Faculty Development Digest, March 2024

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.

Community Event

Educators in the Workplace. This year’s Educators in the Workplace event will be held on April 11 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Peters’ Heat Treating (11010 McHenry St, Meadville) and will include a tour, appetizers and adult beverages, and a discussion session. The purpose of Educators in the Workplace is to improve communication and collaboration between local businesses and educational institutions, including Allegheny. Past attendees have also found this event helpful in terms of communicating with Allegheny students about job opportunities in our local manufacturing industry. Register using this form.

Professional Development Opportunities

WTF: Way(s) to Fail. Are your students paralyzed by being wrong? Do they not take risks in the classroom for fear of getting a bad grade? The science of learning tells us that we learn best from our mistakes. How can we develop a culture of supportive failure for our students to enhance their learning? Sign up here for the GLCA Consortium for Teaching and Learning’s free virtual workshop, WTF: Way(s) to Fail, on embracing the pedagogy of failure in your classroom. This interactive workshop will be led by our colleagues Lydia Eckstein, Amelia Finaret and Lisa Whitenack on Wednesday, March 20, at 4:00pm. The goal of the workshop is to offer specific strategies for incorporating failure into teaching, course activities, and mentoring. To prepare for this engaging workshop, check out WTF: Way(s) To Fail! A Primer, based on the article Teaching the Inevitable: Embracing a Pedagogy of Failure.

Study Away Workshop. Study Away brings students into contact with new cultural frameworks that can challenge and shape their identities, and we as educators can help make this a productive growth experience for them. Join Allegheny’s Global Education Office as we welcome veteran Higher Education Leader, Dr. Shakeer Abdullah, to lead our faculty and staff community in a training seminar on Using Multicultural Competence to Support Diverse Students in Study Away Programs on Monday, May 13, 12:00pm-4:00pm. Dr. Abdullah will coach us on the knowledge, skills, and awareness we need to support our students and their identity development before, during, and after they study away. Read Dr. Abdullah’s full bio and watch a brief video introduction of the workshop for additional information.

Please RSVP by April 1. Space is available for 35 Allegheny educators to participate in the workshop on a first-come, first-served basis. Lunch will be provided at the start of the event, and light refreshments mid-afternoon. Support for this event was provided by the Great Lakes Colleges Association through its Global Crossroads Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Teaching Tools

Promoting Academic Integrity. As described in this post in the International Center for Academic Integrity’s Integrity Matters blog, four ways to promote academic integrity in our classes are:
1. Communicate your expectations and policies clearly (and repeatedly)
2. Foster a supportive learning environment in which students feel comfortable discussing challenges and seeking help
3. Use transparency in learning and teaching practices
4. Employ scaffolded, low stakes (or no stakes) assessments.
See the full blog post, linked above, for more details and additional references.

Financial Aid and Advising

As you meet with your advisees to discuss next year’s course schedules, please keep the following financial aid information in mind:

Federal student aid (direct loans, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or Veterans Administration benefits) cannot be used towards classes that do not count toward the graduation major, graduation minor, or distribution requirements, per federal regulations. This means the following in practice:

  • Each semester, a student needs to be enrolled in 12 credits that count towards their program of study (graduation major, graduation minor or distribution requirement) as defined by financial aid regulations to receive full-time aid.
  • Students who wish to explore the curriculum outside of their graduation major, graduation minor, and distribution, should enroll in a semester when they are already taking a minimum of 12 credits needed for their program of study.
  • For some students, it will likely be to their financial benefit to be part-time in their final semester. Part-time students are eligible to continue to live on campus, fully participate in campus life, and can often be eligible to participate in varsity athletics. They also will receive a prorated amount of their institutional aid.
  • When approaching the 128 credits, we need to be careful to ensure that each semester they have 12 credits that count towards their graduation major, graduation minor, or distribution.

Assessment Resources

Canvas Templates for Program Assessment. If you’re using Canvas rubrics for program assessment, take a look at these instructions, which describe how chairs (or assessment coordinators) can set up a single template Canvas assignment for a program. In short, one person creates a Canvas assignment that contains all of the rubric rows needed by a program in a given semester and shares it via Canvas Commons. Other faculty can then copy the assignment into their courses and delete the rows they don’t need, as described in these instructions, which can be copied and then tailored for a specific department by adjusting the highlighted parts. Contact Rachel Weir if you have any questions about this approach.

