SERC > SERC Staff and Collaborators > SERC Collaborations with Carleton

SERC Collaborations with Carleton

Evans and Lakes
Evans Hall and Lyman Lakes on Carleton's Campus
This set of resources result from a partnership between SERC and Carleton's Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching. The resources highlight ideas and activities of Carleton faculty and staff which have been collected and disseminated via SERC.

Teaching Activities and Assignments

Carleton faculty have shared teaching activities they have developed via the several projects and websites listed below as well as non-Carleton projects coordinated through SERC. These assignments are presented in a common format so that other educators can make use of them more easily. Faculty are invited to submit activities to the collection at any time.

Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Carleton faculty have also contributed descriptions of their courses to several web-based collections. Faculty wishing to post a course description should contact SERC to see where their submission would be the most appropriate and useful.

Teaching Methods

These websites describe pedagogical methods in terms of what, why and how and tie the pedagogy together with a body of examples using that teaching method. Carleton faculty and projects were involved in developing the teaching methods pages as well as the activity collections. For a full listing of the available pedagogic modules, check out the Pedagogy in Action library.

Faculty Coached, In-Class Problem Solving. This module was developed by Debby Walser-Kuntz, Sarah Deel, and Susan Singer and offers a new approach to teaching problem solving. In this class format, students work collaboratively to solve problems, while professors provide a structured, guided context. Each class is designed specifically to support students as they apply and synthesize new concepts they are learning; faculty introduce new concepts and play an active role interacting with each group of students as they work on problems. This module includes examples from an introductory biology course, but the approach can be applied to many different disciplines.

Quantitative Writing. This module explores quantitative writing as a pedagogic method which engages students with numbers by asking them to analyze and use quantitative data in written reports and arguments.

Using Field Labs: This module was developed by Mary Savina and offers extensive practical advice and guidance for faculty who want to take students into the field to conduct scientific investigations that observe, collect and record data of some sort.

Projects, Workshops, and Websites

Each of the links below contains specific activities and materials developed by Carleton faculty and staff. In some cases, these are lesson plans, labs, and assignments; in other cases, these are "idea" documents or reflections. Individual faculty and staff members prepared their materials for the web pages. The "front pages" of each module were written by Carleton faculty and visitors to Carleton who were involved in the workshops.

Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM): Carleton is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and several faculty members are involved in running professional development workshops funded by ACM grants.

  • Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum: The goal of this cross-disciplinary and cross-college collaboration is to develop, assess, and then disseminate well thought-out pedagogical strategies and practical, meaningful, usable activities for integrating sustainability into introductory courses across the disciplines at our institutions and beyond.
  • Earth and the Environment in Italy: Participants in this workshop gather at the Geological Observatory of Coldigioco (OGC) in Coldigioco, Italy to explore teaching and research opportunities in Earth and Environmental Sciences, and to discuss the feasibility of starting an ACM-sponsored off campus studies program at OGC.

Broadening Access to the Sciences: Carleton is a member of the "Mellon 23", a group of 23 national liberal arts colleges funded by an Andrew P. Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant to collaborate on faculty development efforts. This website presents materials from a number of workshops including case studies and comprehensive approaches to broadening student access to the sciences.

Carleton on Camera: This project began as an effort to capture actual classroom teaching at Carleton and pair it with faculty reflection on what they were trying to accomplish in their classrooms. The resulting short video presentations became a platform for established, successful teachers to reflect on how they think about the classroom, from small details to broad themes.

CISMI - The Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative: This mission of CISMI is to promote and expand the inquiry-based study of complex and integrated systems, drawing on the power of disciplinary perspectives. CISMI receives funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

  • Carleton's Energy Future: This set of materials is based on a December 2005 workshop, co-sponsored and funded by the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching (through a grant from the Mellon Foundation) and CISMI.
  • Computational Modeling: This set of materials is based on a workshop from April 2006, funded by the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching (through a grant from the Mellon Foundation) and CISMI.
  • Cows, Colleges and Curriculum: Sustainability Issues in the Classroom: This set of resources is based on June and August 2006 workshops, co-sponsored and funded by the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching (through a grant from the Mellon Foundation), CISMI, and the St. Olaf College Faculty Development fund.

Looking to Learn: Visual Assignments Across the Curriculum: This three day workshop brought together Carleton faculty and staff to explore how different disciplines might use visual learning, examine colleagues' examples of exciting visual pedagogies, design and refine visual assignments, and evaluate visual products to see how disciplines understand and interpret visual objects. Looking to Learn was sponsored by the Visualizing the Liberal Arts (Viz) initiative, a project of the Visuality Working Group at Carleton.

QUIRK, Carleton's Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning and Knowledge Initiative: QuIRK is intended to help Carleton and other institutions of higher education better prepare students to evaluate and use quantitative evidence in their future roles as citizens, consumers, professionals, business people, and government leaders. QuIRK has been funded by the US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the W.M. Keck Foundation.

  • Quantitative Reasoning University - 2006. This page lists courses offered in the first "semester" of "Quantitative Reasoning University," sponsored by QUIRK. These short courses for faculty and staff included offerings on choosing statistical tools; quantitative reasoning in arts, literature and humanities; teaching with Google Earth and many others.

Teaching Big Science at Small Colleges: a Genomics Collaboration: Barnard, Carleton, Vassar and Williams Colleges were awarded a three-year grant from the Teagle Foundation to advance genomic curricula within liberal arts colleges. This project has created a body of Inquiry-based Integrated Instructional Units (I3Us) that faculty can use to teach about genetics and genomics.

Tracing the Effect of Faculty Development into Student Learning Outcomes (Tracer): The Tracer project investigates the effect of faculty development efforts at Carleton College and Washington State University on teaching and student learning in concrete, identifiable ways. The project is studying Carleton's QuIRK and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiatives as well as Washington State University's Critical Thinking (CT) and WAC programs.

State Your Case! is a three-year inter-institutional project focused on helping students learn how to develop and support a point of view in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary field. It is the newest initiative of the Collaborative Assessment for Liberal Learning (CALL) consortium, currently including St. Olaf College, Carleton College, and Macalester College.



The Pedagogy in Action project is funded by a grant from the NSF National Science Digital Library program which is administered by the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Education and Human Resources Directorate (Grant # 0532768).

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Carleton's Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching was established in 1992, the result of work done by a faculty-student committee. It was begun, in part, by a grant from the Archibald Bush Foundation. An endowment from the Bush Foundation now supports the Coordinator position in the LTC in the form of an endowed chair titled the Humphrey Doermann Professor of Liberal Learning. We are now the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching thanks to a generous endowment from Lawrence Perlman to support the operations of the center.

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