Pedagogy in the ‘Post-Truth’ Era: April 18th Session

How can educators teach students to evaluate news in a post-truth era??

Oxford Dictionaries defines post-truth as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” which has been named the word of the year. According to a segment “Fake News” by 60 Minutes, the term fake news can be defined as “stories that are deliberately fabricated and proven false…they are lies.” However, terms like ‘true’ and ‘false’ appear to be arbitrary in that people do not agree on one definition for the terms. What one believes to be true may be perceived as false by another, and so begins the search for the truth. Fraudulent computer software is programmed with fake social media accounts to automatically ‘like’ and ‘share’ posts, which present the impression that millions have viewed and or shared the post. Once posts appear to be viewed by millions, actual people with real accounts begin to read and share those posts, producing mass distortions of the truth. 

A recent study conducted by Stanford University explored students’ abilities to determine the credibility of electronic information. 7,804 students across 12 states were administered various tasks to access their ability to analyze for credibility of the information. Sue Shellenbarger writes about the results in her article, “Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds.” Nearly 82% of middle school students were unable to identify the difference between a real news source and a “sponsored content” story, 2/3 “couldn’t see any valid reason to mistrust a post written by a bank executive arguing that young adults need more financial-planning help,” and 4/10 believed a photo solely based on the headline of the post. The article also mentions that “by age 18, 88% of young adults regularly get news from Facebook and other social media, according to a 2015 study of 1,045 adults ages 18 to 34 by the Media Insight Project.” Students excessive use of media and lack of knowledge regarding credible sources of information create the need for education on the issues. 

In the article, “Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News,” Katherine Schulten and Amanda Brown discuss ways of introducing the concept of fake news to students. The article discusses ways of which to increase student awareness of the various ways in which new is fabricated and how to distinguish fake from real news. Within the article, the authors provide links to various resources to help demonstrate the influence of fake news. Upon sharing an image (the same one used in the study by Stanford) to promote initial thought, the following questions can be used as discussion prompts:

  • What does the phrase “fake news” mean?
  • When have you or someone you know fallen for or shared fake or inaccurate news of some kind?
  • Why does it matter if we can’t tell real news from fake news?

Please join us for our upcoming April 18th session on “Pedagogy in the ‘Post-Truth’ Era.” 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!🙂

February 21st Session Summary: Raising the Bar While Providing a Safety Net for Taking Creative Risks

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Click here to access the audio recording from the session!!

Our first Provisions session of the Spring 2017 semester explored the theme of “Raising the Bar While Providing a Safety Net for Taking Creative Risks.” Presenters shared experience and expertise with the various topics pertaining to the theme, in which sought to explore creativity and increasing student expectations. An audience of approximately 20 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations by  Christina Pfizer from Teacher Education and Sophia Paljevic from New York City Public Schools, Dave Clark of the Criminal Justice Department, and Risa Faussette from the History and Political Science Department. 

Christina Pfizer from Teacher Education and Sophia Paljievic from NYC Public Schools, a graduate from the College of Saint Rose, presented on Using the Classroom Community as a Safety Net for Encouraging Students to Take Risks . Christina and Sophia began by explaining how they use literature as a basis for their approach to teaching, emphasizing the importance of care. Specifically, both use Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs framework as a foundation of support for what you believe, what community you latch onto and the need to feel safe in order to take risks and complete higher level work. Sophia discussed her experience in the Bronx with her third grade students. She emphasized that building a school community can be achieved despite the school being located in a  ‘bad community.’ Within her classroom, there are 29 students whom she is responsible for instructing. Both presenters stressed the importance of knowing each students’  individual strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to help them do better without pushing them too far (scaffolding). Christina then discussed her teaching experience and how she aspires to learn names quickly, usually within the first and second classes. Christina also uses scaffolding with her students by beginning with easier assignments to help her students feel that ‘they can do it.‘Additionally using groups as a way for students to get to know one another, creating opportunities for students to integrate prior knowledge, and emphasizing that it is okay t be wrong are a few strategies Christina uses with her students to maximize student success. 

