Faculty Development Digest, November 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.

Mindfulness Minute

As you are reading this newsletter, briefly take a break to look around where you are. Can you find one beautiful thing? Focus your attention upon it, breathing deeply and allowing your body to settle as you just enjoy its presence. Anytime, you can return your attention to this object as a way of orienting yourself to beauty and pleasure. (And, if you can’t find anything at this moment, allow this to be a gentle nudge to place objects of beauty — plants, art, small stones, photographs — in places where you work, to allow you access to this orienting practice at any time.)

Teaching Feedback and Reflection

RSE Week. The Reports of Student Experience (RSEs) will be open to students next week (December 4-8). To encourage students to complete the RSE, please set aside time in class and share with your class how their feedback is useful to you as you reflect on and revise your courses.

RSE Access. Students will receive an email when the survey opens on Monday and they can access the survey from that email or from the RSEs link that should be in every Canvas course. If you’ve previously hidden the RSEs link, please make it visible by: 1) selecting Settings in the left-hand menu in Canvas; 2) in the Navigation tab, dragging RSEs from the bottom list into the top list; and 3) clicking Save at the bottom of the page.

Syllabus Annotation Activity. Looking for additional ways to collect feedback from your students? Bring copies of your syllabus to class on the the last day and ask your students to annotate them. Emily Farris, Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University suggests the following prompts for students: What did they like/dislike? What was impactful? What would they change? If they could add a week, what would they include or want more of? This activity can also be done electronically using the commenting function in Google docs or a platform such as Perusall. See this enthusiastic post from Matt Reed for his view on the benefits of this activity.

Bonus Tech Tip. For the above activity, you can create a copy of your Google doc for each student as follows:
– Share your document with “Anyone with the link” or “Public.”
– Copy the URL for your document and use it to create a link to your students. For example, you might provide the link within a Canvas assignment or on a Canvas page.
– Update the link, replacing the word “edit” in the URL and anything after it with the word “copy.”
When anyone clicks on the link, they will now be prompted to create a copy of the document that will automatically be saved in their Google drive.

Course Reflection Coffee Break. Faculty are invited to take a break from grading to reflect on and celebrate this semester’s teaching successes. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be available in CC 301/302 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm on Wednesday, December 20. Stop in to spend a little time talking with colleagues about teaching and giving yourself an opportunity to decompress. Bring a copy of each of your syllabi so that you can record notes about each course for next time – your future self will thank you!

Upcoming Events

Do Faculty of Color Really Matter for the Liberal Arts? The GLCA/GLAA Consortium for Teaching and Learning will be hosting this virtual presentation by Professor Irene López (Psychology, Kenyon College) and Associate Professor Simon Garcia (Chemistry, Kenyon College) on Tuesday, December 5, at 12pm. López and Garcia will present on their findings of barriers and issues faced by faculty of color in academia and, in particular, the importance of faculty of color for students, the curriculum, and the institution. They have also launched a website, the Faculty of Color Network, specifically designed to support faculty members of color and will showcase this initiative during the presentation. Register here to attend this event; registered attendees will receive a link to attend via email the day before the event. The first part of the session will be recorded.

Spring Book Group

How can we foster a sense of belonging for our students and for ourselves? The spring 2024 faculty/staff book group, facilitated by Rachel Weir, will focus on Geoffrey Cohen’s book Belonging: The Science of Creating Connections and Bridging Divides, which describes how “small actions to boost belonging have the potential to restore a sense of community in times of isolation and division” and that a sense of belonging “even boosts individual and communal health.” Meetings will take place on Wednesdays (January 24, February 7, February 21, March 13, March 27, April 10, and April 24) from 12:30pm to 1:20pm, with lunch provided, and all participants will receive a copy of the book. Please contact Rachel Weir with any questions. Interested educators can sign up by completing this form. The form also provides space for you to register your interest if you can’t meet at this time; if there’s enough interest, another group may be formed. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

In the Library

Each month we will highlight a resource in Pelletier.

Grading for Growth: A Guide to Alternative Grading Practices That Promote Authentic Learning and Student Engagement in Higher Education: published in 2023, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to nontraditional grading techniques. Authors David Clark and Robert Talbert describe motivations for using alternative grading approaches, together with multiple case studies from a variety of disciplines. For additional case studies and resources, check out Clark and Talbert’s companion blog Grading for Growth.

