Friday, September 16, 2016

Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) Workshops

Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) Workshops

The Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE) will be hosting two workshops to help faculty plan for Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLOs) and to apply for the TLO Grant Program. The first session will provide an overview of the program and foundational perspectives. The second session will provide a hands-on workshop for developing effective assessment strategies.

The TLO Application Deadline for projects taking place in 2017-2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) is Friday, October 28, 2016. Find more details on the TLO Application webpage.

Designing Successful Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLOs)
Friday, September 30, 2016, 12:30-2:00 p.m.
Social Sciences Building 51, Room 1205
RSVP to or contact Dan Richard with inquires.
Faculty and staff interested in applying for Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) funds are invited to attend the TLO workshop titled, "Designing Successful Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLOs)." This session will provide an overview of the TLO concept, some examples of past successful TLOs, and guidelines for applying for financial support.   

Manageable and Meaningful Assessment of Transformational Learning Experiences
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
OFE/FA Conference Room, Building 16, Room 3108 
RSVP to or contact Dan Richard with inquires.

UNF Faculty who apply for TLO funding design a wide variety of truly transformational learning experiences for students. Designing an assessment plan both enhances the TLO application and provides an important way to maximize student benefit from the experience.  Yet assessing transformational learning objectives can be difficult because the objectives can be difficult to define, and because TLOs may not include graded assignments in the same way as other classes do. This workshop will help participants define transformational learning objectives and develop manageable assessment strategies for determining the impact of the TLO experience. Faculty and staff interested in applying for Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) funds are especially encouraged to attend.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) and Deep Learning

One of the most difficult tasks for instructors is to fully engage their students with classroom material. Encouraging a deep and lasting understanding of the underlying structure of material - also known as "deep" learning - has been shown to lead to higher quality learning outcomes than rote memorization of concepts - "surface" learning (Chin & Brown, 2000). Deep learning, however, is difficult to encourage in practice.

In order to assist teachers with this, Alan Schoenfeld, an education researcher at UCLA-Berkeley, has developed a tool called the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) framework. Although initially designed specifically for teaching math, Dr. Schoenfeld has broadened its applicability to other fields. The TRU framework lays out five characteristics of classrooms that promote deep engagement with class material. The five dimensions of powerful classrooms are:
  1. The Content
    • The content of classrooms should be clear and concise and reflect the most current understanding of the subject matter at hand
  2. Cognitive Demand
    • The material should be difficult enough to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, but not so difficult as to overwhelm students
  3. Equitable Access to Content
    • The classroom should allow for and encourage all students to engage with the material by expressing their opinions and asking questions about the content
  4. Agency, Identity, and Authority
    • The students themselves, rather than the teacher should be the source of the ideas being discussed
  5. Use of Assessment
    •  The instructor should be aware of the students' level of understanding of content and adapt the lessons to meet the students where they are as opposed to where they should be based on a set timeline
According to Schoenfeld, these dimensions are not new, but rather a condensed version of the current state of the literature on teaching. The idea behind the framework is to focus on "how students experience [the lesson], not on what the teacher is doing." This is an important distinction in that the students themselves are given the space to generate ideas and discuss their problem-solving strategies with each other rather than strictly following the teacher's lead.

The research team has provided a number of publications and presentations on the project and their findings. The main recommendation from these findings is for teachers to look carefully at the learning experiences provided for students, whether these experiences encourage "deep" learning as opposed to surface skill-based practice and whether student-level assessment can support targeted support for student misconceptions. With the right framework, teachers can find the right balance between academic challenge and enriching, engaging student learning experiences.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Evidence for Teaching Excellence Webinar

Beyond the ISQ: Evidence for Teaching Excellence
Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Location: Online (webinar through BlueJeans technology)
Pre-registration is required: contact

Each semester, students complete the Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire (ISQ) regarding their experiences with the instructor and the course. Faculty frequently find additional information necessary to fully evaluate their teaching practice. Current conversations regarding annual evaluations as well as around promotion and tenure have resulted in a desire to provide evidence of teaching excellence that extends beyond these student satisfaction questionnaires. In the current webinar, Dan Richard, Director of the Office of Faculty Enhancement, and Krista Paulsen, Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, will discuss options for using alternate forms of evidence for teaching excellence and will provide some examples of how these alternative forms can be used in annual evaluations, promotion and tenure, and other aspects of continuous improvement.
Pre-registration for the webinar is required.
For instructions and connect codes, contact

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

How Can Profs Keep Students' Attention? Put Them in Charge

It's important for faculty to work their hardest to ensure their courses, especially when they are long or comprised of tedious or difficult subject matter, hold their students' attention and keep them engaged. Because it can be so easy for students to drift mentally in class (research purports that college students retain only 10% of material covered in lecture-based courses), it is critical that faculty employ new and creative ways to hold engagement high and get students involved and thinking critically.

