Curricular Innovation Social Hour

The first day of TLISI 2016 came to a close on Monday, May 23rd, with a social hour focused on curricular innovation at Georgetown. In the Healey Family Student Center Great Room, faculty and staff conversed with one another about exciting curricular changes occurring around campus.

Kathryn Temple (English) showcased how the university is rethinking doctoral education in the humanities. Her work, in addition to that presented by seven other faculty, is part of a larger project called “Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers,” a national program led by the Modern Language Association and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Together with two other institutions—the University of California Humanities Research Institute and Arizona State University—Georgetown is working to prepare language and literature doctoral students for both academic and non-academic careers by expanding their studies beyond the university.

Many professors utilized the social hour to showcase their efforts to dramatically change the humanities at Georgetown. Mary Helen Depree (German), for example, displayed a compelling course new to her department. In “Private Lives/Public VirtuesInterpreting The Long 18th Century,” students attempt to frame new ways of thinking about the complicated distinctions between public and private. While structured with a specific emphasis on the 18th Century, the interdisciplinary course exposes the relationship between cultural norms and individual experiences far beyond a single century.

The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service (CSJ) and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) joined Connected Academics in presenting, although their focus was on transforming pedagogy at the undergraduate level. Amanda Munroe, Social Justice Curriculum and Pedagogy Coordinator at the CSJ, talked with attendees about community-based learning (CBL) courses, social justice course infusions, and “UNXD 130 CBL: Social Action,” a one-credit opportunity for students to tie classroom learning to community-based work. Tabling for CMEA, Daviree Velázquez and Leslie Hinkson (Sociology) spoke with faculty about A Different Dialogue, a program aimed at helping students foster positive, meaningful, and sustained cross-group relationships through facilitated dialogue about difference.

CNDLS is thankful to those who contributed to a successful and enlightening social hour, especially to our presenters, who shared their knowledge and time with us.

Intersectionality and Students of Color at Georgetown

In “Who Are Georgetown Students,” led by Daviree Velázquez and Devita Bishundat of the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, what began as an overview of statistics surrounding Georgetown undergraduate students of color, captured through admissions data, was re-illuminated through a lens of critical social theories, supplemented by personal narratives. Populations such as first generation college students and high financial need students were conceptually presented to attendees, with a thorough explanation of intersectionality as an appropriate theoretical framework allowing all facets of an individual student’s identity to affect their experience on campus.

A series of case studies was presented to attendees to work through in groups, comprising anonymized student narratives of concerns having to do with such issues as imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, onlyness, internalized oppression, and microaggressions. As many of the Doyle IPC cohort were in attendance at this workshop, this useful new terminology was taken up by them for much of the remainder of the week in describing their personal goals for inclusive pedagogical practices.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Focus on Learning

On day one of TLISI 2016, Georgetown faculty from a diverse array of departments came together for Sherry Linkon’s first session on research-based teaching: “What Do We Want to Know About Student Learning?” Linkon, Faculty Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives and a member of the Department of English, described Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as trying to understand what “learning” looks like. Professors are facilitators of learning, and this is how they should make decisions about how to teach—a shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.

Sherry indicated that this diverse crowd of professors could all ask critical questions (What’s going on? What works? What if? How does it work?), and that these questions could be solved through research and evidence. She then posed a problem for the professors in attendance to try to solve using these questions. Professors were asked to think about difficulties with getting students to read the required material for their courses. Several professors indicated that they often encounter issues with student participation. Sherry asked everyone across disciplines to partner up and talk about their students’ critical reading. After an animated discussion among the small groups, the professors posted their questions around the walls of the classroom.

This exercise clearly gave the professors plenty to think about. Thank you to Sherry and all the faculty who attended this session! We are excited to know that Georgetown faculty care deeply about student learning and engagement.

Walking Tour on History of Slavery at Georgetown

On Monday, May 23, Matthew Quallen (SFS ’16), a member of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory & Reconciliation, led an historical walking tour of sites on and around campus linked to  the history of slavery at Georgetown. The tour grew out of a project with the John Carroll Scholarship and was offered in April as part of Georgetown’s DC Emancipation Day Symposium.

Quallen first took attendees to Freedom Hall, formerly Thomas Mulledy Hall, which now houses the Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy. “Events in 1838 link Thomas Mulledy at Georgetown to the sale of slaves to plantations in Louisiana,” he shared.

