Faculty Reading Groups

CAT’s faculty reading groups are a great chance to connect with colleagues from across the university, delve into the research on learning, and share practical strategies for making your classes even more effective. Each group will involve a series of three meetings, so please check your calendar to make sure you can attend. Space is limited. To RSVP, just email pro-teaching@fsu.edu and we’ll send you your complimentary copy of the book. We look forward to working with you!


2018 Summer Reading/Working Groups

Specifications Grading

Linda Nilson argues that “our current grading system is broken. It doesn’t work well for faculty, students, post-secondary institutions, or prospective employers of our graduates.” In Specifications Grading, she offers “an alternative system that restores rigor, motivates students, and saves you grading time.” We’ll use her text as the foundation for a broader discussion about grading, and how to improve our practices, so that our courses, exams, and assignments are measuring what we want to be measuring.
Tuesdays, 6/12 and 6/19, 10:00-12:00

In the Name of Identity

It can be difficult to reach students when their assumptions and even their core beliefs are challenged by our material. Maalouf’s book will provide a starting place for discussion of how group identity plays a role in learning, and how we may be able to defuse the threats to identity that can inhibit learning, in order to create a better climate for the intellectual risk and growth we want to cultivate.
Wednesdays, 6/20 and 6/27, 2:00-4:00


2018 Spring Reading/Working Groups

Mindset Reading/Working Group

Thursdays 2:00-4:00
1/18, 1/25, 2/1

This group will discuss Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success to uncover ways we can demonstrate to students that their intellectual skills are not fixed; they can be cultivated through hard work, practice, feedback, and many other activities. This growth mindset has been associated with remarkable gains in student motivation and performance, so we’ll generate strategies for promoting a growth mindset at FSU.

Stereotype Threat Reading/Working Group

Tuesdays 2:00-4:00
1/30, 2/6, 2/13

This faculty reading/working group will discuss Claude Steele’s text Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. Steele uses extensive research findings from across disciplines to illustrate how identity threats and stereotypes influence behavior and performance. This group will consider how stereotypes affect our own students—and generate ideas for how we might work against those stereotypes with negative consequences and perhaps capitalize on the positive ones.

What The Best College Teachers Do

Thursdays 10:00-12:00
2/15, 2/22, 3/1

Ken Bain wanted to know how some faculty manage to “make a sustained, substantial, and positive influence on how their students think, act, and feel.” How do some faculty consistently provoke deep learning, while the rest of us merely have good intentions? Bain conducted a fifteen-year study of a hundred extraordinarily effective teachers, to see how they help their students learn. The book traces how these exceptional teachers approach their subjects, their students, and the process of learning.

Cheating Lessons Reading Group

Wednesdays 10:00-12:00
2/21, 2/28, 3/7

Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty is far more comprehensive, useful, and timely than the title suggests. When Lang began conducting research on academic honesty, seeking to “understand the mindset and the behavior of the cheating student,” he discovered that specific, often hidden features of course design and daily classroom practices can lead to cheating. He also discovered that the strategies most potent in minimizing dishonesty (associated with intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy, for instance) also engender deep learning. While discussing these powerful ideas and the implications for our own classrooms, we’ll also consider how we can cultivate academic integrity at FSU.

Learner-Centered Teaching Reading Group

Tuesdays, 3:00-5:00
3/20, 3/27, 4/3

Recent decades have brought a wealth of research on learning and cognition; these developments are gradually making their way into work on best practices for the college classroom. Doyle’s Learner-Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice is a practical guide to strategies for making effective use of the research. When we adjust our classroom focus from teaching to learning, we make our own work more gratifying, and we can enhance our students’ learning experience as well as their mastery of material. The group will generate specific strategies and activities for enriching our own classrooms.

2017 Fall Reading/Working Groups

What The Best College Teachers Do

Tuesdays: 9/19, 9/26, 10/3
2:00-4:00

Ken Bain wanted to know how some faculty manage to “make a sustained, substantial, and positive influence on how [their] students think, act, and feel.” How do some faculty consistently provoke deep learning, while the rest of us merely have good intentions? Bain conducted a fifteen-year study of a hundred extraordinarily effective teachers, to see how they help their students learn. His engaging, humorous book traces the results of his study, showing what we can learn from the way these exceptional teachers approach their subjects, their students, and the process of learning.

How Learning Works

Wednesdays: 9/27, 10/4, 10/11
12:00-2:00

This book distills the research on cognition, translating decades of scientific literature into practical advice for university faculty, and introducing seven general principles of how people learn. The authors draw on research from cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, as well as educational research, anthropology, etc. The discussion spans issues from memory to motivation, integrating theory with real-classroom examples in practice. Participants will develop strategies for strengthening their own teaching through the application of these principles of cognitive psychology.

Learner Centered Teaching

Tuesdays: 10/10, 10/17, 10/24
12:00-2:00

Recent decades have brought a wealth of research on learning and cognition; these developments are gradually making their way into work on best practices for the college classroom. Doyle’s Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice is a practical, comprehensive guide to strategies for making effective use of the research. When we adjust our classroom focus from teaching to learning, we make our own work more gratifying, and we can enhance our students’ learning experience as well as their mastery of material. As a group, we will discuss Doyle’s text and specific strategies and activities for enriching our own classrooms.

Make it Stick

Mondays: 10/9, 10/16, 10/23
2:00-4:00

In Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel assemble the most important current research on learning, to deliver “highly effective, evidence-based strategies to replace less effective but widely accepted practices that are rooted in theory, lore, and intuition.” It turns out that much of our intuition about learning is misleading; this book group will focus on using the research to develop more effective learning strategies for our classrooms.

Now You See It

Wednesdays: 11/1, 11/8, 11/15
12:00-2:00

In Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century, Davidson uses research in neuroscience, psychology, and management, plus interviews with business and educational leaders, to argue that the human brain is perfectly well-suited to the digital world if we are willing to rethink the classroom, the workplace, and how we measure success. In this Inside Higher Ed interview, Davidson suggests “we have a mismatch between our institutions of learning and the exciting informal ways kids learn online and, for that matter, all the new ways that, as adults, we all work, communicate, and learn together online.” This group will discuss how we might realign them to maximize student learning.