Synergia | From the Director

Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology
Is it a diverse reading list or discussion of controversial topics? In some cases, but it goes deeper than that. Our St. Thomas commitment to diversity includes this phrase: “commitment to diversity means a commitment to the inclusion, welcome, and support of individuals from all groups” – and providing a welcoming climate and support to all requires pedagogical strategies that cut across all disciplines and topics.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology
Wishing you a wonderful, relaxed, rejuvenating summer full of good reading and plenty of downtime.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology
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. 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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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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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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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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By Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development
We've been using the IDEA system for managing the student feedback process now for five years, and the Committee on Teaching Evaluation is analyzing a recent faculty survey gathering your impressions. I've been keeping an eye on expert recommendations regarding the use of student feedback and have pulled together some observations and advice, hoping it might help inform ongoing conversations about uses and misuses of IDEA.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development
This semester I’m teaching an upper level undergrad psychology course and I decided to experiment with Specifications Grading.
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Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of Faculty Development, Professor of Psychology
Faculty who team teach regularly can be effusive in praising the experience and recommending it to others. Like them, I’ve found team-teaching to be immensely gratifying, fun, and professionally fulfilling. But it comes with challenges. Maybe you’ve considered team-teaching in the context of a study-abroad course, an interdisciplinary program offering, or the Aquinas Scholars program. I encourage you to try it, and here are some tips and thoughts about the process that I gathered by consulting with a number of UST team-teaching veterans.
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