With limited time due to the rain, the group headed to a few old campus sites and offered history on Father Healy and Thomas Mulledy to contextualize the 1838 events, and ended with Quallen pointing out the Old College Ground just northwest of present day Red Square. This area, a current construction site, was a segregated burial ground used by Holy Trinity Parish. People there were buried based on race and class.

More information about this history can be found at the Georgetown Slavery Archive, a repository of materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown University, and slavery.

2016 Opens with Professor Shaun Harper: “Universities and the Mis-Education of White America: A Learning Imperative for Faculty and Administrators”

On Monday afternoon, CNDLS Executive Director Eddie Maloney welcomed TLISI attendees by expressing his excitement to bringing together people from across Georgetown campuses to think deeply about teaching and learning. He thanked the TLISI planning team and partners before welcoming Provost Groves to introduce Professor Shaun Harper, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and our keynote speaker.

In his own remarks, Groves expressed the hope that Harper’s talk would help carry further conversation on serious, sustained work toward equity in higher education, especially in light of the recent addition of the Engaging Diversity core requirement at Georgetown. “What can we do to make this community more open and equitable?” he asked. Through a collective awareness of challenges, he wants Georgetown to respond to students’ desire for these conversations.

After taking the stage, Harper opened his talk with how he looks to innovate the diversity imperative by discussing the white student.”Usually when we discuss the diversity imperative,” he said,”we are making sure there is representation.” He went on to address a question that many ask in response to his introduction,”Why are we talking about white students when discussing diversity in the 21st century classroom?” He framed his talk with this study on race bias by CNN wherein children assign negative attributes to dark skin.

Throughout his talk, Harper drew insights from the third chapter of his forthcoming book, Race Matters In College, and described what he refers to as”the mis-education of the white student.” Citing the importance of beginning conversations about race in the K-12 environment, Harper shared that from the toddler years, children are socialized—through media, school, and their parents—to ascribe problematic meaning to race. He offered an example of a well-intentioned parent reinforcing the idea that “we are all the same” and inadvertently invalidating different experiences and backgrounds that peers may carry with them.

Years down the road, such a “color blind” approach can come back to haunt students, as Harper described in his example of a student graduating from a top university who, when approached about having used the word “colored” to describe his black peers, was taken aback. Through this work, Harper is addressing the lack of racial consciousness present in education and wants to help institutions more effectively prepare students for leadership and citizenship in a diverse democracy.

Having established the need for more deliberate conversations on race in higher education environments, Harper offered several suggestions for addressing onlyness (the psychoemotional burden of being the only one of a social group in a given space), stereotype threat (a situational predicament in which people feel at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group), and microaggressions (casual, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to a certain social group), all of which are commons experiences for marginalized students. Of note was the suggestion that universities invite feedback from students of color on their experiences both on campus and in the classroom, as well as the statement that, simply, faculty and staff need to have these often difficult conversations about race with their peers. “Get feedback from colleagues at your institution or at another institution. Invite their perspective and advice,” he said. In order for spaces of higher education to create a racially inclusive climate and raise racial consciousness amongst students, faculty, staff, and administration need first to be able to talk to each other.

2016 Doyle Symposium: “Engaging Diversity, Building Peace, Changing Communities”

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the Doyle Engaging Difference Program hosted its seventh annual Doyle Symposium, which focused on the importance of engaging difference and creating inclusive communities in an era of increasing global interconnectedness. This year’s symposium drew nearly 200 students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet offered a keynote reflection on the history and development of the Peace Corps’ intentional engagement with interreligious and intercultural diversity. As Provost Bob Groves highlighted in his introductory remarks, Georgetown has a long-standing connection with the Peace Corps, with 29 Georgetown graduates currently volunteering worldwide and a total of 935 alumni volunteers having served since the agency’s founding in 1961.

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Hessler-Radelet opened her remarks noting that there “could not be anything more important in our world today than a discussion of engaging difference and diversity.”  An international service organization, the Peace Corps has sent nearly 220,000 volunteers to work in over 140 countries across the globe. Hessler-Radelet shared several stories of Peace Corps volunteers to highlight how they “learn to see the world through their community’s eyes” and are “transformed into global citizens.”

