Professor Ken Sharpe Lecture in Berkeley - Tues. March 6 at 6:30 pm
"Why Experts Need Coaches Too: How Swarthmore Profs Learned to Coach Each Other to Teach"

Tuesday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Berkeley City Club, Drawing Room, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley CA 94704
Talk begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception.

Coaches are important for novices to become experts but experts need coaches too. The judgment needed to quickly find the best way to deal with complex, uncertain, ambiguous and quickly changing situations is a hallmark of expertise. It is only learned through practice. Coaching and mentoring are critical. And even for an expert the learning never stops.

Outside of academe, this approach is not rocket science. Firefighters routinely do post-incident reviews in the same ways that athletes review videos of the game they just played. Novice public school teachers practice teaching with trained teachers. That’s also how interns and residents learn doctoring. Continuing mentoring and coaching are essential for even expert musicians, singers and athletes. But when professors start teaching, they are largely isolated in their own classrooms. When they reflect on their daily teaching experiences they do so alone.

To turn this situation around—to create a culture of learning expertise at Swarthmore—a group of seasoned faculty at Swarthmore decided to launch a year-long pilot Faculty Teaching Seminar. The aim: to teach ourselves to coach each other—right in each other’s classrooms. Professor Ken Sharpe will talk about how they learned to do this—and what implications this has for how novices become experts and how experts improve their expertise in any practice.

Kindly register by filling in the blanks below, AND hitting the "submit" button at the very bottom of the page.

For more information please write to Geoff Semenuk, Alumni Relations at

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