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Teachers as Scholars
The Teachers As Scholars (TAS) was created 15 years ago through the collaborative effort of TCNJ’s Professional Development School Network, The College of New Jersey, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for the purpose of providing a selection of content-related seminars geared toward the particular interests of K–12 educators.

The goals of the TAS seminars are:

  1. To foster and promote teachers as academic and intellectual leaders by giving them time to reflect and
    discuss new ideas and recent scholarship with colleagues;
  2. To give (over time) equal opportunity to all teachers in a district to examine and learn cutting-edge scholarship
    as part of their work day; and
  3. To encourage professional relationships between arts and science faculty and classroom teachers, while
    improving articulation between K–12 schools and higher education.

Teachers as Scholars (TAS) seminars are two-day professional development events led by outstanding faculty members of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). They are free for PDSN member districts. Non member districts are invited to participate if space allows.

Teacher-scholars who are selected for participation by PDSN member school districts and can choose from an array of seminars; those who successfully participate and complete TAS seminars are awarded 10 professional development hours.

Each 2 day seminar is presented on the scenic TCNJ campus and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00p.m.

To register: Contact your districts’ PDSN representative for registration information
Please use this link for a printable 8×14 PDF of the 2022/2023  Teachers as Scholars Schedule
For any questions please contact Carla Woodward: step@tcnj.edu

Please click on seminar title to view a description and instructor biography

Seminar 1: Exploring Economic Justice through Games, Film, and Fiction!
James Stacey Taylor, October 5 & 12, 2022

It is imperative to increase K-12 students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their intercultural communication competence in a diverse world. What better way to achieve this goal than immersing oneself in a culture that is different from his/her own? This workshop will creatively teach participants how to use and apply the ethnographic approach to get a deep understanding of a unique culture in a relatively short period of time. The first day will focus on learning ethnographic methods through lectures, case studies, practices, and discussions. Participants will take home a small-scale ethnographic assignment to complete. When they come back on the second day, they will be guided to synthesize field notes, identify cultural patterns, draw conclusions, and share findings through presentations. These exercises, though a bit time and effort consuming will be rewarding, fulfilling, and enlightening. In addition to opening up to new cultures and improving intercultural communication skills, participants may see their own cultures in a new light. Participants taking this course should have an open-mind, a commitment to required assignments, and be willing to step out of their comfort zones. The pedagogy can be applied to advanced elementary students as well as middle and high schoolers.

Seminar Leader: James Stacey Taylor, PhDJames Stacey Taylor is a professor of philosophy at TCNJ. He is frequently invited to lecture both nationally and internationally on how to improve classroom teaching; he is also frequently invited by industry groups and policy think tanks to speak on critical-thinking pitfalls that should be avoided in making public policy. An Anglo-Scot, he holds an MA and MLitt degree from St. Andrews University, Scotland, and an MA and a PhD from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He is the editor of Personal Autonomy: New Essays and The Ethics and Metaphysics of Death, and the author of Stakes and Kidneys, Practical Autonomy and Bioethics, and Death, Posthumous Harm and Bioethics. His Op-Eds have appeared in many publications ranging from USA Today to the Los Angeles Times, as well as Forbes.com. He has also been quoted in The New York Times and is a contributor to NPR.

 Seminar 2: Hard Truths: Supporting Social and Emotional Learning through Children’s Literature
Anne Peel, October 14 & 21 2022

Educational professionals are deeply concerned about the effects that the pandemic has had not only on academic skills, but also on students’ mental health and social development. Social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and supports have become an essential component of school efforts to care for the needs of young people. In this seminar, we will dive into the history of didactic storytelling for children and consider the recent research around pedagogical SEL and bibliotherapy approaches. We will also examine the consequences for youth when storytelling gets politicized and even weaponized. The majority of the seminar will be spent looking at challenging picture books, chapter books and graphic novels that help students build greater empathy and problem-solving skills. The primary focus of the first session will be studying picture book collections that can be used at the elementary or middle level. During our second session we will narrow our focus to consider a multidisciplinary middle grade humanities unit on immigrant, refugee, and displaced persons’ experiences.

Seminar Leader: Anne Peel, EdD
Anne is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the Special Education, Language & Literacy Department and the coordinator of the Secondary Special Education Program. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that focus on the foundations of reading instruction and assessment, disciplinary literacy in secondary schools, writing instruction in inclusive classrooms, and children’s literature. As a former high school English teacher, she continues to maintain collaborations with multiple districts across New Jersey, providing professional development support in literacy instruction. Her scholarship has been published in English Journal, Journal of Language and Literacy Education, Literacy, and The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy among others; she has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences.

