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We are thrilled to host Professor Sara Hendren (Olin College of Engineering) as the keynote speaker for our Excellence in Teaching Day event being held this May.

Excellence in Teaching Day: May 9

After nearly three years since our last on-campus Excellence in Teaching Day, we are delighted to be able to hold ETD 2022 in person in Gasson Hall on May 9 from 9:00 - 4:00. We’ll share full details about our line-up of breakout sessions – including a hands-on design workshop in the afternoon – in our April newsletter. In the meantime, read below about this year’s keynote and the overall theme for the day.

Who is the Classroom Built For?

In the introduction to her book, What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World, Sara Hendren asks of a world fundamentally changed by a global pandemic: “Is a desirable future one that only restores what was lost? Or is it a new set of possibilities asking to be imagined, or reimagined?” Hendren, an artist turned design researcher, invites her readers to explore that question through the lens of design — inviting us to ask of everyday objects and spaces, “Who is the built world built for?”

For Excellence in Teaching Day this year, we’re taking up Hendren’s invitation to ask, “Who is the classroom built for?” How do the choices we make as we design and teach our courses shape what kind of learning – and learners – can find a place in our classrooms? Building on the recent uptick in interest across campus in the role of design in higher education, ETD this year will feature faculty from a range of disciplines sharing the various ways they’ve “rebuilt” how they approach teaching and mentoring.

Keynote: Sara Hendren

Associate Professor of Arts, Humanities and Design at Olins College of Engineering, Sara Hendren is a humanist in tech — an artist and design researcher who bridges engineering and the arts in pursuit of sharper questions about human capacity, worth, and interdependence. Her lunchtime keynote, “The Agency to Build: Ideas for the Convivial Classroom,” will draw on research in disability studies and critical design to reflect on the classroom as a site of cross-disciplinary encounter.

Hendren’s book What Can A Body Do? was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR and won a 2021 Science in Society Journalism award. Her art and design work has been widely exhibited in museum exhibitions and is held in the permanent collections at MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt. In 2021-22, she is Lecturer in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design and a fellow in Education Policy at the New America think tank, where she is researching the future of work for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Book Discussion

If you’d like a chance to discuss Hendren’s work in advance of her keynote, we’ll be holding an informal lunchtime conversation about the first chapter of What Can a Body Do? on Tuesday, April 26 at noon. All who RSVP for the lunch will receive a copy of Hendren’s book. Find full registration information online.

This Week: Navigating Self-Disclosure

Our next Teaching Roundtable invites Tara Casebolt (Global Health) and Stacy Grooters (CTE) to kick off a conversation about how self-disclosure and teaching personae operate in the classroom. Whether you’re informed by the “coming out” narratives of queer and disabled instructors or the need to maintain appropriate boundaries with your students, we’re looking forward to thinking together about why and how instructors craft their teaching identities. Learn more and register for Navigating Self-Disclosure in the Classroom, on Wednesday, March 16, from 2:00 - 3:00.

New Faculty Seminar: Assignment Design

This month’s New Faculty Seminar on Teaching will meet on March 23 from 10:00 - 11:00 in the CTE’s Innovation Lab to discuss strategies for designing more impactful assignments and communicating them effectively to students. After an introduction to the latest research on assignment design, faculty will have the chance to discuss their own assignment approaches with colleagues. Register online for Better Assignment Design.

Cohort Applications Due March 15

The CTE is still accepting applications for its 2022-23 Faculty Cohorts on Teaching program, which bring faculty together for a year-long exploration of a pedagogical question or approach. Next year’s cohorts will focus on “Applying Learning Sciences to Our Teaching” and “Teaching for Inclusion and Social Justice.” All Boston College faculty are eligible, and participants receive a $2,500 stipend. Find further details and registration information on the CTE website.

Take a Break in the CTE Lounge

We’ve recently rearranged our space in O’Neill 250 to create a new lounge area, open to faculty looking for a place to take a break between classes or while waiting for a CTE program. So feel free to stop by, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and browse the books in our teaching collection.

Teaching and Mentoring Expense Grants

The University Council on Teaching (UCT) will be accepting applications for Teaching and Mentoring Expense (TAME) grants through April 22 (click the “Deadlines'' tab to find the application form). TAME funds may be used for almost any expense related to the improvement of teaching, advising or mentoring of BC students (up to $2,000). For instance, funds may be used for supplies or equipment not covered by departmental budgets or faculty development at teaching-oriented workshops. Contact Joanne Nesdekidis with questions.

Panel: Formative Education in Community

Faculty and administrators are invited to join the Initiatives for Formative Education panel presentation on “Formative Education in Community” on Wednesday, March 30 from 4:00 - 5:30 in Gasson 100. Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey (Learning to Learn), Dean Kate Gregory (CSON), and Dan Ponsetto (Volunteer & Service Learning Center) will have a conversation about the connections between our own formation and the formative education experience we bring to our work and the BC community. Please register online. Contact Margaret Laurence with any questions.

Forum on Academic Freedom

The BCAAUP — in partnership with History, Political Science, and the ILA — is hosting a Forum on Academic Freedom and Campus Speech on March 15 from 5:00 - 7:00. The first of three events on AAUP priorities, the forum will consist of a panel discussion with Kent Greenfield (Law), Patricia Lowe (OID), Shep Melnick (Political Science), and Lindsey O'Rourke (Political Science), followed by Q&A with the audience. The event is being held on Zoom and you can register to attend online. Questions can be directed to Yonder Gillihan.

Center for Teaching Excellence
140 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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