2007-2008 Events

Spring 2008

Spring 2007

Fall 2007

Spring 2008

  • Michael Jones - Successful Mentoring of Undergraduate Students on Research Projects
  • Scott Kight - Using Controversy To Develop Intellectual Sophistication: Lessons From Evolutionary Biology
  • Ken Bain and James Zimmerman - Interactive Lecturing
  • David Radosevich - Enhancing Assessment of the Learning Process
  • Ken Bain and James Zimmerman - Case-Based Learning
  • Milton Fuentes - Diversity in the Classroom

Spring 2007

Title: Creating a Comfortable Learning Environment
Who:Meredyth Appelbaum, Assistant Professor, Psychology
Description: How can we better foster student learning by understanding more about our students and their backgrounds? How can we create a comfortable learning environment in which students will rise to our expectations? How can we work with our students to foster deeper learning? Come join the discussion and help initiate a dialogue on the assumptions we make about our students and how we can create a more comfortable learning environment to foster greater learning.

Title: How to Develop the Great Lecture
Who: Ken Bain, Vice Provost for Instruction, Director of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center, and Professor of History
Description: The venerable college lecture has been both maligned and revered in recent years, caught between those who say it is an outdated and ineffective form of teaching and those who use it with conviction and success. The critics have raised important questions, yet even some of the harshest critics still talk to their students, making explanations and asking questions. For most faculty, a lecture is still the primary means of instruction. What can we learn from some of the best lecturers, those people who have enormous success in using the lecture to capture students' interest and attention and to help them learn? In this highly interactive session, participants will have a chance to examine videotaped excerpts of some highly successful lecturers, to explore some of the secrets to their success, and to work on applying those secrets to their own lectures. Participants should emerge from the discussions with a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses as lecturers and with some very specific ideas they can implement immediately. Enrollment is limited. Facilitated by Ken Bain, and based on his study of outstanding teachers at various universities.

Title: How to Create a Promising Syllabus
Who: Ken Bain, Vice Provost for Instruction, Director of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center, and Professor of History
Description: Can the make-up of the syllabus influence how students learn? What does the research on human learning and motivation suggest about how best to create a stimulating syllabus? What kind of syllabus do highly successful teachers use--those who have enormous success in fostering deep student learning? What can we learn from one another about constructing a great syllabus. Bring your favorite syllabus and join the discussion. This seminar will help participants consider the values of a new form of syllabus that reflects the findings of the learning sciences and the practices of highly successful teachers. Enrollment is limited. Facilitated by Ken Bain, and based on his study of outstanding teachers at various universities.

Title: Facebooking My Space: An Introduction to New Technologies and Their Impact on University Life and Learning
Who: Dana Wilber, Assistant Professor, ECELE Department
Facebooking MySpace: Workshop Presentation (PPT)
Description: This one-hour seminar is designed to introduce faculty to a variety of technologies of interest to our students (Instant Messaging, Facebook, MySpace, text messaging) and then to a conversation about the centrality of these technologies to our students’ lives. Through this workshop, participants will be asked to consider the uses of technology by their students for nonacademic purposes as a possible bridge in helping support students academically. The presentation will include examples of uses of blogs and blogging in my courses, as well as other potential uses of blogs and wikis (as well as podcasts and other technologies if time allows) as technologies well suited to higher education and student learning, particularly for the students we have at Montclair State. Throughout, I will include recent research on technology uses by college-age students, work on the integration of technology in higher ed, and research on the literacy skills of graduates.

Title: Second Life: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning in a Virtual World
Who: Laura Nicosia, Assistant Professor, English Department w/ AJ Kelton, Director, CHSS Technology Services
Description: SecondLife, and other Massively Multi-user Virtual Worlds (MMVWs), are just now hitting the horizon of popular culture. Many technology gurus and high-recognition companies are investing time and money in the profound impact of this “Blackboard-on-steroids” application. This workshop will explore several potential benefits of the synchronous and constructivist learning environments that are possible in SecondLife. Additionally, the workshop will discuss pedagogical strategies to engage critical thinking, scaffold prior knowledge, and foster collaboration within virtual learning worlds.

Title: "The Pedagogy of Participation," or, What I Learned During My First Semester of Teaching at Montclair State University from the Gen Ed Students in HIST 110-02, Introduction to American Civilization.
Who: Neil Baldwin, Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at MSU and Co-Chair of the American Studies Task Force.
Description: The academic syllabus I constructed for this class was exhaustive and comprehensive, covering broad themes in American History from the Puritans to the Cold War. However, during the course of the semester, the emphasis shifted to an equally useful goal, as the students gained satisfying insights into how to think analytically and creatively while I shaped the discussion of the subject matter to conform more readily to their unique 'Millennial' minds. These many cultural perceptions and teaching strategies have applications far beyond the boundaries of one particular class -- all the more reason for me to share them with the Seminar participants.

Fall 2007

Title: Improving Student Writing
Who: Lee Behlman, Assistant Professor, English
When: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 2:15 - 3:15pm Registration required. Enrollment Limited.
Description: A practice-based discussion and workshop on how to help students improve the focus and expressiveness of their academic writing. Subjects addressed will include constructing writing assignments, teaching thesis-writing, and mechanical writing issues.

