Teaching and Learning Centers Program Spotlight
USG’s Office of Faculty Development is pleased to recognize unique and successful programs of our Teaching and Learning Centers around the system through our Program Spotlight.
2019 Regents’ Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Regents’ Teaching Awards! The Regents’ Teaching Awards represent the highest recognition for teaching and advising in the University System of Georgia (USG), and illustrates the USG’s commitment to ensuring academic excellence for the citizens of Georgia.
Regents’ Award for Online Teaching
Dr. David Joyner, Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. David Joyner blends rigor, innovation, and student engagement in the online Computer Science courses that he has created. Combining a learner-centered approach with problem-based pedagogy, students thrive on the high level of interaction with Dr. Joyner as they are challenged to become co-investigators of disciplinary issues.
Felton Jenkins Hall of Fame Faculty Awards
Dr. James Byers, University of Georgia
Dr. James Byers is in high demand for keynotes and national presentations on pressing ecological issues; he is most known for immersing his students at the University of Georgia through compelling narratives of ecology. Noted for his ability to ‘work magic’ with students of all levels and majors, his students have had their work published in premier journals.
Dr. Christopher Clark, Georgia College and State University
Dr. Christopher Clark invites students across the university to explore economics through real world contexts, and through this pedagogy has inspired a number of students to pursue graduate study themselves. As a scholar-teacher, his research enters his classrooms, and his passion for economics inspires students across the disciplines.
Dr. Binh Tran, Georgia Gwinnett College
Dr. Binh Tran’s knowledge of the Information Technology industry led to the creation of an internship program which deeply benefits his IT students. Consistently developing new classroom strategies, Dr. Tran publishes regularly on the intersection of student learning and classroom innovation, making his pedagogy and expertise available to a national audience.
Regents’ Momentum Year Award for Excellence in Advising and Student Success
Gordon State College Orientation Planning Committee, Gordon State College
The Gordon State College Orientation Planning Committee created a New Student Orientation Program that builds student momentum by emphasizing the advising relationship. Honoring the college’s motto—a place where students come to flourish—the interdisciplinary planning committee created a program that embodies the Momentum Year.
Regents’ Momentum Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Curricular Innovation
First Year Seminar Program, Kennesaw State University
The First Year Seminar (FYS) Program within University College of Kennesaw State University affects student growth in many contexts across the undergraduate curriculum. This nationally-recognized program focuses on Mindset—student growth, purpose, and social belonging—and impacts student success long after they take the FYS.
Regents’ Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Dr. Tessa C. Andrews
Dr. Tessa Andrews is a leading scholar in how to effectively incorporate active learning into large lecture classes. She focuses on equity and inclusion, explores ways to help students overcome science misconceptions, and bridges theory and practice – both in the classroom and as a mentor to faculty.
Dr. Joseph A. Mayo
Dr. Joseph Mayo integrates Boyer’s scholarship of discovery and scholarship of teaching into a systematic investigation of student learning with a focus on authentic assessment and constructivist pedagogy. Despite a teaching load of 8-10 classes per year, Mayo is a highly engaged scholar and mentor with a national reputation.
Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Department or Program
Department of History, Georgia State University
Georgia State University’s Department of History has a three-pronged approach to student success—online initiatives, high impact practices and active learning strategies, and a career readiness program for both undergraduate and graduate history majors—resulting in growth and retention of majors, and in students’ evaluations of the courses and programs. (Award to be conferred at the May meeting of the Board of Regents)
Dr. Ren Denton Named Director of EGSC’s CETL
Congratulations to Dr. Ren Denton, the new director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at East Georgia State College.
According to Dr. Denton, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) has a threefold mission: to advance pedagogical scholarship and professional development related to teaching, to support full-time and part-time faculty in innovative teaching, and to promote strong learning communities of faculty and students.
One of Dr. Denton’s programs includes a New Faculty Academy, which is a year-long onboarding experience that spans a new faculty member’s first year. The center also plans to expand faculty discussions to include face-to-face and online workshops that promote engaging teaching techniques and current teaching initiatives related to G2C.
According to Dr. Denton, “I look forward to the work ahead of me in building on the labor of my predecessors, as I continue to shape the center into a support service for faculty in their quest to strive for excellence and innovation.”
Dr. Denton is also Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, a Chancellor’s Learning Scholar, and Associate Professor of English in the School of Humanities and Social Science. The CETL serves EGSC’s Swainsboro, Statesboro, and Augusta campuses.
Dr. Tamara Payne named Coordinator of Faculty Development at FVSU
Congratulations to Dr. Tamara B. Payne, who has been named Coordinator of Faculty Development at Fort Valley State University. Dr. Payne is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling at FVSU, a licensed and certified counselor, and a professional and personal workshop facilitator.
As coordinator, Dr. Payne is planning a new faculty/staff academy, a leadership academy, and an upcoming lecture series. Says Dr. Payne, “My passion is to help individuals develop holistically through creative and eclectic trainings.”
Welcome Dr. Payne! We look forward to working with you.
Spring GA-CTL RAC meeting
The GA-CTL spring Regents Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting was hosted by RAC chair Michele DiPietro, executive director of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning. The agenda included workshops by Michele DiPietro of KSU, Joyce Weinsheimer of GA Tech’s CTL, and Esther Jordan of KSU, as well as discussions led by Mary Carney of University of North Georgia’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership and Brian Etheridge of Georgia Gwinnett College’s Center for Teaching Excellence.
Congratulations to Brian Etheridge of GGC who was voted chair-elect of the GA-CTL RAC.
Keynote lecture named after Dr. Ginger Szabo-Durham
The USG Office of Faculty Development is proud to announce that the keynote lecture at the annual USG Teaching & Learning Conference will henceforth be called the Dr. Ginger Szabo-Durham Luncheon Keynote Address.
Dr. Ginger Szabo-Durham joined Advanced Learning Technologies with the University System of Georgia (USG) in 2005 where she served as a project coordinator. In 2008, she became Director of Faculty Development when the unit was absorbed by the Office of Faculty Development. In 2015 she was promoted to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development. During her tenure at the USG, Ginger was instrumental in supporting and growing the community of Center for Teaching and Learning representatives, coordinating numerous faculty development programs, and launching the USG Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellows program. She initiated a successful system-wide online Faculty Learning Community effort in support of system initiatives, including service-learning and AAC&U’s LEAP. During her time with the USG she also earned a doctoral degree from the University of Georgia.
