CTL Distinguished Lecture: Estela Bensimon

Reframing the Production of Racial Inequity in the University as an Organizational Learning Problem

Racial inequity in outcomes is an enduring characteristic of institutions of higher education regardless of their mission or selectivity. Over the last 50 years the typical response to this problem has been the creation of programs and interventions to provide academic, social, and emotional support to minoritized students. The Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California, which Dr. Bensimon founded, treats racial inequity as a practitioner and organizational learning problem that can be addressed more productively through methods of critical inquiry guided by the question: Why is it that taken-for-granted practices and structures perform so much better for white students than for minoritized groups? CUE’s methods have been used nationally by public systems of higher education, public and private four-year colleges, and community colleges. Studies describing and assessing CUE’s methods have appeared in the Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Harvard Educational Review, and Change Magazine and most recently in Engaging the Race Question: Accountability and Equity in US Higher Education by Alicia Dowd and Estela Mara Bensimon.

Dr. Bensimon’s talk will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in racial equity, organizational change, professional development, and the application of participatory critical action research methods as a strategy for change. It will also appeal to academic and student support service practitioners who are interested in how to apply inquiry methods to examine taken-for-granted practices through the lens of racial equity.

Date and Time: Tuesday, April 3, 4:15-5:30pm, with refreshments served at 3:45pm

Location: Founders Room at the Honnold Mudd Library

Estela Bensimon

Spring 2018 Guilt-Free Book Club: Pedagogy of Freedom by Paulo Freire

Pedagogy of Freedom cover

The CTL has selected “Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage” by Paulo Freire for its “guilt-free book club” during the Spring 2018 Semester.

Paulo Freire, most famous for Pedagogy of the Oppressed, here offers a meditation on the ethical obligations of educators. He emphasizes recognizing student autonomy, critically reflecting on our practice, and believing in the power of education to truly liberate both students and ourselves.

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 in the Claremont Colleges Library.  You can attend on either day every two weeks, according to your schedule. Lunch will be served.

Dates and Times: Feb 6/7, Feb 20/21, Mar 6/7, Mar 20/21, Apr 3/4, Apr 17/18, May 1/2 (all noon-1pm)

Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage is also available online the Claremont Colleges Library.

The book club is underway, but you’re welcome to join! Email ctl@claremont.edu

Past Spring 2018 Events

Drop-In Clinic

Need help getting ready for your Spring 2018 courses? The CTL Drop-In Clinic is a supportive environment where you can get feedback and ideas to improve your syllabi and assignments.

Times and Locations:

  • Wednesday, January 10, 9-11am @ the CTL
  • Thursday, January 11, 1-3pm @ the CTL

No need to RSVP!  You can drop by the clinic at any point during the time slots above. The CTL is located on the ground floor of the Honnold wing of the Library, near the south entrance and the Library Cafe–click here for more directions.

Digitally Distracted?

It’s a fact: students increasingly understand their world as it is mediated by technologies like cell phones, tablets, and social media platforms. But is it also true that these technologies are making our students more distracted in the classroom? Participants in this workshop will 1) learn about recent scholarship on digital distraction in the college classroom; 2) discuss the potential benefits and limitations of some high-, low- and no-tech interventions to increase student engagement; and 3) workshop how to create more meaningful learning experiences for tech-savvy students. Several Claremont Colleges faculty will share their ideas for using technology to engage and motivate students.

Presenter: Jessica Tinklenberg (CTL)

Audience: Faculty and instructional staff in all disciplines and stages in their careers

Dates/Times/Location: Friday, January 12, 2018, 1-2:30pm in the Keck Learning Room @ the Claremont Colleges Library

RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/MeEGhw5U2zqQ2DoL2

Faculty Co-Director Candidate Workshops

The CTL invites you to come and hear from four candidates who are interested in joining our team as Faculty Co-Directors.  All presentations will be 4:15 – 5 PM in the Keck Learning Room at the Claremont Colleges Library.  To submit your feedback on the candidates, please follow this link (must be accessed from a computer within the Claremont Colleges network or using VPN).

January 23 — Rachel Levy, Harvey Mudd College

Equity and Inclusivity in Action:  Reflection, Iteration and Choice (video link)

Course learning objectives and practices often focus on content (the landscape of topics) and skills (what we want students to be able to do).  In this workshop we will move beyond content and skills to focus on three types of experiences that can promote equity and inclusivity:  reflection, iteration and choice.  

January 24 — Deborah Faye Carter, Claremont Graduate University

The Role of Reflective Practices on Inclusive Teaching Strategies (video link)

Inclusive teaching helps promote student learning and sense of belonging in the classroom and on our college campuses. This workshop will feature discussion of the roles that reflective practices may have in shaping more equitable learning environments and includes strategies for self-assessment of faculty member’s own use of inclusive teaching strategies.

January 26 — Paula Gutierrez, Pitzer College

Inclusive Practices of Student Assessment: Lessons from a Language Classroom (video link)

In this workshop we will look at some possible ways of building equity and inclusivity into the assessment of students’ learning. Drawing from experiences in my language classroom, I will provide some ideas for designing assignments, presentations, quizzes, and other assessment practices that take into account the diversity of learning styles and backgrounds of the students in the class. We will explore together strategies to adapt and apply similar practices in other disciplines and classroom settings.

January 30 — Mary Hatcher-Skeers, Scripps College

Constituting the Space; Simple Strategies for Building Community in your Classroom (video link)

A professor’s attitude and enthusiasm as well collaboration amongst peers have been positively correlated with student engagement and success.  This workshop will discuss how to incorporate simple interventions that create a classroom where students of all backgrounds can be successful.

