By Stefanie Malinoski
This fall in Early College Experience we’ve hosted eighteen professional development workshops for groups of Early College Experience Instructors who offer UConn courses in English, Sustainable Plant and Soil Science, American Studies, Environmental Science, Philosophy, Physics, Economics, Human Rights, European History, Sociology, Animal Science, Communications, Music, Chemistry, Chinese, and Math. Our ECE affiliated library media specialists also met for a virtual training with Babbidge Library staff. Another twenty-four events are slated to occur during the winter intersession and spring semester either in person or virtually. Notes on some of the events which occurred during the fall semester are below:
Sustainable Plant and Soil Science Instructors meet in person at Southington High School with Faculty Coordinator, Julia Kuzovkina. The workshop included diverse activities including a field practicum on analyzing soil for specific purposes, a discussion and update on plant diseases, and learning about new trends in the landscape industry. The group also discussed students’ preparation for future careers in the Green Industry and took part in a hands-on floral workshop where teachers were introduced to beautiful fall arrangements which can be introduced in their Floral Art classes.
American Studies Instructors were provided with a copy of Ann Petry’s novel “The Street”. Shawn Salvant, Professor of English, and Africana Studies from UConn spoke to the group about the text and what it means to revisit the classic novel in 2023. Instructors led by Faculty Coordinator Laurie Wolfley then designed curriculum focused on “The Street” which was shared with all participants for future uses in their American Studies classroom.
Chemistry Instructors participated in a hands-on lab activity with Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Fatma Selampinar after hearing from Dr. Kerry Gilmore from UConn’s Chemistry Department. Dr. Gilmore’s research surrounds Green Chemistry and its facilitating impact on photochemistry. Dr. Kerry and the Instructors discussed how these chemistries can be performed in the classroom and opened up the discussion for collaborative work in the area in the development of new processes, screening natural catalysts, and bringing advanced chemical processes to their classrooms.
Economics Instructors met for their professional development workshop and heard from fellow ECE Instructor Ian Tiedemann from Greenwich High School, Scott A. Wolla, Economic Education Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Ariel Solomon, Curriculum Designer, Marginal Revolution University. Ian Tiedemann highlighted his students’ who created a podcast script for the 2023 issue of the Journal of Future Economists. The theme was “Economics of Globalization”. Ian’s students submitted their podcast script titled “It’s a (s)Mall World: Globalization, E-Commerce, and Shopping Malls” which can be reviewed in the Journal of Future Economists. Scott A. Wolla’s shared a teaching activity “Teaching Market Structures with Gum” and discussed “Monetary Policy has Changed. Has Your Teaching?” Ariel Slonim, Curriculum Designer, Marginal Revolution University presented on: “Supply, Demand, Action! Harnessing interactive tools to teach supply and demand” and “Cracking the Code: Understanding GDP and Inflation through interactive tools.” ECE Faculty Coordinator for Economics, Natalia V. Smirnova discussed “Teaching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Topics in Economics”.
Environmental Science Instructors met with Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Morty Ortega at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington, CT where they interacted with staff from the Department of Environmental Protection learning about the private lives of bears and bobcats and habitats.
Marine Science Instructors set out aboard the “Mystic Seaport Express” captained by Liz Sistare (UConn ’13), Waterfront Operations Supervisor on the Mystic River with Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Claudia Koerting during their professional development workshop. The group of 13 teachers conducted water testing by taking readings using instruments that measure salinity, oxygen, and temperature. They deployed a water sampler to retrieve water samples near the bottom of the river and gathered surface water samples as well. Instructors performed two plankton tows and brought samples back for microscopic evaluation. An additional two sample sites were chosen, and all samples returned with the group to the seaport sailing center where they tested for chlorophyll content using a fluorometer and performed a light/dark experiment with water from two sites. At the sailing center the group ran their analysis, looked at the plankton tow and compared oxygen uptake in the light/dark bottle experiment. Conversations were held about how these samples could inform scientists and regulators about policy guiding water use in the river. By the end of the day Instructors learned a new method, a new instrument, and made new connections and shared ideas to implement in their UConn Marine Science courses.
Philosophy Instructors met with Faculty Coordinator Prof. Mitch Green who led a discussion on “post-truth” epistemology after instructors watched, a Ted Talk by UConn Professor Michael Lynch: “How to See Past Your Own Perspective and Find Truth.”
More information and pictures from the many professional development workshops hosted this fall can be reviwed on “ECE PD Blog” on the Early College Experience website. Dates for spring workshops will be posted to the ECE website’s “Dates to Remember” section once details are finalized. We look forward to continuing to utilize the winter months with additional virtual workshop opportunities and welcome our community members to campus in the spring for more professional development events.