Ginger had a lasting impact on the Office of Faculty Development and all those she came in contact with. The Keynote Address to the USG Teaching and Learning Conference is dedicated to her memory.
USG represents at AAC&U annual conference
Over 150 faculty and administrators from around Georgia attended the American Association of Colleges & Universities annual meeting in Atlanta last week. The conference, themed Raising Our Voices: Reclaiming the Narrative on the Value of Higher Education, explored “ways of elevating the voices of administrators, faculty, practitioners, and students in the public narrative about the value of higher education.”
(l-r) David Newton, University of West Georgia; Jeff Galle, University System of Georgia; Carleen M. Vande Zande, University of Wisconsin System; and Robert Todd, University System of Georgia, participate in a panel entitled, “System Approaches to Taking Student Success to Scale: High-Impact Practices and Faculty Development.”
(l-r) Rod McRae, University of West Georgia; Jeanne Sewell, Georgia College; Mary Carney, University of North Georgia; Joyce Weinsheimer, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Costas Spirou, Georgia College, discuss “Centers for Teaching and Learning in a Changing Higher Education Landscape.”
Rod McRae Named Director of CTL at UWG
Congratulations to Rod McRae, who has been named director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of West Georgia (UWG). “I’m genuinely looking forward to what the growth in the CTL will mean for enriching how our faculty teach and how our students learn,” said McRae.
UWG’s CTL has been expanded to include the Online Faculty Development Center, and will support faculty in both face-to-face and online instructional environments.
McRae’s leadership at both the institutional and system-level have been instrumental in strengthening teaching and learning in Georgia.
McRae has served as interim director since 2017, and before that as assistant director.
2018 POD Conference
The 43rd Annual POD Network Conference met in Portland Oregon November 14-18 to the theme of Leading in Times of Change. USG CTL’s had a wide representation at the conference. In addition to many individual institutional presentations, several sessions included presenters from multiple USG institutions. These cross-institutional collaborations showcase the working relationships shared by members of the USG GA-CTL consortium/regents advisory committee, and one advantage of this type of community of practice. Collaborative, cross-institutional presentations included:
All Things to All People: Transforming Teaching & Learning as a Center of One
Marina Smitherman, Dalton State College; Rod McRae, University of West Georgia
Centers for Teaching and Learning must be responsive to institutional goals and priorities at the same time as working with faculty to encourage transformative teaching & learning. This brings many challenges when functioning as a Center of One. This session is designed to bring together lone faculty developers to create a supportive community and facilitate a discussion of shared strategies for coming in from the margins, prioritizing programming, maximizing resources, and preventing burnout.
Cross-Center Collaborations: Teaching Excellence and Academic Success Join Forces
Robert Bledsoe, Augusta University; Susan Hrach, Columbus State University; Mary Carney, University of North Georgia
One relatively under-explored avenue for improving student outcomes is an alliance of those of us working in faculty development with colleagues working in student success. This session will describe efforts by the Office of Faculty Development and Teaching Excellence and the Academic Success Center at XX (a mid-sized, comprehensive public university) to develop and coordinate programming for faculty members and students. Participants will experience one of our techniques for evaluating and promoting a growth mindset in both groups and engage in activities to identify potential areas of cooperation at their home institutions.
Developing the Next Generation of Faculty Leaders
Jamie Landau, Valdosta State University; Susanna Calvert, University of Georgia; Kimberly K Eby, George Mason University; Stephanie Goodwin, Wright State University
A holistic, forward-thinking view of the changing nature of faculty roles in higher education reveals that faculty need to be leaders at their institutions throughout their career stages. Thus, faculty developers must provide support beyond educational development. This roundtable will share programming and resources, and strategize around common institutional challenges. Examples include mentoring programs for new faculty; career coaching, leadership, and legacy workshops for mid-career faculty and department heads; and programs that empower faculty to be agents of change related to diversity and inclusion. Roundtable facilitators will bring specific examples from our institutions; all participants should come prepared to share.
Stepping Up: Engaging Faculty to Lead in Times of Change
Cher C. Hendricks, University of Idaho; Jesse Bishop, Georgia Highlands College; Brian Etheridge, Georgia Gwinnett College; Rod McRae, University of West Georgia; Marina Smitherman, Dalton State University
In this workshop, we explore powerful model (Symposium) for engaging faculty in campus initiatives and supporting them to take a more active role in leading during times of change. We have successfully used symposium to broaden faculty participation in change initiatives, connecting this work to what matters most to faculty and providing avenues for more inclusive collaboration across disciplines and divisions. Much of the workshop will be devoted to helping participants (1) identify areas where they can lead change on their campuses and (2) develop a draft plan for using symposium to increase faculty engagement in these efforts.
The Room Where It Happens: Leading Cross-Institutional Change
Denise Pinette Domizi, University System of Georgia; Mary Carney, University of North Georgia; Marina Smitherman, Dalton State College
Faculty developers contribute significant leadership in times of change, in part, because we are well-versed in higher education research and offer expertise in implementing initiatives. While we create programs to enhance academic excellence, our work can also be driven by major initiatives conceived out of the highest academic leadership at the institutional or state level. This roundtable explores the ways in which we can get a seat at the table and effectively develop and align our programs with the vision of leadership. We will create together an inventory of practices for faculty developers to effectively contribute to major educational initiatives.
IMAGE (left to right): Brian Etheridge, Georgia Gwinnett College; Marina Smitherman, Dalton State College; Cher C. Hendricks, University of Idaho (formerly from University of West Georgia); and Rod McRae, University of West Georgia present together at 2018 POD Conference.
Chancellor’s Learning Scholars Kick-off Celebration
Over 115 Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (CLSs) met at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia on October 16 or October 22, 2018 for the CLS kick-off celebration. The day-long event featured four pedagogical workshops, developed and facilitated by directors and representatives from the teaching and learning centers across the University System of Georgia (USG). The topics were mindset, inclusive pedagogies, small teaching/interactive lectures, and course design. Representatives from Affordable Learning Georgia also gave a brief presentation about open educational resources (OER), with a focus on OER-enabled pedagogy as an option for the CLSs to consider incorporating into their pedagogical discussions and course enhancements. The CLSs will chose one or a combination of these pedagogies to explore with a faculty learning community (FLC) they will facilitate on their campus.