Seminar 3: The Witches of Salem 1692
Michelle Tartar, October 18 & 25, 2022

This seminar will focus on the most notorious witch hunt of America: Salem 1692. Looking at a plethora of archival and literary sources—ranging from pamphlets of “Wonders” and “Strange Occurrences,” sermons and court trial records, accusations and confessions, and many perplexing, fascinating manuscript diaries and letters—we will explore the multiple meanings of witchcraft in this early American village. Our class will delve into the primary texts preserved from this cultural phenomenon, and then review the ever-growing interdisciplinary scholarship that theorizes and illuminates this colonial community’s hysteria, rooted in its own beliefs about gender, sexuality, race and class. 

Seminar Leader: Michele Lise Tarter, PhD
Michele Lise Tarter received her B.A. from Roanoke College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado/Boulder. She teaches courses on Early American Literature, The Witch in Literature, Literature of the Prison, and Women’s Autobiographies, Diaries, and Letters. She has established a memoir-writing program in New Jersey’s only maximum-security prison for women, working with TCNJ students in co-teaching aninmates’ writing workshop behind bars. For the past 16 consecutive years, Dr. Tarter has led study-abroad courses in England and Europe, taking students to numerous “Literary Landscapes” to bring literature to life.  Professor Tarter’s research interests include transatlantic Quaker women’s prophesying and writing, the body and cultural studies in early American literature, and women’s prison literature.

Seminar 4: Psychology of Happiness
June Kim, November 3 & 17, 2022

Is happiness a box of chocolates?  Would you really be happy if only you could earn a little more money?   Lose a little weight?  In this course, we will review the scientific evidence regarding the antecedents and consequences of happiness.  We will also engage in the scientific study of human strengths and flourishing and closely examine the latest research on the science of happiness and positive psychology, including topics such as flow states, self-determination, goal achievement, and affect balance.  

Participants in this seminar should be conversant with research methodologies used in social sciences.  During the first session, we will begin our learning about the predictors and consequences of happiness.  Participants will be encouraged to choose a topic for experiential self-investigation (e.g., positive thinking, managing stress, practicing gratitude, etc.).  The second session will include in-depth consideration of the research evidence on the participant-chosen topics and experiential learning.  

Seminar Leader: June Kim, PhD
June Kim is a professor of psychology at The College of New Jersey, receiving her Ph.D. in Psychology at  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has published scholarly articles on happiness and positive psychology and is the editor of a  scholarly book on religion and happiness across cultures.  She also teaches courses on psychology of emotion, prejudice, happiness, as well as psychological research methods.

Seminar 5: The Meaning of Life
Pierre Le Morvan. November 7 & 14, 2022

Do our lives have a meaning or purpose? Or are they merely meaningless or purposeless? If our lives do have a meaning, what is it and what is its source? If they do not, then why not? These are among the oldest and most profound questions humans have wrestled with for over 3000 years, questions we will explore in this seminar.

In doing so, we will critically examine seven philosophically and religiously important approaches to answering these questions: Nihilism (our lives have no meaning), Buddhism (the meaning of our lives is to seek the extinction of the self), Hinduism (the meaning of our lives is to realize our oneness with the source of all being), Epicureanism (the meaning of lives is to seek the highest forms of pleasure in this world), Stoicism (the meaning of life is to seek peace of mind) Existentialism (we create ourselves the meanings of our lives), and a Judeo-Christian perspective (the meaning of our lives is to love our Creator and to love our neighbors as ourselves).The seminar will also discuss ways of motivating students to engage with these issue and a number of learning activities related to meaning exploration.

Seminar Leader: Pierre Le Morvan, PhD
Pierre is Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Classical Studies at TCNJ. He has taught epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, aesthetics, and ethics, and has published articles on such topics as the problem of suffering, the nature of knowledge, the nature of truth, the nature of ignorance, the nature of perception, and how to distinguish healthy from unhealthy skepticism.

Seminar 6: Teaching Science Through Issues
Christopher Murphy, December 9 & 16, 2022

Science plays a critical role in society, providing us with the knowledge we need to understand the universe and to better our lives.  All persons, not just practicing scientists, need a great science education, and this education must provide students with the ability to use science in their everyday lives.  This seminar will help teacher’s structure science courses around current issues of importance to students and society to simultaneously increase student interest and meet science curricular standards. Participants will apply the issues approach to their own courses and leave the seminar with a module that they can take back to their classrooms.

Seminar Leader: Christopher Murphy, PhD
Christopher Murphy is the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Liberal Learning and a Professor of Biology at TCNJ.  He taught his first class of non-majors biology 28 years ago as a post-doctoral associate, and since then, over 95% of his teaching has been with this population.  For much of this time, he has used an issues-based approach to help non-majors become interested in science and develop as educated citizens capable of using reliable scientific information to make reasoned decisions.  He conducts research in both biology and college education.

