Faculty Development Digest, September 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

Mindfulness Minute

Inspired by the spring 2023 book group focused on Oren Jay Sofer’s book Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, here is one example of a way to create short pauses amidst your busy day:

Right now, as you are reading this newsletter, be aware of the sensations of your body sitting (or walking, or standing). Bring your attention to points of contact between your body and the chair and your feet and the ground. Keep returning your attention to those points of contact. Were you aware of those sensations a few moments ago before beginning this exercise? How does it feel to become aware of your direct, present-moment experience?

Fall Educator Resource Institute

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Fall 2023 Educator Resource Institute on Monday, August 21. Materials from all of the sessions are now linked to the schedule.

Whether or not you attended the ERI, we invite you to complete the ERI survey. As part of this initial survey, ERI participants will have the opportunity to opt into a follow-up survey that will be distributed later this year to collect information about the kinds of changes participants made as a result of the ERI.

Save the Date. The Spring Educator Resource Institute will take place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Click here to save the date on your calendar.

Gator Day Faculty Events

Mark your calendars for these two Gator Day (Tuesday, October 24) events for faculty.

Using Assessment Instruments. (Tillotson Room, 9:00am-10:00am) A hands-on workshop that guides faculty through the process of implementing assessment instruments such as the DR rubrics (in courses that carry an ME or CL tag) and those identified in program assessment plans.

Caffeine and Cupcakes. (Tippie Alumni Center, 10:00am-11:00am) The Office of the Provost invites you to stop by to connect with colleagues, eat some cupcakes, and pick up some Allegheny goodies.

In the Library

Each month we will highlight a resource in Pelletier.

Teaching at Its Best : A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors: released in 2023, this is the updated fifth edition of this well-known book, which provides multiple evidence-based strategies for faculty. Here’s an example from Chapter 9 (Enhancing Student Motivation):

Explain to your class why you have chosen the teaching methods, readings, assignments, in-­class activities, policies, and assessment strategies that you are using. Students don’t assume that everything you do is for their own good.

Canvas Information

Canvas Workshops. Recordings from the August 17 Canvas Essentials workshop and Canvas Q&A session are now available via the Canvas Workshop Materials document, which is linked to the Canvas Tips page.

Canvas and RSEs. Please remember that all courses that are eligible for end-of-semester Reports of Student Experience (RSEs) must have published Canvas sites because the RSEs are administered via Canvas. This doesn’t mean that entire courses need to be managed through Canvas, but every Canvas course does need to be published with at least some minimal amount of content. You can find instructions on how to create a minimal Canvas course in this document.

Fundraising and You

Are you interested in learning more about how fundraising at Allegheny works? This could include: how to identify and engage with potential donors; how to effectively communicate possible donor opportunities; how Institutional Advancement can help departments and programs connect with donors; the role of faculty in donor stewardship; or understanding fundraising responsibilities for faculty who move into administrative roles. Interested faculty are invited to complete this form, briefly indicating the kinds of topics they would like to learn more about. Responses will be collected by Director of Faculty Development Rachel Weir and shared with Institutional Advancement in order to plan possible training opportunities.

Useful Subscriptions

  • Allegheny is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD), a nationally-recognized, independent organization that provides online career development and mentoring resources for faculty at all stages of their career. To take advantage of resources such as the Monday Motivator emails, 14 day Writing Challenges, and a range of webinars, set up your free account by following the steps detailed in this post.
  • Looking for news, advice, and analysis that is relevant to higher education community? Use your Allegheny email to create free accounts with platforms such as Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education and then subscribe to email newsletters that connect to your interests. Department chairs, check out the Ask the Chair posts that address readers’ questions related to departmental leadership.

Do you have other suggestions that would be of general interest to faculty? Email them to Director of Faculty Development Rachel Weir for use in future issues of the digest.

AI and Teaching

AI Assignment Collection The WAC Repository, a publication of the WAC Clearinghouse and the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum, recently released TextGenEd: Teaching with Text Generation Technologies, a digital collection of 34 undergraduate-level assignments to support students’ AI literacy, rhetorical and ethical engagements, creative exploration, and professional writing, along with an Introduction to guide instructors’ understanding and their selection of what to emphasize in their courses.


Upcoming Events

  • Oct 24 (Gator Day) – Using Assessment Instruments, 9:00am-10:00am, Tillotson Room
  • Oct 24 (Gator Day) – Caffeine and Cupcakes, 10:00am-11:00am, Tippie Alumni Center
  • May 14, 2024 – Spring Educator Resource Institute (save the date)

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

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

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 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.