Friday at Four: Week 9

Friday, November 11, 4-5pm, DE206

Join Alison Geist and members of the Mellon Initiative in follow-up discussions to the day-long Project Based Learning workshop help in September.

Many of you attended the Problem-Based Learning Workshop in September.

It’s been a while, but we’d like to get together and talk about what we learned and how to use it here.   

Several of you have already been trying out some PBL approaches; we’d like to hear from you about that. And we’ll discuss whether there are more PBL strategies we could adapt for courses and programs.

As you’ll recall, the Provost’s Office, with Mellon funds, will give a $250 stipend to a faculty member who uses PBL with students this year, assesses its effectiveness, and shares it, simply and usefully.

Friday at Four: Week 7

November 1, 2019, 4-5pm, DE206

Join us for a conversation with Candace Bailey Combs, Learning Support Specialist and ESL Coordinator at the Learning Commons.

Candace, along with new peer mentors in the ESL Center, has been preparing first year students for the new demands of college level reading. Uncovering how students read and bringing their experiences out in to the open has introduced a starting point for creating more sophisticated (and speedy) readers. Let’s talk about effective reading strategies and discuss how teachers implement high standards for reading comprehension even as page counts climb higher and higher.  

Friday at Four: Week 5

Homecoming Events for Faculty

Biology Reflections Seminar at 4pm

Please join the Biology Department for our annual Biology Reflections Seminar this Friday, October 18 at 4:10 p.m. in Dow 226. Alumni Amel Omari, K’09, and Ryan D’Mello, K’14 will be speaking on their journeys toward careers focused on health equity. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

Homecoming Connection Reception at 5pm

Please join students, alumni professionals, faculty and staff at an informal networking gathering.

Date: Friday, October 18th, 2019

Time: 5:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Hicks Banquet Center

Sponsored by: Career and Professional Development

Contact: Rachel Wood, CCPD

Please join students, alumni professionals, faculty and staff at an informal networking gathering. Come prepared to share the story of your own career path, listen and learn from others’ work experiences, and explore professional possibilities both local and global. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and all are welcome. Attendees over 21 may enjoy an alcoholic beverage with proper identification. This is a great opportunity to network and make professional connections. Co-sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) and the Alumni Association Engagement Board (AAEB).


For more information, visit:

Friday at Four: Week 4

October 11, 2019, 4-5:30 pm

The Rescheduled Faculty Study

Arcus Center

“Binary and Non-Binary: Compressing Data and the Self”

Sandino Vargas-Pérez (Computer Science) will talk about data compression for genomics using high-performance computing and superclusters.“C” Heaps (Theater) will talk about the way non-binary and trans Twitch streamers perform their gender to a predominately white male audience.  
And as always, great conversations, non-nutritious Friday afternoon-worthy deep-fried foods, and icy cold drinks to share!

Friday at Four: Week 3

October 4, 2019, 4-5pm, DE206

Let’s talk about textbooks.

Kelly Frost from the library has begun exploring how students access required course materials, what barriers might exist, and how we as a College community can help. This fall quarter the library acquired required textbooks for 15 introductory courses and put them on Course Reserves. We’ll share the (very) preliminary results of this pilot project as well as any student surveys received. We’re looking forward to faculty input on the Textbook Project.

Friday at Four: Week 2

September 27 2019, 4-5pm, DE206

Let’s talk about switching to online Course Evaluations.

Last Spring the Teaching and Learning Committee conducted a pilot study of an online format for student course evaluations.  The survey questions were identical to the traditional pencil-and-paper format, but the students responded online using their choice of devices:  computers, tablets, phones, etc. 

A key question was “how will the quantity and quality of student feedback be affected by the format of the evaluation?”  I think the results from the pilot study indicate that we can expect no effect whatsoever from the format change in those areas of concern!

At the 2nd week faculty meeting, TLC presented some results from that pilot study and invited faculty feedback on the full-scale implementation of the online format.

In the Teaching Commons this Friday, representatives from the Faculty Personnel Committee and the Teaching and Learning Committee will be available for conversations with interested faculty. Pre-tenure colleagues are especially encouraged to join us!

