Author Archives: JoAnn Brewer

Academic Roundtables

ctlr-bannerMark your calendars for these upcoming events:

Envisioning Learning Spaces

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 – 12:15 – 1:30 pm – LIB 105A

Envisioning Undergraduate Research

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 – 12:15-1:30 pm – Library CTLR Suite

Envisioning the Library

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 – 12:15-1:30 pm – Library 105A


Sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning and Research and the Library

CTLR Staffing Announcement

ctlr-bannerThe Center for Teaching, Learning & Research would like to share a number of staffing updates. First, Jennifer Bates, previously a professional writing tutor, is now working full-time during the fall and spring semesters as a Learning Resources Specialist and Professional Writing Tutor.  Second, Kristy Golubiewski-Davis is the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative’s new postdoctoral fellow.  Kristy joins us after having studied at the University of Minnesota.  And Diane DeBella, who has recently relocated to Vermont, is now working with students as a professional writing tutor and as the supervisor of foreign language tutor.  She will also be developing our multi-lingual writing center.

Academic Roundtable: Stress and the Student Experience

Please join us on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in the Center for Teaching, Learning & Research at 12:15 pm.

 There has been much discussion on Middlebury’s campus about student stress, but little data to inform these conversations. Students in Svea Closser’s ethnographic research methods classes conducted and analyzed interviews with their peers about their experiences with stress. Their findings complicate simple narratives about workload, and suggest that syllabus tweaks are unlikely to make substantial impacts. In this roundtable, students will present the results of their research on the drivers of student stress, and leave the floor open for faculty to discuss potential ways forward.

As with all Academic Roundtables, lunch will be provided.  RSVP to Doreen Bernier via email at by noon on Friday, May 6, 2016.

The Academic Roundtable is co-sponsored by

the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Research and the Library

Academic Roundtable: Print or Digital? College Students, Reading, and Academic Libraries

Please join us on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Library 105B at 12:15 PM with guest speaker Naomi Baron, American University (via Skype).

People have been reading on computer screens for several decades now, predating the popularization of personal computers and widespread use of the internet. But it was the rise of eReaders and tablets that caused digital reading to explode. In 2007, Amazon introduced its first Kindle. Three years later, Apple debuted the iPad. Meanwhile, as mobile phone technology improved and smartphones proliferated, the phone became another vital reading platform.

In this roundtable, Naomi Baron, a linguist from American University and an expert on language and technology, will talk with us about how technology is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read. While reading onscreen has many virtues, including convenience, potential cost-savings, and the opportunity to bring free access to books and other written materials to people around the world, she argues that the virtues of eReading are matched with drawbacks. Users are easily distracted by other temptations on their devices, multitasking is rampant, and screens coax us to skim rather than read in-depth.

Drawing upon her research, Baron will bring the conversation about “the fate of reading in a digital world” to the realm of college students, teaching, and academic libraries. We look forward to a frank discussion that weighs economic (and space) realities with issues of intellectual development and depth.

For those interested in reading ahead of the meeting, you can read her July 2014 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education “How E-Reading Threatens Learning in the Humanities” at

We also plan to form a reading group to discuss her recent book “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World” after her talk. If you would like to join this group, please sign up at .

As with all Academic Roundtables, lunch will be provided.  RSVP to Doreen Bernier via email at by noon on Friday, April 15, 2016.

The Academic Roundtable is co-sponsored by

the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Research and the Library

Collaboration in the classroom: improving the “group project” experience

Please join us on  Wednesday, April 20, in the CTLR Suite at 12:15 p.m. for a workshop on “Collaboration in the classroom: improving the ‘group project’ experience.”

Facilitators: Jessica Holmes and Mary Hurlie

Group projects, when designed well, can build problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills, yet many students (and some faculty) groan at their mere mention. During this workshop, we will explore strategies to maximize the benefits of collaborative learning activities.

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP at by Monday, April 18.

Academic Roundtable – Academic Advising

Please join us on Tuesday, March 8, 2016,  in Center for Teaching, Learning & Research at 12:15 p.m. for an Academic Roundtable on Academic Advising.

A few years ago, Richard Light, a leading scholar on American higher education, stated that “good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience.”  And yet, there is evidence that academic advising at Middlebury and many other liberal arts colleges is not as robust as it could be.   At the outset of this Academic Roundtable, members of the Academic Administration will briefly share evidence that points to challenges for Middlebury’s advising system and will present some initial ideas for how we might improve the experience of advising for both students and faculty.  The heart of the roundtable will be a discussion of what steps we can take to ensure that good advising remains a central feature of the Middlebury experience.

As with all Academic Roundtables, lunch will be provided.  RSVP to Doreen Bernier via email at by noon on Friday, March 4, 2016.


The Academic Roundtable series is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning & Research and the Library

Academic Roundtable — Rest, Contemplative Computing, and Creativity: A Conversation with Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Please join us on Tuesday, February 23, 2016,  in the Davis Family Library 105B at 12:15 p.m.

The stressors of academic life take their toll on our well-being, but could those stressors, and a lack of rest and contemplative practice, also be affecting our creativity and productivity?

In this Academic Roundtable, Dr. Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, will host an informal conversation with guest speaker Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of “The Distraction Addiction” and a forthcoming book called “Rest: Why Working Less Gets More Done.” They will discuss the importance of rest and contemplative practice in our daily lives, whether we are checking email, writing a research paper, teaching a class, or at home with our families and friends. Through an interactive conversation, Dr. Pang will provide tips for prioritizing and reaping the benefits of more rest, and strategies for managing technology’s interruptions using mindfulness techniques.

Join us for this important session and bring your own questions for Dr. Pang.  Lunch will be provided. RSVP to Doreen Bernier via email at by noon on Friday, February 19, 2016.

Dr. Pang will also be giving talks during his visit to our campus.

On Monday, February 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Library 105, he will talk on “Rest: Why Working Less Gets More Done.”

On Tuesday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall, he will be speaking on “Contemplative Computing.”

The Academic Roundtable is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Research and the Library & Information Services