Fall 2018

Experiential Learning (and the curricular flexibility that could enhance its further development)

 Tuesday December 11th (12:15 PM – 1:30) in the CTLR Lounge

We’re doing something a little different this time; instead of tapping a few valuable, local experts to hold forth on this subject in a roundtable, we invite YOU to bring your “expertise” using experiential learning with our undergraduate students.  Consider this event a reverse roundtable, where the audience gets to share the lessons learned from their attempts to employ experiential learning towards the realization of course goals.

Within its new strategic framework, Middlebury has identified place-based experiential learning and curricular flexibility/organizational nimbleness as two of its six strategic directions.  These topics are, therefore, a high priority for the College community as its members discuss future educational policy and reconsider coursework and other essential aspects of the student experience.  Our December reverse roundtable is one way to contribute to the larger process of achieving those strategic directions. We invite you to give voice to what’s already happening on campus with experiential learning as well as what changes might now be necessary to broaden, deepen, and strengthen the practices followed by faculty and staff in this area.

So, for those of you who have already embraced experiential learning (however you define it), we’d like to hear from you on December 11th.  We’ll tackle several of the following questions in our discussion:

  • what are you already doing to make experiential learning work for students?
  • what kind of impact do you see it having?
  • how do you measure success in this area?
  • what can we all learn from what you have tried before?
  • what support or resources do you need to sustain or improve your work?
  • and how we can all work better together on this front?

And for those of you who don’t feel like you’re an expert in this area, feel free to attend as well, to listen and learn with the rest of us.

Please come for lunch, (please RSVP here by Friday, December 7th.  Food will be ready by noon.) Once you’re well-fed, we’ll be ready to listen, probe, and record your reflections on this important subject.  We are eager to learn from you and to begin to build a broad community of practice around this important pedagogical approach.  We are also keen to explore with you how curricular flexibility and organizational nimbleness could influence your work as an experiential educator and might lead to greater shifts in the larger College curriculum.

To get the juices flowing and to provide us with some helpful information beforehand, we invite you also to contribute to a Google Doc, which contains two questions for you to answer in advance about your thoughts on experiential learning.


Difficult Classroom Conversations

Tuesday, November 13, 12:15-1:30pm in CTLR- LIB 225

In this session, Renee Wells (Director of Education for Equity and Inclusion), James Sanchez (WRPR), and Tara Affolter (Ed Studies) will offer their own experiences and some advice on managing difficult discussions.  Please bring your own stories, concerns, or questions to this conversation.  We hope that this gathering will contribute to faculty’s development as teachers and mentors, helping us all to feel more confident and competent in introducing tough topics in class and knowing how to handle difficult conversations when they bubble up on their own.  As educators, we should strive to help students effectively process conflict that may develop in our classrooms, somewhere else on campus, or beyond these walls.  This roundtable event is one element of that larger effort.

Lunch will be provided. Please rsvp for lunch here by 4 pm Friday, November 9th.

Responding to Student Writing  

Tues 10/9, 12:15-1:30pm in CTLR- LIB 225

In this session, Jim Berg (ENAM, FYS) and Shawna Shapiro (WRPR, LNGT) will discuss how they respond to students at various phases in the writing process. We will share activities and tools that can be used during or outside of class, by both instructors and peers. We will also address common questions, such as: What kinds of response are most useful to students? How can I respond in a timely and efficient way?  How can I encourage students to transfer what they learn from one assignment into the next?

Lunch will be provided. Please rsvp for lunch here by 4 pm Friday, September 29th.