Tell Us What YOU Want Next Year!

In this final Tuesday Tip of the academic year, the Office of Faculty Development (FDEV) is interested in what type of programming would most benefit you in 2019-20. This past year, we offered paid programs on teaching enhancement, article writing, online course design, free speech in the classroom, mentoring new faculty, a book club on artificial intelligence and another on culturally inclusive education, as well as four intensive summer programs on inclusive pedagogy, teaching writing, affordable textbooks, and a writing community.

Assuming FDEV is appropriately funded in 2019-20, we plan to retain most of our existing offerings while also exploring programming on teaching first-generation college students, grant-writing, and department chair development.

FDEV is the one office on campus that supports your growth and development as a teacher and scholar. Click on the FDEV blog and let us know what you want from your Office of Faculty Development next year.

“Grade-bumping” can widen equity gaps

This is often the time of the semester when faculty receive emails from students asking for a “grade bump” (i.e. – a student asks for a favor such as their grade of 89.4% be rounded up to a 90% to get an A). Should you deny the request and stick to the point structure on your syllabus? Doing so can result in guilt-inducing responses from students about losing scholarships, being ineligible for sports, or not getting into med school. This decision is, of course, totally up to you but granting an unearned grade bump, just because a student asked for it, can widen equity gaps. That is, it rewards only the students with the audacity to ask you for the favor. Many students, including First-Gen and under-represented minorities, may lack either the cultural awareness or the boldness to ask for a grade bump and thus they may end up with lower grades in the class simply because they accepted the grade they earned. To be clear, if a student has a concern about a calculation error in their grade, it deserves a closer look. There is a clear distinction, however, between asking for grade clarification and asking for a grade boost.

Faculty Writing Community Summer Opportunity!

Commencement is this weekend and the last official academic workday for faculty is May 28th. If you plan to write this summer, the Office of Faculty Development is offering support to facilitate your success. From June 3rd – 6th, we’re offering a Summer Faculty Writing Community. This is a community of faculty in a quiet and comfortable room for four days, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day to write. That’s it. Nothing else. Just writing articles, books, manuscript revisions, or other scholarly pieces. FDEV will provide coffee, snacks, and lunch everyday to keep you going. English professor, Kim Jaxon, will facilitate a supportive community and assist you as needed. There will be some time devoted to peer review of drafts so you can get feedback along the way.

Many faculty write in the summer anyway. This community is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your writing projects and be surrounded in support during the process. If you’re interested, complete the application by Monday, May 27th.

Tuesday Tip – Visit the Grading Oasis Starting Next Week!

Reminder – applications for the three Fall ’19 Faculty Learning Communities are open through this Sunday, May 5. You may apply to more than one. Details and application links are on the Faculty Development website.
The Grading Oasis will be open to all faculty, including lecturers, from May 6-17 from 8am-5pm in MLIB 459. Drop in at your leisure to grade, read, write, or just relax and enjoy the panoramic view of campus. We will have free hot coffee, decaf, hot tea, snacks and fresh fruit each day to support you. Our student assistant, Ariana, may be available to assist with some grading as long as student names are not visible.

Best wishes to you for a smooth finish to the semester!

Grading with Rubrics – Free Resource

Tis the season for grading final exams, group projects, and term papers. If you want to use rubrics to increase grading reliability and save yourself time but don’t want to create them, then consider downloading one of the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) Rubrics offered free through the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). After creating a free account, you can download up to 16 different rubrics on topics such as critical thinking, oral communication, teamwork, ethical reasoning, and more. As a sidenote, AAC&U is a great website for info on high-impact practices, STEM in higher ed, and other pedagogical resources.

Growth Mindset = Higher GPA

recent report revealed what many of us already know: Students with a growth mindset (believing that intelligence can be improved) rather than a fixed mindset (believing that intelligence is a fixed trait) are more engaged in class and have higher GPAs. Faculty have tremendous potential to help students shape their mindset to be more growth oriented, but only if they believe that students are capable of learning.  A 2018 survey of over 6,000 faculty indicated that 24% believe that student intelligence is “set” and cannot be improved…and that is very concerning. Some training programs are famous for telling students on the first day of class to “Look at the person on your left and on your right. One of them won’t make it through this program.” That is an unfortunate, anxiety-producing, and fixed mindset that can discourage students from persisting after a setback. A better way to inspire students in the face of a setback, such as a poor test grade, is to frame conversations with them around strategies for improvement (i.e. “You could study with a group next time”) rather than innate abilities (“you’re just not good at Math”).

Engaged & Inclusive Teaching Session This Thursday

This Thursday, the College of Communication and Education will offer a Brown Bag session (as part of their Take Time for Teaching pedagogy series) focused on being an engaged and inclusive educator. This informal discussion will include Universal Design for Learning principles and community engagement activities that are applicable across all disciplines. Award-winning faculty presenters Jamie Gunderson (School of Education), Tal Slemrod (School of Education), and Sue Peterson (Communication Arts & Sciences) will share tools and tips designed to promote equity across race, gender, sexuality, language, and class, and to create conditions where all students can thrive within and beyond the walls of the classroom. They will be joined by students who will be demonstrating how these practices work on the ground.

Please join us this Thursday, April 11 from 12-1:30 in BMU 210. Cookies and coffee provided!

Motivating Students to Write

Effective writing is a critical skill in the modern workforce but teaching it to our students is challenging. If you’re interested in learning how to design assignments to enhance student motivation and engagement in the writing process, there will be a live CSU webcast on April 19 from 2-3pm on this topic.  This webcast, titled “Designing Writing Assignments for Student Engagement and Success”, focuses on the visual design of curriculum materials and student-directed discovery in hopes of motivating students to ask questions beyond simply “how long does this paper have to be?” and “when is it due?” To participate in this webcast, click here at 2 p.m. on 4/19.

Measuring Student Learning Certificate Opportunity

Defining a learning objective is challenging. Accurately measuring a learning objective is even more challenging and requires familiarity with a number of assessment strategies. In 500 Tips on Assessment, best practices include exploring a variety of strategies such as peer and self assessment, portfolios, and practical work that are “authentic” and “redeemable” (i.eopportunities to redeem failure when things go wrong).

If you’d like to take a closer look at your course assessment plan in a supportive environment and earn a Certificate in “Measuring Student Learning and Success”, join us in a series of three workshops on April 5, 12, and 19 in MLIB 252 from 11-12:30. Earning the certificate involves attending all three workshops that offer a comprehensive look at different stages of a course assessment plan. While you are welcome to attend as many workshops as your schedule allows, earning the Certificate requires full attendance at all three workshops.

Workshop Topics

April 5: Create and implement a course assessment plan (by Ben Seipel)

April 12: Interpret assessment data and close the loop (by Ben Seipel)

April 19: Create assessment-based evidence for your RTP dossier (by Chiara Ferrari)

If you’re interested, please complete this brief questionnaire.

Contact Chiara Ferrari for questions.

Workshops are offered by the Office of Faculty Development in collaboration with the Academic Assessment Council.