changers for students who are beginning to doubt that they belong here. 

Happy to talk more about how you can incorporate low-stakes assessment into your own courses.

 

CUTE Survey - Now in your Inbox!

This morning you all received an email from Provost Szymanski. Yes it is legit, and thank you in advance for taking some time to fill out the enclosed survey.

We have partnered with the Center of Postsecondary Research at the University of Indiana to conduct the CUTE Survey, assessing the teaching environment at Luther and across the nation.

Your responses are anonymous and will help to inform faculty development activities. Your candor is especially appreciated. Thanks to each of you for taking the time out of your incredibly busy days to complete the survey. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to either me or Ashlesha Pawar.

 

CELT Fall Programming - Starts Next Week!

We will begin our fall programming next week with two new programs, a new book group, and the launch of our new Faculty Learning Communities.  The full fall calendar and sign up wil be live this afternoon, and I'll send a follow-up email with links for registration.

 

Fall Programming

The first is our Mental Health Mondays, which will be held from 4 to 5 pm the second Monday of every month. These sessions are led by our colleagues in the Luther College Counseling Service and are designed to help faculty navigate the challenges of supporting mental health on our campus. Stay tuned for the full schedule. The first meeting will be next Monday, September 13.

The second new program is our new Lunch and Learn Series, Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:30. Bring your lunch, grab a treat or a drink from CELT, and learn more about pedagogy, educational technology, and research strategies. Topics will change weekly. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 14 - Kate Elliott will be presenting on How to Re-establish your Research and Writing Program in Disrupted Times. Lunch and conversation from 12:00 - 12:30, workshop starts at 12:30. Come as you can.

 

Reading Groups 

Registration is coming but we will be running two reading groups this semester. 

 

Faculty Learning Communities

Finally, look for the announcement in next week's CELT Notes, as well as the Academic Affairs Weekly, but I am so pleased that we are going to be able to launch two Faculty Learning Communities this academic year. These are faculty working groups that work on a particular pedagogical topic or theme. Members of the FLCs are awarded a stipend.

Our two FLC for 2021-2022 are:

  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Ungrading and Alternative Grading

Applications will be open next week. This week I am looking for leaders for these FLCs. If you are interested, please email me. 

A "well duh" moment. 

A faculty member emailed me last week to tell me of his "well, duh" moment of the week. After reading his message, I had a "well, duh" moment myself. 

We take for granted that our sophomores pretty much know what's going on. Generally, they have a full academic year under their belts. They pretty much know what's going on and they know what to expect. 

But not these sophomores. They actually have never had a "normal" fall semester. They don't know the rhythm of the season, of homecoming, of family weekend. They didn't get a fall break. They don't know what chapel is, necessarily. I'm sure you all already realized that, but I hadn't thought about it. 

If you have any time open in your schedules, are comfortable in larger groups, and can make the Sophomore Strides Kick Off event this Thursday, the organizers would love to have you. EmailMichelle Branton for more information. In any year sophomores can use additional support -- this year in particular, they'll need the Luther community behind them.

*** 

That's it! I hope your fall semester is off to a good start. Please let me know if you need anything.

 

Kate