Events


2014-15 NEW FACULTY LUNCH SERIES (pdf)

All new faculty are welcome to join these 12:00-1:00 p.m. programs in Memorial 331 (lunch is provided).  You will receive an invitation before each program from Susan Bennett in the Provost and Dean of Faculty Office (x5399).

Monday • November 3 - Becoming a Teacher-Scholar    REGISTER HERE

The process of becoming a teacher-scholar requires reflection and planning. While we often think of the documents we have to submit for tenure or annual review as providing provide evidence of our accomplishments, they are equally helpful in enabling us to reflect on our progress and plan for future development. We'll talk about concrete things we can be doing throughout the year to chart our goals and progress as teachers and scholars, learn about writing groups that foster scholarly productivity, and introduce you to our staff who can support you in grant writing and other professional activity.

Monday • December 1 - How to Interpret Your Course Evaluations

The evaluations students fill out are most useful to faculty members when they are informed by other kinds of evidence of what students are learning (e.g., papers, exams, classroom discussions) and when they are viewed over time (looking for consistent patterns, the effect of specific changes to a course, etc.). Senior faculty members will share samples of their own student evaluations, discuss strategies for interpreting them in order to identify their strengths and areas for improvements, and offer tips for approaching evaluations while keeping self-esteem intact. Facilitated by Helen Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology and Janis Breckenridge, Associate Professor of Spanish.

Monday • January 26 - Teaching Writing: Strategies and Support

Writing is a complex skill to teach, but also a fulfilling part of our roles as teachers. We'll discuss ways to help students broaden their understanding of writing as a process, and ways that the student tutors at the Writing Center or fellows from the Written and Oral Communication Initiative (WOCI) can support your efforts. Facilitated by Lydia McDermott, Director of the Writing Center, and Dana Burgess, Director of WOCI.

Monday • March 2 - Connecting to What Students are Learning Outside of the Classroom

One of the things that can lead to "significant learning" is showing students the connection between course concepts and experiences students have outside of the classroom. These connections motivate students to learn and help them see how course material applies to a range of contexts. In this session we'll talk about ways to help students integrate what they're learning with other parts of their college experience. We'll also suggest ways that faculty can help students prepare to apply their academic knowledge to internships and other professional opportunities.  Guests Noah Leavitt, Director of the Student Engagement Center and Matt Reynolds, Associate Professor of Art History.

Monday • April 20 - The Juggling Act:  Strategies for Balancing Teaching, Research, Service, and Life.  

Am I spending enough time on my research? Not enough on my teaching? Is serving on this committee going to spell disaster for my scholarly agenda? Most academics never quite feel that they can strike just the right "balance." But there are certainly things that we can do to feel more fulfilled and focused. We'll discuss some general findings about what makes for high job satisfaction among professors as well as share some tips on specific things we can do to get better at juggling. Guests include Michelle Janning, Professor of Sociology.

POSTEPONED - to be rescheduled Thursday • September 25 - Navigating the Tenure-Track Job Market (for visiting faculty) Baker Center, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

We are thankful to our visiting faculty for all the contributions you bring to us at Whitman, especially as we know most of you are also engaged in the time-consuming work of looking for long-term positions. At this informal wine and cheese gathering, faculty who have served on numerous search committees offer strategies for interpreting job ads, writing strong cover letters, and interviewing.

*For tenure-track faculty:  Monday, May 4, 12-1, Memorial 305:  Informational Meeting regarding the informal review that takes place Fall 2015.


 Other Events of Interest to Faculty

Disciplined Writing

Monday November 10 and Tuesday November 18, 2014 

While few faculty members consider themselves writing teachers, most of us likely teach writing skills of some kind.  How can understanding what kinds of writing skills our colleagues teach help us to guide students to connect what they are learning across our courses?  Questions include the following:

  • How might we define "good writing"?  What kinds of things are discipline-specific and which are shared across most disciplines?
  • What kinds of differences relate more to genre than to discipline: research paper, an analytical paper, lab report, project-based report shared with a school or NGO, etc.
  • Do we have different standards or areas of emphasis for writing depending on whether we are teaching majors or non-majors?

On November 10, Lydia McDermott (Director of the Writing Center), Deb Simon and Machelle Hartman (Chemistry) and Alissa Cordner (Sociology) will facilitate a conversation that asks these questions in terms of the "big picture" related to purpose and evidence.  How do we teach students to write for a particular audience?  What counts as a solid argument or focus for a paper?  What kind of evidence do students need to use and how should they use it?  Participants are encouraged (if they wish) to bring a sample assignment that gives instructions to students on what to include in their writing. 

On November 18, Lydia McDermott, Adam Gordon (English) and Albert Schueller (Mathematics) will guide a discussion of these questions with a specific focus on mechanics and style.  What kind of voice and tone do we ask students to use in their writing? What counts as a good paragraph for a paper?  Are there particular kinds of sentence structures that we encourage or discourage?  How do we give feedback that helps students to improve? Participants are encouraged to bring a sample "good paper" to share during group discussion, but this is not necessary for attending. 

To reserve your lunch for either of these programs, please click here.