Seminar 7: Learning by Doing: Empowering Students and Communities through Experiential Education He Len Chung. January 3 & 10, 2023

Experiential education, a “learning by doing” approach, relies on experience as the source material and thoughtful reflection to facilitate learning. Multiple examples – internships, service learning, community-engaged research – are considered “high-impact practices” (HIPs), as they are linked to significant educational benefits (e.g., students more engaged in their learning and equipped to face the demands of a 21st Century global society). These findings are especially true for those from demographic groups historically underserved by colleges and universities.
A growing number of K-12 and higher education institutions are making commitments to experiential education in their curricula and strategic plans. This interactive workshop will address strategies to support these commitments, with a particular focus on guidelines outlined by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and other organizations. Workshop topics will highlight fundamentals of experiential education (e.g., definitions and models of engagement), research on learning (e.g., learning and the brain), and implementation strategies to create high-quality equitable learning and engagement (e.g., diversity and inclusion in experiential education). We will review examples of experiential learning from different education settings – middle school, high school, college classrooms – and workshop participants will have opportunities to apply workshop content to learning in their own settings.

Seminar Leader: He Len Chung, PhD
He Len is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the REACH (Research on Engagement, Adjustment, and Community Health) Lab at TCNJ. Her teaching and research target psychological health and have been recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health and American Psychological Association. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology and is committed to advancing knowledge on risk and resilience, trauma informed and healing-centered approaches, community-engaged learning, and the power of partnerships to promote well-being, particularly in low-resource communities.
Alice Bateman has been a middle school educator for over 20 years. She works at the William Penn Charter School, an independent Quaker school in Philadelphia. In addition to teaching social studies to middle school students, she leads training workshops for educators on topics around learning and the brain. She has a Masters degree from Temple University where she focused her studies on educational neuroscience and its applications for classroom teachers. She works to infuse outdoor and experiential education philosophies into her classes.

Seminar 8: Understanding Recessions
Michele Naples January 11 & 18, 2023

The current macroeconomy poses a challenge for our understanding of how the economy works as well as for appropriate policy interventions. In August 2019, a “liquidity crunch” signaled the New York Fed that a recession was likely within the ensuing 1-2 years, perhaps within sight of our seminar.

This seminar will review basic macroeconomic ideas on what determines GDP, particularly the effects of government expenditure and tax policy (i.e., Fiscal Policy), and Federal Reserve Monetary Policy. We will also review macro principles of how the Fed and banks create and contract the money supply. We will use data series available from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board to assess where the US economy was a year ago, how things have changed over the last year, and where it seems to be headed now. And we will explore the limitations and constraints on Federal-Reserve and government fiscal policies in our low-interest rate high-deficit current context.

Participants will learn how to shape data supplied by the St. Louis Fed to create user-friendly, easy-to-interpret graphs of business-cycle fluctuations. They will also learn how to download the data into Excel files to share with students, or to teach students how to access directly for their own projects on the state of the US or NJ macroeconomy.

Seminar Leader: Michele Naples, PhD.
Michele Naples is a professor of Economics in the School of Business at  TCNJ. Michele received her PhD in Economics at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She regularly teaches introductory economics courses, senior thesis, and independent studies. Dr. Naples’ scholarship has been published in a variety of scholarly journals such as Journal of Economic Education, Journal of Information Systems Education and the American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Seminar 9: “’Tis a word too great for any mouth”: Shakespeare’s Language
Felicia Steele, February 1 & 8, 2023

Shakespeare has been dead for 406 years, but he’s still one of the most frequently taught authors in American high schools. Any teacher asked “Why still teach Shakespeare?” will have a number of ready answers.  Shakespeare’s plays continue to be cultural capital referred to at every turn, from Faulkner’s Sound and the Fury to The Lion King. Shakespeare’s plays illuminate the tragedies and joys of the human condition. Shakespeare’s stories are beautiful.

But few of us ever answer, “Shakespeare teaches us all something important about the English language.” Even fewer of our students will answer, “I understand every word Shakespeare writes.” For many of our students, Shakespeare’s language is an impediment rather than a joy. Lessons about Shakespeare’s poetry and plays often side-step his language, instead inviting students to reframe the action of the plays in contemporary settings with contemporary dialogue. In effect, many of us teach students to do what Shakespeare did to his own sources: to recast the stories in our own times without reference to the original language of the texts. Such lessons teach students important tools in translation or provide opportunities for performance, but they rarely improve students’ long-term comprehension of Shakespeare’s language.