Hessler-Radelet emphasized the mission and goals of the Peace Corps, as well as her goal to have the volunteer corps reflect the diversity of the nation. Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion is a priority for the Peace Corps, evident through an agency-wide focus on  diversity recruitment, combatting intolerance through running trainings on Islamophobia,  and the establishment of a new Faith Initiative to support volunteers and staff. She emphasized that diversity drives innovation and creativity, and that diverse organizations are more resilient and productive. “Diversity is hard,” she acknowledged, and we have still “not come to terms with diversity.” She challenged the audience to recognize that it can be uncomfortable to engage diversity and it requires real, honest reflection and acceptance of one’s own biases. “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone,” she noted.

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Following Hessler-Radelet’s address, Vice President for Global Engagement and Director of the Berkley Center Thomas Banchoff provided additional reflections that emphasized the work of the Doyle Program to support this work here on campus – that engaging with difference “really means listening.” Banchoff sees Georgetown as a “community of discourse” that provides opportunities for reflection, action, and intellectual engagement around themes of difference and diversity.

Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) Edward Maloney introduced the afternoon’s panel of faculty and students. Maloney also highlighted Georgetown’s role as an international institution that strives to live out the Jesuit ideals of justice and community – whether across the globe or here in efforts on campus. Professor Michelle Ohnona (Women and Gender Studies, a former Doyle Faculty Fellow, CNDLS Faculty Fellow, and the university’s Diversity Requirement Coordinator), served as moderator. Ohnona emphasized her passion for teaching, learning, and pedagogy – noting that the classroom is a “space for transformation.”

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Ohnona was joined on the panel by three students: first-year Jasmin Ouseph (SFS ‘19) and seniors Joy Robertson (SFS ’16) and Caitlin Snell (COL ‘16). The students shared  their experiences working with diversity on campus and abroad. Ouseph is chair of the Georgetown University Student Association’s Racial and Cultural Inclusivity policy team, a diversity facilitator for Leaders in Education About Diversity, and also serves as an undergraduate representative on the administration’s Working Group on Racial Injustice. Robertson and Snell participated in Doyle student programs — the Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) and the Education and Social Justice Project (ESJ).  Both spoke about the impact of those experiences on their perspectives on diversity and culture. Robertson noted the ways studying abroad  encouraged her to find more upfront and tangible ways to engage difference on campus, and Snell spoke of the importance of being vulnerable and creating “not just safe spaces, but brave spaces.” The panelists considered how traditional classroom and faculty/student dynamics might need to be transformed as  audience questions challenged panelists to think about how difference can be productively recognized and embraced in the classroom.

Concluding with remarks from Michael Kessler, Managing Director of the Berkley Center, this year’s symposium offered a unique blend of global and local perspectives on the importance – and challenges – of engaging diversity in our communities, as well as the meaningful reflections and growth that all can experience when living and engaging intentionally with each other.

The Doyle Program will to continue to create opportunities — from the annual symposium to programs and events throughout the year — for reflecting, discussing, and sharing the ways we can engage difference in our lives to improve our campus and community.

Missed the event? You can view the full keynote address and faculty and student panel, as well as read about past Doyle Symposiums. In addition, you can visit our website to learn more about the Doyle Engaging Difference Program or apply to be a Doyle Faculty Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Congratulations to CNDLS Staff!

This semester has been an exciting one, with several CNDLS staff receiving recognition for their work both in and outside of the Car Barn.

This semester, Evee Ung, a CNDLS Graduate Associate on the Faculty Initiatives team, won the Ora Mary Phelam Poetry Prize through the Department of English. Established in 1988 by Georgetown Alumnus J. Patrick Lannan, Jr., in honor of his mother and sponsored through the Academy of American Poets College Prize Program, this prize is awarded each spring for the most outstanding poem, or group of poems, submitted by an undergraduate or graduate student. Ung will be listed in the July issue of the Academy of American Poets monthly newsletter, Poetry Pilot.

A chapter by Mihaela David, CNDLS Business Manager, was published in March as part of Governing the North American Arctic: Sovereignty, Security, and Institutions, a book which explores the history and challenges of federal oversight in Alaska, the Canadian Far North, and Greenland. In “Strong Foothold or On Thin Ice? US Strategies for Development, Environmental Stewardship, and Security in the Arctic,” David considers the May 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, a White House document outlining strategic priorities in response to diminishing sea ice.

