Winter 2016

In This Issue:

I. Introduction – Collaborating to Develop and Improve Classroom Teaching: Student-Consultant for Teaching and Learning Program at Reed College, in which Kathryn Oleson, Professor of Psychology and Director, Center for Teaching and Learning at Reed College, presents contextual information about teaching at Reed and portrays the newly created student-consultant program. The introduction provides a framework for considering the ways each essay makes clear the benefits of faculty-student partnerships in improving classroom teaching.

II. Five Things I Learned from Working with the Student-Consultant for Teaching and Learning Program, in which Morgan Luker, Assistant Professor of Music at Reed College, and Benjamin Morris, Reed College Class of 2015, provide an affecting and perceptive summary of the lessons they learned through their partnership. Presenting alternating viewpoints, they consider the powerful transformation that can come from collaboratively taking risks to improve one’s teaching, including insights including “I have a lot to learn about teaching,” “Collaboration is powerful,” “Little things make a big difference,” “Content is only the beginning” and “Feedback is helpful.”

III. Gaining New Perspectives on Discussion-based Classes in English and the Humanities, in which Sarah Wagner-McCoy, Assistant Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College, and Ezra Schwartz, Reed College Class of 2016, present a funny and penetrating look at their collaboration by shifting back and forth between each partner’s perspective. Their essay considers the profound ways that a student-consultant can help overcome the limitations of a professor’s perspective (including “Important Pedagogical Strategies, that sadly, just don’t work”) while also highlighting the challenges of dealing with differences in perspective.

IV. Group Dynamics: Lessons and Surprises from Multiple Sections of a Single Class, in which Kara Becker, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, and Alexandra Wood, Reed College Class of 2015, write that “work with multiple sections reveals the key role of group dynamics in the success of a course, and allows for a pedagogical focus on responding and adapting to those group dynamics.” Following the time course of their two class sections, they demonstrate the ways that the trajectories were altered because each class had the opportunity to self-advocate; they present a powerful message about incorporating the perspective of the students in the class.

V. Benefits of Participating in the Student Consultant Program across Multiple Semesters, in which Michael Pitts, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Hannah Baumgartner, Reed College Class of 2016, focus on the insights they gained through participating in multiple student-faculty partnerships. Although Hannah and Michael only worked together for one semester, their participation with different partners and for different courses allowed them to distill three categories of pedagogical strategies: instructor specific/course general ones that a faculty member can employ across many classes; course-specific/student-general ones that are effective in a certain course; and group specific strategies that stress the group dynamics of a specific constellation of students.