2019 Retreat Schedule

Each day involves a plenary session in the morning followed by smaller, more targeted sessions and syllabus workshops.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Please arrive at the Main Barn by 9:45 am – (we will check into our rooms after 3 pm)

10:00 – Welcome – Amy Morsman

10:05 – 11:15 – Plenary – The Challenges of Teaching: Our Students, Our Culture, & Our Learning Goals

In this interactive plenary we will (a) describe some learning challenges our students may be experiencing, some personal, some brought about by the world in which we live, (b) learn about the support mechanisms in place — Deans, CTLR, and (c) collectively discuss what we all see as challenging issues on our campus. How might we work together towards “an embodied way of being that allows us to listen deeply to each other, to consider perspectives that we might have thought way outside our own worldviews, to practice patience and attentiveness that allow people to do their best work, to go beyond the given, the expected, status quo” (Teaching With Tenderness: Towards an Embodied Practice, Becky Thompson, U of Illinois Press, 2017)? Joining us for this session will be Deans AJ Place &  Emily Van Mistri, Research Librarians Carrie MacFarlane, Leanne Galletly, and Ryan Clement, and Assistant Professors Kristina Sargent (ECON) and Erin Eggleston (BIO).


(Facilitated by Jim Ralph, Director of CTLR, Dean for Faculty Development and Research, and Rehnquist Professor of American History and Culture and Hector Vila, Assoc Prof, WRPR & CTLR)

11:15 – 11:40 – Small groups & Sharing out – sharing, talking, reading… – Main Barn


12:00 – 2:00 – Working Lunch: Executive Function Support: A Path to Equity and Excellence – Main Barn (Please bring 4 copies of your syllabus to lunch.)

Given the ever-increasing diversity of our student body, how can we as educators adapt to make sure that our classes are accessible and that each student has the opportunity to succeed? While we eat lunch, Jennifer Bates, Director of Learning Resources, will answer that question, showcasing the role of executive function support in our teaching.  By the end of the hour, you will have a framework for using executive function support as an inclusive approach to improving learning for you and all your students.  

Following lunch, we will have time for reflection on what we have learned so far and how we might apply that learning to our syllabi in the first small-group Syllabus Workshop (1:00 – 2:00).


2:10 – 3:00 – Concurrent Sessions

#1 – Designing Assignments that Support Learner Variability Main Barn

Looking for strategies to support the diverse learning needs that students bring to your classroom? In this session, we’ll use Universal Design for Learning as a framework to guide the design of assignments that account for learner variability and promote the success of all learners. We’ll also consider how, from a UDL perspective, digital tools can be used to support learners, and where they may present barriers to learning. During the hands-on portion of the workshop, we’ll work together to identify barriers that might exist in our own assignments and address those barriers using the UDL principles. Please feel free to bring an assignment (on paper or laptop) that you’d like to revise.

(Facilitated by Sarah C. Lohnes Watulak, Ed.D. Director of Digital Pedagogy and Media | Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ))

#2 – How to Teach Writing—Field Notes from 25 Plus Years of Teaching Writing at Middlebury – Barn Loft

In this workshop, we will consider:

  • What you should ask yourself about writing before the semester begins.
  • How, when and why you should assign writing.
  • How to tackle that stack of papers when you receive them.

(Facilitated by MaryEllen Bertolini, Director of the Writing Center, WRPR & CTLR)

#3– How Students Experience the Library: What We’ve Learned about Students and What It Could Mean to YouSouth Lobby

New practices in user experience research coupled with years of informal observation have provided us with a more holistic understanding of how Middlebury students experience the library. We’ve guided students through the anxieties and breakthroughs of the research process. We’ve followed them (with permission!) as they’ve honed their navigation skills in the library stacks. We’ve designed focus groups to get a better understanding of how they use library websites and databases like MIDCAT and JSTOR. The library has changed the way we do things based on what we’ve learned, and now it’s your turn to learn!  In this interactive workshop, we’ll hear first from Professor Matt Lawrence, who will describe adjustments he made to his courses after he gained a fuller perspective on students and the library. Then, Librarians Leanne and Ryan will share what we know about the student experience of the research process, the libraries, and library websites. We’ll use a variety of table exercises to make it easy to brainstorm with colleagues about what our findings might mean for your course design, assignments, syllabi, teaching, and more.

