Dr. Strickland-Hughes Awarded Thomas J. Long Foundation Core Fellowship for Teaching
Dr. Carla Strickland-Hughes was awarded a Thomas J. Long Foundation Core Fellowship award for teaching of freshman general education classes Fall 2019. The criteria of the fellowship are innovation and excellence in teaching. Carla’s proposal for the award highlighted an intergenerational book club and film screening. She designed the intergenerational activities to address negative stereotypes about old age and aging and concurrently afford opportunities for students to strengthen their communication and critical thinking skills, as well as their self-understanding, a key mission of Pacific’s General Education program. Students in Carla’s class and members of the local chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute read Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, a memoir-style book providing lessons about how to be good citizens and to lead fulfilled lives that are informed by anticipation of one’ s own death. Groups convened for respectful, confidential discussion of the themes in the book for two 90-minute sessions. Students practiced their critical thinking and analysis skills by preparing their own discussion questions based on the text. The groups discussed these questions in semi-structured small groups and worked together to “solve” the problems of the “meaning of life” and “how to live a meaningful life, with a sense of purpose.” Students submitted a capstone writing assignment wherein they summarized the experience and connected what they learned from the discussion and from the book to their own lives, emphasizing their self-understanding, and to understanding of a good society, which was the topic of the class. After the book club, participants attended a screening of the film adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie win an expert panel Q&A consisting of Robin Imhof (film and literature enthusiast), William Bloxham (long-term hospice volunteer), and Carla Strickland-Hughes (gerontologist). These activities may help counteract pervasive negative stereotypes about old age and aging, as research suggests that increased knowledge and experience reduce our reliance on stereotypes and that positive intergenerational contact might improve attitudes towards old age.
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