FLCs are designed to give small groups of faculty (typically 8-10) the opportunity to engage in sustained, meaningful conversations about teaching and learning with supportive colleagues from across campus. Members will meet regularly throughout the length of the program as they explore areas of interest, leading to changes in their teaching practice.
At the end of the program, each CLS and FLC participant should be able to point to a change or innovation they have made in their classroom or on their syllabus to an assignment, activity, or course material as a result of their participation in the FLC.
You can find the support materials from these workshops on our CLS page.
GA-CTL RAC creates workshops for Faculty Learning Communities Initiative
On September 4-6, 2018, the Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning (GA-CTL) Regents Advisory Committee (RAC) met to design and develop programming for the Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) Initiative in support of the Momentum Year. In groups of five, they created workshops on the topics of course design, mindset, inclusive pedagogies, and small teaching/interactive lectures. They will meet again in early October to refine and finalize these workshops and accompanying materials.
On October 16 and 22, 2018, a subset of GA-CTL RAC representatives will introduce these topics to the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (CLSs), who are representatives from each institution in the University System of Georgia (USG). The CLSs will facilitate semester-long FLCs on their campuses for the purposes of promoting pedagogical discussions which lead to course enrichment, and extending leadership in pedagogy across the institutions of the USG.
A huge thank you to the pedagogical experts who designed these workshops!
Inclusive Pedagogies: Michele DiPietro, Kennesaw State University; Ryan Bronkema, University of West Georgia; Jamie Landau, Valdosta State University; Brian Etheridge, Georgia Gwinnett College; Judy Orton Grissett, Georgia Southwestern State University.
Course Design: Darryl Hancock, Middle Georgia State University; Washella Simmons, Fort Valley State University; Deborah Richardson, Augusta University; Laura Lynch, College of Coastal Georgia; Mary Carney, University of North Georgia.
Mindset: Joyce Weinsheimer, Georgia Institute of Technology; Crystal L. Edenfield, Georgia Highlands College; Rhonda Porter, Albany State University; Lisa Yount, Savannah State University; Debbie Walker, Georgia Southern University.
Small Teaching: Justin Mays, Clayton State University; Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy, Perimeter College-GSU; Marina Smitherman, Dalton State; Meg Mittelstadt, University of Georgia; Jordan Cofer, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
ABAC’s Student Engagement Programs Symposium (STEPS)
This spring semester, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) hosted their first ever Student Engagement Programs Symposium (STEPS).
According to Dr. Jordan Cofer, assistant vice president for academic affairs, the symposium was designed to give students first-hand experience conducting research in their discipline, either by assisting with faculty research projects or through conducting their own research with faculty guidance. Students submitted “lightning talk” videos to judges that were recorded at ABAC’s One-Button Studio. Four of those research projects were accepted to be presented at the symposium. Students also submitted abstracts to present their research through a poster presentation.
Over thirty-two students participated in STEPS this spring semester with over 300 attendees.
Image 1: Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jordan Cofer welcomes attendees to STEPS.
Image 2: Assistant Vice Presidents Dr. Jordan Cofer (left) and Dr. Darby Sewell (right) present Research Talk award winners (l-r): Cody Mock, Jana Register, Kyle Parris, Amanda Mohammed and Hannah Dinkins.
Image 3: Student research poster session at STEPS.
CSU’s CTL Wins University-wide Award
Congratulations to Columbus State University’s Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning which was honored Monday with the “Living Our Values” award at CSU’s university-wide awards ceremony. Singled out for recognition were director Susan Hrach, administrative assistant Jessica Cook, student assistant Courtney Fields, plus advisory committee members. Pictured are President Chris Markwood, Susan Hrach, Teaching and Learning Enhancement Committee Chair Amanda Rees, and committee members Kimberly Shaw, Yesem Peker, and Brian Schwartz.
That same day the Faculty Center hosted two workshops for faculty and staff with higher education Futurist Ken Steele from Eduvation.ca.
Learn more about CSU’s Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at https://facultycenter.columbusstate.edu.
Welcome to the 2018-2019 USG SoTL Fellows
We welcomed the third cohort of the USG Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) Fellows in Athens, Georgia earlier this month as they met for their kick-off and orientation during the USG Teaching & Learning Conference. These ten scholars from across the USG will meet regularly over the course of the year as they design and develop a classroom-based research project. During the course of their three-day orientation, they met with the previous USG SoTL Fellows cohort; attended presentations by Kim Fowler from UGA’s Human Subjects Office and Rebecca Rose, the USG SoTL Fellows embedded librarian; and had conversations with Dr. Mike Metzler, one of the program’s mentors.
They concluded the orientation with a mini-poster session where they shared their most current thinking about their SoTL projects with each other.
The 2018-2019 USG SoTL Fellows are:
- Marianna Baykina, Georgia Southwestern State University
- Jesse Bishop, Georgia Highlands College
- Katy Crowther, Georgia State University
- Ann Massey, University of Georgia
- Rosaria Meek, University of North Georgia
- Marcela Ruiz-Funes, Georgia Southern University
- Marina Smitherman, Dalton State College
- David Strickland, East Georgia State College
- Emily Weigel, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Lisa Yount, Savannah State University
2018-2019 USG SoTL Mentors are:
- Mike Metzler, Georgia State University
- Hillary Steiner, Kennesaw State University
- Rebecca Rose, University of North Georgia
1. 2018-2019 USG SoTL Fellows (photo by Mark Johnson, Director of Academic Innovation, USG). Left to right: Mike Metzler (Mentor), Mary Carney (co-director), Marianna Baykina, Marcela Ruiz-Runes, David Strickland, Emily Weigel, Marina Smitherman, Katy Crowther, Rosaria Meek, Jesse Bishop, Lisa Yount, Denise Domizi (co-director). Not pictured: Ann Massey.
2. Katy Crowther discusses her project ideas with Marina Smitherman at the concluding mini-poster session.
3. USG SoTL Fellows cohorts 2 & 3 meet to talk about the program (photo by Harlie McCurley, Staff Assistant for the UNG Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership).
Congratulations to the 2017-2018 USG SoTL Fellows
We congratulate the second cohort of USG SoTL Fellows as they conclude their year-long fellowship program. The 2017-2018 cohort presented their work at two sessions at the USG Teaching & Learning Conference in Athens, Georgia earlier this month.
In SoTL Communities of Practice for Research on Teaching and Learning, facilitated by Dr. Mary Carney (co-director of the program), the fellows discussed their experiences in the program, including the value of the community and opportunities for growth.
