Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Book Circles - Spring 2017

Book CirclesThe CTLT hosts book circles throughout the academic year and during summers. They are open to all Cal Poly faculty and staff. Selected books draw from a broad array of thoughtful and inspiring educational literature. These are opportunities to enrich your knowledge about timely and significant topics related to higher education while engaging with colleagues from across campus. Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in up to three discussion sessions. Specific dates, times, and locations will be discussed and solidified when participants are enrolled. You may sign up for more than one each quarter, but only if you are sure that you will be able to participate in multiple book circles. 


Check back in June for our Summer Book Circle offerings!

The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It

Kelly McGonigal 

Mindsight book coverAn academic life is inherently stressful -- for both educators and learners. Overfull class schedules, exams and evaluations, frequent deadlines all contribute to our daily stress levels. In addition, students and educators are constantly venturing into new conceptual territories and taking on new intellectual challenges. These all create demands on our physical well being and mental capacities: stress. At times, if we are not mindful, the stress can become debilitating and destructive. However, there is research indicating that our "stress mindset" has a surprisingly powerful effect on whether it's damaging or invigorating. In this book, McGonigal takes us through the research that prompts us to reflect on our beliefs about stress and consider alternatives. We will also explore ideas on how we can help our students experience stress more constructively and so enhance their learning.

Facilitators: Hannah Roberts, Counseling Services, and Patrick O'Sullivan, CTLT

A "Mindful Educator Community of Practice" selection

The Spark Of Learning: Energizing The College Classroom with the Science of Emotion

Sara Rose Cavanaugh

Scholars have learned a lot about the cognitive processes involved in learning -- indeed, new research in neurobiology and psychology has provided rich insights that has informed the CTLT's recommendations for new approaches to teaching and learning. Cavanaugh's book complements what we know about cognition with research-derived recommendations for enhancing learning through the informed use of emotion. We will explore recent findings about what she calls affective science and then examine her ideas for putting that knowledge to use in our teaching methods. Through these we can learn ways to connect with students, motivate them, leverage their curiosity, enhance their persistence, and help them to avoid detrimental emotional responses that interfere with achievement. 

Facilitator: Patrick O'Sullivan, CTLT

NOTE: Winona LaDuke will be Cal Poly's "Inclusive Excellence Month" keynote speaker this May. LaDuke is an Indigenous activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer. She is known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, as well as sustainable development. In preparation for her visit, select one (or both) of the titles below to learn more about her life and her work.

The Winona LaDuke Chronicles

Winona LaDuke

In anticipation for LaDuke's visit to campus, this book will be a great way to engage faculty and students in discussions around indigenous rights, environmentalism, and activism. LaDuke is an American environmentalist, economist, and writer, who has lead many efforts on tribal land claims, preservation, and sustainable development. The Winona LaDuke Chronicles, her most recent publication, will connect to many courses and events on our campus and can contribute to efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom. This book circle may be of special interest to various departments including the Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources and the Environment minor and the Science, Technology, and Society minors.  

Facilitators: Nicki Holm, Casey McCullough, and Emily Liptow, AmeriCorps VISTA at Cal Poly

Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming

Winona LaDuke

Mindsight book cover

LaDuke describes the plentiful gaps between mainstream and indigenous thinking and probes the paradoxes that abound for the native people of the Americas. In the book LaDuke explores alternative ways of knowing and places the paradoxes in that context. How do we know which way of seeing the world is best, or most correct? Should we expect there to be one best way? How much of the pedagogy in our courses, and our narratives about society, are forged from an Anglo way of knowing? If thinking happens in the classroom, then knowing more about indigenous thought and knowledge will help improve our cross cultural competency in the classroom.

Facilitators: Francis Villablanca, Biology, and Kari Mansager, Office of University Diversity & Inclusivity

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