Guilt-Free Book Club: Small Teaching by James Lang

Small Teaching by James Lang book cover

The CTL has selected Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang for its “guilt-free book club” during the Fall 2017 Semester.

Research into how we learn has opened the door for utilizing cognitive theory to facilitate better student learning. In Small Teaching, James Lang presents a strategy for improving student learning with a series of modest but powerful changes that make a big difference—many of which can be put into practice in a single class period. These strategies are designed to bridge the chasm between primary research and the classroom environment in a way that can be implemented by any faculty in any discipline, and even integrated into pre-existing teaching techniques. Each chapter introduces a basic concept in cognitive theory, explains when and how it should be employed, and provides concrete examples of how the intervention has been or could be used in a variety of disciplines.

The book club is guilt-free in that if you’ve signed up, you are encouraged to attend even if you haven’t done the reading for the week or missed prior meetings. Book club meetings will take place every two weeks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (* except on Wed, Oct 18 and Thu, Oct 19 due to Fall Break), and will meet in the Founders Room of the Library.  You can attend on either day every two weeks, according to your schedule. Lunch will be served.

Dates and Times: Sep 5/6, Sep 19/20, Oct 3/4, Oct 18/19*, Oct 31/Nov 1, Nov 14/15, Nov 28/29 (all noon-1pm)

Small Teaching is available online through the Claremont Colleges Library.

Sign up for the book club using this form:

Designing Effective Research Assignments

Are you assigning a research paper in an upcoming spring semester course? Do you find that your students struggle to produce good research-based assignments? Research assignments can be difficult to design well because they have to foster both the mastery of a subject area and the development of critical thinking, analytical, evaluative, and writing skills. In this workshop, we will explore common pitfalls in research assignment design and learn some strategies for enhancing student learning through research assignments, such as how to be more transparent about how students’ research abilities will be evaluated and how to contextualize your assigned sources within the disciplinary area. You’ll also get time to workshop your research assignment.

This workshop is designed for any faculty or instructional staff that assign research-based work.

Presenters: Rebecca Halpern (Teaching and Learning Services Coordinator of the Claremont Colleges Library)


  • Tue Dec 5, 4:15-5:30pm @ Keck Learning Room in the Library

Please RSVP using this form: 

Past Events

Getting Off on the Right Foot: Strategies for a Welcoming and Inclusive Start to the Semester

The first week of class is an excellent opportunity to set the right tone, motivate students, and build an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment for learning. However, with all of the chaos of those first days it is also an opportunity we too often miss. In this two-hour workshop, we came up with these ideas and approaches for creating a more welcoming, inclusive, and motivating classroom for your students and yourself.

Dates, Times, and Locations:

  • Monday, August 21, 1:30-3:30pm @ Pomona Hahn 101
  • Wednesday, August 23, 10:00am-noon @ Scripps Hampton Room

Facilitated by Jessica Tinklenberg and Darryl Yong (CTL)

Syllabus Drop-In Clinic

Times and Locations:

  • Tuesday, August 22, 1-4pm  @ Founders Room in Honnold Mudd Library
  • Thursday, August 24, 9-12pm  @ Digital Toolshed in Honnold Mudd Library

Working on a syllabus for an upcoming course? The Syllabus Drop-In Clinic is a supportive environment where you can learn some useful tools and ideas, get your questions answered, get feedback on your syllabus, and walk out with a more complete syllabus.

You can drop by the clinic at any point during the three-hour block and stay for as long as you’d like. At the top of each hour, we’ll give a brief presentation on an idea that will help you improve your syllabus. Then participants will get some uninterrupted time to work on their syllabi. There will also be a time for sharing and getting feedback with colleagues.

  • Hour 1: Creating a more transparent syllabus
  • Hour 2: Creating a more welcoming and inclusive syllabus
  • Hour 3: Creating a more user-friendly syllabus

You’ll want to bring a laptop computer or several hard copies of your syllabus so that you can work on the syllabus during the session.

Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom

Psychologist Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” Examples of microaggressions in the classroom might include situations in which someone assumes that a person fits a stereotype based on their identity, asks a person to speak on behalf of their race, or ignores the contributions of a group of people during a discussion. In this workshop, we discussed some ways to effectively deal with microaggressions so as to create a compassionate classroom environment that gives all students a voice and makes them feel included.

Dates, Times, and Locations:

  • Monday, September 11, 2:45-4:00pm @ Scripps Humanities Building 119
  • Thursday, September 14, 4:15-5:30pm @ CMC Roberts North 105
  • Friday, September 15, 1:15-2:30pm @ Pomona Millikan 1181

Facilitated by Darryl Yong (CTL)

Getting Started with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

College classrooms are really laboratories where faculty are doing research to investigate intriguing student learning questions and solve complex teaching problems. Increasingly, we are recognizing that this type of classroom research, known as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), is a valuable resource for improving higher education as a whole. In this luncheon workshop, we discussed the basics of SoTL research and offered brainstorming and collaboration time for participants to begin their own SoTL project.

Date and Time: Wednesday, Sept 27 noon-1pm

Location: Digital Toolshed at Honnold/Mudd Library

Facilitated by Jessica Tinklenberg (CTL)

Teaching with Tech Brown Lunch Discussion

In collaboration with DH@CC, the CTL hosted two Teaching with Tech Lunch Time Discussions. These “Teaching with Tech”  lunches are informal gatherings for faculty and anyone else who is interested in teaching with technology to share ways in which they have incorporated digital technology in their classrooms and troubleshoot any issues.


  • Tuesday, October 10th, 12-1 @ Founders Room in the Library
  • Friday, October 13th, 12-1 @ Keck Classroom in the Library

More information about other Teaching with Tech lunches offered by DH@CC is available here.

What Should Faculty and Staff Know about First-Generation College Students?

A panel of faculty and student affairs professionals who work with first-generation Claremont Colleges undergraduate students shared with us what faculty and staff need to know about this this group of students and how best to support them.

  • Angie Covarrubias Aguilar (HMC, Director of Upward Bound)
  • Daniela Canas Baena ‘16 (SCR, Assistant Director Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment)
  • Leslie Schnyder (SCR, Assistant Dean for Academic Resources and Services)
  • Linda Lam (PIT, Director of Center for Asian Pacific American Students)
  • Maria Melendrez (POM, First-Generation Student Programs Coordinator)
  • Mary Hatcher-Skeers (Keck, Professor of Chemistry)
  • Roberta Espinoza (PIT, Professor of Sociology)
  • Vince Greer (CMC, Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Inclusion & Residential Life)

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, October 12, 4:15-5:30pm @ Davidson Lecture Hall at CMC

Video: (Thanks to the CMC Media Tech Team!)

Handout with resources for and about first-generation students at the Claremont Colleges

Giving “Wise Feedback"

Faculty feedback on student work has the potential to encourage and challenge learners, but also to frustrate and create mistrust.  In this workshop we discussed ways to provide “wise feedback” on a variety of assignments that enables student learning and encourages equity and trust.  Facilitators and participants discussed feedback on assignments from a range of disciplines, including STEM disciplines.

Target Audience: any faculty wishing to develop more equitable, challenging, and supportive feedback practices

Presenters: Jessica Tinklenberg & Jeremy Schnieder


Teaching and Learning Research Salon

Despite the fact that our institutions sit within a single square mile, it can be difficult to connect with possible research collaborators across campuses and across disciplines. At this facilitated mixer co-hosted with the office of Consortial Academic Collaboration (OCAC), faculty and staff were able to meet possible collaborators interested in research related to teaching and learning.

Colleagues from the Library, Foundation Relations, and Sponsored Programs were on hand to field questions about possible funding opportunities and other resources to support budding collaborations.

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, November 9th, 4pm-6pm @ The Hive (studio 2)

Looking for more past events? You’ll find a list of 2016-17 events here.