Tag Archives: Eileen Thompson

Students Present at Regional Honors Conference

Last weekend, two honors students presented at the Western Regional Honors Council’s (WRHC) conference in Ashland, Oregon at Southern Oregon University (SOU). The following members of SOU’s Honors College organized the event: Ken Mulliken, Executive Director; Liesa Morrow-Bratcher, Office Specialist; Prakash Chenjeri, Faculty. SOU Honors WRHC Interns Lauren Aldana, Riley Evetts, Briana Morgan, and Micaela Saling also worked on the conference.

The WRHC is our regional chapter of the National Collegiate Honors Council, and I attend the chapters meetings each year at the national conference. I’ve been waiting for a conference to be held near enough to our college that we could afford to send students.

Tonyae Meeks presented, “Human and Environmental Health vs. The Waste Management System,” based on the research she conducted in Eileen Thompson’s honors WR 121 class.

Gus Smith’s presentation, “Production, Adaptation and Iconography of the Oresteia and Greek Theatre,” shared his research findings from Aryn Bartley’s honors Introduction to Drama class.

His historical research was also shared with the college drama department to inform this year’s production of the The Oresteia Project.

Poster for The Oresteia Project

Honors faculty member, Aryn Bartley, accompanied the students to the conference. The Honors Program provided tickets to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s (OSF) production of Julius Caesar on Friday night.

The OSF’s director, Cynthia Rider, gave the conference’s keynote speech on Saturday evening.

Gus is currently enrolled in the Honors Capstone Seminar. I’m sure his experience this weekend will inform his group research project and the symposium he will help organize later this term, and I’m also sure that Tonyae’s experience will impact her work in the seminar next year.

Honors and the Writing Center

This morning, I had a great conversation with Casey Reid, the Writing Center Coordinator. We explored ways in which the Honors Program and the Writing Center could support one another. Casey had some exciting ideas that I think will be beneficial to students.

Honors students could be course-embedded tutors for other classes. This option will take some time, as embedded tutors work best when the student and faculty member have already met in a class and established a relationship. There are also scheduling issues to consider, especially given that our students often have jobs and families in addition to taking a full load of classes. Nevertheless, it would be an excellent way for students to engage in experiential learning. I look forward to talking with our coordinator for honors experiential learning and honors cooperative education, Gerry Meenaghan.

Additionally, tutors could be embedded in honors classes, offering a resource to the students in the class and also helping the tutors further develop their skills. I can see this working well in several honors classes, including the seminars.

Our initial steps will be to check in with the current honors writing instructors, Amy Beasley, Anne McGrail, and Eileen Thompson, about these possibilities and to see if there is interest in pursuing them this year. I will also talk with my co-instructor in the seminars, Stacey Kiser, about ways that an embedded tutor could work, especially as the enrollments this year are growing.

Sharing Lane’s Work on Honors Assessment

This week I head to Chicago for the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. It’s the NCHC’s 50th anniversary celebration.

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I’ll be co-presenting at the session, “Approaches to Assessment at Two-Year Colleges,” with Sheila Stepp from Orange County Community College (SUNY).

My presentation focuses on three types of assessment: student learning of course outcomes, student learning of Lane’s Core Learning Outcomes, and program review. I’ll draw on honors assessment work I’ve done with my colleagues: Sarah Lushia, Katie Morrison-Graham, and Eileen Thompson.

Some of my presentation will focus on Lane’s Core Learning Outcomes. Watch the student video produced by Sarah Lushia to see the impact the CLOs have on students.

Some of it will address the use of ePortfolios in assessing student learning. Again, watch the video Sarah produced featuring students discussing the value of ePortfolios. Students and faculty together can engage in authentic assessment of student learning.

The final part of my presentation will concern program review. I’ll draw on the NCHC’s recent development of a program review process, the parallel development of Lane’s program review process, and the Honors Program’s adaptations of both of these processes to best determine our strengths, the areas where we need improvement, and the support we’ll need to make those improvements.

More posts to come during and/or after the conference!

 

 

ePortfolio Developments

The Lane Honors Program begins its fourth year! And as the program continues to develop, so does our work with ePortfolios. The many benefits of these portfolios, including the impact they have on their creators’ critical thinking skills, make them an ideal fit for the Honors Program.

Our program benefits from the work of our two ePortfolio leads, Sarah Lushia and Eileen Thompson. Both attended the AAEEBL conference in July 2013.

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They have also made ePortfolios a central part of their honors writing courses, and they can work with other faculty who are just beginning to explore ePortfolios.

