The comments below were taken from the participant evaluations of the two Dickens seminars I directed at UC Santa Cruz (in 2011 and 2014). Though this seminar is a bit different in content and structure, the comments capture the general feel and pacing of the seminar, its significance in terms of professional development, and a sense of UC Santa Cruz as a host institution.
The extensive supplemental reading that Marty assigned us was daunting, but every single piece was useful and I think I can pull excerpts from many of them for my students.
The balance of texts, films, and articles was brilliantly done--the course built on previous ideas and the workload was rigorous, but still manageable. I don't think I have ever taken as many notes in a course as I did during our seminar--the ideas generated by our discussions were always exciting and enriching.
A good professional development experience is one where a teacher is made to feel excited to head back to the classroom. Though I have a month of vacation left, I would almost like to leap forward to the school year so that I can share these new ideas with my students.
This experience was, in a nutshell, amazing. The overall organization and structure of the seminar was well thought out and productive. I intend to use many of these overarching concepts in my future teaching. Much of what we discussed will help to focus and redirect my lessons to encourage deeper critical thinking and exploration of skills- based learning.
This seminar will have a huge impact on my teaching. I have always loved Dickens but I always wondered how my struggling, urban students would respond to his texts and find them relevant. After this seminar, I have strategies and answers to that question! It was also wonderful to share resources and practical insights for incorporating Dickens into my curriculum. So much creativity and insight in class each day!
The course provided solid connections to classroom pedagogy. The classroom environment was relaxed and informal; however, it demanded that the participants bring a great deal of their own thought and preparation to the table. It was a challenging month!
This seminar ranks among the top educational experiences of my life. The opportunity to spend four weeks in such a vibrant intellectual community has already been immensely rejuvenating and inspiring. This seminar is also reshaping the way I plan to teach my upcoming British Literature course, which will now include adaptation study as a critical component.
Marty Gould was a fantastic resource. He made himself consistently available outside of class time for meetings, resources, and other assistance that he could offer. He was amazingly knowledgeable and approachable and really made class a joy. The guest speakers were top-notch as well, and the UC-Santa Cruz campus was a fantastic locale for such a seminar. It was a transformative experience to be sharing in such high-level scholarship with leaders in my field.
UCSC was a great place for a seminar. The library and computer facilities were adequate as well. Visiting the special collections of Dickens memorabilia at the library was a highlight of the seminar. The housing arrangements were great. They were close to the classrooms, as well as bus stops to get into downtown.
Since the University of California Santa Cruz is the home to the Dickens Project and Dickens Universe, it seemed like an effective choice as a venue. The campus is beautiful and unique, and the city of Santa Cruz is a fun town that is also in the vicinity of a lot of interesting places for tourists.
I resided off-campus during my stay, but the on-campus facilities were wonderful. Access to the
beautiful, expansive library was highly beneficial to my scholarship. Our classroom, while small,
offered a great space for high-level discussion in class. Overall, the host institution went above and beyond to ensure our success in this program.
UCSC was a unique host institution. I enjoyed the location of Santa Cruz. It was quaint and inviting. The campus was welcoming and the staff delightful. The housing and arrangements were all acceptable.
This was the most meaningful learning experience that I have had for several years.
The seminar moved at an appropriately exciting pace. The demands were great but very rewarding, and the collegial atmosphere to which all aspects of the seminar contributed was supportive and
As a result of this seminar, I now view literature and film in new ways. I am eager to share
these experiences with my students. I have a specific plan for dynamic lessons in my classroom and a veritable capacious portmanteau of ideas from my colleagues to explore and develop.