Dave Clark began his presentation by expressing the importance of intrinsic motivation for student success. Dave stressed how students are afraid to take risks in learning and thus need to be stimulated with motivation and the desire to learn. One way Dave encourages creativity and motivation in his students is by using images to stimulate interest. He asks his students, what are you seeing in these images” through a partner activity where one students is asked to describe an image to the other. Dave expressed that these types of activities teach the students to see environment in their own way and that each person has their own perspective. This demonstrates to the students that ‘no one sees things the same way.’ Throughout work with his students, Dave has witnessed improvements in the ownership of student work, which thus raises the bar because the students learned that they have to produce good work for it to be displayed. In his classroom, Dave asked the students describe and talk about images because perspective is crucial in ethics. In doing this, students are able to find out about the subject matter, use a multidisciplinary approach, and demonstrate creativity. This method is designed to stimulate interest and to show students that they can be creative in school, rather than just regurgitating information they are taught. Exercises like these provide students with a safety net, as they are not graded and allow the teacher and students to take risks together. 

Risa Faustete discussed how she sets the classroom environment prior to the first day of class, which demonstrates that ‘this is a real course’, which is crucial for development as a student. A main component of Risa’s course is learning the rules and methods of argumentation. Risa explains to her students the downside of not being able to recognize the components of an argument in the real world (politician, salesman, banker, etc.) and how decisions in an argument can affect others. Risa emphasized that her teaching philosophy is to make sure that students have this skill and can use it in the world. She tells her students that they will be able to read and compose arguments by the end of the course, but they must first be able to read and understand what they have read. Additionally, engagement is a key component for successful learning. In her classroom, Risa does not let any of her students sit in the back row. Instead, all students are to fill in the seats in the front of the room. If you want participation in your classroom, you need to take away some of the fear that students experiences. Some do not feel familiar with reading text or comprehending text. By explaining to the students, here is what I mean by ‘reading’ the text, you can alleviate some of the fear of the unknown. It is also helpful to start by having certain assignments ungraded and explain that it is just for practice and constructive feedback. Here are some of the handouts from her course that Risa shared during her presentation:


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:

  • Failure is a part of learning- use it!
  • Students come in wanting one answer and need to be pushed to learn that there is more than one answer
  • Link to creating community in the classroom
    • Being vulnerable
    • A ‘real person’ with personality
    • Make community between students
  • Assignments are up ahead of time- bring your best game, extended hours, demonstrate a lot of examples
    • Use rubrics to grade samples
  • Teaching and learning is a developmental process
  • Time as an issue?
  • Accountability?
  • Teach skills that can be transferred across disciplines (core skills)
    • How do we ensure the delivery of those skills?

Please join us for our upcoming March 28th session on “Using SSC (Student Success Center) to its Fullest Potential.” Our esteemed presenters for the March 28th session include:

  1. Jess Brouker – Assistant Director of Intercultural Leadership & First-Year Programs
  2. Shirlee Dufort – Director of the Writing Center
  3. Marcy Nielsen Pendergast – Executive Director of the Academic Success Center

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!🙂

Raising the Bar While Providing a Safety Net for Taking Creative Risks: February 21st Session

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The topic for this month’s session, “Raising the Bar While Providing a Safety Net for Taking Creative Risks,” relates to various topics in the higher education world. The question has been debated: how can professionals in the higher education realm increase expectations for their students while providing them with a safety net?

In 2012, Blackboard released “NOW is the Time to Raise the Bar for Student Success: How Professional Colleges and Universities Can use the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Drive Change. This article was designed to give higher education professionals drive for raising the bar for student success. In our current time, it is often necessary for students to employ more than one degree to qualify for a specific position in the workforce. This factor has played an influential role in the high rates of unemployment. Many researchers in higher education argue that a shift in policy towards competency-based learning and instruction is necessary to ensure student success. It is suggested for colleges and universities to integrate professional skill development into courses to better prepare students for a more competency-based workforce.

“The same kind of “disruptive innovation” that fueled the online learning movement now should be applied to creating achievement-oriented higher-education policies that tie a student’s rise through an educational institution to competency and mastery of well-de ned critical skills.” – Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School

A similar article,“Raising the Bar: Companies Up Education Requirements,” by Chad Brooks discusses the increased qualifications required for recent graduates to obtain a position in the workforce. The evidence presented by Brooks suggests the reason for raising the bar in higher education is to increase productivity. Within the past few years, employers have witnessed growth in the overall quality of work, communication, innovation, productivity, customer loyalty, and employee retention.

