Our Cool Workshops 101: The Director’s Thoughts

By Brian A. Boecherer
It is hard to define what “cool” is, but I have been dedicated to the idea that when we develop our programming, there should always be something cool about it. There is nothing juvenile or naïve about this desire; I think it is really what we should be doing, and this is especially true in the context of our professional development. It is about leaving a spark that lingers past the moment. I love our workshops and really think they offer that spark. They are a wonderful time to come together as a community of academics, exchange ideas, and learn some- thing cool. This year our Faculty Coordinators outdid themselves! We hosted approximately 250 hours of professional development on four UConn campuses, one museum, one town hall, and one extension center. There are too many wonderful moments to include in one magazine, but I wanted to offer you an overview of some of our greatest hits. They will inspire and intrigue you; they are cool—because they are fresh ideas which stimulate contemplation well after we leave the workshop.
I hope you enjoy this magazine and that it sends you into the summer with a smile of satisfaction. You worked hard this year, and your students are better off for it. We thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall. On behalf of our hardworking team in Storrs, have a happy and healthy summer!
(APRIL 2018)
Kaitlin Lindhardt, scientist at Brown University, explained her work with CRISPR/Cas9, the process of cutting and inserting DNA sequences which can control for vector-borne diseases.
(MAY 2017)
This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Jessica Rouge, a professor in UConn’s Chemistry Department. As a biochemist she educated our faculty on her research which is at the cutting edge of science —working with nanoparticles and exploring the concept of engineering viruses to enter and reprogram the cell, thereby eliminating cancer.
(OCTOBER 2017)
Prof. Wensu Li discussed her research paper, which focused on pollution and its effect on the economy. Prof. Stephen Ross unpacked the mysteries of our State’s economic problems in the context of debt and earning psychology.
(APRIL 2018)
UConn ECE bought the book, Regarde les lumières mon amour, by Annie Ernaux, for ECE French instructors. UConn ECE Instructors attended the session having read the book and then participated in a graduate seminar group discussion of the material.
(OCTOBER 2017)
Profs. Glenn Mitoma, Brendan Kane, and Laurie Wolfley led a training on how to teach polarizing topics in the humanities and social sciences while maintaining professional discourse in the classroom.
(OCTOBER 2017)
Dr. Jean-Pascal Daloz, Research Professor at the University of Strasbourg, was invited to speak to ECE Political Science Faculty on “Political Representation” — fashion, politics, and how clothes represent political interests across the world.
ECE instructors were treated to the beautiful voice of opera singer Melinda Fields as she sang, “Gretchen am Sprinnrade,” by famous Franz Schubert, while Glenn Stanley led a course on musical interpretation.
ECE faculty attended their first Sociology workshop, which focused on teaching first—generation students and transnationalism in India and Mexico.