(Facilitated by Carrie MacFarlane, Director of Research & Instruction, Leanne Galletly, User Experience & Digital Scholarship Librarian, Ryan Clement, Data Services Librarian, and Matt Lawrence, Asst. Professor of Sociology )


3:10 – 3:40 – Syllabus groups (continuation of lunch workshop)

3:40 – Inn Registration & Open Time (visit the lake, walk the grounds, write, relax)

5:30 – 6:30 – Reception – Main Barn

6:30 – Dinner – Main Barn

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Please check out of your room just before or after breakfast.

7:30 – 8:30 – Breakfast – Highland Dining Room & Terrace, Main Lodge


8:45 – 9:15 – Bias in the Classroom — Main Barn

This session will provide an overview of ways bias can manifest in the classroom, including in course content, in course dynamics, and in course pedagogy. We will explore the impact that various types of bias can have on the classroom environment and on student engagement and learning. We will also spend time discussing ways to critically examine how we approach these components of our courses and strategies we can use to reduce bias in our process.

(facilitated by Renee Wells, Director of Education for Equity and Inclusion)

9:30 – 10:30 – Plenary – From Scholarship to Pedagogy – Main Barn

In this plenary, we will explore the challenges, methods, and rewards of working to incorporate scholarship into teaching. Following a brief overview and introduction, faculty members James Sanchez, Natalie Eppelsheimer, and Florence Feiereisen will describe their experience as a way for all participants to explore opportunities scholarship offers pedagogy.

(Facilitated by Jim Ralph, Director of CTLR, Dean for Faculty Development and Research, and Rehnquist Professor of American History and Culture)


10:45 – 11:30 – Concurrent Sessions –

#1 – Crafting and Scaffolding Assignments (To Produce Writing You Actually Want To Read!)Barn Loft

Research shows that a mix of informal and formal writing assignments, scaffolded within a class, can lead to better thinking and writing by students. In this session, we offer strategies for developing writing assignments that fit with your pedagogical goals, and for supporting students in meeting those goals. We’ll look at sample assignment sequences within the context of small and large classes. We’ll touch on genre expectations, student writing processes, and grading criteria that might be part of an assignment, and we will provide follow up materials for other writing-related activities and topics.

(Facilitated by Catharine Wright, Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric/GSFS and Shawna Shapiro, Director of Writing and Rhetoric Program, Associate Professor of Writing & Linguistics)

#2 – Universal Design: Considering the SyllabusMain Barn

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that aims to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all students. The syllabus is an opportunity for every faculty to set the class climate, outline learning expectations and discuss options and accessibility. A UDL constructed syllabus can demonstrate there are multiple paths for learning and success in the course. Learn how to design a syllabus based on the principles of UDL and create it in your Canvas course site.

(Facilitated by Bill Koulopoulos, Director, Academic Technology and Heather Stafford, Multimedia/Curricular Tech)

#3 – Teaching Students to Write Like a ScientistSouth Lobby

Clarity, focus, and concision are hallmarks of most successful writing, but students must also learn the distinct protocols for writing in the academic disciplines they are studying.  Using experiences and examples from the natural and social sciences, we will introduce a few key aspects of “genre analysis,” a systematic approach for teaching writing in the disciplines.  Genre analysis helps students to build writing skills that are transferrable across disciplines and genres.

(Facilitated by Molly Costanza-Robinson, Professor, Env. Studies & Chemistry/Biochem )


11:40 – 12:30 – Workshops: Syllabi and Assignments – Main Barn

(Please bring 4 copies of your syllabus. This is our final opportunity to give and get feedback on Fall semester syllabi and the new ideas we are bringing to them.)

12:30 – 2:00 – Conclusion & Lunch – Main Barn


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