The Junior Faculty Conversations on Teaching are designed to provide faculty in their first years at BC an opportunity to reflect on their teaching in conversation with colleagues from across the university. These informal, lunchtime sessions are held throughout the academic year and focus on a different broad topic or question each month. Faculty are welcome to attend as few or as many of the lunches as they would like.
For the Fall 2017 semester, the discussions were scheduled as follows:
Teaching After Charlottesville
Tuesday, September 26, 12-1 p.m.
Following the hatred and bigotry recently on display in Charlottesville, faculty across the country have been questioning whether and how they might address the current racial climate with their students this fall. For our kick-off meeting of this year’s Junior Faculty Conversations on Teaching, we invite faculty in their first years at BC to join us for a conversation about how we’re approaching our classes in the wake of Charlottesville.
If you’d like to do a little reading in advance of the conversation, here are a few suggestions:
- “Professors See Charlottesville as a Starting Point for Discussions on Race” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
- “There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times” (NCTE)
- Teaching After Charlottesville (Vanderbilt University)
Managing Digital Distractions
Wednesday, October 18, 12-1 p.m.
As studies increasingly point to the negative impact that digital devices in the classroom can have on student learning, more and more faculty are choosing to ban laptops from their classrooms. However, not everyone believes that these kinds of restrictions are in the best interests of our students. For this month’s Junior Faculty Conversation on Teaching, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of classroom technology bans and how best to engage students no matter what technology is present.
- “The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom” (The New Yorker)
- “No, Banning Laptops is Not the Answer” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Grading Fairly in the Era of Grade Inflation
Thursday, November 9, 12-1 p.m.
One consequence of the rising specter of grade inflation is that faculty face increasing demands from their departments to keep their grade distributions in check. Whether in the form of gentle feedback from a chair or in an explicit departmental policy, faculty can feel pressured to find ways to lower grades, even when they see the majority of their students mastering course content. In our final fall Junior Faculty Conversation on Teaching, we’ll discuss how different departments at BC approach grade norming and how faculty can meet departmental expectations while still supporting their students’ learning.
- “In Praise of Grading on a Curve” (The Washington Post)
- “Why We Should Stop Grading Students on a Curve” (The New York Times)