In addition to the ebook linked above, a paper copy of the book is available in the Faculty Development section in Pelletier, which is located on the main floor near the Allegheny Authors section (look for the bright green walls).

URSCA Updates

Summer Research and Scholarship. Information about 2024 summer research opportunities is now available on the Summer Research Program website. Interested students can apply for up to 8 weeks of funding to participate in research, scholarship, and creative activities on campus and in the Meadville community during Summer 2024. To apply, students should submit a completed proposal (available here as a Word document) and submit it via the link on the website by Friday, March 29, 2024; the link will be live early in the spring semester.

Faculty Stipends. Faculty who mentor students participating in the Student-Faculty Research Program through the Office of URSCA will receive a stipend of $100/week (for up to 8-weeks of support) for their mentorship. The $100/week stipend is not paid per student (i.e., faculty mentoring 2 students will only be eligible for $100/week) and this stipend is available only to faculty whose students participate in this specific program.

Contact Matt Venesky (mvenesky@allegheny.edu), Director of URSCA, if you have any questions.

Global Education Updates

Global Learning Seminars in 2025. Faculty are invited to propose a Global Learning Seminar for 2025. GL Seminars are led by two Allegheny faculty and take students to a domestic or international off campus destination. GL Seminars are offered as standalone 2-3 week summer courses or as part of a Spring 2025 course with travel embedded into Spring Break. Proposals are due by January 17, 2025. Are you interested in leading a GL Seminar but don’t know where to start? RSVP at this link to attend a presentation about the 2025 proposal process on Dec. 4 at noon. For further information, review the 2025 Global Learning (GL) Seminars: Proposal & Program Policies.

Major Specific Study Away Advising Sheets for Students, Faculty, and Staff. Last summer, Allegheny faculty members collaborated with the Global Education Office (with support from the GLCA Global Crossroads Innovation Grant) to create major-specific advice for students considering studying away for a semester. These are now housed on a new My Major & Study Away landing page on the Global Education website. Do you have questions about which semester it’s best for any given major to study away? Or have you wondered which of our sponsored program options are best suited for a particular student looking to take upper-level major coursework while away? What about the mandatory courses students in a given major need to complete before they’re approved by their department to study away? These advising guides answer all these questions and then some. We hope they will be a valuable resource for the Allegheny community when supporting our students in their study away adventures.

Teaching Conference

Ohio PKAL Conference. The eighth annual Ohio Project Kaleidoscope (OH-PKAL) conference, Navigating Current Challenges & Opportunities in STEM Higher Education, will be held at Otterbein University on Saturday, April 6, 2024. The keynote speaker is Dr. Lynne Parker, Associate Vice Chancellor of The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and expert in Artificial Intelligence. OH-PKAL is a network of STEM faculty and graduate students promoting and enhancing evidence-based, learner-centered STEM undergraduate education. Check out the call for proposals to learn more about the conference’s themes and to submit a proposal for a poster, presentation, or workshop; the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, December 19. If you’re interested in carpooling with other faculty, contact Director of Faculty Development Rachel Weir.

Professional Development Opportunities

Research Seminar on Affirming and Inclusive Engaged Learning for Neurodivergent Students. The Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University invites interested scholars and practitioners, regardless of discipline, to apply to join a multi-institutional cohort of researchers who will investigate systems, supports, pathways, and pipelines for neurodivergent students to facilitate access to and participation in high-quality engaged learning experiences. Selected applicants will meet on Elon University’s campus one week every June for the next three years. The deadline to apply is January 16, 2024; more information is available here. Alexis Hart (ahart@allegheny.edu) has been participating in the current research seminar and would be happy to talk with interested faculty.

2024-2025 Workshop for Early Career Faculty. The Nielsen Center for the Liberal Arts at Eckerd College invites early-career faculty at liberal arts colleges to join a supportive learning community and national network. Nielsen Fellows participate in a seminar-style workshop throughout a year-long program that includes three in-person gatherings at Eckerd College on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The deadline to apply is December 22, 2023; more information is available here.


Upcoming Events

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

Faculty Development Digest, March 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.