Raymond Benton, Jr., a professor at Loyola University Chicago, has managed to put a new spin on an active-learning classic. In what is known as a "jigsaw classroom", students are divided into subgroups within the class, with each subgroup learning a specific topic that they then teach to the rest of the class. Each subgroup member becomes an expert in their allotted area, and the subgroups must educate each other in order to complete an overarching assignment that all groups must complete as a class.

In Benton's version, the "jigsaw classroom" puts students in control of more than learning and communicating information in a given course topic. In an example he provides, a small class of students are given three assigned readings, all of which teach student must read before class, and are randomly assigned to a reading group and a discussion group. In each reading group, the students discuss one of the three articles thoroughly, comparing their own conclusions and understandings of the article. They become experts in that one article, knowing that the other group members will ask questions about that article they will be responsible for answering. Next, they discuss what they did not fully understand about the other two articles and form a list of questions for the other groups. The students then move to discussion groups, in which article "experts" are represented equally, and ask and answer questions and engage in conversations about the articles. Students then reconvene in their original reading groups to compare the answers they received from other groups and share how they answered questions about their group's article. Finally, the professor regroups the entire class to have a class discussion debriefing what they learned about all the articles.

This method is rich with opportunities for active critical thinking and deep levels of processing that will allow students not only to pay attention, but also to engage with the course material in ways they would not remotely approach in a traditional lecture.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reforming Physics Education: What’s the story?

2015-2016 UNF Physics Colloquium Series presents:

Reforming Physics Education: What’s the story?
Dr. H. Vincent Kuo
Teaching Professor of Physics, Colorado School of Mines
Friday, April 8, 2016
2:00-2:50 p.m. 
Science & Engineering Building, Building 50, Room 1202
Refreshments will be provided

 Much has been argued in recent years for the benefits of experiential learning environments, but how are such contexts operationalized? What are the elements that can characterize such reforms? In this talk I will discuss the differences between teaching and learning environments, present some examples of what the physics education and research communities had contributed in this arena, and describe the adaptation that Colorado School of Mines had implemented, as well as identify some of the unintended consequences of our implementation.
All those interested in teaching within the STEM disciplines or those interested in teaching innovations in general are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Altitudes - Reaching to New Heights

Over 15 years ago, the Office of Faculty Enhancement was founded at UNF by efforts of the Faculty Enhancement Committee of the Faculty Association, and the efforts of the Founding Director, Dr. David Jaffee. We recently discovered the original newsletter from the founding of OFE. The thoughts of the Director at that time seem to ring true today.

"While the OFE mission statement points to the central objectives and activities, there is an underlying premise that drives the work of this office – that academic faculty do not stop 'developing' after they gain employment in the academy. Like other professionals, faculty members continue to learn, and experience intellectual and professional growth, throughout their academic career. The purpose of the Office of Faculty Enhancement is to provide the resources and support and an environment that advances all forms of continuous professional development in the various faculty roles of educator, learner, scholar, and researcher."
 - from Altitude, an OFE Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2000, by David Jaffee, Founding Director

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Alternatives To Traditional Final Exams Encourage Student Engagement, Learning

When students leave college classrooms at the end of the semester, what are they really taking away with them? Too often, courses culminate in a student turning in a traditional multiple-choice final exam, quietly muttering "Thank you" to the professor, and walking out of the lecture hall having learned little of substance that will stay with them for more than a couple months. The suggestion to exchange final exams for semester 'finales' may seem far-fetched, but the idea might have practical value.

The most common reason students walk out of a course without having learned meaningfully is that they never made course material relevant to themselves. Past research indicates that students experience greater levels of motivation to learn when their teachers make content personally relevant to the students. Personalizing knowledge by putting it into one's own context is all that it takes for students to understand more deeply, rather than just hearing information, memorizing it, and regurgitating it without having ever really thought about it.

