Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 Courses

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Mathematics Day – October 18, 2014

Math Day will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Discover why studying mathematics or actuarial science at Simpson College is a terrific choice for your future.  You will meet Simpson professors and students and learn about the exciting mathematics events occurring inside and outside the classroom at Simpson.  You will also have the opportunity to meet with Simpson alumni and learn about many career opportunities in mathematics.

Click here for a complete schedule.

For more information contact Dr. Rick Spellerberg (rick.spellerberg@simpson.edu).

We hope that you can join us!  

Register at simpson.edu/admissions/visit-simpson/mathematics-day/

Student Creation of Ground Rules

by Nick Proctor

After attending the workshop on Adult Learning, I drew from one of the numerous handouts that we received to structure a discussion about student expectations and preferences for an upcoming debate on the topic of eugenics in my SC101 course. Although this method was only briefly addressed during the workshop, the one page distillation that was included in the handouts allowed me to implement it almost immediately.

Drawn from Brookfield’s Discussion as a Way of Teaching, the exercise asked the students to first reflect upon group discussions that had worked well or poorly for them in the past. They then took turns talking about this, which allowed them to recognize that there was a lot of common ground. We wanted to accentuate the positive while eliminating the negative, so we moved forward to proposing concrete rules and protocols. This gave us a structure for the debate. We dispensed with the final step of Brookfield’s process (charter creation) because with only 10 minutes remaining, the students were eager to begin working together in teams (which we had just agreed needed to be formed) in order to assign specializations (which we had just agreed were desirable) so that they could start assembling evidence (which everyone said was essential to having a good debate). In the end, the structure of the debate was quite similar to one that I could have mandated, but since it was created by the students they possessed greater ownership. Furthermore, they understood the function and rationale for every important component of the structure.

You can find a copy of the handout Nick mentions on page 5 of this document by Stephen Brookfield. The faculty development office is currently working on editing the audio and video recorded during the Adult Learning Workshop by Lisa Baumgartner. If you would like access to this material, please contact Shelly Priebe.

Video: Critical Reflection

How Can I Promote Deep Learning through Critical Reflection?

Last week I highlighted a video about deep learning. This week, I want to highlight a related video in which a different presenter discusses using critical reflection to promote deep learning. The advice offered in this video can be useful in designing make-up assignments for students who had to miss class for a college sponsored activity.

Dr. Barbara Jacoby explains why critical reflection is so important and how one can incorporate exercises and activities in your syllabi to promote it. She also will give ideas on assessing and grading students on their critical reflection. In her words, “From time to time, every faculty member looks out across a classroom or lecture hall and wonders: “Is any of this sinking in?” We all know that mere passive absorption of information is a poor way of learning. Students should be receiving information, reflecting on it, questioning it, testing it, applying it … really understanding it. Learning deeply, in other words.” Watch this 20 Minute Mentor video and learn some of her techniques!

To view the video and/or access the supplemental materials, click on the question above.

Adding Campus Events to Your Personal Calendar

Faculty development and forum both offer lots of events that are worth attending. But sometimes copying all those events into my personal calendar just doesn’t happen. I recently discovered that I don’t have to type all the details myself. All you need to do to add an event to your calendar, is click one of the calendar icons beneath the word Subscribe (see below). The item will be opened in your personal calendar, and all you have to do is click Save.

Would it help you to see it done? If so, just view this 2.5 minute video. I used the Chrome browser when making this video. Other browsers may handle downloads a little differently. Just follow the prompts you receive to open the downloaded file.

Rachel Wollschlager: Ernst and Young

Written by Steffi Lee, Career Services Undergraduate Assistant

What was she up to?
Rachel Wollschlager ’15 spent the spring semester interning with Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms. Rachel worked on internal and external communication, meeting with clients and various projects.

How did she find out about her internship?
Rachel found out about her internship through Simpson College’s May Term course, COOP 119. This course, designed for first and second year students, helps students explore career options and includes a 40-hour job shadow component. Rachel completed her job shadow at Ernst & Young during her first year, which led her to learn about their internship opportunities. Rachel says she highly recommends the course to anyone. “It has gotten me two internships and a job,” she said.

What strengths did Rachel demonstrate during her internship?
Since Rachel’s internship was during the spring semester, she was constantly busy and working long, strenuous days. Rachel says she was able to showcase her professionalism, written communication skills and networking abilities. “I had to email, call and meet with clients in person,” she said. “All of these are somewhat scary as an intern, but getting thrown into the fire with little experience makes you gain the skills you need really fast.” Rachel says she was not strong at written communication when she started her internship, but after finishing her spring semester with Ernst & Young, she says she improved in that area. In terms of networking, Rachel says, “I have created relationships with a number of very important individuals who I could not have dreamed of prior to this internship.”

What did her supervisor have to say about her work?
Tyler Goode, Assurance Services Senior at Ernst & Young, said, “Rachel did a great job communicating with her engagement team and client contacts. She was courteous and professional in all internal and external communication and she developed strong relationships with coworkers. She kept her team informed of the status of her work and volunteered to take on additional projects to assist her teams in every way she could.”

Why does Rachel feel it is important for students to intern?
Rachel says she believes internships really show students what the real world is like. “It is also a great way to gain experience before graduation to make you more marketable to employers,” she said. “And, if you’re lucky, it could even lead to a full-time job.”

What is on the horizon for her?
Simpson College Career Services would like to congratulate Rachel on her offer to join Ernst & Young full-time after her graduation from Simpson! Enjoy your senior year, Rachel!

Math Club Minutes

Math Club Meeting 9/15:

  • Sara Nielsen was elected secretary
  • Erin Brown was elected Vice President/Public Relations
  • Follow Math Club on Facebook and Twitter for announcements and other things

Facebook: Department of Mathematics at Simpson College

Twitter: @SimpsonCollMath

  • Mathematics Day is on October 18th

See Deb if you would like to volunteer for the check-in table

  • Pizza & Game Night is on October 17th at 6:30pm
  • We are having a Math Club Kick-Off bonfire at Spellerberg’s house, the date is TBD
  • Next meeting and pumpkin carving is on October 20th at 3:20

Bring ideas for T-shirts!


Submitted by Sara Nielsen

Math Club Meeting Today

The first Math Club meeting of the academic year is this afternoon at 3:20 in Carver 340.  We’ll elect the remaining officers, discuss upcoming events, and brainstorm activities and goals for the year.  If you are unable to attend, but would like to be added to the Math Club email list, contact Math Club President Taylor Gehrls.

Image from www.ccc.edu

Professor Dinesen’s Spanish 201 class takes on the “Okupa” movement in Spain

WLCS Professor Tracy Dinesen and her Spanish 201 class are studying youth movements this semester – specifically, the squatters’ movement in Spain that calls itself “Okupa.”

What is “Okupa” exactly? According to this article in the L.A. Times, it is a politicized squatting movement “fueled by 40% unemployment among 18- to 26-year-olds–almost double Spain’s overall jobless rate–and by high rents.”

This dire employment and housing situation is coupled with the fact that, in most large Spanish cities, thousands of apartments and buildings sit vacant, their owners facing no penalties for leaving them essentially abandoned.

In Barcelona alone, the article tells us, there are “70,000 vacant apartments, some abandoned, others with rents far beyond the means of young Spaniards.”

While exploring this fascinating topic and later taking on the roles of “Okupas” themselves, they will also be reading the contemporary novel Okupada by Catalan author Caré Santos.

To find out more about the Okupa movement, check out this short video in English!