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Pedagogy and Polarfleece

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New faculty make connections on the trail

Jiannbin Shiao, associate professor of sociology and one of Dartmouth's newest faculty members, won't soon forget his Oct. 3 stay at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. "That was the coldest night I've spent 'outside' since climbing Mount Shasta [in California] ten years ago. Thank goodness for the coffee and bacon!" he says.

Lodge
New faculty are invited to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. Above, from left: Helen Hong (partner of Sergi Elizalde), Sergi Elizalde (assistant professor of mathematics), Richard Stolzberg (visiting professor of chemistry), Jiannbin (Jay) Shiao (associate professor of sociology), Nancy Toth ’96 (partner of Shiao), and Thomas Luxon (professor of English and DCAL director). (Photo courtesy Thomas Luxon) View more photographs from the trip here.

The night was cold, but the atmosphere was warm on the new faculty trip Shiao participated in. Assistant Professor of Sociology Matissa Hollister has been organizing the trips, which include a night at the lodge and a hike up Mount Moosilauke, since 2006. Any faculty member in his or her first five years at Dartmouth is invited.

Hollister led outdoor orientation programs as a graduate student at Harvard, and liked the approach of using trips to develop social support networks. "I thought it would be nice to do a similar thing for faculty-to help them meet in an informal way and interact with faculty from other departments."

faculty
Jerald Kralik (assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences), left, and Naaborko Sackeyfio (assistant professor of history). (Photo courtesy Naaborko Sackeyfio)

"This is a great way for newer faculty to connect and start conversations about their teaching and other things," says Thomas Luxon, director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and professor of English. DCAL, a resource for faculty that provides and coordinates services to support effective teaching, sponsors the trips.

"Along the hike, I had conversations with other new faculty, and we were comparing notes, chatting about different techniques for encouraging class interactions," says Hollister. "Having Tom Luxon on the trip also gets people interested in being involved with DCAL."

And braving New Hampshire's fall temperatures can bring unexpected rewards, reports Hollister: "The top of Moosilauke had a frost overnight, and it was cold and windy up there. Just as my hiking group was starting its descent the clouds parted. We had these amazing views of the red and orange mountains out in the distance, in sharp contrast to the white frosted trees. It was beautiful."

By SARAH MEMMI

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Last Updated: 12/17/08