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.
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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
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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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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Leading Good Discussions & Dialogue

Leading Good Discussions & Dialogue
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Location: Online Learning Lab, 10/1102
Engaging dialogue can add opportunities for deep learning in the classroom and in an online formats. Leslie Kaplan will present a variety of ways to encourage vibrant dialogue and discussion within the classroom, and Rozy Parlette will address how to facilitate compelling dialogue with students online. Join us to share your ideas and tips about engaging students in meaningful dialogue.
Light snacks will be provided.
 RSVP to

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Friday, January 8, 2016

OFE Launches New Service: The Huddle

Sometimes it helps to put your head together with someone to discuss new ideas and solutions.

The Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE) announces a new service to support faculty in their teaching efforts. The OFE Huddle is an opportunity to connect with an OFE representative who can help you address issues in your teaching efforts as they arise. To access this service, simply schedule a time that is convenient to you through our online calendar and we will connect using an online video chat according to what works for your schedule. You now have quick and easy access to private consultation about your teaching.

So, what are you waiting for? OFE Huddle 

Get in the game. Plan to win. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

International Conference on College Teaching and Learning - Call for Proposals

Rob Bixby - click for link to photo
Photo: Rob Bixby 2014
Each year, scholars and educators gather to discuss and exchange ideas on the best practices related to college teaching and learning.
The International Conference on College Teaching and Learning (ICCTL) will host it's 27th annual conference in Jacksonville, FL on April 4th-7th, 2016.
For more information about the conference, visit their website at 

The Call for Proposals is open until February 1st, 2016.

From the ICCTL website:
The International Conference on College Teaching and Learning (ICCTL) is an engaging conference for higher education teachers, faculty and support staff that offers a variety of workshops, interactive sessions and presentations. The theme for the 27th Annual International Conference on College Teaching and Learning is “Building Bridges: Teaching Our Communities—Engaging the World.” In keeping with this theme, we welcome submissions that reflect engagement with students, faculty, and communities. This year’s conference tracks are: Engaging through Teaching and Learning, Connecting through Global and Civic Engagement, Using Technology to Engage and Connect and Promoting Engagement through Academic Leadership and Support.

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Conference on Gateway Courses: Call for Proposals

Please see the announcement below regarding a conference on student success in gateway (introductory and high failure-rate) courses. Success in such courses can be challenging for students who often arrive unprepared for the demanding nature of the courses. New strategies and technologies will be explored at this upcoming conference in Atlanta, GA.

Now is the time to submit a concurrent session proposal for the 2016 Annual JNGI Gateway Course Experience Conference. ***Deadline to submit is Jan. 11, 2016

The event takes place April 3 - 5, 2016 in Atlanta, GA.

Proposals should reflect the best thinking in the field of improving institutional and student performance in gateway courses - college credit-bearing and/or remedial courses that launch students into programs of study or majors. 

We invite proposals that address:
  • Improving teaching and learning in historically high failure rate courses
  • Creating and/or improving support for students in gateway courses
  • Curricular and/or pedagogical innovation in gateway courses
  • Using analytics and/or other technology to improve student success in gateway courses
  • Research and assessment on gateway course issues
Hundreds of institutional leaders, faculty, student success specialists, teaching and learning technology and institutional research professionals will join us at the event.

Featuredspeakers include, Dr. Daniel Greenstein, Director of Education, Postsecondary Success, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Elaine Seymour
Director Emerita and Research Associate, Ethnography & Evaluation Research; Research Fellow, Center for STEM Learning, University of Colorado at Boulder.

***With less than one week left, there is no time like the present to submit your proposal. Registration is also open. Register by Jan. 31 and save!

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Student Success Takes a Coordinated Effort

Each semester, the university admits new students. Oftentimes, students have misconceptions about their study habits and about how to succeed in college. Research indicates that Academic Support Services are particularly helpful for first-generation students, especially in their first year.

The Student Academic Center at Indiana University-Bloomington has prepared a number of videos designed to help students be better prepared to succeed in college courses and to help them navigate college in general. You might consider providing some links for students in your classes to help them succeed.

At UNF, the Academic Center or Excellence has a number o Skill Development Workshops that support students in learning good study habits and time management skills. You might refer your student to these services on the UNF campus.

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