Title: How Do We Know if Montclair State is Doing Well?
Who: Ken Bain, Vice Provost for Instruction and Director, Research Academy for University Learning; Professor, History
When: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - 2:15 - 3:15pm Registration required. Enrollment Limited.
Description: As Montclair, and all institutions of higher learning, face increasing pressures to demonstrate their worth--from the government, public, and accreditation agencies--we must ask ourselves what kind of learning we hope to foster. Indeed, any educational institution of high quality must constantly assess what it is doing based upon clear and worthy objectives. That assessment begins with a discussion of what we are trying to achieve. What do we want our students to be able to do intellectually, physically, and emotionally as a result of getting an education at Montclair State University? What do we expect them to be able to do as a result of taking any of our classes? In this highly interactive discussion, we will begin to explore questions of learning outcomes and assessment. This discussion will be valuable to any professor who wishes to improve student learning. But it will also be extremely valuable, and an essential step, in the development of an assessment process for the University. This is partly an epistemological inquiry into the nature of knowing, but it is also a scholarly inquiry into the nature of our educational objectives. In this seminar, we will have an opportunity to explore some of the ways that others have begun to think about a university education as we continue to craft our own definitions.

Title: Shock and Awe: The Risks and Benefits of the Socratic Method
Who: Aditya Adarkar, Assistant Professor, Classics & General Humanities and David Benfield, Professor, Philosophy & Religion
When: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 10:00 - 11:00am Registration required. Enrollment Limited.
Description: An examination of the actual Socratic method as Socrates employed it in Plato’s dialogue Meno. Participants will be asked to read the first few pages (70a to 86c) of Socrates’s conversation with Meno. Near the end of the selection Socrates asks a series of questions of a young servant in Meno’s house. The young man first discovers that he doesn’t know how to double a square and he becomes bewildered or stung/numbed by Socrates’ questions. Then by asking further questions Socrates is able to bring the young man to a state in which he understands that a square constructed on the diagonal of a given square will be double the given square in size. Did Socrates “teach” the young man how to double the square? Was it necessary to numb the young man first? What can we learn about learning and teaching from Socrates the teacher? The seminar will explore these exciting issues.

Title: Pedagogies of Engagement & Participation: Learning Objectives & Learning in Context
Who: Christine Lemesianou, Chairperson, Communication Studies When: Monday, September 17, 2007 - 12:15 - 1:15pm
Where: Sprague Library, Special Collections Room
Description: Course-related projects are one of the fundamental ways educators engage students and assess learning. The challenge is to construct meaningful and rigorous projects that resonate with our students, spark their intellectual, civic, and professional growth, and create the conditions for “significant learning.” Through specific examples of individual and group-based projects (writing research papers, conducting research, creating multimedia documentaries, making oral presentations), this seminar will help participants explore the creation of learning objectives that tap into the cognitive, affective, and pragmatic domains for their courses and how to best design instruction and projects that meet these objectives. Bring your favorite project to share.

Title: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog? A Theory-Based Method for Assessing the Pedagogical Usefulness of Technology.
Who: James A. Zimmerman, Associate Director, the Research Academy for University Learning; Associate Professor, Chemistry
When: Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 1:15 - 2:15pm
Description: Many would claim that the useful application of technology during the twentieth century has been a contributing factor in the increased influence of western culture in the world. Recently, companies concerned with applied technology have turned their gaze towards higher education and have flooded the market with items “guaranteed” to improve academic learning environments. Colleges and Universities have responded by pouring millions of dollars into instructional technology budgets. But do these educational technology products deliver observable results, or is technology a false promise? Far from suggesting all instructors should subscribe to neo-luddite doctrine, this program will discuss a methodology that utilizes Lee Shulman’s research insights1. Through the implementation of this method, instructors can shift the discussion from the merits of technology itself to the ability of technology to facilitate the realization of intended student learning outcomes. Examples using this methodology will be shared. 1Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.

Title: Calculus in Context: Mathematics Preparation for the Sciences
Who: Diana Thomas, Associate Professor, Mathematical Sciences
When: Monday, October 15, 2007 - 1:15 - 2:15pm
Description: Service based mathematics courses for the sciences are pre-requisites for many upper level courses in hopes that they will adequately prepare students to use mathematics as a tool to solve scientific problems. In spite of these pre-requisites, faculty find that students are unable to use mathematics comfortably to problem solve. This workshop will address how we can teach mathematics courses to students to prepare them for the challenges of using mathematics to solve problems in upper level mathematics and science courses. Results of a faculty survey will be used to develop the workshop. Faculty members who are interested in addressing student mathematical issues and concerns are encouraged to contact me prior to the workshop date for maximal input. This workshop should be of interest to anyone teaching any course that involves some mathematics, and of particular interest to anyone in the College of Science and Mathematics.

"Disaster, Race and American Politics: Teaching and Learning from Katrina" - Friday, November 9, 2007 - 11:30am

Melissa Harris-Lacewell Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies Princeton University University Hall, Room 1020, First Floor, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

How can we create Natural Critical Learning Environments for our students? How can we embed the learning objectives of a course in a topic or question that our students already find fascinating? In the fall semester of 2006, Professor Harris-Lacewell and her students at Princeton University used the events surrounding Katrina and its aftermath to explore many of the fault lines within American society and politics. The course used disaster and its racial consequences to analyze a wide range of topics in the study of American politics, including African American literary responses to disaster; American racial history; the contemporary racial divide in American public opinion; the role of the media in politics; federalism; urban politics; and civil society in the United States. The experience had a profound influence on many of the students who participated, leading many of them into activities and explorations that went far beyond the original goals of the course. In this discussion of her course, Professor Harris-Lacewell will explore how she used exploration of an event in which students were already interested to motivate them to think deeply about longstanding topics in her discipline--and the unexpected student responses.

For more information on the powerful and innovative student-generated outcomes of this course, visit http://wegotguts.com

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, and her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. She has taught at the University of Chicago and Princeton.

This lecture is the first in a three-part Visiting Scholars portion of the Provost's Series that includes the following: Joshua Aronson, Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University, March 10, 2008. Keynote: Donald Saari, UCI Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Economics, University of California-Irvine, April 2008.