The second session, facilitated by Dr. Denise Domizi (co-director of the program), was titled Diverse approaches to SoTL as exemplified by the USG SoTL Fellows. In this session, the Fellows discussed how they transformed a question about something that was happening in their classroom into a research project. Included was a discussion about how their projects changed over the course of the fellowship, the status of their projects now, and next steps.
The 2017-2018 USG SoTL Fellows are:
Megan Adams, Kennesaw State University
Lesley Clack, University of Georgia
Aubrey Dyer, Clayton State University
Kim Johnson, Middle Georgia State University
Hasitha Mahabaduge, Georgia College & State University
Chere Peguesse, Valdosta State University
Joseph Watson, Georgia Southwestern State University
John Weber, Georgia State University
Seretha Williams, Augusta University
Photo 1: Communities of Practice session with (l-r) Mary Carney, Chere Peguesse, Hasitha Mahabaduge, Kim Johnson, and Megan Adams.
Photo 2: Diverse Approaches to SoTL session presenters Joseph Watson, Lesley Clack, Aubrey Dyer, and Seretha Williams.
Photo 3: Communities of practice session presenters Hasitha Mahabaduge, Kim Johnson, Megan Adams, Chere Peguesse
Photos by Harlie McCurley, Staff Assistant for the UNG Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Georgia Tech’s Provost Teaching & Learning Fellows Program
Dr. Joyce Weinsheimer, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), often wondered how to build stronger partnerships between the colleges and the Center. “It’s easy for us to come up with ideas and push them out, but how might we connect with the colleges more readily on ideas they have that are important to them?”
Georgia Tech’s Provost Teaching & Learning Fellows program was developed to “create a hub-and-spoke model that connects the expertise of evidence-based teaching and learning professionals in the CTL with the expertise of disciplinary faculty in each college/school.” By doing so, the CTL aims to create a partnership where teams of faculty within each college are working to strengthen teaching and learning through special initiatives designed by the faculty themselves.
The program is a joint effort of Provost Rafael L. Bras and the Center for Teaching and Learning. Over the course of the two-year program, the fellows meet monthly as a large group to discuss pedagogy and best practices. In addition, they keep each other informed about the progress of their college-level initiatives. Each college-based group also meets monthly with a representative from the CTL who works with them throughout their two-year term.
Depending on the size of the college, each has from two to five fellows. In some cases, the fellows from a college work as a team on a project. For example, fellows from the College of Sciences are working together to explore peer evaluation of teaching—what is currently being done, and how to develop a more robust process that could ultimately inform tenure and promotion documentation.
In the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, one fellow is piloting a development program for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in economics—and she will eventually explore how to expand the model to GTAs in other units. Another fellow in the same college is working on mentorship initiatives for post docs, new faculty, and junior and/or short-term faculty.
The fellowship comes with funding that can be used at the discretion of the faculty fellow and their Chair (for example, for summer salary or release time); a portion of the funds is to be used to attend at least one teaching and learning conference in the fellow’s discipline.
The fellowship will conclude with poster presentations at Georgia Tech’s Celebrating Teaching Day in the spring. Faculty will share their efforts with colleagues and administrators throughout the campus, inspiring others to adapt their ideas. The CTL website will also include information about the initiatives and their impact.
USG SoTL Fellows present at USG Teaching & Learning Conference
The first University System of Georgia (USG) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Fellows cohort wrapped up their year with a number of presentations at the USG Teaching & Learning Conference in Athens, Georgia on April 5-7, 2017.
Six of the fellows participated in a panel titled, SoTL communities of practice for research on teaching and learning. Panelists discussed how participation in the community affected their design and implementation of their projects, and how the mix of diverse participants from the USG enriched their understanding of SoTL across the disciplines.
Four of the fellows presented snapshots of their SoTL projects in their session, Diverse approaches to SoTL as exemplified by the USG SoTL Fellows. In this presentation, each fellow gave an overview of their project design, data collection, and emerging conclusions.
We are so proud of the work that these scholars have done over the past year, and look forward to seeing more from them over the years as they continue their journey as SoTL scholars.
Photo: (left to right) Tamra Orgies-Young, Julia Whisenhunt, Scott Butler, Laura Ng, Trinanjan Datta, Judy Grissett
USG SoTL Fellows Orientation
The 2017-2018 cohort of USG SoTL Fellows met together for the first time during the USG Teaching & Learning Conference in Athens, Georgia on April 5-7, 2017. During the three-day orientation, they began to discuss and refine their project ideas and designs, examined AAC&U’s LEAP initiative with regards to their projects, and participated in a conversation with UGA’s Office of Research. They also attended presentations by Rebecca Rose (the USG SoTL Fellows embedded librarian) and by the first cohort of fellows. This was followed by time with the first cohort to ask questions and discuss their experience in the program.
This second cohort, which has a focus on the LEAP initiative, will continue to meet over the course of the year as they design, develop, and implement their SoTL projects.
Image 1: 2017-2018 USG SoTL Fellows. (left to right): Seretha Williams, Augusta University; Kim Johnson, Middle Georgia State University; Mike Metzler (USG SoTL Mentor), Georgia State University; John Weber, Georgia State University; Chere Peguesse, Valdosta State University; Aubrey Dyer, Clayton State University; Hasitha Mahabaduge, Georgia College & State University; Megan Adams, Kennesaw State University; Lesley Clack, Armstrong State University. Not pictured: Elizabeth Wurz, College of Coastal Georgia; Joseph Watson, Georgia Southwestern State University.
Image 2: First two cohorts of USG SoTL Fellows. Left to right, front row: Chere Peguesse, Valdosta State University; Jackie Kim, Armstrong State University; Julie Whisenhunt, University of West Georgia; Megan Adams, Kennesaw State University; Aubrey Dyer, Clayton State University. Left to right back row: Scott Butler, Georgia College and State University; Trinanjan Datta, Augusta University; Seretha Williams, Augusta University; Tamra Ortgies-Young, Georgia State University - Perimeter College; Mike Metzler (USG SoTL Mentor), Georgia State University; John Weber, Georgia State University; Hasitha Mahabaduge, Georgia College & State University; Kim Johnson, Middle Georgia State University; Lesley Clack, Armstrong State University; Tim Foutz, University of Georgia.