Steven Mintz, the author of Breakthrough Pathways to Student Successsuggests various methods for preparing students to become successful in both academics and professional competency. Mintz provides several suggestions for improving instruction, which include modularized curriculum, competency-based curriculum, alternate credentials, guided pathways, ‘learn and earn’ models, and pipeline programs. Additionally, he suggests that universities must be prepared adopt new policies, which include:

  • strategies to enhance student success through engagement and motivation
  • flexible instruction delivery methods to meet the needs of all students
  • integrated and proactive approach to skill building
  • data-based methods

“Because of mismatched expectations and divergent learning objectives in community colleges and four-year institutions; uneven academic preparation among many transfer students; poor alignment among community college and university courses; and curricular roadblocks and requirements that make it difficult for community college students to apply credits toward their major. To address these challenges, four-year institutions, community colleges, and military training programs need to work together to agree on learning objectives, coverage, and assessments. A step in that direction is for these institutions to work together to develop common competency and outcomes graphs.” – Steven Mintz

Overall, there appears to be much support in favor of a competency-based approach to higher education. Will this be the next shift in higher education??


Please join us for our upcoming February 21st session on “Raising the Bar While Providing a Safety Net for Taking Creative Risks” Our esteemed presenters for the February 21st session include:

 Dave Clark-Criminal Justice
Rita Faussette-History and Political Science
Christina Pfister-Teacher Education & Sophia Paljevic– NYC Public Schools

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!🙂

November 15th Session Summary: Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity

self-reflection-is-a-humbling-process-it-essentiOur third Provisions session of the 2016-2017 year explored the theme of “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity. Presenters shared experience and expertise with the various topics pertaining to the theme, in which sought to explore the shifting population of college students (i.e. millennials, first generation). An audience of approximately 20 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations by Maria Fast from the School of Education,  Kelly Meyer, the Director of Academic Advising, and Jack Pickering from Communications, Sciences and Disorders.

Maria Fast from the School of Education presented on the “Shifting Demographics and Student Identity”. Maria began her presentation by explaining her focus on helping in the development of her students’ identities, including their beliefs, values, ideas, and thoughts of themselves as ‘students’. Maria requires her students to complete a narrative reflection, in which allows them to explore a meaningful experience and connect it with the content of the course. Additionally, it serves as personal reference points so that they can explain how they see their own educational experience, can help to improve self-efficacy, and develop a sense of personal agency (i.e. how one can make a difference). In this narrative, students have the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned about themselevs, others, and their future careers from their specific experience. Maria explained how the narratives serve two main purposes, an assessment tool for understanding her students’  individual identities, and it is a learning tool for students through the reflection of content and their meaningful experiences. In concluding her presentation, Maria posed two questions to the audience, (1) how can we help students to evolve and change and (2) what can we do with those students who don’t value education or special classes?

Kelly Meyer, Director of Academic Advising, presented on “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity”. Kelly started his presentation by discussing the changing demographics in the student body (i.e. race, class, ethnicity) and the differences in student expectations and levels of preparation. Kelly focused on the increase in first generation (students whose parents do not possess a 4 year degree) and millennial students (born within the same 20 year time period). Kelly discussed that 30% of the Saint Rose population (consistent with other campuses) was comprised of first generation students. Some of the difficulties that first generation students face are that they may be twice as likely to leave after their 1st year, lack traditional support networks, lack information from family, lack the knowledge and skills to access support, and/or have competing commitments (1/3 may be lacking support networks and information expected). Millennial students may typically possess five characteristics in which include specialness/personalization, conventional motivation, protection, pressure, —and an achievement-orientation. These students are also potentially more at risk, have different expectations of relationships, and could typically benefit from transition assistance. Kelly posed the question, “how can we help students transition, resiliency, and achieve efficacy to be successful?”

Jack Pickering, Communications Sciences and Disorders, presented on the “Lessons Learned from Clinical Practice with People in the Transgender Community” Jack discussed his experience working with transgender students and clinician students. In Spring of 2008, Jack created a group program comprised of transgender students and student clinicians. Within this group, the transgender students are able to share their expertise and develop their sense of voice and communication. The sessions are held on Monday nights from 5pm-7pm and each begin with a relaxation and mindfulness centering exercise. Additionally, each session ends with a gratitude exercise, so essentially each session is beginning and ending in the same place-relaxation. Jack suggests that this provides a great way of building a community between the students. Throughout the semester, the clinician and transgender students work with one another about feelings and attitudes. In this process, the students are able to learn what it means to develop a relationship with someone who is different than them. The transgender students are then able to do class presentations in which allow them to practice their voice and communication, and allow them to educate others about what it means to be transgender. Additionally, the clinician students are able to reflect upon this experience and the importance of language, unconditional positive regard, and maintaining an environment in which is safe and welcoming to their clients.