Demmler Awards

The Demmler endowment provides funding for faculty members who wish to pursue projects to develop innovation in teaching or in the curriculum. This year, preference will be given to projects that:
– advance innovation in inclusive teaching and/or
– advance the institutional goal of increasing enrollment and/or the College’s national profile as a liberal arts institution.
To provide maximum flexibility, proposals can be submitted at any time through June 2, 2023, for work that could take place any time through the Fall 2023 semester. Proposals will be reviewed by the Provost and Associate Provost with the goal of notifying applicants of the decision on funding within 10 business days of receiving the proposal. You can read the full description of this year’s call here. Applications should be submitted using this form.

Teaching Tools

Looking for a quick way to provide focused feedback to your students? Or perhaps a guided approach for peer review? Check out the TAG Feedback framework. As shown in the image below, the goal of TAG feedback is to give three specific forms of feedback and that’s it!

Visual showing components of TAG feedback

Too much feedback on an assignment can feel overwhelming, while vague feedback can leave students wondering what they need to do to address it. Using this approach can be a time-saver for faculty, while also providing students with a manageable number of focused, actionable next steps.

URSCA Updates

Summer Research and Scholarship. Allegheny College is now using a common application that all students participating in research, scholarship, and creative activities on campus and in the Meadville community will need to complete. In particular, all students who receive awards through the Office of URSCA or the Office of Community Engaged Learning, as well as students who are funded by grants received by faculty members, are required to complete this form in order to participate in summer programming. Links to program-specific application materials are embedded within the form, including the proposal template for the URSCA Student-Faculty Research Program. The Summer Research Program website is a one-stop shop for all of the information.

Scholars Symposium 2023. Watch for an email from URSCA Director Matt Venesky with information about the 2023 Scholars Symposium, including links to various forms for faculty and department/program chairs to complete (registration for Faculty Mentors wishing to participate in the Mentor Breakfast, links for departments/programs to register seniors participating in the Senior Project Poster Session, etc.). Please be on the lookout for these forms and pay attention to the various due dates that will be approaching as we end the semester.

AI-Writing Resources

Webinar.The GLCA-GLAA Consortium for Teaching and Learning invites you to a conversation on ChatGPT designed to help faculty think about the potential value of these generative AI programs, and not just their potential peril. Among other questions, they will be exploring how we can use AI to help deepen (rather than discourage) learning communities in our classrooms, and the ways that ChatGPT can improve student writing or problem-solving skills. Participants will work in groups with those who have more experience with AI to help everyone brainstorm possible approaches. Please join them for this webinar on Wednesday, March 29 at noon EST. Click here to register.

Using AI to Help Instructors. In their article Using AI to Implement Effective Teaching Strategies in Classrooms: Five Strategies, Including Prompts, the authors describe how instructors can leverage AI to help implement evidence-based teaching methods in their classroom. The five strategies they describe involve: generating multiple examples; generating explanations for different audiences; writing low-stakes tests; assessing student knowledge and identifying areas of confusion; and drawing connections between different course topics. Check out this blog post, written by one of the authors, for a quick overview with examples.

FCR Updates

The Foundation & Corporate Relations (FCR) office invites you to check out the grant opportunity below and to contact them early and often at fcr@allegheny.edu if you’re thinking about applying for a grant.

Humanities Faculty: Community-Engaged Course Development & Voter Education The Project Pericles’ Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program in the Humanities Grant provides $4,500 grants to design new or significantly revised courses in the humanities that incorporate community-initiated projects and voter education. There are multiple deadlines to apply. If you are interested, please complete the FCR office’s grant proposal endorsement form, indicating which deadline you are interested in.

Spring/Summer 2023 Events

Upcoming Events

  • May 3 – Exploratory Advisor Training 1, 10:00am-3:00pm
    A workshop for faculty serving as instructors for the pilot “advising labs” in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 (LS 198 and LS 199, respectively).
  • May 11 – Exploratory Advisor Training 1, 10:00am-3:00pm
    A repeat of the May 3 training. Exploratory Advisors need only attend one of these two trainings.
  • May 16 – Spring Educator Resource Institute (click this link to save the date)
  • May 17 – Department Chairs Workshop
  • June 9 – First Year Course Registration Training
  • August 21 – Fall Educator Resource Institute (click this link to save the date)
  • August 22 – Exploratory Advisor Training 2, 11:15am-4:00pm
    The second in a series of two workshops for instructors of LS 198 and LS 199.

Past Events and Materials

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