This seminar will focus on Shakespeare’s language, using Love’s Labour’s Lost, as the point of departure. We will also discuss sections of Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. Participants will learn to use the lexical and linguistic tools necessary to discuss Shakespeare’s language and learn how to develop lessons to bring those resources into the classroom to improve student reading comprehension

Seminar Leader: Felicia Jean Steele, PhD
Felicia Steele, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the English department at The College of New Jersey.  She teaches courses in introductory linguistics and the global history of the English language, as well as courses in early literatures and medievalism in British literature. Professor Steele’s main research is in historical linguistics, specifically auxiliary verb change over the history of the English language. She has also published essays in historical phonology and the uses of linguistic analysis in discussions of literary influence and the influence of Tolkien on Seamus Heaney. She is currently writing a book about the History of the English Language.

Seminar 10: The Representation of Women in Ancient Greek Art
Lee Ann Riccardi, March 7 & 14, 2023

Women have been greatly underrepresented in the literary and historical studies of ancient Greece, but there is an abundance of evidence about their lives available in the art historical and archaeological record. This course will help to illuminate the lives of Greek women by using a comparative and interdisciplinary approach that includes the evidence from art and architecture as well as literature. We will examine not only what women actually did and did not do in ancient Greece, but also how they were perceived by their male contemporaries and what value to society they were believed to have. By studying how women were represented in vase-painting, sculpture, and other arts and examining the arrangement of the houses where they lived, we will explore the complexities and ambiguities of women’s lives in ancient Greece and help to create a fuller, more rounded, and more accurate picture of women’s lives in ancient Greece than we get when we only study the literature. Key issues/questions to be explored:

  • How were women represented in the visual and material cultures of ancient Greece?
  • What messages about women were the images meant to express?
  • How does the way a woman is represented change with age, status, identity, geography?
  • What is the point of studying women in ancient Greece? Why does their history matter to us today?

Seminar Leader: Lee Ann Riccardi, PhD
Lee Ann Riccardi is a Professor of Art History and Classical Studies. Her main area of research focuses on portraiture, with a special emphasis on sculptural and coin portraits produced in the Greek world under the Romans, and she has written several articles on various aspects of these topics. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a year as a Fulbright scholar in Greece, and regularly leads study abroad trips to Greece and Rome.

Seminar 11: Navigating the New Reading Wars: Implications for teacher knowledge, instruction and assessment in lower elementary classrooms
Helene Anthony, April 17 & 24, 2023

This seminar will explore both classic and current research in reading in an attempt to lay the reading wars to rest, and permit teachers to move forward with sound, research-aligned classroom practice. Topics will include models of reading, phonology, sound-symbol associations and syllable types, vocabulary, morphology, syntax and comprehension. Reflections and insights from a group of local K-2 teachers who spent a year examining their literacy instruction will provide an important lens for discussion. Participants will leave the seminar with practical strategies for incorporating research findings into their own teaching.

Seminar Leader: Helene Anthony, PhD
Helene is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education, Language and Literacy. She received her MA in Curriculum Studies from the University of MA, and her PhD in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University. She is a passionate about literacy education, and recently presented a paper on preparing preservice teachers to close opportunity gaps through evidence-based reading instruction in urban classrooms. Dr. Anthony is currently part of a TCNJ professional development partnership with the Trenton Public Schools.

Seminar 12: Lessons Learned from Pandemics
Rita King, April 19 & 26, 2023

Throughout history, humans have encountered countless infectious diseases. Some of these have become legendary, owing to their lethality or their insidious spread. We will examine the societal impact of history’s most significant Pandemics: Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, and COVID-19.  We will explore the effects of each disease on two levels: the biological (microbiology, pharmacology, and immunology) and the societal (epidemiology and sociology).  The biology of each disease will be explained. We will become familiar with the state of global public health over time. We will see how art, music, and literature have been influenced by diseases. The ethics of infectious disease monitoring and control will be discussed, including quarantines, mandatory health department notification, use of vaccines and experimental drugs.

The many positive outcomes of pandemics are teaching moments across the ages and can be incorporated into interdisciplinary curricula. This seminar will answer these questions:

  • How do the impacts of Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, and COVID-19 compare?
  • Were we ready for COVID-19?
  • Will we be ready for the next pandemic? 
  • How should we prepare?

Seminar Leader: Rita M. King, PhD

Rita has taught in the TCNJ Biology Department for over 25 years and was the Coordinator in the Tutoring Center for 11 years. Prior to her teaching career Rita did cancer research at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute in New York. She has taught many courses to biology and nursing majors, as well as non-majors. She has taught The History of Disease and Principles of Microbiology. Her specialty is emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. ” It is easy to find the negative and disastrous outcomes of disease but I enjoy focusing on the positive outcomes and changes to society, economy, art, literature, and music. The resilience of our species never ceases to amaze me.”

