reading circle drawing by Katie Hoffman

Reading Circles

CTE Reading Circles are small (between 6-12 participants), short-term (meeting around three times in the semester) reading groups focused on a specific book (or other text) proposed by a faculty member or librarian. The book may be on any topic, but should open conversations about teaching and learning. The outputs of Reading Circles are collegiality, conversation, and intellectual curiosity about teaching and learning.

Join a Spring Reading Circle

Sign up for a CTE Reading Circle by Nov. 29

by Dan Ariely
Facilitator: Jonathan Hunt (Rhetoric & Language)

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist at Duke and a founder of the hilariously named Center for Advanced Hindsight. His recent book Payoff focuses on motivation -- what makes people want to do stuff? Ariely has written a number of popular books based on his research, mostly focusing on various aspects of rationality/irrationality in decision-making. I sometimes assign students parts of his book "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty" (2012) -- his interest in decision-making led him to investigate choices about honesty and dishonesty. Ariely's style is lively and unlike journalistic aggregators such as Pink or Gladwell, he's actually the one doing the research.

Motivation is a key aspect of teaching and learning. When motivated, we will put enormous effort into tasks, even if there is little chance of external reward. As educators, how do we motivate ourselves and our students? And particularly, how does motivation work in relation to diverse experiences and identities?

Meeting Schedule:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 3–4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 19, 3–4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Mar. 5, 3–4 p.m.

Teaching Sustainability / Teaching Sustainably
Bartels and Parker, eds.
Facilitator: Gerard Kuperus (Philosophy, Environmental Studies)

In this reading circle, we will critically discuss how to relate our various disciplines to sustainability as we read Teaching Sustainability / Teaching Sustainably. The book will guide us in the conversations. The different chapters discuss issues such as diversity, critical thinking, rhetoric, globalization, health care, tourism, leadership, and learning environments. The book discusses strategies, problems, and possibilities for teaching sustainability across different disciplines.

Meeting Schedule:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 6, 6–7:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 25, 6–7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Mar. 6, 6–7:30 p.m.

Fall 2018 Reading Circles

Trans Allyship Workbook: Building Skills to Support Trans People in Our Lives
by Davey Shlasko
Facilitator: Amy Gilgan (Gleeson Library)
USF is becoming more diverse with students along the transgender spectrum and faculty members need skills to build inclusive classrooms. This book will provide an introduction to transgender identities, terminology, and allyship practices. Possible discussion questions include: What are the needs of transgender students? What are the best practices around gender inclusivity in the classroom? What are the social justice foundations behind those practices? What are the different ways in which we can leverage our positionality to support transgender students? How does gender identity intersect with our other inclusive teaching practices?

The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail
by Jason De Leon
Facilitator: Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales (School of Education)
This book — an anthropological examination of the human cost of US immigration policy in the Sonoran desert — provides an opportunity for us to explore three things. First, it allows us to talk about the complications in teaching current issues that are difficult to talk about with diverse student populations because they are politically charged. Second, it provides a generative starting point to talk about how we navigate teaching on topics that are traumatic because they are centrally concerned with racialized violence, death, and suffering which can be difficult for the professor as well as the students. Third, this text allows us to open a conversation about how to write in ways that convey the depth of tragic circumstances without falling into the dangers of "trauma porn" or glorifying the suffering of others for one's own academic pursuits. I believe this text provides a generative starting point to grapple with what are some of the hardest dynamics involved in teaching in a social justice-oriented institution in this political moment.

About the Circles

CTE Reading Circles are small, short-term reading groups focused on a specific book (or other text) proposed by a faculty member. The book may be on any topic, but should open conversations about teaching and learning.

The Circles meet 2-4 times in an 8-week period. The proposing faculty member sets the schedule in advance, determining the number, dates, and times of meetings, which may be held on or off campus.

The Reading Circle program is aimed at creating a space for sustained conversations and deep thinking, but without the time commitment required for participation in a Faculty Learning Community. Each year, about 100 USF faculty members join the CTE Summer Faculty Book Club, which meets once for dinner and discussion in August and again in the spring for the Provost’s Lecture in Teaching and Learning. Reading Circles provide a way for smaller groups of faculty members to pursue their interests during the academic year.

Procedure and Timeline

Any USF faculty member or librarian may propose a Reading Circle.

In the spring semester, CTE issues a call for Reading Circle proposals to be held in the following fall or spring (two cohorts of three reading circles per academic year). The proposal includes the name of a book (or other text) and a short description of the connection teaching and learning.

Following the proposal deadline, CTE will invite proposing faculty to set a meeting schedule for the semester. Reading Circles should meet 2-4 times in an 8-week period.

CTE will post the proposed circles, indicating the chosen text along with dates, times, and locations of meetings, and invite USF faculty and librarians to sign up and commit to attending all scheduled meetings. Subject to budget and other considerations, CTE Co-Directors will green-light Circles with 6 or more participants. CTE will provide texts for participants.

  • Any USF faculty member or librarian may propose a Reading Circle.
  • Circles meet 2-4 times in an 8-week period during spring semester.
  • Circles have a minimum of 6 participants and are capped at 12.
  • The proposed text may be any book that will interest faculty and open conversations about teaching and learning.
  • Number of meetings, dates, and times are set by the facilitator in advance.

The outputs of Reading Circles are collegiality, conversation, and intellectual curiosity about teaching and learning.

Spring 2018 Reading Circles

Where Good Ideas Come From: the Natural History of Innovation
by Steven Johnson
Facilitated by Cathy Gabor (Rhetoric & Language)

Feeling Power: Emotions and Education
by Megan Boler
Facilitated by Brandi Lawless (Communication Studies)

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning
by James M. Lang
Facilitated by Mathew Mitchell (Learning & Instruction)