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Initiatives for 2016-2017

Barry Schwartz

Psychologist Barry Schwartz joined the Aydelotte Foundation's Book Club discussion of his book Why We Work.


The Aydelotte Foundation is pleased to announce our support for the Swarthmore color group which consists of faculty and staff from across the college who meet to discuss color. Their interests are broad and touch on the physics, perception, linguistics, history, sociology, literature and philosophy of color. The group (which welcomes new members) will meet every few weeks over the course of the academic year and is in the process of setting up a blog ( to share digital resources with the entire college community. Physical resources (such as books and physics demonstrations of color) will be shared in a physical cabinet that will “appear” at various locations around campus. The group also coordinates field trips to various color-related sites. Co-conveners Tristan Smith (Physics) and Logan Grider (Art) can be contacted for more information.

Faculty Dinner Discussions

“I just wanted to thank you for organizing this really fantastic event. I deeply appreciated the opportunity to get to know my colleagues outside of the natural sciences and to discuss such a substantive and fascinating topic.” — 2016 Dinner Guest

The Aydelotte Foundation is excited to bring back an initiative that helps faculty get to know their colleagues’ scholarly work more deeply. Convened by Associate Professor Grace Ledbetter (Classics and Philosophy), Aydelotte Foundation Faculty Dinner Discussions occur several times over the course of each semester. At these dinners, a small group of faculty gather to discuss a short piece of published work by a colleague. Dinner conversation encompasses a brief presentation of the work by the featured author and also questions posed by the group. This is a dinner-party, Swarthmore-style.

Faculty Pedagogy Seminar

Like the inaugural 2014-15 pedagogy seminar, these upcoming sessions will bring together 12 faculty members from different disciplines to work in pairs to observe, discuss and refine one another’s teaching strategies. Co-convened by Professors Betsy Bolton (English Literature) and Sara Hiebert Burch (Biology), the pedagogy seminar will once again focus on learning through observation, peer coaching and reflective practice. Members of the seminar will form a small intentional community, dedicated to helping one another flourish as teachers and learners. Part of the communal quest for meaning will involve describing together some of the ways critical thinking and knowledge design can be nurtured and learned.

Higher Ed Coffee Hour

The Aydelotte Foundation invites faculty and staff to join us several times over the course of the year for coffee, donuts and a discussion of current issues in higher education. We want to know — What are you reading and thinking about? Which higher ed issues are you finding interesting? The series is co-convened by Professor Eric Jensen (Director, Aydelotte Foundation) and Peggy Seiden (College Librarian).

Second Tuesday Cafes: 2016 Presidential Election & Its Significance

“An excellent job has been done with taking subject matter and making it interesting and understandable to a diverse audience. This recognition of the diverse makeup of our community makes it a welcoming atmosphere.” — Second Tuesday Cafe Attendee

Faculty and staff are invited to come together for a light lunch and some learning. The Foundation’s popular monthly cafe series returns — this time with a focus on the 2016 presidential election. Co-convened by Carol Nackenoff (Professor, Political Science) and Sa’ed Atshan (Visiting Assistant Professor, Peace & Conflict Studies), 2016-17 cafes will provide interdisciplinary perspectives on critical issues underlying the campaign, and the likely consequences of the election on domestic and foreign affairs. Topics may include prospects for Supreme Court appointments and decisions; the debate over climate change and movements for climate justice; economic insecurity, growing inequality, political frustration and the Trump phenomenon; American conservatism today; issues of race, gender and LGBT rights; the meaning of the election in and for the Middle East; and the relationship between religion and politics. Listen to past cafe podcasts.

Stories in the Age of Climate Change – Book Discussion Group

The Aydelotte Foundation is pleased to offer another book discussion program. Faculty and staff are encouraged to join us in a shared intellectual exercise centered this time around the theme of the environment with emphasis on climate change and justice. Through reading and discussion of four books—fiction and nonfiction alike—we will explore different and sometimes divergent ways of understanding the environment and the natural world through such topics as climate justice, the impact of humans on the planet, dystopian and anarchist futures, green movements, and the commerce chain of a sought-after fungi. Reading selections in each group may differ, but the one book all participants will read is Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Says one of the participants from last year’s book group, “The discussions were very good and enlightening. As a faculty member, it was very interesting for me to hear perspectives from non-faculty members. That is, I often have discussions, including intellectual ones, with other faculty members; but I have such conversations far less frequently with staff members.”