Seminar 13: “life sentences: Teaching the Literature of the Prison”
Michelle Tarter, April 21 & 28, 2023

America has become known as the “Incarceration Nation,” imprisoning more people than any other country in the world. Interdisciplinary in nature, this seminar will explore literature by and about prisoners, and address such themes as confinement, slavery and oppression, and most importantly, the power of the written word. We will consider many disciplines as we approach these materials: gender, criminology, psychology, sociology, and, most notably, literary analysis. Together, we will turn to this groundbreaking, provocative material written by one of the most neglected, silenced, but all-too-critical sectors of our population– the incarcerate

Seminar Leader: Michele Lise Tarter, PhD
Michele is a professor of English at TCNJ. She has published and presented extensively on early American women’s writing as well as on 17th– and 18th-century transatlantic Quaker literature. She is co-editor of New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650- 1800 (Oxford UP, 2018), Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America (University of Georgia Press, 2012) and “A Centre of Wonders “: The Body in Early America (Cornell UP, 2001). Her most recent research project is based on her volunteer work teaching a memoir-writing class to prisoners in the  maximum-security wing of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey.

Seminar 14: Incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) in the Classroom
Yifeng Hu, May 8 & 15, 2023

It is imperative to upskill students for the 21st century high demand careers in a diverse world and increase their culturally competent compassion as teachers prepare them to be global citizens. To this end, this seminar will introduce how immersive technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) can be used in teaching and learning and showcase recent student engagement with VR and projects designed to have social/cultural/health impact. Built in this seminar are guided hands-on VR sessions where participants will have the opportunity to interact with and critique a range of impactful programs. Participants will learn how VR is revolutionizing teaching and learning, and explore ideas on leveraging it to innovate within their own field. Further training and funding opportunities will be provided.

Seminar Leader: Yifeng Hu, PhD
Hu is an associate professor of Communication Studies at TCNJ. Her research and teaching are transdisciplinary, which include emerging communication technology, health communication, and intercultural/racial communication. She has led her students to research and design virtual reality-based projects that have the potential to make social changes. Hu is eager to share her expertise and passion in emerging communication technology and its social impact, and hopes to excite her peers with a vision of teaching and learning for the 21st century.

Academic Year 21/22

Seminar 1:  Social Justice, Music, Education,  October 26 and November 2, 2021
It is imperative to increase K-12 students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their intercultural communication competence in a diverse world. What better way to achieve this goal than immersing oneself in a culture that is different from his/her own? This workshop will creatively teach participants how to use and apply the ethnographic approach to get a deep understanding of a unique culture in a relatively short period of time. The first day will focus on learning ethnographic methods through lectures, case studies, practices, and discussions. Participants will take home a small-scale ethnographic assignment to complete. When they come back on the second day, they will be guided to synthesize field notes, identify cultural patterns, draw conclusions, and share findings through presentations. These exercises, though a bit time and effort consuming will be rewarding, fulfilling, and enlightening. In addition to opening up to new cultures and improving intercultural communication skills, participants may see their own cultures in a new light. Participants taking this course should have an open-mind, a commitment to required assignments, and be willing to step out of their comfort zones. The pedagogy can be applied to advanced elementary students as well as middle and high schoolers.

Seminar Leader: Colleen Sears, EdD Teachers as Scholars
Colleen Sears is an associate professor of music and the coordinator of music education. She also leads curriculum development and interdisciplinary programming for the Institute for Social Justice in the Arts at TCNJ. Sears spent 10 years as a music educator in New Jersey’s public schools and enjoys exploring her research interests through innovative collaborations with K–12 music educators and students. Her current projects engage students and educators with issues of social justice through music performance and interdisciplinary aesthetic experiences. Sears frequently guest lectures, coordinates professional development sessions for educators, and presents her work at regional and national conferences.

 

Seminar 2:  Makerspaces, November 3 and November 10, 2021A recent infographic from the Educational Advisory Board describes the importance and role of a makerspace to “allow students to convert their ideas into physical objects, supporting hands-on learning and cross-discipline collaboration.” In this hands-on workshop, you will explore ways to incorporate digital fabrication and design thinking into your curriculum. Specifically, you will learn how to use laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines and other digital fabrication tools and will have ample workshop time to use these tools to build a project of your choice.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: John Kuiphoff
John Kuiphoff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interactive Multimedia at TCNJ. His research interests include digital fabrication, creative coding and design. He is a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. John spends a lot of his time making products for clients (and for fun) in his fabrication studio. 

