‘Dealing With Common Discussion Problems’ is one of Faculty Development workshops announced for St. Paul

Dr. Stephen Brookfield, UST Distinguished University Professor, will lead faculty development workshops in April at the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. The schedule for the St. Paul campus is listed below. See the March 26 issue of the Bulletin Today for the Minneapolis campus schedule.

Brookfield has published 10 books with four different publishers and is a four-time winner of the Cyril Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education. His work has been translated into Chinese, German and Finnish. In 2002 he spent a semester as Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

To register for the St. Paul or Minneapolis campus workshops, e-mail Pat Alexander.

"Dealing With Common Discussion Problems," 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center. Registration deadline is Friday, March 30.

In this open-ended conversation, Brookfield will explore with participants the most common problems they face in using discussion and how to respond to them. Typical problems raised are: no one speaking, one or two people making 90 percent of the comments, the teacher talking too much (or too little), the discussion going way off track, people making factually or conceptually wrong statements, people giving a series of monologues rather than having an interconnected conversation, and people’s ideas becoming more entrenched after a discussion that is supposed to shake up their fixed ways of thinking.

Brookfield will draw from his book, Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (co-authored with Dr. Stephen Preskill), in examining different responses to these situations. A copy of this book will be given to each attendee at this workshop.

"Teaching About Race: Common Mistakes of White Professors," 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center. Registration deadline is Friday, April 13.

Race is a reality that whites can no longer say applies only to the "other," and "white privilege" is something that some Caucasians only recently have come to acknowledge and challenge on a wide basis. A desire to teach about race, reduce racism and honor diverse races, heritages and traditions is now extolled as a worthy project, indeed a necessity, for white teachers in many disciplines.

As many white teachers who have tried this know, such teaching is fraught with contradictions and missteps, resulting in teachers themselves being accused of racism and raw emotions being exposed in ways that cause some teachers to vow never to try this again. This workshop will examine 10 common mistakes white teachers make in teaching about race. Some of them are basic, e.g., excusing oneself from complicity in racism, saying you understand oppression, asking a student to give the "black," "Asian" or "First Nations" perspective. Some are more subtle, such as the danger of repressive tolerance, appearing to open up a curriculum while simultaneously closing it down.

The 10 mistakes are chosen because Brookfield, the workshop leader, has made all of them and has seen all of them made by white colleagues. This workshop does not pretend to offer any simple solutions for teaching about race, since there aren’t any. But it will try to alert white professors to what awaits them when they try to do the right thing for the right reasons – and feel that it’s gone seriously wrong.

Book proposal workshops – Participants can take both of these workshops or just attend one if that better suits their interests. Both workshops will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center.

  1. "Developing Book Proposals for Scholarly Publishers," Tuesday, April 10. Registration deadline is Tuesday, April 3.

    In this first workshop Stephen will talk about the process of approaching publishers and writing a preliminary proposal.  He will bring examples of some of his successful book proposals to distribute to participants and outline the chief steps in preparing a proposal.  Faculty are encouraged to bring ideas or specific questions to discuss with Stephen.

  2. "Book Proposal Working Session" (participants bring proposals in process to discuss), Tuesday, April 17. Registration deadline is Tuesday, April 10.

    This follow-up workshop is a working session designed to help faculty move forward in their development of academic book proposals.  Participants are asked to bring fledgling proposals and ideas to this workshop to share with other participants.

Publishing a book represents, for many faculty, the ultimate scholarly challenge. In fact, the prestige surrounding book publishing may be so intimidating that it prevents faculty from even drafting a proposal, let alone approaching prospective publishers. In these two workshops, Brookfield will draw on his experience as an author and editor of 10 books to outline the main elements of a book proposal.