Georgia Consortium for Teaching and Learning
Last week, twenty-two representatives to the Georgia Consortium for Teaching and Learning (GA-CTL) met for their bi-annual meeting. Members of this group are faculty developers from the twenty-eight public institutions of higher education in the state of Georgia and serve as an advisory board for faculty development programs, policies, and proposals that have system-wide significance and advance the USG strategic plan.
The consortium, currently chaired by Marina Smitherman of Dalton State College, met at the system office in Atlanta on Thursday, and at Georgia State University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning on Friday. Representatives from Complete College Georgia (Jonathan Hull & Heather Collins), Affordable Learning Georgia (Jeff Gallant), and UGA’s Office of Service Learning (Shannon Wilder) presented to the consortium; Dr. Marti Venn, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, shared the Chancellor’s priorities, as well as her own vision for faculty development within the USG. Consortium representatives gave campus and program updates, shared faculty development best practices, discussed their identities as faculty developers, and held elections for the executive committee.
Image: Dr. Shannon Wilder of UGA’s Office of Service-Learning talks about UGA’s service-learning initiatives.
Georgia Southern’s Writer’s Boot Camp
Since 2014, Georgia Southern’s Centers for Teaching and Technology (CT2) has offered a Writer’s Bootcamp for faculty interested in substantial, structured writing time. Four times a year, the week after finals, faculty are invited to come together for four days to focus on writing.
Dr. Peggy Lindsey first came to Georgia Southern in 2012 from the University of Dayton, where she had been part of an informal writers group. After she learned about a more structured model at a conference, she was determined to start something similar at Georgia Southern. She found willing collaborators in the CT2.
Writer’s Bootcamp started small with six participants and the event being held at the CT2. They have since outgrown that space and now take over three classrooms for each session.
The sessions are structured in 75-minute writing blocks, followed by 15-minute breaks, from 8:45 AM to 3:30 PM each day. At the beginning of the first day, participants from across campus and colleges share their goals for the week and a little bit about what they are writing. This has actually inspired conversations (during breaks) that have led to collaborations. At the most recent boot camp, for example, two faculty members finished co-authoring an article after having met in an earlier boot camp.
At the end of each day, participants share their progress and receive a “prize” for doing the tough work of a day of writing. Dr. Lindsey explained that it is a way to say, “You made it through the day! We’re glad you’re here. Keep coming.” Dr. Lindsey puts together many of the prizes herself. Monday, for example, they get office supplies. Tuesday the focus is on health and wellness; on this day, they get a coaster with the Boot Camp logo, and a water bottle. Wednesday they get a survival kit (with items such as Snickers “for when you need a little laugh,” a silly straw “for when you need to suck it up and get to work,” and a sanitizing wipe “for when a project becomes a big mess”). Thursday they get their boot camp diploma. The total cost for the “prizes” is about $20-30 per session. CT2 also provides tea and coffee; participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch and, if desired, snacks to share.
Participants must commit to the entire four-day session. As described on the Boot Camp website, “presence is essential to the boot camp esprit de corps—the willingness of all participants to keep slogging away all day every day, not only to meet their own goals, but to inspire those sitting around them to keep going as well” (https://sites.google.com/a/georgiasouthern.edu/ct2-writers-boot-camp/home/extendedbootcamps).
Dr. Jamie Scalera, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies, has spent the past several boot camps working on a book. “I find the sense of community and accountability to be very motivating, since writing can often be a solitary endeavor,” she explained. “I also find the week-long camps at the end of the semester particularly helpful, as it gives me a sense of accomplishment before taking a much-needed break.” In fact, Dr. Scalera has found this model so worthwhile she has encouraged her Honors students to use 75-minute writing blocks for their thesis projects. “I create a chart each semester where they can record their boot camp sessions for the week (4 per week), and I have encouraged them to meet together in the library like the faculty do for boot camp. I think this has helped encourage good writing habits among my students.”
CT2 also offers Weekend Writer’s Boot Camps four times a year. These sessions follow a similar structure of 75-minute writing sessions and 15-minute breaks. Unlike the extended boot camps, however, the weekend sessions are more flexible and welcome participants to attend one or both days, and as many sessions per day as fits their schedules.
To learn more about Writer’s Boot Camp, visit their webpage, academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ctl/bootcamp/
Open Classroom Initiative at Gordon State College
Gordon State College’s Open Classroom Initiative was designed to foster discussions about teaching and learning, and to promote community and engagement in and across departments through the exchange of ideas.
The mission of Gordon State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) is to “empower conversation, sharing, and mutual support” among their faculty in order to promote “innovative teaching and engaged learning” (http://www.gordonstate.edu/cetl/home). The Open Classroom Initiative is one way they support this mission.
Each semester, instructors can volunteer to open their classrooms on the day of their choosing. Some may have a technique they want to showcase—flipped classroom, scaffolding, leading class discussions—others might just want general feedback on their teaching. Typically, three to four instructors observe any given “open” classroom.
Following the class, the instructor and observers are encouraged to meet for coffee or lunch to discuss their impressions. Each observer also sends an email thanking the faculty member for letting them observe, and includes at least one thing they thought the instructor did well, and at least one suggestion for improvement.
According to Dr. Erica Johnson, Director of the CETL at Gordon State, the initiative encourages faculty to “take a look at what we do on an average day—to see what we teach, how we teach, and to follow up with conversations about why we use the practices we do” (http://www.gordonstate.edu/cetl/home).
The program began in 2015 with three faculty members opening their classroom. This semester eight instructors have volunteered. Three have opened their classrooms more than once. Dr. Johnson said that their president, Dr. Max Burns, has even participated in the program.
Learning Communities Faculty Scholars Course
Learning communities (LCs) at Kennesaw State University (KSU) are comprised of groups of up to 25 students who co-enroll in two or more classes that are linked by a common theme. The themes can focus on majors such as business, nursing, education, or dance; or can be topic-based, such as themes that focus on social justice, gender studies, or “green” living (http://uc.kennesaw.edu/fyts/programs/learningcommunity.php). At KSU, there is a strong focus on fostering community, and an expectation of intentional collaboration between faculty who teach the linked courses.
Dr. Hillary Steiner is Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, and Associate Director for Faculty Development and SoTL for the Learning Communities Program. After a conversation at the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities about the need for faculty development in this area, she decided to design an online course for faculty who were interested in “going deeper into the literature on learning communities, and wanted to connect that knowledge to scholarship.”
