Reading Circle: “Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom” (July 15 & Aug. 5, 6–7 p.m.)

This summer, CATL is supporting faculty and staff-led reading circles—book discussions that are open to the campus community—and Tracy Fernandez Rysavy (English) will be leading one on bell hooks’s Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom! Participants will meet via Zoom on Thursday, July 15, and Thursday, Aug. 5 from 6–7 p.m. to discuss our thoughts on the book. There are a limited number of physical copies of the book available on a first-come, first-served basis; however, all that wish to participate will also have access to the e-book through the UWGB libraries. 

Book cover for Teaching to Transgress

Description from the back of the book: 

In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks—writer, teacher, and insurgent black intellectual—writes about a new kind of education, education as the practice of freedom.  Teaching students to “transgress” against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher’s most important goal.

bell hooks speaks to the heart of education today: how can we rethink teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism? What do we do about teachers who do not want to teach, and students who do not want to learn? How should we deal with racism and sexism in the classroom? 

Full of passion and politics, Teaching to Transgress combines a practical knowledge of the classroom with a deeply felt connection to the world of emotions and feelings.  This is the rare book about teachers and students that dares to raise questions about eros and rage, grief and reconciliation, and the future of teaching itself. 

“To educate as the practice of freedom,” writes bell hooks, “is a way of teaching anyone can learn.” Teaching to Transgress is the record of one gifted teacher’s struggle to make classrooms work. 

Register Here

Reading Circle: “Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead)” (Aug. 12, 2021)

Join CATL and Tara DaPra (English) this summer for a reading circle on Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead)! Participants will read the book on their own and then on Thursday, Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. we will meet via Microsoft Teams to discuss our thoughts on the book.

There are limited physical copies available on a first-come, first-served basis, however, all that wish to participate will also have access to the e-book through the UWGB libraries.

Why do we grade? What do grades mean? How have your thoughts about grades changed over the course of your career (or after reading this book)?

What reason do you see to “ungrade”? And what resistance do you have to doing so?

If you could magically change one thing about how you teach your class, without fear of consequence, what would it be?

If you’re not ready to go all in with ungrading, is there ONE practice you’re considering adopting for the upcoming semester?

What practices could you adopt to help students reflect recursively on their work (research, papers, exams)? In other words, what might help them think beyond a grade earned and instead pay attention to your feedback—what they still need to learn?

Do you see particular “ungrading” practices working better with certain courses (gen ed vs. majors; small vs. large classes; online vs. in person, etc.)?

Has reflecting on “ungrading” changed your views about anything else about your career or the higher ed system?

Cover for Ungrading

Edited by Susan D Blum, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, Ungrading compiles the experiences of fifteen instructors who took the “ungrading plunge.” Their accounts demonstrate some of the varied approaches of gradeless teaching—along with the unique challenges—but ultimately, all reflect the positive impact going gradeless has had on their students. Backed by extensive research on learning methodologies, the book welcomes readers to challenge their preconceived notions about learning and assessment, and to consider adopting a more student-centric metric of academic success.

Register Here

Tough Talks: Intersectional Identities

These talks engage our entire campus community in difficult conversations about the state of teaching, learning, and higher education. We designed them to bring folks with a variety of perspectives together to take part in thoughtful conversations about pressing issues.

This year, we’ve isolated a theme around “intersectionality” to provide ourselves with space to support our students and colleagues.

Watch for more information in the next few weeks about this series, collaborators, sessions, and opportunities to engage.