September 23, 2019

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Summer Learning and Fall Opportunities

Institute director Andy Housiaux shares summer highlights and learning opportunities for the fall and beyond.
by Andrew Housiaux


It was a busy and generative summer for the Tang Institute and its fellows.

• In June, we hosted EL Education for a three-day workshop about assessment and student learning. Faculty from 12 departments participated, including members of The Workshop, Andover’s school within a school.

• In late July, Fellow Kurt Prescott worked with educators from across the country at the Religious Literacy Project’s Summer Institute. In addition to his Tang Fellowship, Kurt will be a Religious Literacy and Education Fellow at Harvard Divinity School this year. In this capacity, he will continue to support these educators during the school year through formal and informal mentoring, including regular online office hours. [Prescott is an instructor and interim chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies department.]

• We have spent the past three months working closely with the team at Opportunity Insights, Professor Raj Chetty’s research team at Harvard University. Their work on economic inequality and social mobility has received coverage in prominent media of late, including The Atlantic and Vox media. Professor Chetty’s highly respected course, Using Big Data to Solve Social and Economic Problems, has received attention from other colleges, universities, and high schools, and we have worked with his team to develop high-school-appropriate versions of some of his material.

Later this fall, Andover economics teachers will pilot the first module from the Big Data course with our students. Our faculty will be in regular contact with the teaching team at Harvard about how best to introduce this material to high school students. This dialogue will help Andover faculty and the Opportunity Insights team develop content modules for a high school version of this course that will be distributed widely outside of Andover. We are also in the process of coauthoring a statement of pedagogy with the Opportunity Insights team that will accompany the curriculum and help orient teachers to this new approach to teaching. We look forward to supporting an interdisciplinary group of Andover teachers to continue their exploration of this work next year.

• Other fellows attended conferences, developed new curricula, and undertook research on behalf of the institute.


We are excited for a range of opportunities this fall. The exciting work of our 2019-2020 fellows can be explored in more detail here.

• In September, we will begin our pedagogy book club, which will build on Joe Feldman’s informative presentation to the faculty about his book, Grading for Equity, and the prior discussions that our science and world languages faculty have had on this topic. These discussions will help support broader campus conversations about grading and assessment.

• On September 23 we will host Luz Santana, founder of the Right Question Institute, as part of our Biology 100 curriculum redesign. Faculty will begin ongoing discussions of teaching and learning through the Interdisciplinary Department beginning at the end of the month.

• Other upcoming events include a discussion and panel organized in collaboration with the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives and the Massachusetts Humanities Council, as well our Mindfulness Speaker Series, which will again feature Alexis Santos, Matthew Hepburn, and Sebene Selassie.

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