Fall Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, Tuesday, September 10, 2019

“Engaging Students in the Classroom”

Hicks Banquet Room

8:30 Breakfast

9:00  Land Acknowledgement

President Gonzalez  welcome and introduce new Provost

9:10  Provost Johnson

9:20  Rick welcomes and introduces new faculty

9:30  Kelly Frost, Library: Beyond Google: A New Perspective

We’ve been using Beyond Google to introduce students to college-level research for over eight years now. We’ll share data collected last year and the changes we’ve made for this coming year.

9:50 Alyce Brady, Computer Science: Inclusive, Growth-focused Assessment

I will introduce several mechanisms we use for assessing work, especially active learning tasks (individual and group), that allow us to focus more on growth than endpoint knowledge of specific facts/details (which gives a big advantage to students with more prior experience).  My hope is that these concrete examples will encourage group conversations of other approaches that colleagues have used or might use in their own disciplines.

10:10 Josh Hartman, Classics:  Motivation, Mindset, and Games in the Intro Greek Classroom

This talk explores the incorporation of a term-length game into an introductory language classroom, particularly its potential effect on student motivation and the development of a growth mindset. ​

10:40 Andrew Kim, Workspace Futures at Steelcase Inc.: The Case for Space: Designing Learning-Centered Environments

Andrew applies human-centered design research methods to support new market strategies and product development efforts. His areas of interests include blended learning, large active learning classrooms, makerspaces, creativity and the cognitive science of learning.

11 Break

11:15 Breakout sessions

12 Lunch in Stone Room

Teaching and Learning Workshop, September 3–6 2019

Teaching and Learning Workshop Agenda

All Session will take place in the Teaching Commons (Dewing 206) unless otherwise noted.

Workshop Goals: Teaching purposefully and creating a “connected education”

  • Create and sustain a community of learner-teachers 
  • Increase our understanding of, and appreciation for, the diversity of learners and teachers 
  • Explore how that diversity affects teaching and learning 
  • Develop a common language for teaching and learning 
  • Catalyze conversations about teaching and learning among the faculty 
  • Foster a dynamic campus culture centered on teaching and learning 
  • Situate educating students within the K environment 

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

5 – 7 p.m.          Dinner and informal introduction to the workshop and each other

Attire: very casual

Location: Home of Jan Solberg . Rides can be arranged as needed.

Logistics: Partners, spouses, and children are invited. Vegetarian and omnivore food choices will be served in back yard (weather permitting). Workshop participants will gather for 15 minutes in microteaching groups to preview the weeks work.

Introductions: Name, Department, Where you’re coming to K from, and…

  • What is the best or most absurd  “ice-breaker” question you’ve encountered?

  As an example, a previous TLW used “what color is your academic discipline?”

Preview of Wednesday’s Microteaching Assignment (more information will be provided at Monday’s gathering): teach a 10-minute segment that will introduce your focal course and make use of knowledge you gained from reading How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, Chapter 2: Key Findings. Do try to imagine that your microteaching audience is composed of K College students. Please note that your segment should attempt to make a connection between your class and the reading. The debriefing sessions afterwards will also discuss how your class and the reading are connected.

[Donovan, M. S., Bransford, J. D., and J. W. Pellegrino, Editors; Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice.]

Why did we choose this reading?

The most important goal of teaching is student learning and all teachers want their students to learn. Most of us agree that learning implies that a student can use concepts and skills taught long after leaving the classrooms and in situations different from the classroom environment. Effective instructional design therefore requires us to know something about how students (people) learn and how different teaching strategies achieve different learning outcomes. This reading provides a few fundamental results from the research on learning and some implications for effective teaching. The reading encourages us to explore the research on teaching and learning as we purposefully decide on content, teaching strategies, activities, and assessment choices for our individual courses.