 

 

Seminar 3: Teaching for Critical Thinking through Activities & Games, Dec. 3 & 10, 2021
We live in an era of “fake news” and increasing ideological division.  It is now common for people to rush to judge the actions of actions of strangers based on posts on social media, to see political discussion in terms of “us” and “them,” and to reduce complex social and political issues to one-sentence memes. Since the majority of people in America now get their news from social media — sources that are poorly designed for conveying information or presenting issues fairly — it is thus more critical than ever for people to know how to critically assess claims that are presented to them.

Unfortunately, the structure of news delivery today provides people with little incentive for critically engaging with the information that is presented to them, with the increasingly short news cycles pressing forward to the next outrage almost as soon as the most recent one has been introduced. In this seminar we will explore some practical techniques that could be used to assess both empirical claims (e.g., “The American middle class is shrinking”) and prescriptive claims (e.g., “We should raise tariffs on imported goods to protect the middle class”). These techniques will range from outlining and identifying informal fallacies that are often used to persuade people, to learning how to verify empirical claims by working back to the sources from which they are claimed to have originated.

Engaging in such critical thinking takes time and effort — and so does exploring how to engage in this. We’ll also explore ways to motivate students (and others) to use critical thinking techniques when they are faced with either empirical or prescriptive claims. To this end we’ll explore some methods that have proved successful in the past in motivating students to engage critically with material presented to them on social media. These will include activities and games, including “The Myth Busting Scavenger Hunt,” “Would This Be True If Your Mother Wrote It?” and “Why Believe THAT?”

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: James Stacey Taylor, PhD
James Stacey Taylor is a professor of philosophy at TCNJ. He is frequently invited to lecture both nationally and internationally on how to improve classroom teaching; he is also frequently invited by industry groups and policy think tanks to speak on critical-thinking pitfalls that should be avoided in making public policy. An Anglo-Scot, he holds an MA and MLitt degree from St. Andrews University, Scotland, and an MA and a PhD from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He is the editor of Personal Autonomy: New Essays and The Ethics and Metaphysics of Death, and the author of Stakes and Kidneys, Practical Autonomy and Bioethics, and Death, Posthumous Harm and Bioethics. His Op-Eds have appeared in many publications ranging from USA Today to the Los Angeles Times, as well as Forbes.com. He has also been quoted in The New York Times and is a contributor to NPR.

Seminar 4: Understanding Recessions,  January 24 and 31, 2022
The current macroeconomic poses a challenge for our understanding of how the economy works as well as for appropriate policy interventions. In August 2019, a “liquidity crunch” signaled the New York Fed that a recession was likely within the ensuing 1-2 years, perhaps within sight of our seminar. This course will review basic macroeconomic ideas on what determines GDP, particularly the effects of government expenditure and tax policy (i.e., Fiscal Policy), and Federal Reserve Monetary Policy. We will also review macro principles of how the Fed and banks create and contract the money supply. We will use data series available from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board to assess where the US economy was a year ago, how things have changed over the last year, and where it seems to be headed now. And we will explore the limitations and constraints on Federal-Reserve and government fiscal policies in our low-interest rate high-deficit current context. Participants will learn how to shape data supplied by the St. Louis Fed to create user-friendly, easy-to-interpret graphs of business-cycle fluctuations. They will also learn how to download the data into Excel files to share with students, or to teach students how to access directly for their own projects on the state of the US or NJ macroeconomy.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Michele I. Naples, PhD
Michele Naples is Professor of Economics in the School of Business at TCNJ. Her research interests include financialization and income inequality, and the costs and benefits of decriminalizing drug use. She has published on strategic competition and its implications for wages, profits and employment over the business cycle, the theory of the profit rate, cost and price theory, unions, labor-management conflict and productivity growth, and economics pedagogy, including for the visually-impaired.

 

 

Seminar 5:  Teaching Science Through Issues,  March 4 and 11, 2022
Science plays a critical role in society, providing us with the knowledge we need to understand the universe and to better our lives.  All persons, not just practicing scientists, need a great science education, and this education must provide students with the ability to use science in their everyday lives.  This seminar will help teacher’s structure science courses around current issues of importance to students and society to simultaneously increase student interest and meet science curricular standards. Participants will apply the issues approach to their own courses and leave the seminar with a module that they can take back to their classrooms.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Christopher Murphy, PhD
Christopher Murphy is the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Liberal Learning and a Professor of Biology at TCNJ.  He taught his first class of non-majors biology 28 years ago as a post-doctoral associate, and since then, over 95% of his teaching has been with this population.  For much of this time, he has used an issues-based approach to help non-majors become interested in science and develop as educated citizens capable of using reliable scientific information to make reasoned decisions.  He conducts research in both biology and college education.