In collaboration with the Distance Learning Center at KSU, and with support from University College (her college within KSU), Dr. Steiner designed and developed an “online, asynchronous, six-week course designed to encourage and support the development of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching within the context of learning communities” (http://uc.kennesaw.edu/fyts/programs/learningcommunities/lcfs.php).
The course is divided into five content modules, bookended by an introduction module and a reflections module. Each module has a series of activities that includes readings, videos, discussions, and active learning assignments. All major assignments are designed to be applied directly to their learning communities course. Module topics include the science of teaching and learning, student development in the first year and beyond, learning communities, building integrative assignments, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).
With the goals of 1) investigating their students’ learning, and 2) contributing to the scholarly research in the area of Learning Communities, the final module has faculty designing their own SoTL project based on a question they have about their classroom.
The Learning Communities Faculty Scholars Course has been offered to KSU faculty for the past two years. Responding to a need at the national level, the course is now available to non-KSU faculty for a fee. For more information about the Learning Communities Faculty Scholars Course, visit the program website, or contact Dr. Hillary Steiner.
Photo: Students in Dr. Steiner’s Pursuit of Happiness LC, volunteering at the City of Kennesaw’s “Worldwide Day of Play” in September, 2016. Photo credit: Hillary Steiner. Used with permission.
USG Office of Faculty Development Mini-Grants
For the second year in a row, The University System of Georgia (USG) Office of Faculty Development has awarded $5,000 in mini-grants to build capacity and enhance programming in smaller Centers for Teaching and Learning or Faculty Development Offices in USG colleges and universities. Grants were awarded to fund travel for professional development, support faculty development events such as reading groups and retreats, and for the purchase of resources and supplies.
Congratulations to the following awardees:
- Robert Bleil, Associate Professor of English / Campus USG-CTL Representative, College of Coastal Georgia
- Terri Brown, Director of Distance Learning, Bainbridge State College
- Jordan Cofer, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs (Learning Resources), Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
- Courtney DuBois, Instructional Designer, Center for Instructional Development, Clayton State University
- Timothy Henkel, Scholar in Residence, Associate Professor, Valdosta State University
- Erica Johnson, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Gordon State
- Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy, Associate Director, Perimeter College-Georgia State University
- Nancy Remler, Director of Faculty Development and Online/Blended Learning, Armstrong State
- Sara Selby, Academic Affairs Projects Specialist and Professor of English, South Georgia State College
- Marina G. Smitherman, Director, Center for Academic Excellence, Dalton State College
Faculty Development and LEAP in Georgia
This summer, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, along with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), announced that Georgia is the 13th LEAP state partner.
Georgia’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) Consortium is comprised of over twenty institutions in Georgia, including colleges, universities, and community colleges.
LEAP is a “national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual student success and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality” (https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/LEAP/IntroToLEAP2015.pdf).
Campuses promote LEAP through practices such as Essential Learning Outcomes, High-Impact Educational Practices, Authentic Assessments, and Students’ Signature Work (learn more about LEAP at https://www.aacu.org/leap). Each campus creates and implements an action plan according to its own unique contexts.
USG Institutions and LEAP
USG institutions are promoting LEAP in a number of ways. For example, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s Quality Enhancement Plan, STEPS (Student Engagement Programs), is being developed around LEAP’s High-impact Practices, and Middle Georgia State University has aligned their strategic plan with the LEAP initiative.
At Dalton State College, a team of faculty and staff—led by Dr. Marina Smitherman, associate professor of biology and director of the Center for Academic Excellence—were selected to attend AAC&U’s High Impact Practices (HIP) Institute at UCLA this summer (see article in The Chattanoogan). They returned with a four-year plan to focus on service-learning, internships, undergraduate research, and study abroad, with the goal of all graduates participating in at least two of these HIPs before they graduate.
Representatives from Columbus State University also attended the HIP Institute with a team led by Dr. Susan Hrach, director of CSU’s Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. The Center will be playing a key role in the LEAP Task Force (and eventually, a LEAP Council), charged in part with exploring ways to integrate LEAP rubrics into high impact practices, integrating their QEP’s focus on problem solving to create strategic alignment among high impact practices, and overseeing data collection processes to assess equity and effectiveness of high impact practices.
The University of West Georgia held a two-day, LEAP-focused Academic Affairs Faculty Symposium this summer. Thirty-six UWG faculty members, as well as Lee Knefelkamp from AAC&U and colleagues from Georgia College, came together to create a LEAP campus plan focusing on the areas of first-year experiences, general education, signature work, and high impact practices. The symposium concluded with each working group presenting their recommendations to the Provost. UWG will continue this work throughout the academic year with broader participation from around campus.
USG SoTL Fellows and LEAP
To further promote and explore the efficacy of these LEAP initiatives, all projects of the 2017-2018 cohort of USG SoTL Fellows will involve inquiry into some aspect of LEAP principles (learn about the USG SoTL Fellows). Fellows will do individual research, or may collaborate with other fellows to implement cross-institutional projects. Examples of projects might include exploring the efficacy of High-Impact Practices, describing how varied disciplines construct Authentic Assessments, or exploring how Students’ Signature Work leads to application and synthesis of learning in meaningful and significant products.
Faculty Learning Communities and LEAP
The Office of Faculty Development’s Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) program will bring together two small groups of faculty to focus on LEAP. One group will be made up of participants from five to six Georgia LEAP institutions. Each institution will send two representatives; one faculty member and one representative from the institution’s teaching and learning center. The experience is intended to enhance each participant’s understanding and implementation of LEAP principles at their institutions. The second group will include up to twelve faculty members from Georgia institutions that are not currently LEAP institutions. The goal is to explore the LEAP initiative to determine areas of interest related to high-impact practices at their institution. Learn more on our Faculty Learning Communities page.
Program Spotlight: Clayton State’s Lightboard
Clayton State’s Center for Instructional Development’s (CID) Lightboard Tool offers instructors “a creative and innovative way to deliver content to students.” Faculty members use the Lightboard to record mini-lectures for students on topics with which they frequently struggle. Originally conceived of as a tool for use in online classes, they have found that those who teach in face-to-face courses are also utilizing it for supplemental content.
The Lightboard is a piece of aquarium glass that is lined with LED lights. Instructors stand behind the glass, looking through the glass to the camera, and draw on the board with neon markers as they talk through a difficult concept. As students watch the videos, it gives the impression that their instructors are talking directly to them. Justin Mays, Director of the CID, explains that this helps students feel more connected to their instructors than they might with a traditional narrated PowerPoint lecture.
