Teaching and Learning

Colleges of the Fenway provides a forum for faculty to come together to discuss issues of importance related to teaching and learning. Beginning with the first Department Chair’s conference in 2000, a planning committee convenes each year to offer an annual teaching and learning conference. In 2009, COF was awarded a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to further explore shared teaching and learning offerings. This award ultimately led to a three-year program named the Teaching and Learning Collaborative. In addition, faculty are encouraged to work both formally and informally with colleagues from across the colleges to explore areas of shared interest.


2015 COF Teaching and Learning Conference:
Critical Conversations


A core value of higher education, engaged inquiry can take place anywhere on campus.   Our students, faculty and staff come to campus as products of their upbringing.  Our campuses take on cultures based on the faculty, administration and previous generations of students.  The world we live and work in is complicated. The instant and constant state of media brings every critical incident onto our campuses and into our classrooms.    At times the critical conversations that our students bring with them through their life experience and through their lens of world events can be just the catalyst we are looking for when designing a class, at other times the conversation erupts when we are least prepared.  As a result, sometimes we need to address what is happening in our society even when the focus of the course may seem 180 degrees from the burning issue of the moment.

As educators we need to be equipped to manage these critical conversations whenever and wherever they occur.   How do we talk about the Black Lives Matter movement? How do we address a theater shooting?  Terrorist Bombing?  The recent statistics of sexual assault on college campuses?  Language we overhear that is damaging to others? These are the issues of our times. We are intellectually and emotionally engaged in these issues as are our students.

The 2015 COF Teaching and Learning Conference provided attendees with a variety of tools and techniques for facilitating critical conversations.   Participants heared from experts, students and faculty about their experiences.

View More: http://ijulietphotography.pass.us/portrait_sessionOver 100 COF faculty and staff members participated in this year’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference on “Critical Conversations”. The two-day conference kicked off on Thursday, November 12 with keynote CK Gunsalus. Her session “Change the Script by Changing Your Lines”  provided strategies and skills for teaching faculty to handle critical conversations and current issues within the classroom. On Friday, November 13, participants attended both a student and faculty staff panel in which members shared their experiences on campus. During the day, six breakout sessions we offered on important and timely topics such as “Discussing Race in Predominantly White Classrooms” and “Strategies for Crucial Inclusive Classroom Conversations on Faith and Spirituality”.

Teaching and Learning Conference 2015 Program

You will find some presentations and materials utilized during the conference below:

  1. Synchronous and Asynchronous Discussions: Getting Everyone Talking   Karen H Teeley MSN, RN, AHN-BC, BNE Associate Professor of Practice. Director of Online RN to MSN Program, Simmons College
  2. Synchronous and Asynchronous Discussions: Getting Everyone Talking Anne-Marie Barron Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences and M. Rosalyn Diamond, Ph.D Associate Director, Simmons College Center for Excellence in Teaching
  3. Faculty can create a bridge of understanding from different cultures of international students; and use them to better educate the field of international business Hossein Noorian. Professor at the Department of Business Management, Wentworth Institute of Technology