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.
The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to providing equal access to its events and programs. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids Today: Teaching the Post-Millennial Generation
Wednesday, September 12, 12:00-1:00
Jean Twenge writes that the majority of undergraduates today — “iGens” who spent their adolescence with smartphones always within reach — are entering adulthood more committed to individualism and tolerance than previous generations, but less independent and less happy than their predecessors. In our first Junior Faculty Conversation of the year, we’ll discuss the particular opportunities and challenges we find teaching this new generation and share strategies for reaching them. We’ll also consider the question of how to find the balance between meeting students where they are and maintaining our expectations for academic performance.
The Role of Civility in the Classroom
Tuesday, October 16, 12:00-1:00
Recent calls for greater civility on the political stage — and rebuttals arguing that such demands serve to silence the powerless — invite us to consider whether and how civility should play a role in our classrooms. Most faculty are invested in creating learning environments in which students can engage in rigorous yet respectful debate, but they can struggle to know how to police the boundaries of “respect.” In our October conversation, we’ll share our own approaches to defining acceptable classroom conduct and discuss ideas for improving the classroom climate for all our students.
Learning Smarter: What the Science of Learning Teaches Us
Thursday, November 29, 12:00-1:00
As Silvia Bunge reminded us in her 2015 Excellence in Teaching Day keynote, the study habits our students bring from high school — as well as the teaching habits many of us have inherited — are not always effective in helping students meet the learning demands of higher education. Luckily, recent findings from cognitive psychology and other learning sciences suggest that even small adjustments in our pedagogy can lead to learning gains for students. For example, spacing out practice so that students can better test their recall of what they’ve learned, incorporating “desirable difficulties” into the learning process, and helping students self-assess their own mastery have all been shown to improve learning outcomes. In our final conversation of the semester, we’ll briefly review some of these findings and then discuss possible strategies for implementing them in our classrooms.