CID videographer Brian Roberts advises faculty to come to the studio with a solid plan for what they want to present in their mini-lectures, and recommends videos that are no longer than seven minutes. “Once you fill up the board, it starts to break the connection because they are now looking through text,” explained Brian. After the shoot, Brian edits and reverses the video, and then publishes it to their media server. Faculty typically have a link to their video the same day. Students can then access the link on any of their devices.
The Lightboard itself is Open Source Hardware. It was conceived of and designed by Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University, and all design specifications are offered for no charge at lightboard.info. The CID ordered the aquarium glass from a local supplier, and Clayton State’s mathematics department used their 3D printer to print the LED holders using open-source specifications from Duke University. Lightboard also has a user forum for “sharing best practices, interesting techniques, pedagogical uses, technical discussion, and perhaps just showing off an occasional video that came out well.”
If you would like to learn more about how Clayton State is using their Lightboard, contact CID Director Justin Mays at email@example.com, or videographer Brian Roberts at BrianRoberts@clayton.edu. For more videos, best practices, and detailed specifications of their Lightboard project, visit CID’s Lightboard page.
Image: Technology Support Specialist Jonathan Booth. Photo credit: Brian Roberts.
Program Spotlight: Georgia College’s Mentored Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors Program
Image: Summer scholar Leah Dannenberg explains her summer research project at the 2015 MURACE Symposium. Photo by Steven Jones.
Georgia College’s Mentored Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors program (MURACE) was designed to enrich the lives of students through mentored research opportunities.
A program of Georgia College’s Center for Faculty Development, MURACE offers opportunities for students to engage in and showcase their undergraduate research by hosting an annual student research conference, providing travel support to undergraduate researchers who present their work at external conferences, and promoting the integration of undergraduate research at the curricular level. Following are highlights of the 2016 programming to support MURACE.
Student Research Conferences: Georgia College showcases student research in 2016 with three local and regional conferences. At Georgia College’s 19th Annual Student Research Conference, over 300 students—supported by over 70 faculty mentors—presented original research and creative works. In April 2016, Georgia College hosted the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) Regional Undergraduate Research Conference, with students representing six institutions around the southeast. In November of 2016, Georgia College will host the 5th Annual Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference.
Student Travel Support: Georgia College supported seventy-two students with travel funds to present at twelve separate professional and disciplinary conferences, including fifteen students who presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.
Curriculum Integration: Two academic departments, the School of Nursing and the Department of English and Rhetoric, received planning grants to review and revise their curriculum to integrate undergraduate research as a key experience across the major.
For more information about undergraduate research at Georgia College, visit the MURACE website.
Image: (left to right) 2015 summer scholars Candace Cosnahan, Kelsey Van Boxel, their mentor Dr. Tsu-Ming Chiang, and summer scholar Megan Pind. Photo by Steven Jones.
Program Spotlight: Dalton State College’s 7th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference
On April 1, 2016, Dalton State College hosted their 7th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference. The conference theme was, “Teaching Students to Fish,” and included forty-eight presenters who spoke about best practices in the classroom, high-impact practices in higher education, reaching the whole student, and also included special sessions for faculty developers. While the conference was primarily comprised of faculty and staff from Dalton State, representatives from other institutions, both within and outside of the University System of Georgia, were present.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Carl Moore, invited attendees “to extend their teaching beyond learner-centered practices to an approach that teaches students how to learn or ‘fish’…[through] evidence-based teaching practices to partner with students to meet their individual learning needs” (http://www.daltonstatecaeconference.com).
According to Dr. Marina Smitherman, Director of Dalton State’s Center for Academic Excellence and conference organizer, the conference concluded with attendees making an action plan for how to put strategies learned at the conference into practice.
(Photo: Elizabeth Lucht (pictured), and Marina Smitherman presenting, “Hook them in! How to Flip Your Classroom One Activity at a Time” at the Dalton State Teaching & Learning Conference. Photo by Misty Watson Wheeler)
USG Teaching & Learning Conference
The USG Teaching & Learning Conference is this Wednesday and Thursday (April 13-14) at the Georgia Center in Athens, Georgia. You can view the full program schedule at http://usgteachinglearningconferen2016.sched.org.
Be sure to check out the presentations by the USG SoTL Fellows and Mentors! (Names of Fellows and Mentors are italicized).
Wednesday, April 13
Implementing an Open Educational Resource in Human Growth and Development
Ellen Cotter • Gary Fisk • Judy Grissett
Don’t Just Guess, Assess: Measures for Community Engaged Learning
Scott Butler • Kirsten Rodgers
Thursday, April 14
Coping with Challenges of Online Learning by Promoting Self-Regulated Learners
Increasing Engineering Student Success and Engagement Through an Integrated, Collaborative First-Year Seminar
Ruth Goldfine • Lori Lowder • Laura Ruhala • Hillary Steiner • Nirmal Trivedi
Investigating the Benefits of Visual Python Computational Activities in Introductory Calculus Based Physics Course
Trinanjan Datta • Deborah Richardson
Dual enrollment in the High School: Faculty Perspectives
Katherine Kipp • Laura Ng • David Slutzky • Steve Smith
ALG Grantees Panel: STEM and OER: Strategies, Online Homework and Lab Solutions, and Effectiveness
Moderators: Jeff Gallant
Speakers: Shaun Ault, Judy Grissett, Estelle Nuckels
SPACE: The Symposium for Part-time, Adjunct, and Contingent Educators
SPACE: The Symposium for Part-time, Adjunct, and Contingent Educators, is the first event of its kind in the nation. This conference, created by Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), gives part-time faculty the opportunity to present their teaching innovations and disciplinary scholarship in a peer-reviewed, professional setting. SPACE will be held at the Crown Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 18, 2016. The conference is open to all non-permanent faculty from all institutions.
According to the organizers, a major goal of this conference is to provide part-time faculty—who make up the majority of the academic workforce—opportunities to develop professionally and to remain active in the intellectual community. Mandy McGrew, the CETL Faculty Fellow for Part-time Faculty Support and a part-time faculty member and advocate herself, conceived of this conference, for and by part-time faculty, to assert that the skills of adjuncts and limited-term faculty members are not lesser because of their status; they deserve the same opportunities for growth as their full-time colleagues. Further, these opportunities also benefit the institutions that employ them and the students they teach.