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:

  • Imbalanced support from advisors
    • How to make sure all students are getting 100% support?
      • The new advisement model is an attempt to do so
  • Student engagement = Saint Rose difference
  • Connection with last session- connections of students with faculty
  • Decline in student writing
    • How do we fill in the gap with student abilities
      • Build skill- our job is to scaffold and help students achieve success
  • How do we build a positive outlook on academic supports?
    • Change frame of reference
  • How do you give good feedback?
    • Feedback is a craft
  • Is the First Alert system effective or not?
    • How can we frame the first alert so it is not as intimidating?

Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity: November 15th Session

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In College of Tomorrow: The Changing Demographics of the Student Body, Joseph P. Williams discusses the projected changes in the demographics of future college students. Williams suggests that numbers of minority students attending colleges will increase within the years to come, preceding numbers of the current majority population. This provides implications for educators to prepare for the changes within the population of students in which will be served. The diverse population of students (including the different races and ages) within the college community may require changes in the overall culture of teaching.

Similarly, in A Looming Challenge in Higher Education: Our Changing Student a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report suggests that there will be increases in African American (25%) and in Hispanic (42%) college students, in comparison to a 4% increase in the amount of Caucasian college students. Additionally, there is a 50% predicted increase in the enrollment of students over the age of 25, typically referred to as ‘non-traditional’ college students. This also implies that educators across all levels (primary, secondary and college) must be aware of the possible risk factors (i.e. low income, higher high school drop out rates, and language barriers) that minority students might encounter. “Higher education leaders and policy makers must adjust to serve the students of the (very near) future, or risk failing in our responsibility to produce an educated citizenry and workforce capable of success in an increasingly global and complex economy. And that, in turn, will have profound implications for the future of our nation.”

In Four Trends Changing the Face of Higher EducationVicki Brannock (Director of the School of Extended Education at Brandman University) suggests that with the predicted shift in student demographics, educators must be prepared to also adjust to upcoming trends. Vicki predicts these four trends:

  1. The ‘flipped classroom’ approach of teaching
  2. Utilization of a neurological approach to teaching and learning
  3. Marketing the learning experience as opposed to content of colleges and universities
  4. Transition to competency-based strategies

Please join us for our upcoming November 15th session on “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity” Our esteemed presenters for the November 15th session include:

Maria Fast- School of Education
Jack Pickering-Communications Sciences and Disorders
Kelly Meyer-Director of Academic Advising

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!🙂

October 18th Session Summary: Fostering Relationships With Students Outside of the Classroom

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 (FLPcourse, 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:

  • Debriefing
    • How do you do this?
      • Evening reflections
      • Plan sessions
      • Online reflection
      • 6 hour mandatory debriefing
  • 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!🙂

Fostering Relationships With Students Outside of the Classroom: October 18th Session

How Can Educational Professionals Promote and Foster Student c85dac670af71f8c58eff72fb48a475eRelationships Outside of the  Classroom Environment?

According to  Maryellen Weimer, Building Rapport with Your Students  is an important factor for academic success. Research has indicated that positive student-teacher relationships can lead to various educational benefits, including increased student motivation, comfort level, quality of work, satisfaction, communication, and trust. Five important factors for promoting good student rapport are:

  1. Respect
  2. Approachability
  3. Open communication
  4. Care
  5. Postive attitude

The College of Saint Rose offers a Faculty-Led Program (FLP) in which students and educational staff  are able to study abroad in addition to academic coursework. This program encourages and fosters relationships between professors and students by providing opportunities for social interaction. The study abroad experience typically occurs for 1-2 weeks during the semester break, and allows students to get a taste of studying abroad without having to do so for an entire semester.

Ayona Datta discussed Why Student Field Trips Make an Impact using a real-world example from the the University of Leeds. Students working towards a Bachelor’s degree in human geography embarked on a field trip to Mumbai to explore the theme of global cities. Within that theme, students were able to explore the topics of “citizenship, identity, migration, belonging, transnationalism, social justice, bourgeois environmentalism, and everyday urban politics.” Ayona Datta’s believes that field trips can make an impact on student learning because they can assist with:

  • Professional research development and pedagogy
  • Provoking thoughtful discussion and various perspectives
  • Fostering and supporting the development of student skills
  • Fostering creativity in students

Below are additional references for promoting positive student-teacher relationships.


Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, October 18th session on “Fostering Relationships With Students Outside of the Classroom” Our esteemed presenters for the October 18th session include:

Claire Ziamandanis-World Languages and Cultures
Kari Murad-Biology
Ken Scott-Director of Community Service

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!🙂