Workshops & Events


Fabulous Friday - The Ethics of Reality TV

Date: December 2, 2011
Time: 3:30 - 5:00
Location: St. Paul: Room 102, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library and Minneapolis Opus Hall Room 419

R.S.V.P. for this event.

Reality TV and ethics? Really? Yes. In their forthcoming book The Ethics of Reality TV, Wendy Wyatt and Kris Bunton argue that reality television programs matter in ways that have real influence on our ethical lives. Reality TV—like all communication—helps shape the way we view and interact with the world, helps make that world meaningful, and even helps construct that world. The book, therefore, takes reality TV seriously and explores the ethical questions it raises. What do Bunton and Wyatt, with the help of nine other contributors, discover in their exploration? The genre is complicated and sometimes surprising. Whether we recognize as reality TV the contest shows such as Project Runway, The Amazing Race, and American Idol, or the family-oriented narratives like Jon and Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, and Little People, Big World, or the shows about offbeat occupations like Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers, and Cake Boss, reality TV offers a way to examine ethical issues that range from exploitation, invasion of privacy, excessive commercialization and stereotyping, to issues such as flourishing, democratization and community building.

Reading Group on Issues for Faculty of Color

Faculty Development and the Office of Institutional Diversity are co-sponsoring a reading/discussion group to examine issues of relevance for faculty of color. All interested faculty members are encouraged to attend. The first meeting will be Friday December 2, 12:00 to 1:00 in the Faculty Development Center.

Our first reading will be a chapter by Anthony D. Ross, “Learning to Play the Game,” from the edited volume, Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities.

The second meeting, Friday Jan. 20, 2012 at noon, will focus on student evaluations, with a reading to be announced. The third meeting will be Friday Feb. 17, at noon with a selected reading from the book, The Black Academic’s Guide to Winning Tenure – Without Losing Your Soul.

Lunch will be served and all meetings will be held in the Faculty Development Center (room 403, OSF Library). Register for Dec. 2 session. You will receive an electronic copy of the reading. For information about the Jan. 20 or Feb 17 sessions, email

On-Campus Writers' Retreat

Date: January 9 - 13, 2012
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., with a break for lunch

Application for Writers' Retreat (deadline is Dec. 9)

The Center for Writing and Faculty Development will be offering a 1-week on-campus retreat in January for faculty and staff to make substantial progress on their writing projects. The retreat will provide a quiet space on campus where you can establish your individual workspace and write among other focused, productive faculty. Participants will bring all materials needed for their projects (including laptops if they’d like), and spread out for the week at tables in a room which will be secured at the end of the day. This is not an opportunity for research; in fact, you’ll need to refrain from accessing the Internet or your email so that you can focus on writing and revising. This is also not a workshop, although opportunities for individual support will be available.

The first morning, the group will convene and individuals will describe specific goals for the day. We’ll write until lunch and then break to eat and socialize. At the end of the day, participants will reflect on their progress and report to the group. You’ll have access to resources on writing in the Center for Writing including if you choose afternoon individual consultations with the director of the Center and the Faculty Writers Program, Dr. Susan Callaway (who will be writing as well). At the end of the week we’ll take time to report and reflect, and especially to celebrate our accomplishments and devise ways for us to sustain our productivity beyond the retreat.

The retreat is open to all faculty and staff. Preference may be given to supporting new and junior faculty, but all are welcome to register. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 9. We are limited to 20 new participants and will confirm your acceptance by Monday, December 19.

Office for Service-Learning and Faculty Development co-sponsoring 'Introduction to Service Learning'

Date: January 10 - 12, 2012
Time: 9:00 a.m. - noon

A workshop for faculty interested in learning more about service-learning will be held Tuesday through Thursday, January 10-12, 2012 on the St. Paul campus. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to noon each day.

“Introduction to Service-Learning,” presented by Dr. Kimberly Vrudny, associate professor of systematic theology, is designed for those who have little or no experience in service-learning:

  • Discover the foundations and goals of service-learning
  • Hear from experienced faculty and students affected by this pedagogy
  • Interact with potential community partners
  • Wrestle with ethical issues introduced by service-learning
  • Learn how to incorporate service-learning into new or existing courses

A stipend will be provided for workshop attendees. Both full- and part-time faculty members are welcome. This workshop is co-sponsored by the Office for Service-Learning and Faculty Development.

To register, contact Amparo Pope, Office of Service-Learning, (651) 962-5381, by Friday, Dec. 16.

Critical Thinking Series

Dr. Stephen BrookfieldHelping students to think critically is at the heart of the mission of St. Thomas. In this series of three workshops Distinguished University Professor Stephen Brookfield will draw on his new book - Teaching For Critical Thinking - to explore what critical thinking comprises and how it can be developed. Each workshop can be taken as a stand alone session, or the three can be taken as an integrated sequence. Participants that attend at least two of the sessions will receive a copy of the book. Sessions will be held from 3:30 - 4:30 in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Center.

Register for Critical Thinking Sessions

Feb 9: Essentials of Teaching for Critical Thinking
This session reviews the different intellectual traditions informing how critical thinking is understood and considers how we recognize that students are thinking critically. It argues that what unites different conceptions of critical thought is the focus on recognizing, and scrutinizing, the assumptions that inform our thoughts and actions. The teaching approaches that students say are most helpful to their learning to think critically are reviewed and some preliminary techniques and exercises are introduced.

March 8: Creating Critical Classrooms
This session reviews how critical thinking can be integrated into both discussion-based, and lecture-based, classrooms. It introduces some specific dialogic activities to help students broaden their perspectives and also demonstrates how critical thinking can be encouraged and modeled in lectures.

April 12: Writing Critically
Most assessments of critical thinking occur through the medium of student writing. This session explores how students can be taught to understand what it means to do a critical analysis of literature and how course reading can be integrated into classroom processes.

Join Dr. Stephen Brookfield, Distinguished University Professor, on Friday, February 10 from 3:00 - 4:00 in TMH 450 for the launch of his new book Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions.

"In Teaching for Critical Thinking, Stephen Brookfield builds on his last three decades of experience running workshops and teaching courses on critical thinking to explore how student learn to think this way, and what teachers can do to help students develop this capacity. He outlines a basic protocol of critical thinking as a learning process that focuses on uncovering and checking assumptions, exploring alternative perspectives, and taking informed actions as a result."

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