SPACE was designed to be an accessible, affordable option for part-time faculty to build their CVs, experience community, and share their expertise with their peers. Lack of travel funding or high registration fees can make it difficult for part-time faculty to access opportunities such as presenting at conferences. KSU’s CETL aims to lessen these barriers by holding SPACE in Atlanta, Georgia (local to many universities that utilize adjuncts in large numbers) and by keeping registration costs low ($75 until June 1, $95 after June 1). KSU is also providing scholarships that cover the full cost of registration to many of its part-time faculty who would like to present at or attend SPACE.
SPACE will have two presentations tracks and a poster session. The first track will be Teaching. For example, part-time faculty might present on innovative teaching techniques or assessment, lessons they have learned as a part-time instructor, or strategies they apply in their face-to-face or online courses. The second track focuses on Research and Creative Activity—the work that contingent faculty are doing within their disciplines. Many part-time faculty have an active and productive agenda. They write books, complete dissertations, are engaged in artistic, musical, and theatrical exploration. SPACE is an opportunity to spotlight their achievements to the world, especially as some of them prepare for full-time academic employment. Organizers are encouraging submissions from all disciplines on any academic topic.
Over one hundred contingent faculty are expected to attend this summer’s inaugural conference. Ultimately, SPACE aims to change the way part-time faculty are viewed within the academic community. The organizers feel that shifting the perspective of this group from that of “part-time faculty” to a more inclusive “faculty who work part-time” would validate the contributions of this vital portion of the university community.
For more information about SPACE, to register, or to submit a proposal before the May 3 deadline, please visit their website: spaceducators.com
University of West Georgia’s Engage West!
Engage West! is a campus-wide initiative at the University of West Georgia that focuses on transforming the culture in such a way that faculty, staff, and administrators enthusiastically embrace their roles and responsibilities in achieving UWG’s vision. Micheal Crafton, UWG’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, explains that the fundamental goal of Engage West! is “a complete transformation of the workplace.”
In 2014, the first year of implementation, Engage West! focused on leadership development, employee rewards and recognition, and removing barriers to processes, policies, and practices. As they entered their second year, the Provost hoped to more deeply connect faculty with Engage West!, and thus Engage West! Faculty Edition (EWFE) was created. The first Faculty Edition event replaced their Fall General Faculty Meeting, which they felt had become stale over the years and had suffered decreasing attendance. To move away from the “talking heads” model, UWG’s Center for Teaching and Learning worked with Provost Micheal Crafton to plan interactive roundtable sessions, led by faculty and staff, to engage faculty in learning about campus initiatives, professional development activities to support teaching and research, and leadership development opportunities. With over 350 faculty in attendance, the meeting was a rousing success.
Though they offered several EWFE opportunities during the fall semester, to re-capture the enthusiasm and interest generated at their Fall General Faculty meeting, in January the Center for Teaching and Learning began a series of monthly lunches modeled after that first event. CTL Director Cher Hendricks explains, “these lunch events bring faculty together from across disciplines to learn about campus initiatives and to talk about common issues and challenges.” In January, 65 faculty joined lunch discussions on topics such as LEAP, increasing student engagement, flipped classes, faculty with young children, the Governor’s Teaching Fellows program, service learning, working with the IRB, and getting started with grant writing. A session in February included discussions on sustainability, faculty writing groups, interdisciplinary studies, and active learning. At the March event, they will engage in conversations about academic freedom and academic responsibility. “The most exciting outcome of these informal discussions is the actions faculty take after taking part,” Hendricks says. “We’ve had faculty bring forth recommendations for ways the CTL can support faculty-led initiatives, such as Faculty Writing Groups as well as others that start their own informal support networks.”
Michele DiPietro of Kennesaw State wins Spirit of POD Award
USG’s Office of Faculty Development congratulates Dr. Michele DiPietro, Executive Director of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, for winning the highly esteemed Spirit of POD Award at the 40th Annual POD Conference in San Francisco, California.
The POD Network is dedicated to the enhancement of teaching and learning, and is the leading organization in higher education for the support and development of professional training. The Spirit of POD Award, “honors members who have made long-standing and exemplary contributions to POD members, the organization as a whole, and the educational development profession, all while embodying the giving spirit of our organization.”
Nominated by his peers, Dr. DiPietro was described as “giving tirelessly of himself to nurture this field and the people who believe in what development can do.”
(Photo: Phyllis Worthy Dawkins and Michele DiPietro win the Spirit of POD Award. Photo by Matthew Ouellett, used with permission)
Augusta University’s Caught in the Act of Great Teaching
Dr. Deborah Richardson, Director
Office of Faculty Development and Teaching Excellence (OFDTE)
In 2012, Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities learned they would be merging to form a new, comprehensive research university. Understandably, faculty were anxious about the change. In this stressful time, the Office of Faculty Development and Teaching Excellence (OFDTE) at Augusta State, with the encouragement of Dr. Carol Rychly (Vice President for Academic Affairs at the time and currently Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs), decided to remind their faculty what it was that they all valued most: educating students. Under the leadership of OFDTE director Dr. Deborah Richardson, the OFDTE advisory committee convened to find a way to recognize the work that faculty were doing for their students.
The Caught in the Act of Great Teaching Award was established to “honor faculty for those acts, large or small, that inspire students and exemplify teaching excellence.” Nominations come from students, staff, and other faculty members. The focus is on those little things that instructors do – staying late to help anxious students before a first paper is due, showing such genuine excitement about their discipline that students start to feel it, too – that is noticed and appreciated by students; the little things instructors do every day that add up to great teaching.
Dr. Robert Bledsoe, Associate Professor of German and a member of the OFDTE advisory committee, explained that until this award was created, there was only one teaching award on campus. It was awarded after years of service and required an extensive application packet. In contrast, Dr. Bledsoe observed that this award was designed for anyone, including contingent faculty, part-time instructors in all disciplines. “We wanted it to be accessible to all,” he explained. Each month, a committee reviews the blind nominations, and one nominee is chosen from each of their two campuses. On the appointed day, most of the staff of the OFDTE rush into the classrooms of the awardees and presents them with a certificate and gift, while reading the nomination for the entire class to hear. At the end of the year, OFDTE hosts a celebration for all of the nominees and awardees. This event is an opportunity for the two newly merged campuses to come together and celebrate what they have in common: a shared value of great teaching.