Each spring, the University of Massachusetts Press and University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers announce the winners of the annual Juniper Literary Prize Series. Named after Fort Juniper, the house that poet Robert Francis built by hand in western Massachusetts, the Juniper Prize Series awards two prizes each for poetry and for fiction. This April, David Ebenbach, a CNDLS Postdoctoral Researcher, won the story prize for his third collection, The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy, which will be published this fall. You can read “Everyone Around Me,” one of the collected stories, on Cerise Press.

At the Spring Faculty Convocation on April 5, Maggie Debelius, CNDLS Director of Faculty Initiatives, was one of 41 Gold Vicennial Medalists, faculty members and academic professionals who have served at the university full time for 20 years. Debelius was recognized alongside 14 Silver Vicennial Medalists who have served at Georgetown part time over the same period, as well as 15 Distinguished Philanthropists who were inducted into the 1789 Society.

Our congratulations goes out to the many CNDLS co-authors on “Visualization of Twitter Data in the Classroom,” which has been accepted for publication in the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. The publication is co-authored and based on work by Professor Betsy Sigman as part of her ITEL project “Integrating Real-time Big Data Analysis and Visualization for Better Decision-making,” which is focused on developing both undergraduate and graduate coursework on real-time Big Data. The CNDLS team involved includes Marie Selvanadin, Bill Garr, and Mindy McWilliams, as well as former CNDLS staffer Rob Pongsajapan.

Early this spring, CNDLS Executive Director Eddie Maloney took part in “Reinvent the Humanities to Change the World,” a series of high profile conversations with leading scholars, innovators, and humanities practitioners on the role of the humanities in creating a sustainable and interconnected future. Featured on—a media startup that gathers top innovators in video conversations about how to fundamentally reinvent our world—Maloney joined Peter Leyden, Reinvent’s founder, to discuss the humanities as an antidote to multitasking, arguing that working through difficult literary texts not only strengthens resilience and builds concentration skills, but also helps people to challenge assumptions and increase empathy. The conversation series is happening in partnership with Georgetown’s Designing the Future(s) of the University Initiative, and you can watch the full series—including Maloney’s interview—at Reinvent.

Congratulations to our amazing group of professionals and scholars for their incredible work! We’re thankful to have such a talented team.

An Engelhard Conversation: Building Shared Approaches to Integrative Learning, Formation, and Well-being

On Wednesday, March 23, Dr. Marcia Baxter Magolda shared her theories of self-authorship and learning partnerships with a crowd of nearly 100 staff and faculty from across Georgetown’s campus. This workshop, “Building Shared Approaches to Integrative Learning, Formation, and Well-being,” marked the third event in the Engelhard Project’s ten-year anniversary conversation series, “Engelhard Conversations on Educating the Whole Person.” The Engelhard Project collaborated with the Division of Student Affairs, CNDLS, and the Doyle Engaging Difference Program to host this event.

The morning opened with a keynote address from Dr. Marcia Baxter Magolda, Professor Emerita of Miami University of Ohio. A noted scholar in student learning and development, Baxter Magolda reviewed her theories on self-authorship and learning partnerships. She shared observations and findings from her longitudinal study following 80 traditional age college students for 4 years. Though initially a research project intended to focus on the students’ college years, Baxter Magolda’s data collection extended far beyond that original time period, and led her to additional theories and insights on development [note: in its 29th year, the study still has 30 remaining participants.] Throughout her presentation, Baxter Magolda shared many audio clips from study participant reflections to illustrate the nuances of each story and development.

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In opening the morning, Baxter Magolda called on faculty and staff to ask “what are we really asking of students here [at college]?” and to consider how we all make sense of our experiences. She noted that her goal for the day was to offer “one possible narrative” for understanding and connecting to student development, and challenged participants to think about their students throughout built-in reflective interludes and the afternoon’s working session.

Baxter Magolda theorizes that students come to college with a way of constructing their world that has been learned from previous schooling and external authority; that we have “trained” students for this mindset, but then place them in an university environment that “demands something else,” for which they are not prepared. Instead of asking more of students than they have been asked in the past with little additional support, universities should instead create a “holding environment” in which students can truly grow and develop—an environment which at the same time both accepts people as they come, as well as “invites them to be something more.” Often citing Robert Kegan (scholar in adult learning, professional development, and transformational learning), Baxter Magolda posited that higher education focuses too much on “informational” learning at the expense of “transformational” learning, an issue that holds true for the educators supporting that learning as much as it does for the students themselves.


