Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Book Circles - Winter 2023

Book CirclesThe CTLT hosts book circles every academic quarter and during summers. They are open to all Cal Poly educators. 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. Themes for book circle selections include: Mindful Educators, Mastery Teaching, Inclusive Educators, Navigating Academia, Sustainability Educators, and Writing Educators. 

Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in three or more discussion sessions.

NOTE: Our cumulative Book Circles list of titles is available on the CTLT's Book Circle archival webpage.

If I Understood You, Would I have this Look on my Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

by Alan Alda

 Resilient book cover

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. He shows how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person. If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives.




  • Dates: Thursdays, February 23, March 2, 9, and 16
  • Time:  11:10 am-12 pm
  • Location: Online in Zoom (link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitator: Dr. Dianna Winslow


Well-Being and Higher Education: A Strategy for Change and the Realization of Education's Greater Purpose

by donald w. Harwood, editor

 Resilient book coverIf we hadn't fully appreciated the importance of learner wellbeing for higher education's ability to fulfill its purpose, there should be no doubts today. The pandemic experience demonstrated vividly that threats to wellbeing undermine learners' capacity and ability to learn. We should use those insights as motivation to reconsider how educators can better achieve their purpose to educate by supporting learners' wellbeing. This book is an edited volume with dozens of succinct chapters by different experts offering insights, examples, provocations and recommendations. The goal of this book circle is to enrich campus educators' awareness and strengthen our commitment to supporting learners' wellbeing in our instructional practices.

The entire volume is available for free download from the Bringing Theory to Practice website. NOTE: Facilitators will select specific chapters to focus our weekly discussions.

  • Dates: Wednesdays, January 25, Feb 1, 8 and 15
  • Time:  9:10 -10 am
  • Location: Online in Zoom (link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Dr. Stefanee Maurice (KINE), Dr. Andrew Danowitz (CPE), Dr. Patrick O'Sullivan (CTLT)


Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work

by Ruchika Tulshyuan

 Resilient book coverInclusion doesn't just happen. We have to work at it. It takes awareness, intention and regular practice. In this book, Ruchika Tulshyan explores the intersection of gender and race, how to identify and expose bias, the impact of dismantling structural bias and the importance of psychological safety.

Join us as we discuss the cutting-edge inclusion practices presented and learn how we can meaningfully promote inclusion and diversity.

NOTE: This book circle is a collaboration of the CTLT and Employee and Organizational Development (EOD) office. Register for EOD Learning and Book Circles


  • Dates: Wednesdays, Feb 8, 15 and 22; March 1
  • Time:  1-2 pm
  • Location: Online in Zoom (link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Lanaya Gaberel (EOD) and Dr. Sarah Macdonald (CTLT)

Register for EOD Learning and Book Circles

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us And What We Can Do

by Claude Steele

 Resilient book coverAre you interested in learning about key topics related to stereotypes, identity, and stereotype threat? Do you want to know what you can do to mitigate the effects of stereotype threat? Join us for a discussion "Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do."

Book description from the publisher (W.W. Norton and Company):

"Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities."

  • Dates: Wednesdays, January 25; February 1, 8, 15
  • Time:  11 am- 12 pm
  • Location: Online in Zoom (link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Dr. Sarah Macdonald (CTLT) and Kari Mansager (Campus Health and Wellbeing)




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