Faculty Development Digest, August 2023

The Faculty Development Digest highlights events and resources that may be of interest to faculty and other educators on campus. The Digest will be posted on the Faculty Resources site periodically throughout the year. If you have an item that you would like to suggest for inclusion in a future issue, please send the details to Director of Faculty Development Rachel Weir at rweir@allegheny.edu.

Fall Educator Resource Institute

Allegheny faculty, staff, and administrators are invited to participate in the Fall 2023 Educator Resource Institute on Monday, August 21, with sessions running from 9:00am to 3:00pm. A full schedule has been posted on the Faculty Resources site; please check this schedule for updates and room details.

For planning purposes, participants are asked to select the workshops that they will be attending by 3pm Friday, August 18, using this form. You will receive a calendar invite for each session that you select, as a reminder of your responses.

Setting Up Your Courses

Check out the Preparing for a New Semester page for reminders and tips for the new academic year. In particular:

  • Take a look at the Syllabus Checklist page as a reminder of the required and recommended syllabus content. This page summarizes the information found in Section 9.1 of the Faculty Handbook.
  • If you are teaching a course that has an ME or CL tag, please make sure you are able to identify at least one assignment that will assess that learning outcome. Faculty teaching courses with other DR tags should still consider how specific assignments could be used to assess those learning outcomes, as we anticipate expanding this requirement to additional tags in future semesters.

Reports of Student Experience (RSEs) The fall RSE survey will be open during the week of December 4, so please make sure that you set aside time for students to complete the survey during class that week. This survey is administered via the RSEs link that appears in the navigation menu in each of your Canvas courses. For this reason, all courses that are eligible for RSEs must have published Canvas sites, preferably by the Add/Drop deadline so that reminders don’t need to be sent out to instructors. This doesn’t mean that entire courses need to be managed through Canvas. You can find instructions on how to create a minimal Canvas course in this document.

You may also want to make time to administer a midterm course reflection, followed by a post-semester course reflection.

Canvas Information

Canvas Workshops.On Thursday, August 17 at 10am, Instructure trainer Cory Chitwood will facilitate a virtual, 90-minute Canvas Essentials workshop, aimed at new Canvas users or anyone who would appreciate a refresher on the basics of Canvas. Sign up via this form.

Cory will also run a virtual, 90-minute Q&A session at 1pm on August 17. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions during the session and Cory will aim to address as many as possible during the allotted time. Sign up here.

Also on August 17, at 2:30pm Instructure will be hosting a 30-minute virtual session on creating and using rubrics and duplicating assessment and content for effective and efficient content building. Click here for more information, including the Zoom link.

Course Mergers. Library Services, working with the Office of the Registrar, has developed a streamlined process for merging course sections in Canvas. Faculty who are teaching more than one section of a course may wish to request that the sections be merged into a single Canvas course. To request a merger, please use the Request a Canvas Course Merger button on the Library Resources for Faculty page, and submit the form provided. Requests will be processed by Library Services after approval by the Registrar.

Please allow time for processing. It is imperative that course merger requests be submitted before classes begin. Course mergers cannot be completed after students have submitted assignments or participated in discussions in the course. Please note that this process supersedes the former methods of emailing LITS or opening a WebHelp ticket.

Canvas Support. The Canvas Tips page contains information about Canvas resources and support, course set-up reminders, troubleshooting suggestions, and a link to materials from previous Canvas workshops. Two quick reminders:
– If you’ve copied content from a previous course, watch out for issues with invalid links or unpublished images (the dreaded padlock!). You can identify these quickly using the Course Link Validator. See this article for more information.
– If you can’t find one of your courses in Canvas, click on the Courses icon and then select All Courses. Click the star next to any course to add it to your Courses menu and your Dashboard. See more information here.

AI and Teaching

AI and the Honor Code The Honor Committee is actively discussing the potential impact of generative AI (genAI) on academic integrity. The Committee already interprets Article II regarding “unauthorized assistance” based on what an instructor does or does not define as authorized. So, instructors who wish to restrict the use of genAI in their courses have the support of the Honor Code in doing so because the act of authorizing or forbidding particular types of assistance resides with the instructor. As with any other allegation, no outcome can be promised in any individual case, and it remains incumbent upon the instructor to make the case for a violation of the Honor Code consistent with their own course policies. This is no different from any other case an instructor might bring. — Ian Binnington, Dean for the Student Experience.

As the above statement indicates, faculty have the freedom to select genAI policies for their own courses. Whatever approach you choose to take, please communicate it clearly to students. To assist with this process, here are some lists and guides compiled by educational developers over the summer:

Additionally, here are three of the many articles written about AI over on the last few months:

Professional Opportunity

Have you ever wanted to know how to become a reviewer for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)? Join the NSF for their webinar “Becoming a Reviewer for the NSF GRFP” on August 15th, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET; register here. This webinar is for those who have not reviewed for the NSF GRFP and will provide an overview of the review process and offer you the opportunity to ask questions. Serving as a reviewer offers a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights into the review process, equipping you with the knowledge to better support your students in their application process; see more information here.

Fall 2023 Opportunities

Fall Teaching Circle

A teaching circle is a group of up to a dozen faculty members who meet on a regular basis throughout the semester to share issues, ideas, and advice connected to their teaching in a confidential and supportive setting. Our fall teaching circle will be facilitated by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Doug Luman. Watch for a My Allegheny announcement for information about dates and times, plus a sign-up form. Please contact Director of Faculty Development Rachel Weir with any questions.

Writing Accountability Group.

Are you an untenured faculty member (tenure-track, NTTR, visiting, adjunct, etc)? Do you have scholarly writing projects you need to complete and just have a hard time finding the time? Do you like to have camaraderie while you work? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please join us for the Writing Accountability Group (WAG)! Starting September 16th, we will be meeting one Saturday a month to write (9:00-12:00), socialize during lunch (12:00-1:00), and write some more (1:00-4:00). Lunch is provided. If you are interested in joining us, please complete this form. Note that completing this form does not mean you are required to attend every meeting. If you have any other questions about WAGs, please email Chris Normile at cnormile@allegheny.edu. This group is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

Upcoming Events

  • Aug 16 – New Faculty Orientation, Day 1
  • Aug 17 – Canvas Essentials Workshop (sign up here)
  • Aug 17 – Canvas Q&A Session (sign up here)
  • Aug 18 – New Faculty Orientation, Day 2
  • Aug 21Fall Educator Resource Institute
  • Aug 22 – Exploratory Advisor Training 2, 11:15am-4:00pm
    The second in a series of two required workshops for instructors of LS 198 and LS 199.

See the Faculty Development Opportunities page for additional links to previous events.