First Research Seminar attracts scholars from across the nation

Faculty from 18 institutions convened at Elon July 13-17 to explore “Teaching Democratic Thinking,” the first iteration of the Elon Research Seminars on Engaged Undergraduate Teaching, (ERS). "Teaching Democratic Thinking" is co-sponsored by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) and Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL).

Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elon coordinated the seminar, which featured lead scholar Elizabeth Minnich.

The seminar continues through 2011 with periodic meetings at Elon to explore, research and consider the intellectual aspects of democratic thinking and how students learn to ethically engage in their communities.

>> See complete story on E-Net

>> Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Senior Scholar Elizabeth Minnich

Our senior scholar and intellectual leader for the 2009-11 seminar will be Elizabeth Minnich, a widely published philosopher, an esteemed teacher, and a Senior Scholar at the Association of American Colleges & Universities. 

Minnich has written extensively on the topic, including "Teaching Thinking: Moral and Political Considerations" (2003) and the award-winning book, Transforming Knowledge (2005).

Research Scholars

John Ottenhoff, Vice President, Associated Colleges

of the Midwest

Donna Engelmann, Professor and Chair, Philosophy

Alverno College

Rita Pougiales, Member of the Faculty in Anthropology

and former Academic Dean, Evergreen State College

Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Assistant Professor, Philosophy,

Elon University

Ed Whitfield , Social Activist, Writer and Faculty Consultant on issues regarding truth, justice, reconciliation, and democracy

> Participant roles and Scholar profiles.

Seminar participants will first meet on Elon’s campus July 12-17, 2009 to immerse themselves in the literature on democratic thinking and to plan their research projects, which they will be working on through the 2009-2010 academic year. In the academic year following the first summer seminar, participants will conduct research, collaborate online with other seminar members and with the Research Scholar mentoring their work, and will disseminate their work, including (but not limited to) leading a discussion/workshop on their home campus drawing from the seminar’s work.

Participants will have similar responsibilities during the second year of the seminar, including attendance at the summer gathering to share their progress and to plan for integration and further dissemination of the Elon Research Seminar work. The seminar will meet a final time during the summer of 2011 to synthesize what participants have learned and disseminate the insights they have gained.
Who May Apply

Faculty and student affairs professionals from colleges and universities are invited to apply; the seminar will be capped at 20 participants. We welcome applications from both individuals and campus teams, from across the United States and around the world.

Ideal participants will be dedicated to facilitating undergraduate learning and development, interested (and may be active already) in conducting research to investigate how we can prepare our students to engage fully in democratic thinking, and prepared to work on models of teaching and learning that can be shared broadly with other educators.
How to Apply

Applications are due by 5 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

on April 1, 2009. Participants will be notified of acceptance

by April 8.

> Seminar logistics and application.

Seminar participants will be charged a one-time $1000 registration fee. Expenses related to the seminar, including lodging and meals during the seminar’s 2009-2011 summer meetings, will be paid by Elon University. Other participant expenses, including travel and any research costs, will be paid by the participants and/or their home institutions.

About the Elon Research Seminar

Elon University is pleased to announce the Elon Research Seminar on Engaged Undergraduate Learning, a two-year multidisciplinary seminar for college faculty and staff that will facilitate the development of innovative research and pedagogy on issues central to engaged undergraduate learning. Twenty faculty and staff from diverse campuses will be selected to participate in the seminar. Applications are due April 1, 2009.
2009-2011 Seminar
Teaching Democratic Thinking

The inaugural seminar will focus on questions about thinking and its relationship to democracy. Many colleges and universities have renewed their focus on helping students to develop the habits, skills, and knowledge to participate fully and effectively as citizens. This seminar will concentrate on the intellectual foundations of these efforts to prepare students for lives as citizens by focusing on the teaching of democratic thinking. The seminar is co-sponsored by Elon University and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

The activity of thinking prefigures, prepares for, and lets us practice the freedom of mind we require to exercise discerning judgment while living among people who differ from us.

Elizabeth Minnick, 2003

Research Activity

Working in a community of researchers

across institutions, across roles within these institutions, and across disciplines, participants in the seminar will explore a wide range of questions related to democratic thinking and engaged undergraduate education.

Participants will read and discuss literature on the topic

of democratic thinking, explore relevant pedagogies, and develop research projects and campus-based innovations that can serve as national models of good practice.

Inspiration and guidance will be provided by a team
of facilitators including a senior scholar, four research scholars, and the staff of Elon University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching

and Learning

The Center for the Advancemen of Teaching and Learning (CATL) promotes best practice in innovative teaching and sponsors programs that foster the scholarship of teaching and learning. CATL programs are designed to assist faculty reflection and self-evaluation, promote academic discourse, and find new ways to inspire learning. 

The Center offers workshops, seminars, reading and research groups, and grants to promote innovative teaching and scholarship. The Center’s flexible teaching spaces, professional staff, and print and electronic resources create a rich and inviting environment for faculty experimentation, collaboration and reflection.

The center also provides a campus and national forum for examining effective and innovative teaching and learning practices.  Visit our website at http://org.elon.edu/catl/.

About Elon University  

Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, east of Greensboro and west of Raleigh/Durham, Elon University is a dynamic private comprehensive university known for excellent arts and sciences along with outstanding professional programs.

Elon's 343 full-time faculty teach approximately 5,000 undergraduate students and 600 graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education; and the School of Law. Master's programs are offered in business administration and education, and doctoral programs include physical therapy and law. Visit our website at http://www.elon.edu.