What’s on your summer reading list?

May 17, 2016 / By: Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology

Sherry Turkle – Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Louise Erdrich – LaRose
Richard Leider – The Power of Purpose
Joyce Sutphen – Modern Love and Other Myths

This is my summer reading list – some of it for fun (Erdrich and Sutphen) and some of it in preparation for work coming up. Turkle’s critical reflections on the encroaching effects of technology on our everyday relationships will help shape my thoughts about our enhanced focus on integrating technology in the classroom next year with the launching of our new STELAR center. Leider’s classic reflection on finding meaning is one text I’m exploring to build more focus on mid-career issues into our Center programs. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed pace to get to these books I’ve been setting aside. What’s on your list? I’d love to know. 

Summer also allows you to get some distance from the immediacy of the classroom (whether actual or virtual) and its daily demands, and do some thinking about what you might like to do differently or experiment with next year. This summer we’re offering two opportunities in June for you to meet with your colleagues across the university in a relaxed and collegial setting and explore some new ideas.

First, June 14-16 we’ll be offering our Course Design for the Common Good introductory workshop, which provides excellent research-supported strategies for increasing transparency and clarity in your teaching while making your assignments broadly accessible for diverse students. This is not about ‘dumbing down’ your standards. The workshop will enable you to make relatively small changes that increase success for all students without sacrificing rigor; it will be particularly relevant if you’re teaching first generation students, international students, or students with disabilities (i.e. – it’s relevant for everyone). It’s about making your classroom more inclusive – using course design to promote the common good.

Our second opportunity will literally bring a focus on breathing into the classroom. This is our second time supporting the faculty-led Mindfulness Meditation in Teaching and Advising summer workshop, and it’s a popular topic, so register soon! Faculty members Bill Brendel and Vanessa Cornett-Murtada will lead participants in an intensive look at MMT principles and how they can be applied to teaching and advising. You’ll get a good dose of training in meditation strategies and engage in conversation about application with your colleagues.

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxed, rejuvenating summer full of good reading and plenty of downtime.