Note: All TLW readings are intended to introduce ideas related to teaching and learning. Readings do not offer the “best” ideas or comprehensive coverage of a particular topic. Readings are really only meant to get us thinking about something together.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

8:00 – 8:30        Breakfast at the Teaching Commons, 206 Dewing (attendance expected)

8:30 – 8:45       Opening Welcome from Provost Danette Johnson

8:45 – 11:15      Workshop Sessions for Microteaching (Dewing Hall classrooms)

11:15 – 12:00    General discussion of how to match teaching approaches to how students learn

12:00 – 1:00      Lunch

1:00 – 1:45        Discuss guidelines and scenario for Wednesday’s microteaching segment and sign-up for Wednesday’s dinner hosted by Provost Danette Johnson  

2:00 – 2:20       Dewing Commons Introductions:  Center for International Programs, Center for Career and Professional Development, Center for Civic Engagement (Dewing 1st floor lobby)

2:30– 3:30       Student Development:  Office of the Dean, Counseling Services (Stu Dev Conf Room)

6:00 – 8:00       Dinner at Provost Danette Johnson’s home (attire: informal, casual) Partners, spouses and children are invited; RSVP sign-up at dinner Tuesday

Preview of Thursday’s Microteaching Assignment: teach a 10-minute segment of your focal course employing knowledge you gained from reading Saunders and Kardia (2016) in order to promote student learning in an environment of diversity and inclusiveness.

[Saunders, S. and D. Kardia. Creating Inclusive College Classrooms. Accessed July 25, 2016 ]

Why did we choose this reading?

Kalamazoo College strives to be an institution where all students feel that they belong and are able to reach their full academic potential. Fostering a sense of belonging is important to all students’ academic success and psychosocial wellbeing, and especially to students who may see themselves as marginalized. To achieve these goals, we promote inclusive classrooms where students and instructors work together to build an environment in which everyone feels safe and supported. This reading presents potential issues related to content, assumptions, and classroom activities. The reading offers practical suggestions that might be helpful, or at least act as the beginning of a conversation.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

8:00 – 8:30        Breakfast at the Teaching Commons (attendance expected)      

8:30 – 11:15      Workshop Sessions for Microteaching (Dewing Hall classrooms)

11:15 – 12:00    General discussion of how to creating inclusive classrooms

12:00 – 1:00      Lunch

1:00 – 1:45        Discuss guidelines and scenario for Thursday’s microteaching segment

2:00 – 3:30        New Faculty Orientation Event: Library resources (IS, IT, Learning Commons, Circulation, Acquisitions) and mandatory Title IX training  (First floor Library)

Preview of Friday’s Microteaching Assignment: teach a 10-minute segment of your focal course that helps students “learn through experience” (Best Practices in Experiential Learning) in your course at Kalamazoo College. Accomplishing this task might be easier after thinking about the K-Plan, how you could use structured reflection in some way in your course (see the one-pager about structured reflection at K. 

Schwartz, Michelle (accessed July 28, 2017). Best Practices in Experiential Learning

Why did we choose this reading?

At Kalamazoo College we believe in experiential learning; i.e. learning from experience or learning by doing. Such learning occurs in every dimension of the K-Plan. However, having experiences is not enough; having experience presents the promise of learning, but to learn students must reflect on their experiences and analyze the outcomes. This reading helps define experiential learning and provides guidelines for how to incorporate experiential activities into our courses. It also discusses the role of the instructor and how to end the activity through student reflection. In short, the reading provides some ideas for how to incorporate experiential learning into our courses.

Friday, 6 September 2019

8:00 – 8:30        Breakfast at the Teaching Commons (attendance expected)      

8:30 – 11:15      Workshop Sessions for Microteaching (Dewing 2nd floor classrooms)

11:15 – 12:00    Presentation of backwards design and the K syllabus

12:00 – 1:00      Lunch with participants from the 2018 TLW

1:00 – 1:45        One Year Later:  Perspectives and Insights on the first year of teaching at K

1:45 – 2:00        Introduction to Mentoring Expectations and Workshop Evaluation

2:00 – 2:30        New Faculty Orientation Event: Business Office, HR, Registrar (Mandelle Lobby)

2:30 – 5:00        Follow-up appointments with Jennifer Williams, Human Resources (Mandelle 201)