Sarah attended the AAEEBL conference again in July 2014 and gave a presentation, “Reflections on a Pedagogical Chrysalis: Incorporating ePortfolios in My Honors Writing Course.” She writes about this experience in her own ePortfolio. Building on her experiences at the conference, and the knowledge gained and ideas generated there, she launched Lane’s ePortfolio Theory Reading Group. The group is designed to build an ePortfolio community at Lane and is not limited to honors faculty. It will meet twice each term for discussion, and I’m looking forward to the first two readings Sarah has selected: “ePortfolio as a Catalyst for Change in Teaching: An Autoethnographic Examination of Transformation,” by Carson, McClam, Frank, and Hannum (for October) and “Mapping Student Learning Throughout the Collaborative Inquiry Process: The Progressive e-Poster,” by Takayama and Wilson (for November).

I’ll have more posts on ePortfolios over the next several months during what promises to be a very important year for this aspect of our Honors Program.

UPDATE: August 9, 2014: Sarah’s first ePortfolio reading group blog post is now up.

ePortfolios

When we started the Lane Honors Program, then Vice President Sonya Christian had the program pilot student ePortfolios before ePortfolios were rolled out across the college. Each honors student is required to build and continue working with an ePortfolio while in the program. The ePortfolios were intended to showcase the students’ work, thereby acting as additional tiers to their transcripts and resumes; however, we also found other benefits. Several colleagues across campus who had already been researching ePortfolios formed a think tank, and we began to see that ePortfolios had a lot to offer pedagogically.

To augment the think tank’s work, Anne McGrail, Katie Morrison-Graham, Eileen Thompson, and I applied for, and received, Research and Development funds. We also asked Sarah Lushia and Eileen Thompson to be the leads on ePortfolios. They are each building their own portfolios and are teaching students in their honors WR 121_H and WR 122_H classes how to build portfolios, as well. We used the R & D funds to send Sarah and Eileen to the AAEEBL conference in Boston. They returned with a wealth of evidence that ePortfolios are an effective pedagogical tool that is especially useful for teaching critical thinking, one of Lane’s Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs):

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Sarah and Eileen also explained that best practice for using ePortfolios in the classroom is for faculty to build and use ePortfolios themselves. I admit I came to this idea somewhat reluctantly if only because I couldn’t imagine finding the time to work on an ePortfolio. With technological assistance from Kevin Steeves and Jen Klaudinyi, however, I did begin building an ePortfolio:

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I found that it was useful for me to think through the ways my various interests and projects intersect. I have also been teaching students in the honors seminars to build portfolios and to use them for critical thinking. This winter will be the first time that I’ll use my own portfolio as part of the instruction in the honors seminars. I’ll be writing about that experience and about the Honors Program’s work to encourage honors faculty to incorporate ePortfolios into their teaching in future posts. In the meantime, I’m including the link to my ePortfolio. It is filled with empty pages and pages with little or no reflection, and while I realize that this is not the recommended way to share one’s portfolio, I’m willing to take the risk. It’s my hope that my learning curves for building an ePortfolio, teaching using ePortfolios, and helping administer a program that requires ePortfolios will progress along parallel paths and reflect related moments of learning best made visible by sharing the entire process.

A2-B-C Film Screening

Last night, the Honors Program sponsored a screening of the new, award-winning documentary, A2-B-C  (huge thanks to Dean Middleton for handling the technological side of this event). The film focuses on the growing numbers of thyroid tumors appearing in children exposed to radiation after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. The event drew members from the campus and Eugene communities.

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Honors student, Lonnie Clark (right), talks with honors instructor, Eileen Thompson (left), before the screening. Lonnie has already been very involved with raising awareness about the situation in Fukushima.

After the screening, event organizer and honors instructor Sarah Lushia, and art faculty Satoko Motouji, set up a Skype question/answer session with the film’s director, Ian Thomas Ash. For half an hour students and community members asked Ash about the current situation in Fukushima and his experience making the documentary.

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Satoko (left) and Sarah (right) during the Skype session.

For more information about this film and Ash’s work, see Sarah’s interview with Ash on the Honors Program website as well as Ash’s blog, his website, and his YouTube channel.

After the Skype session, attendees also had a chance to film messages of support to the families in the film. Ash is collecting these messages from screenings of the film all over the world. He will edit them and give them to the families he follows in the documentary. We were also able to write notes to Ash on index cards that Sarah will send to him.

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Sarah talking with Sandy Brown Jensen before Sandy filmed our messages to the families.

The evening’s event reinforced for me that an honors program has a responsibility not only to provide educational opportunities outside of the classroom, but to make these opportunities available to the larger campus and city communities. These events become loci for engaged discourse among students, faculty, staff, and community members, and they are one of many ways that honors programs give back to their communities.