Conversations on Course Redevelopment

EnviroLab Asia + the CTL hosted “Conversations on Course Redevelopment”
Where: Keck Classroom, Honnold-Mudd Library
When: Friday, Feb 9, 2018, 12:00pm-1:30pm

This session was an informal conversation with faculty who received EnviroLab Asia’s Course Redevelopment grants. Faculty shared how they approached adding new material, incorporated cross-disciplinary methods, and/or integrated theory with practice in the classroom. The goals of this conversation was for faculty to share experiences and to enrich the network of scholars interested in teaching and learning about environmental issues in East and/or Southeast Asia.

Faculty Speakers:

  • Tom Le, Politics, Pomona College
    Redeveloped Course: POLI – 168, International Relations of East Asia – Fall 2017
  • Claire Li, Asian Languages and Literatures, Pomona College
    Redeveloped Course: Chinese 125, Modern Chinese Literature – Fall 2015
  • Katie Purvis-Roberts, Chemistry, Keck Science
    Redeveloped Course: CHEM139, Environmental Chemistry, Keck Science – Spring 2018

Guiding Students Toward More Productive Discussion

Discussion is an incredible opportunity for students to practice argumentation, learn about varying viewpoints, and discover the skills and languages common to a field or discipline.  However class discussion can also be fraught with challenges for both ourselves and our students, including everything from scary silences to out-and-out incivility.  This workshop introduced faculty and instructional staff to learner-centered principles and strategies that encourage deeper, more productive, and more inclusive classroom and online discussions.

Audience: all faculty and instructional staff who wish to include learner-centered discussion pedagogies in their classes.


  • Tuesday, February 13th, 4:15-5:30, CMC Kravis Center 161
  • Wednesday, February 14th, 10:30-11:45, POM Smith Campus Center Room 201 (Hart Room)

Panel: Reflections on Teaching and Learning in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Mita Banerjee, Simone Bishara, Tessa Hicks Peterson, Lora McManus, Ella Turrenne, Hamid Rezai

from left to right: Mita Banerjee, Simone Bishara, Tessa Hicks Peterson, Lora McManus, Ella Turrenne, Hamid Rezai

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program brings together college students with incarcerated students for a semester-long course held in a prison, jail, or other correctional setting. Several faculty and students at the Claremont Colleges who have participated in Inside-Out courses shared with us their experiences in this innovative program–how it has affected their teaching, scholarship, and other aspects of their lives. The voices featured on the panel included Mita Banerjee, Simone Bishara, Tessa Hicks Peterson, Nicole Holliday, Lora McManus, Hamid Rezai, and Ella Turenne (Occidental College).

Video from this panel discussion is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=788ykQLDuHw.

To learn more about the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, please watch this short 3-minute video: https://youtu.be/iQWvcyYLTE0

Link to Tessa Hicks Peterson‘s article about teaching inside in the Winter 2018 issue of AAC&U’s Diversity & Democracy: https://www.aacu.org/diversitydemocracy/2018/winter/peterson

Date: February 23rd, 12:30-2:00pm

3rd Annual Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Award Ceremony

Artis Hampshire-Cowan

The 7C Diversity Working Group is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of The Claremont Colleges Diversity and Inclusion Awards: Fernando Lozano (POM), Sara Olson (POM), Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda (PIT), Talithia Williams (HMC). The achievements of these three faculty members have positively impacted the lives of students, faculty, and staff alike.

The keynote speaker for the awards ceremony will be Artis Hampshire-Cowan, senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

Date and Time: Wed, Feb 28, 4:30-5:40 p.m.

Location: Balch Auditorium, Scripps College

Storyboard Your Syllabus

Nick Sousanis

This session was designed to help faculty to think about the narrative arc of their course through the metaphor of a storyboard. Participants brought in their syllabi and/or their learning outcomes and used backwards design to (re-)design their course and integrate discrete and iterative learning experiences across a logical storytelling framework. This storyboarding exercise can be used to promote student engagement and uncover and communicate ‘bigger picture’ course outcomes.   Nick Sousanis, scholar, art critic, cartoonist, educational innovator and assistant professor of humanities and liberal studies at San Francisco State University, led our discussion.

Note: This event was co-organized with the Transdisciplinary Studies Program at CGU, which has invited Nick to give a talk entitled “Scholarship and the Graphic Novel” at noon on Thu, May 8, 2018.

Date/Time/Location: Thu, March 8, 2:45-4:00pm at Honnold-Mudd Conference Room

Active Learning 2.0: Making it Intentionally Inclusive

Active learning has many documented benefits both for students and instructors. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that it disproportionately benefits women and students of color in STEM fields. However, the empirical evidence for this disproportionate benefit doesn’t explain why it happens, nor does it guarantee that all students will benefit from active learning. Active learning is difficult to do well and sometimes it can have detrimental effects on students if we’re not careful. So, we should aim not just for active learning, but learning that is both active and inclusive. This workshop was a collaborative work session where participants worked together to share, create, and discuss practical strategies for making active learning more intentionally inclusive.

The workshop will be held three times. Any faculty or instructional staff can attend any of the sessions.

Presenter: Darryl Yong (CTL, HMC)

Target audience: This workshop was designed primarily for STEM faculty at all ranks, though faculty in other disciplines who routinely engage their students in think-pair-share, group work, and other forms of active engagement might also find it helpful.


Fall 2017 Events

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.

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: https://youtu.be/iCWoMZjXjpo (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)

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 explored 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. Participants also got time to workshop their research assignments.

This workshop was 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)

Date/Time/Location: Tue Dec 5, 4:15-5:30pm @ Keck Learning Room in the Library

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