 

 

Seminar 6: The Meaning of Life,  March 21 and 28, 2022
Do our lives have a meaning or purpose? Or are they merely meaningless or purposeless? If our lives do have a meaning, what is it and what is its source? If they do not, then why not? These are among the oldest and most profound questions humans have wrestled with for over 3000 years, questions we will explore in this seminar.
In doing so, we will critically examine seven philosophically and religiously important approaches to answering these questions: Nihilism (our lives have no meaning), Buddhism (the meaning of our lives is to seek the extinction of the self), Hinduism (the meaning of our lives is to realize our oneness with the source of all being), Epicureanism (the meaning of lives is to seek the highest forms of pleasure in this world), Stoicism (the meaning of life is to seek peace of mind) Existentialism (we create ourselves the meanings of our lives), and a Judeo-Christian perspective (the meaning of our lives is to love our Creator and to love our neighbors as ourselves).The seminar will also discuss ways of motivating students to engage with these issue and a number of learning activities related to meaning exploration.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Pierre Le Morvan, PhD
Pierre is Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Classical Studies at TCNJ. He has taught epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, aesthetics, and ethics, and has published articles on such topics as the problem of suffering, the nature of knowledge, the nature of truth, the nature of ignorance, the nature of perception, and how to distinguish healthy from unhealthy skepticism.

 

Seminar 7: “life sentences: Teaching the Literature of the Prison”, April 4 and 11, 2022
America has become known as the “Incarceration Nation,” imprisoning more people than any other country in the world. Interdisciplinary in nature, this seminar will explore literature by and about prisoners, and address such themes as confinement, slavery and oppression, and most importantly, the power of the written word. We will consider many disciplines as we approach these materials: gender, criminology, psychology, sociology, and, most notably, literary analysis. Together, we will turn to this groundbreaking, provocative material written by one of the most neglected, silenced, but all-too-critical sectors of our population– the incarcerate.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Michele Lise Tarter, PhD
Michele is a professor of English at TCNJ. She has published and presented extensively on early American women’s writing as well as on 17th– and 18th-century transatlantic Quaker literature. She is co-editor of New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650- 1800 (Oxford UP, 2018), Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America (University of Georgia Press, 2012) and “A Centre of Wonders “: The Body in Early America (Cornell UP, 2001). Her most recent research project is based on her volunteer work teaching a memoir-writing class to prisoners in the  maximum-security wing of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey.

Seminar 8: Teaching LGBTQIA* Literature in Secondary School,  April 12 and 19, 2022
New Jersey public schools are now legally responsible for providing a LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum and teaching middle and high school students about the political, economic, and social contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As a result, New Jersey teachers have a unique opportunity to explore gender and sexuality not only in history classes, but across the curriculum. This seminar will examine how teachers might invest secondary English classrooms with LGBTQ literature as well as methods for teaching it. Seminar participants will read two middle grade novels with LGBTQ content, Ashley Herring Blake’s Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World and Kacen Callender’s King and the Dragonflies, as well as excerpts from other texts (fiction and nonfiction) written for children and teens. Using seminal concepts from gender and queer theory as close-reading lenses, participants will investigate how theory is experienced – as embodied, lived, and real – in the lives of the characters in these books. Participants will also explore how to make these concepts accessible to secondary students by examining models of curriculum with LGBTQ content currently in place in local schools. Approaches relevant to whole class novel, book club, or reading/writing workshop models of instruction will be discussed.

Seminar Leader: Emily S. Meixner, PhD.
Emily S. Meixner is an associate professor of English and the coordinator of the secondary English education program at TCNJ. Dr. Meixner regularly teaches undergraduate courses on English Language Arts reading and writing pedagogy as well as graduate and undergraduate courses on children’s and young adult literature. Dr. Meixner’s scholarship has been published in a variety of scholarly journals including Radical Teacher, English Leadership Quarterly, The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Multicultural Perspectives. Her most recent article Teachers as Scholarswith co-author Rachel Scupp, “Building Community, Empathy, and Engagement through LGBTQ Book Clubs” is featured in the December 2019 volume of Voices from the Middle.

 

 

 

 

Seminar 9:  On Line Lives: Autobiography & Social Media,  April 19 and 26, 2022
The course focuses on cutting-edge theoretical approaches to the study of digital life writing. Is social media revolutionizing the way people tell the stories of their lives? No longer a novelty, digital “automedia” have become the standard of representing public personhood. This seminar explores a range of autobiographical forms as they present themselves through interactive on-line platforms. Participants become familiar with discourses and debates about digital life writing forms in the 21st century as an old genre learns new tricks. Discussions highlight questions of creative license and freedom of expression, as well as ethics and measures of security: Are online role-playing games and other seemingly ephemeral spaces for constructing online profiles as “real” as off-line spaces of lived identity? How do platforms that facilitate sharing life narratives online open doors to the construction of fake lives used for “catfishing” and other on-line deceptions?

