Summer Book Club
Each summer, we invite all faculty to read a single book about teaching and join us for a dinner and interactive discussion of the book. The dinner and discussion take place each August.
This summer we will read The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber.
Written in accessible prose, Berg and Seeber’s intentionally short book is meant to provide an “intervention” against the harmful culture of the corporatized academy, so that professors can “take back the intellectual life of the university." The authors offer up this work as “part self help”, to reduce our stress, and “part manifesto”, to call us to action. In just over 100 pages, they include chapters on how all parts of professorial work—teaching, research, and collegiality— have been hurt by the culture of speed, and can be helped by resisting it. -- Jackie Brady
... review by Jackie Brady on Radical Teacher No. 107 (Winter-2017) radicalteacher.library.pitt.edu
The authors offer a manifesto to resist “the beleaguered, managed, frantic, stressed, and demoralized professor who is the product of the corporatization of higher education” (page ix).
How does it work?
In April, we put out a call for summer book club participants and deliver a copy of the book to each participant by graduation. Copies of the book club selection and seats at the fall dinner are limited, so plan on signing up early. Once you receive the book, kick back, sip your coolest summer drink and read it.
Over the summer, you'll receive details about the location and time of the Book Club dinner.
We follow-up on our Book Club dinner with related events and activities such as a Provost’s Lecture by one or more of the authors, a Teaching Cafe or workshop on a related topic, or there might even be proposal for a Faculty Learning Community.
Selected Summer Reading Since 2011
You'll find descriptions of each book below as well as links to each book record at the Gleeson Library. You can also check out any of the book club selections since 2012 from the mini CTE library. Check out The Mini CTE Library
2016: College: What it Was, Is and Should Be
Author: Andrew Delbanco
The transformation of American colleges is something we are reminded of every day. Delbanco places these changes in a greater historical context, providing an insightful and witty examination of trends in higher education. What has really changed? The book investigates the mysteries of learning in the context of the commercialization of education and the pressures of assessment. It also pushes readers to examine the role of faculty in this landscape of higher education. What is our role? What can it be? What should it be? Join us in reading this provocative selection, followed by a fun evening of food and discussion in August.
2015: What the Best College Teachers Do
Author: Ken Bain
Ken Bain, who founded the Center for Teaching Excellence at NYU, studied dozens of college teachers who’ve had “remarkable success in helping their students achieve exceptional learning results.” By reviewing their course materials and interviewing them and their students, Bain discovered not only what these “best teachers” did but how they thought about teaching. Chapters cover what they know about learning and what they expect of their students; how they conceptualize and plan a course; conduct a class; treat their students; and evaluate students and themselves. Engaging and insightful, this little book is the one to read if you’ve only got time for one.
2014: Teaching Naked
Author: José Bowen
José Bowen's book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, is provocative and packed with innovative ideas for developing "massively better classrooms." Teaching Naked provides resources to faculty in support of students such as reflecting, discussing, interacting and engaging. . Most importantly Teaching Naked gives us tech-savvy strategies so students come to class ready to dive into the good stuff.
2013: Whistling Vivaldi
Author: Claude Steele
Claude Steele’s book, Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, takes us on a voyage through his life’s work studying social psychology and identity. He focuses on “stereotype threat”—anxiety that our actions will confirm stereotypes about “people like us.” The book offers compelling anecdotes and empirical studies, revealing how even well-meaning teachers can invoke race, sex and the like in ways that do more harm than good. Identity is fraught. Steele guides us past some of its perils, suggesting what we should—and should not—do to achieve meaningful equality in an educational environment. (Reviewed by Joshua P. Davis, Professor, Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law)
2012: How Learning Works
Authors: Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele Dipietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman
This terrific book focuses on issues that often vex us all. Each chapter begins with scenarios you may recognize: students not being able to apply what they learned in previous courses; not taking responsibility for their own learning; or doing poorly on assignments even though you thought you’d clearly explained what to do. The chapters then explain what research shows about student learning: what affects, improves, and motivates it; and what concrete strategies we can use in our classrooms. A how-to and why book grounded in solid research, this book comes so highly recommended it’s our Summer Book Club selection for 2012. (Reviewed by Tracy Seeley, Professor, College of Arts and Sciences)
2011: The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal
Authors: Parker J. Palmer and Arthur Zajonc
This book considers how we might better teach the whole student. By elaborating an “integrative” approach, Parker Palmer (who here emphasizes “learning communities” as correctives against both divided education and divided life), and Arthur Zajonc (who underscores the need for systemic integration of inner and outer experience), add to their lifelong work integrating subjective and objective ways of knowing into traditional education. The suggested effects of integrative education invite and inspire experimentation across the disciplines. (Reviewed by Rhonda V. Magee, Professor, School of Law)