We’d gone to bed one Tuesday night, hearing that objects resembling hangman’s nooses had been found in a tree on the University Green. The next morning, Sept. 23, 2015, we woke to the news that the objects were not the dreaded symbols of racial violence. Because the hanging of nooses was within the realm of possibility in some minds, a conversation about race was held on the Green at 4:30pm the same day. During this gathering, students shared personal experiences with racism on campus, a faculty member introduced the concept of white privilege, and administrators confirmed their commitment to improving the climate on campus.


These events present teachable – if delicate – moments. Students are curious, confused, fearful, and sometimes inappropriately indifferent, and handling the myriad thoughts and emotions in class can prove difficult.


The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTAL) invites faculty and graduate TAs to explore resources to help turn these discussions into teachable moments. In addition, CTAL’s Teaching and Learning Conversations (TLCs) provide opportunities to explore important issues like these with your peers.


In a recent NY Times Sunday Review article, Are College Lectures Unfair?, Ann Murphy Paul considers the inequitable practice of lecturing. During this conversation, participants will review the article and explore teaching culturally responsive teaching, a method that promotes belonging, respect, relevance, engagement and academic success for all learners. Please Register.

    • November 18, 2015 – How can I manage and/or initiate controversial discussions?

Recent events involving issues of sexuality, civil rights and religion, police brutality, sexual assault, and hate crimes can spark controversial conversations that become rich learning opportunities.  Students are eager to talk and understand. This TLC explores how faculty and staff can address these kinds of “hot topics” in the classroom and other campus spaces. We will consider such issues as creating safe spaces, knowing when to stop, and how to address marginalization in a mostly homogeneous classrooms (i.e., across gender, sexuality, race/gender, religion, etc.). Please Register.

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