There are plenty of examples as to what a semester "finale" might look like. In general, they all focus on giving students an ultimate experience they can use to make course material personal and practical for them- something they can take with them into their future. The idea is to get students thinking,especially on the last day, so they can leave the course still mulling over what they've learned and how it can continue to apply to their intellectual life. Presenting students with just one particularly novel, perplexing question, for example, and asking them to solve it within a confined time is one way to change the final assessment paradigm. Perhaps instead of a final exam, the last day of the course could be a rubric-outlined debate or a collaborative assignment.

The point is, there is a serious lack of genuineness and creativity in the way most professors assess their students at the end of their courses. Final exams as they stand now often make the end of the semester feel more like a chore than a crescendo of an academic experience. By adding a little novelty, a little intrigue, and a little excitement, professors can create an end of the semester assessment that students will be talking about, and thinking about, long after the course is finished.

How do you add creativity and engagement in your final exams?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Promotion and Tenure Panel Discussion

Promotion & Tenure Panel
Thursday, March 31, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

The Office of Faculty Enhancement invites faculty to the annual Promotion and Tenure Panel discussion. Please join faculty from across the campus for the annual Promotion and Tenure Panel discussion. Dr. Earle Traynham, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, along with representatives of the University and faculty from across the campus will discuss the criteria for the awarding of promotion and tenure and will address the many factors that are involved in successfully navigating the tenure and promotion process. Assistant, Associate, and new faculty members are especially encouraged to attend.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

2016 Presidential Professor Lecture

Please join us Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 for the Presidential Professor Lecture presented by Dr. Andrew Buchwalter
Lecture - 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Reception - 7:15 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Student Union Ballroom, Room 3703

Are all humans afforded universal human rights, and on what basis are these rights realized? Presidential Professor, Dr. Andrew Buchwalter will address this question and present a novel intercultural approach to the question of why some human rights are universal. In his presentation, he will contrast the intercultural approach with previous approaches, which emphasize human nature and political state rights. The intercultural approach argues universal human rights from intercultural interactions and histories of the world’s peoples. Come and enjoy the presentation and discussion about the validity of universal human rights. A reception will follow the lecture.

There will be a Student Panel hosted by the Interfaith Center at 5:00 p.m. in the Lufrano Intercultural Gallery.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Use Technology To Help Curate Your Tenure Portfolio

Tenure-track faculty are asked to keep track of their most important contributions from the very moment they are hired. That body of work, sometime in the future, will be used to determine their worthiness for receiving tenure, and must be managed diligently in the meantime. Over what can be a very long period, one of the biggest challenges of creating an excellent portfolio to showcase one's entire career up to that point is simply keeping track of everything. That's where technology can be a game-changer.

Robert Talbert, a mathematics professor at Grand Valley State University and contributing writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education blog, says that technology can help faculty preparing for tenure selection work smarter, not harder. Instead of relying wholly on traditional storage and hoping that, on submission day, everything is in the binder that's been accumulating important files for years, he suggests using some technological assistance to keep disciplined and organized. At the core of his advice is that you can use technology to implement a system you trust that can easily be categorized and searched that you are able to easily organize and settle on a weekly basis. This allows you to make sure you are staying ahead of the constant influx of materials you must track, such that you can rest easy knowing each item that came across your desk or screen is safely vaulted where you can access it easily at a later time if necessary. Talbert recommends using converting all paper documents into electronic formats using a scanner, then keeping track of them using a free storage and organization service like Evernote, Dropbox, a combination of both, or some other means. Talbert goes into pretty specific detail about how he recommends using Evernote and Dropbox to prepare a portfolio. But the basic takeaway is this: if you're preparing for tenure selection, get organized with technology or be risk being overwhelmed when your time comes.