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle, PhD
Dr. Ortiz-Vilarelle is Professor of English at TCNJ. She specializes in twentieth century Inter-American literature and autobiographical studies. She has published numerous articles on life writing practice and theory and is currently completing a book on the functional life writing of everyday life. Her book, titled Overwriting the Dictator: Americanas, Autocracy and Autobiographical Innovation, is forthcoming this year at Routledge Press.  

 

 

Seminar 10: Cli Fi: Climate Fiction, May 2 and 9, 2022
What might cli-fi tell us about environmental change and whether we can find hope for the future? As Katy Waldman wrote in a 2018 issue of The New Yorker, cli-fi “offers ways of thinking about something we desperately do not want to think about: the incipient death of the planet.” In this seminar we will discuss one of the latest trends in literature, focusing in the first session on Paolo Bacigalupi’s 2010 young adult novel Ship Breaker (a winner of the Michael L. Printz Award), for a look at a drowned world, and in the second session on Nnedi Okorafor’s 2010 Who Fears Death (optioned as an HBO series with George R. R. Martin as executive producer) for a look at a parched world. As does much dystopian literature, both novels offer hope for the future.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Jean E. Graham, PhD
Dr. Graham is professor of English and associate chair of the Department of English. Her research interests are varied, with publications on Star Trek and the Narnian Chronicles as well as on John Milton and John Donne. She is currently working on a series of articles interpreting literature from an ecocritical perspective. She has taught more than 30 different courses at TCNJ, including a senior seminar and a graduate seminar in dystopian literature.

 

 

Seminar 11: Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone: Raising Cultural Awareness through Mini Ethnography  – May 5 & May 12, 2022
It is imperative to increase K-12 students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their intercultural communication competence in a diverse world. What better way to achieve this goal than immersing oneself in a culture that is different from his/her own? This workshop will creatively teach participants how to use and apply the ethnographic approach to get a deep understanding of a unique culture in a relatively short period of time. The first day will focus on learning ethnographic methods through lectures, case studies, practices, and discussions. Participants will take home a small-scale ethnographic assignment to complete. When they come back on the second day, they will be guided to synthesize field notes, identify cultural patterns, draw conclusions, and share findings through presentations. These exercises, though a bit time and effort consuming will be rewarding, fulfilling, and enlightening. In addition to opening up to new cultures and improving intercultural communication skills, participants may see their own cultures in a newanew light. Participants taking this course should have an open-mind, a commitment to required assignments, and be willing to step out of their comfort zones. The pedagogy can be applied to advanced elementary students as well as middle and high school schoolers.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Yifeng Hu, PhD
Yifeng is the Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at TCNJ. One of her favorite courses is Intercultural Communication. Hu believes that people can always achieve greater intercultural communication competence in a complex social world. In her class, Hu’s students conduct ethnographic studies on various cultures from a communication perspective. One project the class regularly engages in is to create intercultural communication guides and workshops for community partners, who have given great acclaim to this initiative.

 

Seminar 12: Inquiry Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom
May 5 & 12, 2022

Inquiry Based Learning, or IBL for short, is a broad range of empirically validated teaching methods which emphasize (a)deeply engaging students and (b) providing students with opportunities to authentically learn by collaborating with their peers. Students in an IBL mathematics class engage with a sequence of problems that are rich and support inquiry to the heart of big mathematical ideas. The solutions are discussed in class, with the students leading both the presentations and the questioning. The process is also deeply engaging for the teacher as she or he has a chance to learn about how students actually learn mathematics.

According to the NCTM Equity principle: Excellence in mathematics education requires equity — high expectations and strong support for all students. Students can do more than memorize, mimic, perform algorithms, and apply computational skills, if we ask them to.  In this workshop you will get a taste of the IBL experience both as a student and as a teacher as we share IBL resources, problem sets, stories, and evidence for the methods’ effectiveness. We also believe, and recent advances in Neurology have proved, that we can playfully develop mathematical ability using games. We will share some research on games and play games that foster reasoning skills, problem solving skills and other cognitive abilities connected with mathematical thinking.

Teachers as ScholarsSeminar Leader: Judit Karlos, PhD
Judit is an assistant professor of mathematics. She received her BA in mathematics and MS in philosophy from Eötvös University in Budapest, followed by a PhD in mathematics with a focus on Real Analysis. Her research interests as a teacher are related to teaching and learning mathematics using the Inquiry Based Learning method. Most recently, she was a panelist on IBL at Mathfest in 2019 and she presented a paper on using IBL in the Real Analysis classroom at the National IBL Conference in Denver. 

 

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