Dr. Benjamin Reese and Lauren Reese (COL ‘12) Share Reflections on Higher Education and Race

On February 22, Dr. Benjamin Reese, President of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and Vice President for Institutional Equity at Duke University and Duke University Health System, and his daughter, Lauren Reese (COL ‘12), shared their reflections on the complexities of race in higher education as part of the Doyle Film & Culture Series. This event—”A Lunch Conversation on Higher Education & Race“—was co-hosted by the Office of the President, Center for Social Justice (CSJ), Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action (IDEAA), and CNDLS as part of the university’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative, and reached more than 100 faculty, students, and staff from across the university.

Dr. Reese opened the event with initial reflections on his experiences being involved in activism at a young age. His work in higher education began early on with his time as a student at Bronx Community College. Since then, he has become even more involved in higher education through his current roles at Duke University and NADOHE, and strives to impart his knowledge on the many complexities of the issues of race in higher education. Lauren continued the opening conversation by crediting her parents for her passion for diversity education, as well as her early exposure to diversity and inclusion work. During her college search, it was important for her to find a university community that would support her desire to stay connected to this type of work, and it was Hoya Saxa Weekendand the “diverse and brilliant group of people” she met there—that solidified her decision to attend Georgetown. Reflecting on other meaningful experiences that set the tone for her engagement with diversity and inclusion issues, Lauren pinpointed YLEAD (Young Leaders in Education about Diversity), which is a pre-orientation program for incoming first year students that offers a space to discuss issues related to diversity, with critical elements of sustained interpersonal dialogue and reflection. For Lauren, both Hoya Saxa Weekend and YLEAD provided a “window into the experiences” of her peers.


Why “The Digital” in High Impact Learning Practices

On February 25, Gelardin New Media Center and the Georgetown University Writing Program hosted a workshop on the role of digital projects in high-impact educational practices (HIPs). Facilitated by Beth Godbee, Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University, this event brought together faculty and staff from across campus to share best practices and explore new ideas for integrating tech into meaningful learning experiences.

What is a high-impact learning practice?

To begin the workshop, Dr. Godbee asked participants to identify the classroom experience that had influenced them the most, whether as a student or teacher, and then to unpack why this moment had such an impact. For all involved, the most important elements mirrored traits traditionally shared by HIPs: demanding considerable time and effort, facilitating learning outside of the classroom, requiring meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encouraging collaboration with diverse others, and providing substantive feedback.

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What is the benefit of “the digital” in HIPs?

While all participants named a high-impact practice, very few spoke of an experience involving a digital component—so why go digital? By the end of the workshop, participants had developed this list of affordances offered by digital and multimodal projects:

  • Allowing students to reach a real audience, which sharpens rhetorical flexibility and changes the power dynamics of the classroom—as one participant phrased it, “papers are for the professor, but the digital world is for everyone.”
  • Involving students in collaboration and co-authoring—real elements of both academia and the workplace—and the peer feedback that comes along with it
  • Asking students to engage in tough intellectual processes with material, such as repackaging complex text as a graphic.
  • Providing materials for digital portfolios, which not only allow students to claim ownership of their work and make sense of how they’ve succeeded, but also give future students the ability to reflect and build on the work of their peers.
  • Imparting digital literacy skills.

What do digital HIPs look like?

Digital high-impact practices take center stage in two undergraduate writing courses taught by Dr. Godbee that prioritize research and community-based learning. In “Ethnography of the University,” conduct an in-depth research project about an issue at Marquette in a research poster showcase open to the campus community. In “Writing for Social Justice,” students work together to create promotional and educational multimodal materials for use by the Racial Justice Program at the YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin. As part of both classes, students are encouraged to publish their work to e-Publications@Marquette, the university’s digital repository for faculty and student.

Full course descriptions for “Ethnography of the University” and “Writing for Social Justice” are available online through the Marquette University English Department. For faculty interested in additional resources, Dr. Godbee recommended reading more about HIPs through the National Survey of Student Engagement and checking out examples of HIPs in action through the LEAP Campus Toolkit from AAC&U.

What about digital HIPs at Georgetown?

Here on the Hilltop, digital HIPs come in many packages, including ePortfolios, wikis, blogs, films, and—with the advent of Georgetown Domains—even individual websites. Faculty interested in learning about these and other digital tools for their classroom can visit Teaching and Learning Technologies or reach out to CNDLS for recommendations and support.