UNF will be hosting two two vendor demonstrations for electronic tenure and promotion portfolios on Friday, March 11th: Interfolio’s By Committee (12:00-1:30pm) and Data180’s Faculty180 (2:00-3:30pm). Both demonstrations will be held in Building 51, room 1205. Faculty are encouraged to come out, ask questions, and provide feedback on these digital systems for managing the promotion and tenure documents and process.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Math Motivation Moderates the Effect of Math Anxiety on Math Performance

Mathematics is perhaps the most-feared school subject across education, from students in elementary schools to universities. There is a wealth of research providing evidence that math performance and math learning have negative relationships with math anxiety. Unfortunately, the more anxious one becomes about their math performance, the worse they will be at learning and performing math skills.

Math anxiety contributes to a performance gap in STEM fields for minority students and women, who report more anxiety in math-related fields than their White male counterparts. But is it really as simple as, "If math makes you nervous, you won't be as good at it"? Recent research indicates that that's not the whole story.

A 2015 study, researchers, brings some new evidence to the discussion. The authors underscore that, yes, past research has shown that math anxiety diminishes math cognition, stunting both math performance and learning. However, anxiety tends to have a curvilinear relationship with complex cognitive tasks in general, such that more anxiety correlates with increased performance, but after a certain point, increased anxiety begins to correlate with decreased performance. When this relationship is graphed it is shaped like an upside-down U (similar to a parabola, as a matter of fact).

What researchers found was that math anxiety and math performance had a curvilinear (inverse-U) relationship, but only when the students had a high intrinsic math motivation. Those with low math motivation showed the typical negative linear relationship between math anxiety and performance, that is, as anxiety increased, performance decreased. The moderating effect of motivation on the relationship between math anxiety and performance was found for both children and adult college students.

This research demonstrates that there is a a complex interaction of emotional and cognitive factors that impact learning and performance. For math, it seems, anxiety can be harnessed as a useful learning tool for those with high intrinsic motivation. Those with low intrinsic motivation around math are best to avoid panic.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Using Rubrics Adds Depth to Analytical Learning

In recent years, higher education has moved in a utilitarian direction, refocusing on the purported purpose of post-secondary education- preparing its students to live and work after graduation.

Many faculty have begun to show a preference of active learning, a strategy that fosters critical and analytical thinking about material and its application. Recently, support has risen for utilizing rubrics as a way to support effective teaching. Rubrics, scholars suggest, have many uses in university classrooms to stimulate active learning by increasing the quality and quantity of student performance.

Rubrics bring clarity and order to assignments that are more subjective and require more abstract thought than multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank style questions. However, the benefits of using rubrics can go much further than that. Rubrics help to ensure quality by providing criteria for what different levels of manipulation and understanding of material are worth in terms of grading. Best of all, because students have a means to assess their work as they are completing it, they engage in the critical thinking required for self-evaluation.

Rubrics can be used in creative ways to boost energy in the classroom and enable students to view material from novel standpoints. For instance, a rubric might be used as a means for students to think like their professor if they are asked to write a rubric for their own assignment or use a rubric to grade their own work or those of their peers. When students create rubrics or grade using a rubric, they are applying course knowledge in a more complex and applied way than a typical assignment may require. Classroom practices that include rubrics hold great potential in stimulating deeper levels of thought and engagement with material by forcing students to think analytically and critically.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Survey Finds Support and Concern for Contingent Faculty Wanting

Results of a recent survey from the New Faculty Majority, a national coalition for adjunct and contingent faculty equity, provides evidence that working conditions do not provide adequate resources or support for non-tenured faculty on higher-education campuses. The survey polled 400 contingent faculty members across 33 states in 2015, building on the results of the same survey administered in 2011. The results, which have changed little since 4 years ago, show some startling realities for contingent faculty members to which tenured faculty members simply are not exposed.

The conclusion here is that most post-secondary institutions do not prioritize contingent faculty when considering whom of their employees need to be supported seriously or compensated fairly for their work.

Some of the most jarring results are related to the livelihoods of contingent faculty, Despite the fact that forty-five percent of contingent faculty receive less than $20,000 per year from their teaching, seventy-three percent derive most of their income from their teaching positions and two-thirds of them have actively sought or are seeking tenure-track positions.

Other than the difficulties of supporting themselves, contingent faculty also face difficulties in securing the infrastructure and support they need to teach effectively. More than half of contingent faculty reported never being provided access to an office phone at at least one appointment, twenty four percent reported having no computer access at all at at least one appointment, and twenty-eight percent reported never being provided with office space at at least one appointment.

