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Open to all faculty, semester-long reading groups create opportunities to build community and conversation around a selected title from the scholarship of teaching and learning with the intention of helping faculty discover new insights and innovations for their classroom instruction. Reading groups are led by a UMassD faculty member and the OFD provides a copy of the selected title to all participants.

Recent titles include:

If you would like to suggest a topic for and/or facilitate a future OFD reading group, please email

Current offerings

OFD Reading Group – Fall 2022

The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion

Facilitator: Katie Krafft, Assistant Professor, Department of Crime and Justice Studies; OFD Assistant Director

In The Spark of Learning, Sarah Rose Cavanagh explores the impact that emotions have in the classroom, and specifically the impacts that emotions have on student learning. This book is partially a study of the neurobiological processes that connect emotion to a capacity for learning and partially a set of tools that we can bring into our teaching, our course design, and our engagement with students, and it will undoubtedly spark discussions that will offer us all an opportunity to welcome emotion even in a moment of relatively fraught social and emotional landscapes.

In general, and especially over the last two years, emotions find their way into our classrooms in new and complicated ways, and that intersection of emotion, engagement and intellect can provide us with fresh opportunities to make learning happen in new ways. How do we begin to frame emotion as a key component of learning? How do we begin to create and tap into emotional experience as a way to encode new information and perspectives, for both ourselves and our students? This book and our discussions will be a place for both new and seasoned instructors to find new frames for teaching by activating emotion in exciting ways that will make teaching and learning a full experience rather than simply a linear process.


All meetings will be conducted in person at the OFD, Library 212, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:

20 September: Welcome and agenda-setting; Introduction and Chapter 1

4 October: Chapters 2 + 3

25 October: Chapters 4 + 5

15 November: Chapter 6 and Conclusion

The OFD will provide a complimentary copy of the book to all participants; they will be available at the OFD office for pickup. Lunch will be provided at all meetings.

This reading group will be capped at 12 participants. If interested, please email Ellen Mandly at as soon as possible. Questions should be directed to Katie Krafft,

Coming soon for fall 2022...

Jean M. Twenge, iGen: Why Today's Super-connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy, and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood



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