The New Faculty Seminar is meant to continue the discussions begun at New Faculty Orientation about teaching and the other professional obligations of new faculty at Stonehill -- as well as to provide new faculty a "safe" place for discussing their experiences (good and bad) throughout the year.

Although each seminar focuses on a specific topic, there is also time at each meeting for more general discussion of participants' recent classroom experiences and any questions or concerns.

Seminars are typically held the first Monday of the month in the Duffy 114 conference room (114C) from 11:30-12:45. Lunch is provided, so we appreciate your RSVP before each seminar to give us a sense of what numbers to expect.

Seminar topics are chosen based on the interests expressed by that year's new faculty.

The Learning-Centered Classroom

Wednesday, Aug 27 (classes on a Monday schedule)

Contemporary classrooms are shifting more and more away from a “teacher-centered” focus and increasingly toward a “student-centered” or “learning-centered” approach; in other words, asking professors to move away from being “the sage on the stage” to becoming a “guide on the side.” Such approaches seek to shift the intellectual work of the class from the instructor to the student—recognizing that, in the end, it’s the students themselves who have to do the learning in our courses. For our first seminar, we’ll talk about our own experiences in various classroom configurations and share strategies for making more learning-centered approaches work.

Assessing Teaching for Yourself and Others

Monday, Oct 6

About a month into the semester, you might be wondering what exactly your students are thinking about your class. So this month we’ll talk about methods for gathering formative feedback from your students and discuss strategies for taking some control of the teaching evaluation process: How do student evaluations work at Stonehill – and how do they “count”? How can I collect feedback to help me improve my teaching? What can I do now to start making the case for my teaching effectiveness?

Responding to Student Writing

Monday, Nov 3

Oftentimes the biggest obstacle to including writing assignments in our courses is the time required to give students feedback on their work. And, even then, we might wonder how much impact our feedback actually has on improving student writing. This month we’ll talk about strategies for managing the demands of responding to student writing – as well as some approaches to making that feedback more meaningful to students. Please come ready to share your own strategies and ideas, as well.

Designing and Evaluating Student Presentations

Monday, Dec 1           

Across most of our disciplines, it’s not unusual to include some kind of student presentation assignment in our syllabus. Whether a brief presentation about the day’s readings or a major presentation developed over months, our students can struggle to meet our expectations for these kinds of assignments – and we can struggle when it comes time to grade them. This month we’ll talk about strategies for designing more effective presentation assignments and approaches to grading them.

Leading Effective Class Discussions

Monday, Feb 2

To kick off spring semester, we'll discuss the role discussion can play in student learning: How can we create situations in which students want to engage in discussion? What can I do when all I get is silence? What other options are there for encouraging active, rather than passive, learning from our students? What options are there for evaluating students' participation in discussion?

Enlivening Your Lectures

Monday, Mar 2

Even as many of us move towards more engaged and active pedagogies, we still sometimes fall back on the lecture as an efficient – and even inspiring – way to convey information to our students. Not all of us are born lecturers, but luckily it’s a skill that can be practiced and developed. This month we’ll talk about some of the habits of highly effective lecturers and also talk about strategies for keeping students engaged throughout your lecture.

Teaching Critical Reading

Wednesday, Apr 8 (classes on a Monday schedule)

For our final meeting, we’ll talk about strategies not only for getting students to read but also for getting them to engage carefully and critically when they do so.  We'll talk about the role outside reading plays in our various disciplines and how we can design assignments and classroom activities to help incentivize reading for our students.