Contingent professors also suffer from a lack of guidance and attention from their university or department administrations. A full 70% of contingent faculty reported that they had never received any departmental or institutional orientation when they first began a new teaching appointment. More than half of contingent faculty have had to prepare to teach courses with less than three weeks' notice, and 23% percent have had to prepare to teach courses for which they never received curriculum guidelines.

All of this forces the question: Do institutions of higher education realize how much of the teaching load contingent faculty bear, and how do they support contingent faculty in lifting such a load?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gateway Course Conference in Atlanta - Call for Applications

The Office of Faculty Enhancement invites faculty who teach, coordinate and/or develop curriculum for high enrollment courses and/or high risk gateway courses to attend an upcoming conference on gateway courses in Atlanta, GA.

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education will be hosting a conference on Improving Institutional and Student Performance in Gateway Courses. The conference will be held on April 3rd-5th, 2016, at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead, Atlanta, GA.

Gateway (high enrollment, high risk) courses provide unique challenges for students who may be unprepared for the rigor of the course or who may have difficulty progressing in their curriculum plan if they do not succeed. Helping students succeed in these gateway courses improves student retention and graduation.

The Office of Faculty Enhancement will support the travel and collaboration of 3-5 UNF faculty members to attend the conference and present what they have learned to the UNF faculty community. Faculty interested in attending and being a part of the UNF innovation team, contact Dan Richard at with a brief statement of your interest in the conference and in gateway courses. Preference for funding will be given to faculty who teach gateway courses. 
Faculty interested in OFE providing travel support (funding) will need to contact with your interest by February 29th. 

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FLIP Learning Community Spring 2016 Meetings

FLIP – Flipping Learning Innovation Panel

A flipped classroom is one in which lectures are delivered online and face-to-face time is devoted to student projects and homework.

If you are interested in learning more or if you have experimented with various forms of class flipping, this faculty learning community (FLC) is for you. Come and share your ideas and hear from others who are working on flipping their classrooms.

We will be continuing our monthly meetings this semester, Spring 2016.
The dates of the upcoming meetings are:
Friday, February 12, 9:30 a.m. 
Friday, March 11, 9:30 a.m. 
Friday, April 8, 9:30 a.m. 

We will meet in the Office of Faculty Enhancement (Building 16, Room 3108) conference room. Here is a map:

On Friday, Feb 12th, Georgette Dumont, Assistant Professor in Political Science & Public Administration, will present on capturing short video segments for flipping the classroom. Come and join the conversation.

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UNF SoTL Symposium - Call for Proposals

SoTL Symposium - Call for Proposals 
The Office of Faculty Enhancement is pleased to announce its 
3rd Annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Symposium.

The Symposium will be held on Monday, April 11th, 2016, in the Student Union. The SoTL Symposium will be held in conjunction with the 2016 Research Week (April 11th-15th), highlighting faculty and student research and scholarship at UNF.

Call for Proposals:
The Office of Faculty Enhancement invites proposals for the 3rd Annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Symposium that fit the theme of “Transformational Learning.”

The deadline for submitting 250 word summaries is March 15th, 2016.

Transformational learning helps students adopt new perspectives, develop complex representations of the world, and find new ways of interacting with others who are different than them. Transformational learning practices may take students to places they had never been before, to see things they had never seen, and to imagine concepts they had never considered. The outcomes of such experiences are integrated connections across disciplinary boundaries, the ability to use complex frameworks, and self-knowledge that supports professional and personal growth. The SoTL Symposium will highlight transformational learning at UNF and invites all faculty who have used these strategies to submit a proposal to present at the symposium. The University of North Florida through the Undergraduate Dean's office has supported Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) grants for the past 10 years. Grantees are especially invited to submit a proposal, but receiving a TLO grant is not a requirement to present. Presentations can focus on any area of transformational learning including study abroad, undergraduate research, community-based learning, field experiences, co-op experiences, learning communities, leadership experiences, and others.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is the systematic investigation of questions related to teaching and student learning characterized by clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, outstanding results, effective communication, and a reflective critique.

In sum, SoTL is about bringing a scholarly approach to teaching practice and student learning.

The deadline for submitting 250 word summaries is March 15
th, 2016.

