Click here to access the audio recording from this session (the volume of this is very low due to the way it was recorded, sorry for the inconvenience).
Our second Provisions session of the 2016-2017 year explored the theme of “Fostering Relationships With Students Outside of the Classroom.” Presenters shared experience and expertise with the various topics pertaining to the theme, in which sought to improve relationships with students outside of the classroom. An audience of approximately 25 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations from Kari Murad, Department of Biology, Claire Ziamandanis, Department of World Languages and Cultures and Ken Scott, Director of Community Service.
Kari Murad from the Department of Biology started off the session by presenting on her personal experiences from the Faculty-Led Program (FLP) course, Food Microbiology. Kari explained the she has been in the teaching profession for eighteen years, and has participated in this FLP course for 9 years. Kari explained that this FLP course in Food Microbiology is offered to upper level science majors every two years, and encompasses a trip to France for two weeks during spring break. Kari emphasized the three main components of creating and maintaining successful relationships with students; (1) allowing enough time for the integration of knowledge and reflection of experiences, (2) providing opportunities for experiences in which are linked to academic content, and (3) providing opportunities to connect personal childhood experiences with the course content. The first assignment in Kari’s course requires students to tell their ‘story’ through a personal reflection using the quote, “Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of (wo)man you are.” In this reflection, students can share their experiences with traveling, cultural differences, food, etc. The study abroad portion of the course involves the exploration of France, including farms, vineyards, etc, and the opportunity to connect childhood experiences through reflection (shared each night at dinner with the group).
Next to present was Claire Ziamandanis from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Claire began her presentation with the title of her presentation, “There’s a bull on my balcony!.“ Claire explained how the tragedy of 9/11 impacted the rest of her teaching. She discussed how she was teaching about ‘ar’verbs in Spanish 101 when the news of what had happened reached her classroom, which promoted the reflection of the value of ‘ar’ verbs in the world. Learning must meet the immediate needs of students and there must be contextualization for the synthesization of knowledge. Claire discussed how the first year leading an FLP course can be overwhelming and stressful, but provides great satisfaction once accustomed to the details and pace of the planning. Claire explained that while in Madrid, she has her students visit the same cafe every morning, as a way of entering the community by getting to know the workers in the cafe. To promote conversation, Claire assigns students different topics to discuss with community members of Madrid. The cultural activities in Madrid foster improvements in students language skills and confidence in using those skills. Additionally, FLP’s provides opportunities for co-learning with students, pseudo-parent relationships with students, and mentoring other faculty to become FLP course leaders. Claire discussed some challenges with FLP’s, including the maintenance of academic focus, avoidance of tourism, connecting experiences to course content, and intercultural learning.
Last to present was Ken Scott, the Director of Community Service. Ken began his presentation by explaining his experience of being the director of community service for sixteen years, and a faculty member of the college for twenty six years. Ken described his experience with helping to recover the devastation from hurricane Irene. Ken arranged to have a baseball team of all male students to accompany him with the restoration of buildings destroyed from the hurricane. Ken discussed that 80-90% of the community service work is done with female students, as they tend to be more compassionate, mature, and sophisticated in terms of emotional intelligence. Ken emphasized the significant impact that a professor can have on first year college students through a personal example of his own college experience. Some of the work Ken and his students have done have occurred in Florida, NYC, and San Francisco, and involved habitat humanity, hurricane restoration, working with incarcerated women, and pockets of poverty…among many other wonderful missions! Although sufficient time and money is a challenge of such missions, the evolution of student confidence, individual voice, and sense of moral authority make service learning opportunities gratifying.
Following the brief presentations, the floor was opened up for discussion and questions from the audience. Here are a few points and observations that arose from the discussion:
- How do you do this?
- Evening reflections
- Plan sessions
- Online reflection
- 6 hour mandatory debriefing
- How do you do this?
- Line between academics/interpersonally
- Based upon the specific group of students (what is the group mentality?)
- Shift objectives to better fit the needs of the students
- Refocusing to course objectives/academic agenda
- Boundaries within student-teacher relationships
Please join us for our upcoming November 15th session on “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity.” Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!🙂