OFA group

OFA Former Groups

Summer 2020: The OFA summer writing group

Faculty pursuing research and writing goals are invited to sit quietly and write together. The 90 minutes will begin with some brief conversation, goal-setting, and then we will write quietly, “together” on Zoom, until we come together again at the end for a five-minute closing. Some materials to support writing and engagement will also be provided. But the time itself is for writing. 14 sessions.

SPRING 2020 Reading group: teaching and learning

FALL 2019: OFA reading group

Verschelden, Cia. Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2017.

Book description: This book argues that the cognitive resources for learning oof over half our young people have been diminished by the negative effects of economic insecurity, discrimination, and hostility against nonmajority groups based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and other aspects of difference.

Recognizing that these students are no different than their peers in terms of cognitive capacity, Verschelden presents strategies for promoting a growth mind-set and self-efficacy, developing supports that build upon students’ values and prior knowledge, creating learning environments in and out of the classroom so students can feel a sense of belonging and community.

 


Berg, Maggie and Barbara K. Seeber. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. University of Toronto Press, 2016.

2nd Cohort! Due to demand from our Spring club gathering on this book, we are re-running a new cohort for FALL 2019. Space is strictly limited and there are remote participation opportunities (if you can’t make F2F meetings).

This book club is being done in collaboration with the NYU School of Professional Studies and their Center for Academic Excellence, and a selection of their faculty members who will read the book in tandem with our group and join in discussions via remote conference meetings. This will encourage perspective-taking, self-care in our professional and personal domains, and what it means to build a community to enrich the discussion on university climate, professional development, and challenges that may impede our teaching, research, or building of community at our respective campuses. The goal is to develop a sense of universality as well as individual experiences that tell the story of what it means to be a professor in our current academic climate. 

Book description: If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatization of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship.

In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the Slow Movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Focusing on the individual faculty member and his or her own professional practice, Berg and Seeber present both an analysis of the culture of speed in the academy and ways of alleviating stress while improving teaching, research, and collegiality.

Spring 2019

Berg, Maggie and Barbara K. Seeber. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Book description: If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatization of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship.

In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the Slow Movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Focusing on the individual faculty member and his or her own professional practice, Berg and Seeber present both an analysis of the culture of speed in the academy and ways of alleviating stress while improving teaching, research, and collegiality.

Fall 2018

Cavanagh, Sarah Rose. The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion. West Virginia University Press, 2016.

Book description: Historically we have constructed our classrooms with the assumption that learning is a dry, staid affair best conducted in quiet tones and ruled by an unemotional consideration of the facts. The field of education, however, is beginning to awaken to the potential power of emotions to fuel learning, informed by contributions from psychology and neuroscience. In friendly, readable prose, Sarah Rose Cavanagh argues that if you as an educator want to capture your students’ attention, harness their working memory, bolster their long-term retention, and enhance their motivation, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she brings to bear a wide range of evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience, and she provides practical examples of successful classroom activities from a variety of disciplines in secondary and higher education.

Spring 2018

Lang, James M. Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. Jossey-Bass, 2016.

Lang observes that “I frequently felt the urge to shake up my teaching practices with radical new innovations, [but] I mostly didn’t” (3). He notes that most of us don’t have the time to make big changes to our courses, even while we want to try something new. Small Changes argues that we don’t have to overhaul our courses in order to incorporate effective activities and approaches that more deeply engage our students. So what does he suggest we do?

This book discussion group will focus on analyzing, trying out and critiquing Lang’s suggestions for small teaching. We will consider our own experiences as learners and instructors, and discuss how this reading may impact our teaching practice. There will be optional, research-driven supplemental readings and multimedia materials to round out our discussions and to consider best practices.

Fall 2015

Lubrano, Alfred. Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams. New York: Wiley, 2005. Print.

Book description: In the vein of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, this powerful work of narrative nonfiction uncovers a cultural phenomenon – the limbo existence of people raised in blue-collar families, living white-collar lives. Its approach is threefold: first, the personal story of the author himself, a working-class kid from Brooklyn who crossed over to the middle class after attaining an Ivy-League education; second, a distillation of thought about class and mobility from leading experts; and finally, and most importantly, the stories of more than 100 interviewees, all “Straddlers” struggling with the duality that exists in their workplace, their hearts and their minds.