[Photo by Patti]

 [Photo by Patti]

Sample  Professional Development Activities


Design for Learning: Integrating Critical Reflection and Assessment -- As the component of experiential learning (including and transcending service-learning) that generates, deepens, and documents learning, critical reflection is key to successful outcomes; it is also challenging to implement effectively. This workshop will guide participants through a process of 1) articulating the learning they are after, 2) designing their teaching and learning strategies accordingly, 3) using critical reflection to generate and deepen learning, 4) assessing learning, and 5) building capacity for learning through critical reflection. Participants in this hands-on session will apply to their own courses and other contexts tools for intentional design for learning that have been refined through a multi-year, inter-institutional scholarship of teaching and learning project focused on the integration of learning goals, critical reflection, and assessment.


Toward Democratic Engagement -- Service-learning (SL). Community based research (CBR). Community based learning (CBL). Whatever our practice and whatever we call it, we share an underlying commitment to inquiry, learning, and change in the context of partnership between community and campus. In this interactive session we will examine our own and other examples of community-campus engagement using several conceptual frameworks that call our attention to the purposes, processes, and identities that ground this work--in particular, focusing on "democratic engagement" (Saltmarsh, Hartley, & Clayton, 2009; Jameson, Clayton, & Jaeger, 2011). We will reflect both individually and collaboratively on our current practice, identify specific possibilities for enhancing its democratic orientation, consider associated challenges and trade-offs, and leave the session with concrete steps we will each take to deepen our community-campus engagement efforts.


Reciprocal Partnerships -- Whether work, study, or service, high quality endeavors most often depend on effective collaboration. Beyond that, these processes can perhaps best flourish as learning and growth opportunities when participants take on identities and roles as true partners—indeed, as co-learners, co-educators, and co-generators of knowledge. Such reciprocity involves respecting the knowledge and resources each person brings to the partnership, sharing power and responsibility, and co-creating goals and approaches to achieving them. Building and maintaining reciprocal partnerships is challenging and often includes building the capacities of individuals, organizations, and institutions to think and act in counter-normative ways. This workshop is grounded in a conceptual model that a) distinguishes between "relationships" & "partnerships,” between “thin” & “thick” reciprocity, and between “transactional” and “transformational” approaches to collaboration. We will explore the potential for the full range of relationships involved in working, learning, and serving together (between and among students, faculty, staff, community members, and others) to become reciprocal, transformational partnerships. Participants in this interactive, hands-on session will apply several tools designed to support us in nurturing such partnerships to their own contexts. We will co-create a set of principles and practices to support one another in both being part of and facilitating reciprocal, transformational partnerships.


Talking our Talk: The Power of Little Words in Community-Campus Engagement -- "To" you, "for" you, or "with" you? In this session we will critically evaluate the sources, significance, and appropriateness of how we talk about our work in light of the fundamental commitment to reciprocity that underlies community-campus engagement.


Research on Service-Learning -- In this 2-day workshop we will focus on integrating service-learning practice with research and scholarship. Participants will:

  • Identify, analyze, and refine their own service-learning related questions and associated research and practice designs
  • Generate characteristics of high quality scholarship related to service-learning and evaluate their own and others' work accordingly
  • Apply conceptual frameworks for service-learning, for scholarship, and for research to their own work
  • Compare and contrast examples of service-learning related scholarship with respect to such variable as types of method, fit between question and design, and rigor of data analysis
  • Analyze, refine, and apply to themselves the concept of “civic minded scholar” 


Articulating and Assessing Civic Learning -- Educating for democracy. Graduating responsible citizens. Teaching the public purposes of our disciplines. Cultivating critical thinking, problem-solving, and cross-cultural skills. What do these and related "civic learning" goals of the academy really mean to us as educators, and how might we operationalize and measure them in our teaching? In this session we will examine a variety of conceptualizations of "civic learning" and use research-grounded tools for the design of course-embedded assessment to help achieve greater precision in both generating and assessing associated learning outcomes.


Cultivating Critical Thinking through Critical Reflection on Experience Within and Beyond the Classroom -As the part of experiential learning that generates, deepens, and documents learning, critical reflection is key to all forms of experiential learning. It is also a counter-normative way for many of us to teach and to learn, so it is both challenging to undertake and potentially transformative. In this highly interactive full-day workshop, participants will a) undertake an experiential learning opportunity (reading and reflection prompts will be sent in advance), b) consider the meaning and role of critical reflection in experiential learning, c) apply models for experiential learning and for integrated design to their own instructional contexts, d) critique example reflection activities, and e) practice developing critical reflection prompts and applying rubrics to student products. Participants will leave the session with examples of critical reflection activities and with resources that can be used with our students and in our own instructional design and assessment work.


Critical Thinking: Beyond the Porn Conspiracy -- “I know it when I see it.” Have you or your colleagues said that about critical thinking? Thought it? Acted like that’s the best you can do? Too often we shortchange ourselves and our students by conceptualizing critical thinking (CT) in nebulous, unspecific terms. Determining what we mean by it and aligning that understanding with our pedagogical and assessment strategies is both do-able and empowering; doing so in partnership with our students, as learners ourselves, is particularly powerful. Drawing on our collective experience in the classroom and on the work of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, in this interactive and hands-on workshop we will explore 5 questions:

1. Why does critical thinking (CT) matter?
2. What is CT?
3. How can we help our students and ourselves cultivate and care about CT?
4. How can we and they assess thinking in terms of CT?
5. What does CT leave out or need to be integrated with?

Participants are invited to bring examples to the workshop of an activity, assignment, rubric, syllabus excerpt, etc. that speaks to CT in your teaching. You will leave the session with conceptual frameworks and concrete tools (including rubrics) to enhance teaching and learning.