The 21st century has presented the humanities with what seems like insurmountable challenges, the most difficult of which is that students have come to see humanities fields as irrelevant to their lives. Yet, traditionally intellectual engagement in these fields has offered students the skills and habits of mind they need to thrive as people, professionals and citizens. This seminar attempts to think about the ways that humanists can address the challenges of the 21st century: the seminar will consider practical strategies for building student engagement, skills and thinking as well as larger issues around the value and intellectual rigor of humanistic study. Contact Cathy Turner for more information or to apply.
CTL Seminars are faculty groups that meet monthly through the academic year to explore particular teaching approaches and questions. Seminar discussions offer faculty the chance to explore topics by learning from colleagues' experiences and, depending on the seminar, may include short readings or class observations. Participants join for the year-long program, and those who participate monthly receive an $800 research fund.
For information on joining a seminar, contact CTL. Programs start each fall and sign-ups take place in late spring and summer.
Seminars for Academic Year 2023-2024
Teaching Humanities in the 21st Century
Teaching Large Classes
Creating meaningful learning experiences for large cohorts of students is a daunting task for even the most seasoned instructor. In this seminar, we’ll explore ways to scaffold student learning in and out of class with the goal of supporting every student. We’ll discuss ways to scale up the practice of frequent assessment and feedback while preserving our time, how to leverage our Canvas sites to streamline communication, and ideas for making our lectures more interactive. We’ll also reflect on ways to employ teaching assistants strategically, as well as other topics of interest to the group. Anyone overwhelmed by the size of their class and looking for new ideas is welcome to join! Contact Jen Round for more information or to apply.
Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Seminar
This seminar will bring together an ongoing group of faculty for monthly discussions about ways we can make our teaching as inclusive and equitable as possible. The group will explore how our teaching
- can help all students thrive to the best of their abilities,
- can be welcoming of the diversity of our students and send the message that all students belong in our fields,
- and how it communicates that the diversity of our students and the community is a source of intellectual vitality.
The seminar is designed to be of interest for all faculty, including those considering how to open their fields to underrepresented groups and those whose teaching specifically addresses diversity. Participants will explore concrete strategies for inclusion as well as challenges that they face through open discussion of their own experiences as well as brief readings. This group will also consider how to share ideas about inclusion more widely. Contact CTL for more information.
Senior Lecturers Group
Brings together instructors in senior lecturer, or analogous, positions to work with peers on professional development as teachers, both improving their own practices and taking on greater leadership in their fields. Contact Cathy Turner for more information or to apply.
SAIL (Structured Active In-class Learning) Seminar
Supports faculty in leading classes that focus on using class time to help students learn actively, working with material through highly structured activities to solve problems, interpret data or evidence, or otherwise engage in real practices of the discipline.
The Teaching Science Seminar series will bring together a regular group of faculty for monthly conversations about different aspects of teaching science at Penn. Discussions will offer faculty the chance to talk with fellow faculty about ideas, strategies, practices and questions. Each session will focus on a particular topic related to teaching science, with the specific topics determined by the interests of participating faculty. Examples of past topics include:
- How to balance teaching specific details, big picture ideas, and critical and scientific thinking;
- Introducing research and /or primary literature;
- Thinking critically with numbers and data;
- Effective exams, assignments and other ways of evaluating students;
- Approaches to teaching the range of students in our classes;
- Ways of making students active in their learning.