More on SoTL:
Hutchings, P., & Shulman, L. S. (1999). The scholarship of teaching: New elaborations, new developments. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning,31(5), 10-15. 
Glassick, C. E., & Huber, M. T., (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. SF: Jossey-Bass.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Call for Applications - Course Redesign Summer Institute

Call For Applications:
Course Redesign for Effective Learning (CREL)
The Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE) invites full-time UNF faculty to participate in a summer course redesign institute. The purpose of this institute is to provide faculty with the time, resources, information, and collaborative support needed to revise and redesign a selected Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 course (or design a new course) in ways that will maximize student learning.

Deadline for Applications: Tuesday, March 15th, 2016  
Interested faculty should complete the online application at:
OFE invites all full-time UNF faculty who are interested in enhancing student learning apply for the CREL program. Such proposals could include student projects, research activities as part of a course, community-based learning, or other forms of engaged learning.
The UNF faculty selected to participate in the CREL and who produce a redesigned product will receive a $1000 stipend.
The dates for the 2016 CREL workshops are Tuesday, June 21st, Thursday, June 23rd, and Tuesday, June 28th.

The Review Process
The proposals will be reviewed by the OFE Director in consultation with the Faculty Association’s Faculty Enhancement Committee.

Applications will be reviewed according to the following criteria:
·                The proposed change represents a significant change to the structure, organization, or activities associated with the course.
·                The proposed change is reasonable given the time constraints.
·                The proposed change is likely to affect student learning positively.

Faculty members who have been awarded summer research and teaching grants are eligible to participate in CREL.  For those who have received a summer teaching grant, the CREL project proposal should involve a different course than that on which the summer teaching grant is based.  Preference will be given to first-time participants in OFE’s course redesign workshops. Applications from a variety of perspectives and methods are encouraged. Selection of proposals will ensure a broad participation across disciplines on campus.

Preparing the CREL Proposal Application

Interested faculty should complete the online application at:  

The deadline for applications is March 15th.​

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Education School Promotes Teacher Competency, But Questions Remain

The American public school system has long struggled to recruit and retain high-performing teachers, particularly in schools in lower income areas where there are less resources to go around yet more obstacles to learning to overcome. Another issue that needs improvement is that there there are not enough "high-performing" school teachers to begin with.

Critics believe that this is due to the lack of competency-based graduate level teacher education schools. As more and more teachers have some type of specialized graduate degree in education, with about 185,000 Master's in Education degrees awarded in 2010, issues with graduate education degrees have become more apparent. One planned school, created by outspoken teacher-education critic Arthur Levine, seeks to focus on critical competencies achieved rather than the amount of time spent in class learning how to teach.

The principal of establishing competency for educators may hold just as much value for those who teach in higher education as it does for those who teach in primary and secondary settings. Many faculty members at universities are in teaching positions because they are experts in their fields, but they are rarely required to demonstrate teaching competencies or educational standards. One group, , has proposed a competency-based system or teachers in higher education, including badges for mastering learning environments, assessment techniques, ethics, and leadership.
Digital Promise

Several problems with the school's proposed approach have yet to be reckoned with. First, the criteria for these competencies is nebulous, with no goals or practices specifically enumerated by the new school. Which competencies are critical, and what they are composed of, must be clearly delineated for both secondary and post-secondary educators.

Second, what is the best way to measure how good or competent a teacher is? Surely it has something to do with a unique ability to bring out the best in their students and to enable them to learn what they will need to succeed. However, although there are outcomes that reflect effective teaching, there is no set of accurate or quantifiable measurements to determine what effective or competent teaching is or how it is achieved. These issues are just as relevant for school-teachers as they are for higher education faculty.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the proposed school is an entirely online curriculum. This format gives freedom to future teachers to work at their own pace to achieve the competencies and skills deemed necessary to graduate, but it seems unlikely that an online learning curriculum with no social interaction between teachers and no experiences with students will prepare graduates for an extremely person-focused profession. Results remain to be seen.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is there a Secret Sauce for Promotion and Tenure?

