Synergia - Latest News

Spend time with Faculty Development this summer! Registration is open for the summer seminar and workshops. Seats are limited.
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Center for Faculty Development
Congratulation to faculty awardees of the Teaching Enhancement Grant and the Research Grant for 2016-17.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development
This Spring semester, 192 faculty members at St. Thomas are not using Blackboard at all. Why is this a problem?
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Dr. Stephen Brookfield, John Ireland Endowed Chair
Two recently published articles call into question the contention that student evaluation of teaching (SET) forms, like the IDEA. form St. Thomas uses, are statistically invalid; that is, that they don't measure the teaching effectiveness they purport to document.
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Submit a proposal by April 1. This is your opportunity to create, organize, and lead professional development for St. Thomas colleagues.
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New! Faculty-led Interdisciplinary Group Grant: Supports interdisciplinary faculty groups who wish to study a particular topic, learn a new skill, or pursue a project of mutual benefit to the teaching or scholarly life of the participants. Applications due April 1.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development / Professor of Psychology
I recently attended the IDEA Center-sponsored annual training meeting with Angela High-Pippert, our Coordinator of Classroom Consultation services, and we were impressed with the positive changes taking place – both in the content of IDEA tools and format of reporting to faculty.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology‌‌
I am excited to announce that UST has established an institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), as part of our strategic initiatives related to diversity. That means we can provide you with a free membership and access to a variety of its benefits.
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The Disability Resources office has updated the syllabus statement for the 2015-16 academic year. Please be sure to update your syllabi with the new statement.
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Midterm break offers an opportunity to gather student feedback and make minor course corrections before the end of the semester.
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Cynthia Sarver and Michael Wilder, Instructional Designers
Though it seems as if we’re just getting started, midterm grading will be upon us before another issue of Synergia crosses your desktop. This feedback lets students see how they are faring in courses, activating, if need be, a network of support to help them get back on track before the semester’s end. But midterm grading can also provide faculty with a valuable opportunity for reflecting upon how they are faring as teachers.
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Inaugural Course Design for the Common Good workshop a success. Twenty faculty from across St. Thomas came together on campus and online during the frigid weeks of January 2016 to re-imagine their courses and refresh their assignments for Spring semester. ‌
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The following UST faculty received an award from the Adjunct Professional Development Grant. Applications are still being accepted.
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Dr. Susan Callaway, Associate Professor of English / Director of the Center for Writing
Every Day Doesn't Mean Every Day: Dr. Susan Callaway, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Writing, describes why regularly scheduling time for writing matters, and how you can make it a reality.
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Increasing Scholarly Productivity Through Participation in NCFDD: Dr. Donny Vigil, Assistant Professor of Spanish, highlights how his participation in two of the writing programs offered by the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity boosted his scholarly productivity.
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Welcome to Spring semester!
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology
People who study stress like to point out that not all stress is bad for you. Some forms can be energizing, while other types have a negative impact on health and performance.
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I'll admit that I have this passion. For someone who loves words and sentences and the ideas behind them it's all too tempting to want to tinker with someone else's writing. And some faculty, like some students, are happy to have you do it: just fix it! they cry. But writing resists efforts to rush it or mechanize it or provide a quick fix. Good writing is an art, inseparable from the skills, personality, and spirit of the writer. One alters another’s draft at great peril.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology‌‌
As you know, at colleges and universities across the country students are pressing administrators and faculty to confront racism and privilege within their institutions and classrooms. UST students have spoken up, and across our campus plans are being made now to create conversation and training opportunities for staff and faculty. In Faculty Development we are devoting all of Spring semester to providing avenues for faculty to examine implicit bias, recognize and deal with microaggressions, and build skills for guiding difficult classroom conversations.
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A recent article in the New York Times, "Why I use trigger warnings" by Kate Manne, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University, argues for the integrated use of trigger warnings in academia, and why it's important for faculty to adopt the practice of providing trigger warnings to students.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development / Professor of Psychology
As you know, at colleges and universities across the country students are pressing administrators and faculty to confront racism and privilege within their institutions and classrooms. UST students have spoken up, and across our campus plans are being made now to create conversation and training opportunities for staff and faculty.
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In their December 11, 2015 email to faculty and staff, Drs. Sullivan and Plumb encouraged the St. Thomas community to "...support our multicultural student groups by participating in cultural heritage events on campus, visit the Faculty Development website for resources on how to promote inclusion in the classroom, critically examine your worldview by taking one of the Harvard Implicit Association tests, and create a learning community where a robust exchange of ideas occurs on the complexity of 21st century social justice challenges."
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OBS is a freely available product created by Penn State that greatly simplifies the process of recording video. Simply walk into the studio, plug in a thumb drive and press the big button to begin. Once finished, you can press the big button again and your video will be saved to your thumb drive for use in Ensemble Video, Youtube, or wherever you plan to distribute it. Hear what Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman had to say about the OBS and how easy it is to use.
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In case you missed it... here are the highlights from past issues of Synergia.
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Center for Faculty Development
Congratulations to Dr. Heather Bouwman and Dr. Tom Ippoliti, awardees of the University Scholars Grant, and to Dr. Dalma Martinovic-Weigel and Dr. Timothy Pawl who received the Distinguished Early Career Grant.
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Cynthia Sarver and Michael Wilder, Instructional Design, Center for Faculty Development
This month we are delighted to launch our new series showcasing UST faculty who are doing interesting and innovative things in the classroom. We begin the series by highlighting the teaching of Dr. Brittany Nelson Cheeseman, Assistant Professor of Engineering. In this short video, Brittany shares tips for getting students more engaged and for making the most of teacher-student interactions, offering practical ideas for both the flipped and face-to-face classroom. Watch and learn from your colleague, or peek in for yourself by visiting Brittany's Digital Classroom.‌
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Dr. Susan Callaway, Associate Professor of English and Director of the UST Center for Writing
It’s hard to write. Through the years I’ve observed my colleagues in the writing retreats here on campus, I know the challenges we all face when we sit down to our keyboards.
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A special fund has been established within IRT to support faculty efforts to make learning materials accessible. Captions are text versions of the audio content synchronized with the video. Captioning instructional video or audio proactively addresses a diverse range of abilities and learning needs including:
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development / Professor of Psychology
New for faculty: Join the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
I am excited to announce that UST has established an institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), as part of our strategic initiatives related to diversity. That means we can provide you with a free membership and access to a variety of its benefits.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development / Professor of Psychology
With all the flux and change happening in our community this year, and all the committee meetings and time pressures, it would be easy to let our focus slip and fail to build opportunities for connection in the classroom. I had this experience myself a few years ago and learned a lesson the hard way about the importance of getting to know my students (and especially learning their names early on), and it’s compelled me to collect strategies for doing that.
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Dr. Matthew Batt (English), Dr. Adam Kay (Biology) and Dr. Eric Rawdon (Mathematics) were each awarded the Distinguished Early Career Grant (DEC) for AY 2015-17. Dr. Corrine Carvalho (Theology) and Dr. David Penchansky (Theology) were each awarded the University Scholars Grant (USG) for AY 2015-18.
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The Research Grant supports faculty engagement in and continuation of current scholarly work, in new directions in scholarship, or for large, multi-year projects. Congratulations to the 18 faculty who received a Research Grant for the 2014-15 academic year
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