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CTLgrads Learning Communities

Are you a graduate student interested in fostering an inclusive learning environment? Join a CTLgrads Learning CommunityCTLgrads Learning Communities are interdisciplinary three-part series on teaching and learning topics, designed and co-facilitated by CTL Senior Lead Teaching Fellows.

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Interested in similar opportunities for STEM graduate students?

As part of the STEM Teaching: CIRTL at Columbia initiative, the STEM Teaching and Learning Community, sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Center for Teaching and Learning, will focus on Backward Design in STEM Teaching during the spring 2017 semester. These sessions are open to all graduate students and post-docs in science, math or engineering fields who are interested in learning about evidence-based approaches to undergraduate teaching and in forming a learning community with their STEM colleagues. Participants will form a learning community for the four weeks of the series.

Participants can sign up for either the Morningside or the CUMC Learning Community. Space is limited. Sessions begin on February 6.


This program is open to Columbia graduate students and postdocs.

Session Descriptions

Spring 2017: Learning Communities
Activist Pedagogy in the Trump Era

For better or worse, the 2016 election brought sensitive issues into our classrooms to unprecedented degrees. For the next four years, how can we help our students across disciplines grapple with–and remain conscious of–ongoing political conflicts in the Trump era? This three-part series will address strategies for graduate students who are interested in exploring innovative pedagogies inspired by activist-scholars in their classrooms and beyond.  

The first session will explore methods for consciousness-raising in the classroom, particularly within the confines of departmental and curricular constraints. The next session introduces participants to innovative pedagogies inspired by activist-scholars like bell hooks, Augusto Boal and Paolo Freire. Participants will come away with concrete tools and assignments useful for classrooms across disciplines. In our final session we will workshop materials for the job market, focusing on how to frame your own politically conscious pedagogy in teaching, diversity and mentoring statements.

Columbia International: Cultural Diversity Among Teachers and Students

National and cultural origins shape the norms and expectations that we bring to the classroom, and can inflect styles of classroom interaction, learning practices, and shared understandings of grading and feedback. Understanding these differences is key to establishing a shared framework for successful learning. In this learning community, participants will meet for a three-part series to explore the benefits for student learning that arise from an instructor’s ability to draw on a diversity of knowledge and experience in the classroom, and to assess the challenges that arise for teachers in preparing their classes while avoiding hasty assumptions regarding shared prior knowledge. Teachers of all class formats (content classes, language classes, etc.) and nationalities are invited to join, contribute to, and benefit from the insights shared in this Learning Community.


Fall 2016: Inclusive Teaching

Role Play and Inclusive Teaching

Friday, October 28 

Concepts, Challenges, and Strategies
Tuesday, November 1 

Uncovering Perspectives
Tuesday, November 15

Location: Butler Library, see registration links for specific locations

We know that making our classrooms more inclusive provides better learning outcomes overall, but how do we put an inclusive teaching philosophy into practice? This three-part series follows the CRLT Players’ performances (pictured) on October 27. The post-show conversation on October 28 will reflect on issues raised during the shows. The next session will consider concepts, research, and challenges related to implementing inclusive teaching. The series ends with a session focused on considering creative ways of incorporating role-playing in class to uncover, broaden, and deepen multiple perspectives.

For more information, contact Senior Lead Teaching Fellows Sahar Ullah (MESAAS) and Ben Hansberry (Music).

Addressing Race and Gender Bias in the Classroom

Defining Inclusion
Wednesday, November 2 

Devising Strategies
Wednesday, November 9 

Measuring Inclusion
Wednesday, November 16

Location: Butler Library, see registration links for locations

This is a divided time in the US, but it doesn’t have to be a divided time in our classrooms. What is an inclusive classroom and how can we create one? In this three-part series, participants will tackle issues related to implicit bias and diversity in the classroom, and come up with strategies to overcome challenges of inclusion. Participants will engage in discussions and activities focused on race and gender inclusion in their own classrooms, develop strategies for creating a better learning environment, and learn to assess and track their own classroom inclusivity.

For more information, contact Senior Lead Teaching Fellows Franziska Landes (DEES) and Hadas Aron (Political Science).


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