35 Supporting Our Learning Community | Margaret Bloch-Qazi

I support Gustavus Adolphus’ learning community through my involvement in college activities. I am particularly interested in issues directly related to teaching and learning. I am convinced that there are many ways of being an excellent teacher and I learn a much about teaching from my colleagues here. I am also interested in exploring student experiences and perceptions of college life. My involvement in college activities has consisted of: faculty development, the sciences, and student issues.

Faculty Development. I am very interested in supporting faculty development for myself and my colleagues. Consistent with these interests I am in my third year serving on the Faculty Development Committee and am the campus liaison/Faculty Associate for the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) initiative. In this capacity, I continue to develop Mariangela Maguire and Rebecca Fremo’s work supporting a SoTL community at Gustavus Adolphus. I organize and meet with three faculty cohorts (reading, implementation & writing) multiple times each semester. I have attended conferences[1] to network and better support this community. I organized a workshop titled “Fit for Public Consumption: Strategies for Sharing Your Studies on Learning” lead by Carnegie Scholars Drs. Michael Smith (Ithaca College) and Trish Ferrett (Carleton College) that was attended by 20 faculty. Finally, I encouraged two faculty engaged in SoTL projects (Brenda Kelly and Leila Brammer) to present their work at a Faculty Shop Talk. In the future, I hope to continue working with the Faculty Development Program/Kendall Center for Engaged Learning in some capacity. I also look forward to some day serving on the Third Year Review and/or Personnel Committee.

Science Division. I served the science division by being a part of the NASP course proposal review committee and as the elected secretary of the campus chapter of Sigma Xi for two years. As secretary, I was responsible for submitting paperwork to initiate new associate (student) and full members to the society and submitting a year-end progress report to keep the chapter in good standing. I serve the Biology Department by coordinating the seminar program. For two years I did this with Cindy Johnson-Groh and Jon Grinnell. The last three years I have done this on my own. I invite and host speakers who are leaders in their biological sub-disciplines such as Peter Vitousek (Ecology, Stanford University) and Daniel Simberloff (Environmental Studies, University of Tennessee at Knoxville). I have participated in department discussions on our curriculum and writing in the core classes as well as a number of searches for positions (two tenure, three instructor, one administrative assistant, and six term replacements). At some point in the future, I will be willing to serve as a Department co-chair/chair.

Student Life. I have enjoyed working with students who are new to the liberal arts college experience. I have helped with summer registration for new students (2004), been a faculty facilitator for the Common Reading Project (2005-present), and served as an interviewer for the Presidential Scholarships (2005-present). I have enjoyed seeing these cross-sections of the student population. My ongoing participation in the FTS program (2004, 2007 & future odd years) also indicates my support and interest in the activities of the college. For two years I have had the privilege of participating in the mentoring program for students of color. This program, run through the Diversity Center and initiated by Virgil Jones, Sujay Rao and Carolyn O’Grady, provides support for first-year students of color by pairing them with faculty members who maintain regular contact over the course of the year. This experience has helped me grow by developing more effective communication skills and better understanding other perspectives on the Midwestern liberal arts college experience.


[1] Innovations in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the Liberal Arts College, Northfield, 2006; Promoting Deep Learning, Minneapolis, 2007; and Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education, San Francisco, 2007.

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