Friday SLO Talks. The California Outcomes Assessment Coordinators’ Hub (COACHes) will be hosting Friday SLO (Student Learning Outcomes) talks this spring. The first talk, Building Upon Foundations of Assessment: Why Assessment Matters Today, took place on March 1; you can view the recording here. The upcoming talks are:
– March 15: How Learning Works (Susan Ambrose)
– March 22: Project-Based Learning (Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa Api)
– April 12: Infusing Creative Thinking into Higher Education (Cyndi Burnett).
Register for an upcoming talk via this link using the dropdown menu in the form to select a particular talk. Previous talks can be seen on this YouTube playlist.

Teaching Conferences

PKAL Meeting. The 2024 Capital PKAL Regional Network Meeting will take place virtually on March 15 from 8:30am to 4:00pm with the theme Empower Students & Preserve Critical Thinking in the World of AI. PKAL (Project Kaleidoscope) is an AAC&U initiative focused on STEM higher education. More information is available on this page and interested faculty can register for $75 via this page. Please note that this registration fee can be reimbursed from Faculty Travel allowances.

What Works in 2024. The Center for Innovative Pedagogy at Kenyon College is currently accepting presentation proposals for the What Works in 2024 Conference, which will take place virtually during the week of May 29-31, 2024. The application deadline is March 15 and presenters will be notified of their acceptance status by March 29.

The Grading Conference. Interested in learning about alternative grading methods in higher education? Register here for the 2024 Grading Conference – Higher Ed Focus, which will take place online from June 13 to June 15. The registration fee of $50 can be reimbursed from your Faculty Travel allowance. The keynote speakers will be Susan Blum, Laila McCloud, and Jeff Schinske. If you’d like to submit an abstract for a presentation, workshop, or roundtable discussion, submissions are being accepted via this form until March 31 (the deadline was extended from March 15).

In the Library

Looking for a resource to guide your teaching? Each month we will highlight relevant materials from our collection in Pelletier.

Senior Project Archive. Once again, the library will be accepting senior projects for DSpace. This will be our 15th year! The easiest way to familiarize students is via the library’s Senior Project Submission page. There are a few minor changes to be aware of:
1. We have removed the option to submit print permission forms due to low use. Please direct students to the online permission form.
2. The submission process to DSpace has changed with the latest version of the software. A new slide deck is available on our website with step-by-step instructions for submitting projects.
If you encounter any issues, please contact Brian Kern at bkern@allegheny.edu.

Student Research Appointments. Please encourage students who would like assistance with papers, presentations, and other research projects to make an appointment with a librarian for one-on-one assistance. Librarians Doug Anderson and Tressa Snyder are available throughout the week to assist students with formulating a search strategy, focusing their research, identifying authoritative articles and books, finding and requesting items, tracking their research, using correct citation styles, and more. Students can make an appointment with a librarian at any time during the semester, although we do require 48 hours notice. When students book their appointment, we encourage them to provide information about their research project so the one-on-one session is most effective and beneficial. If you have any questions, feel free to email research.instruction@allegheny.edu or call Library Services in Pelletier at 814-332-4312.

GLCA Resource

LAS Advisors. The Liberal Arts and Sciences Collaborative is pleased to offer GLCA faculty the opportunity to receive free, one-hour virtual consultations with our team of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Advisors. Their advisors are available to serve as a guiding resource, offering their expertise to those keen on enhancing their LAS education delivery through administration, curriculum, and/or pedagogy. To be connected with an advisor, take a look at the LAS Advisors webpage to identify an advisor who aligns with your interests and needs and then click the Request a Consultation button to access the request form.

Spring Educator Resource Institute

Save the Dates. Thanks to the Maytum Center for Student Success and the William Beazell Memorial Fund, the Spring Educator Resource Institute (ERI) will kick off early this year with a presentation and reception on Monday, May 13, in advance of our traditional day of workshops and presentations on Tuesday, May 14.

Dr. Laurie Schreiner, a national expert on the second-year experience, will be giving a talk at 4:15pm on Monday, May 13th, with a reception to follow. Her presentation should be of interest to all faculty, staff, and administrators who mentor and advise students, with particular relevance to current Exploratory Advisors, who will be continuing to advise 2023-2024 students through much of their pivotal second year. A related workshop will take place on May 14 as part of the ERI. Please direct questions to Second Year Class Dean Amy Stearns.


Upcoming Events

  • May 13, 4:15pm – Presentation by Dr. Laurie Schreiner, national expert on the second-year experience
  • May 14 – Spring Educator Resource Institute (save the date)

Past Events and Materials

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