Is there a Secret Sauce for Promotion and Tenure?
Panel Facilitator: Judy Rodriguez, Chair/Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 12:00 noon

President's Conference Room, Building 1, Room 2800
RSVP to 

Noodles and Networking: A Minority Faculty Learning Community is a pilot faculty community building initiative for tenure-earning underrepresented and ethnic minority faculty led by tenured minority faculty. The goal of this initiative is to create a network that supports the smooth transition of minority faculty at UNF and serve as an outlet for social, professional and community interactions. The President’s Office and Academic Affairs’ Office of Faculty Enhancement are sponsoring this initiative.

At this Noodles and Networking event, Dr. Judy Rodriguez, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics will lead a panel discussion with Drs. Radha Pyati, Carolyn Ali-Khan, Claudia Sealey-Potts about the promotion and tenure process. Panelists will provide tips of navigating the process successfully and will address whether there is a "secret sauce" for promotion and tenure.
Come and join the conversation.


Is there a Secret Sauce for Promotion and Tenure?
Panel Facilitator: Judy Rodriguez, Chair/Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 12:00 noon

President's Conference Room, Building 1, Room 2800

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Monday, January 25, 2016

IUPUI Hosts Connecting Campuses with Communities Institute

Please see the announcement below for faculty interested in connecting their teaching and research to the community. Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) will host institutes to support faculty in preparing community-based and service-learning teaching and research initiatives. 

Registration for the 2016 CONNECTING CAMPUSES WITH COMMUNITIES conference is now open.
obert Bringle, founding Executive Director of the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning will be a facilitator at the 2016 Research Academy. 
Please see below for details of the event. Registration is open until May 1, 2016.
When: May 9-13, 2016
Where: IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN 

Registration Deadline: May 1, 2016   

Service Learning Institute - Mon. May 9 - Wed. May 11, 2016
Institute Objectives:
* To increase the number of high quality service learning courses
* To share promising practices and generate new ideas
* To enhance reflection, assessment, and partnerships in service learning classes
* To build a network of service learning practitioners  

Intended Audience: Community engaged scholars or practitioners who implement or support service learning curriculum design.
Research Academy - Wed. May 11 - Fri. May 13, 2016
Academy Objectives:
* To strengthen research on service learning and community engagement
* To advance the scholarship of teaching and learning
* To provide consultation and feedback on research ideas
* To build a network of service learning scholars

Intended Audience: Community engaged scholars or practitioners who undertake research or support research on service learning.   

Rates:  $300 per event; $550 for both events - Faculty/Staff  
    $200 per event; $350 for both events - Graduate Student 
    Group discount
- Institutions with 3 or more registrants receive $50 discount per person. 

3 Strategies for Making The Most of the Few Minutes Before Class Starts

Most professors arrive to class early, perhaps around five minutes before they will need to begin teaching. Typically, professors will use this time to collect thoughts, prepare technology, or organize slides and notes. Faculty who are newest to teaching may especially use this time to prepare themselves for lecturing, which can initially be intimidating. But once the jitters have gone and the course material has become second-nature, how can professors use that few minutes before class begins to maximize student learning? In a recent article, James Lang provides some suggestions on how best to use that time.

Get to know your students. In the book, How College Workssociology researchers conclude that relationships formed in college are the most important and influential part of the undergraduate experience. This includes relationships formed with professors, which are key to motivating students and increasing their learning and performance. Learning is easier when students can relate to their professors and know that professors care about their academic success. Using the first minutes of class to simply ask one or two students how they are, what their major is, or what they enjoy outside of class is an effective way to open the door to a mentoring relationship or at least increase their trust and participation.

Provide context. Use the extra pre-class minutes to help students understand the greater framework for the course or its attached field of study by writing an agenda or schedule for the day's material. This gives students an awareness of how course information fits in the day's lecture, the overall subject, and the course's sub-groupings and allows them to make connections between specific facts and ideas. This leads students to a more practical understanding of course knowledge rather than strings of facts to passively memorize and regurgitate.

Engage the class. Giving your students a reason to focus up and learn is a great way to use the minutes before class when students are still trickling in and getting settled. Displaying a picture, quote, or idea that relates to the course in an especially interesting way fosters interest and enthusiasm. Other engaging ways to warm up your students include sharing a funny image, story, or jokes. Personally, I ask students to request a song the class to be played in the following class, pick my favorite request, and play it in the 3-5 minutes as students are coming in. Such efforts not only help to enliven the class by bringing them some entertainment and break the ice, but also help to humanize their professor.

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