Supporting Justice-Impacted Students

Sent on behalf of Dr. Gabby Medina Falzone, as a follow-up to her workshop “Decarcerating the Classroom and Supporting Justice-Impacted Students”

Justice-impacted students, i.e. those who are incarcerated, have been incarcerated, and/or who have/had loved ones incarcerated, are often left out of equity education conversations. All across California, a loose coalition for justice-impacted students, faculty, staff, and allies are developing pathways for those who are justice-impacted to graduate from college.

If you want to learn more about the work being done to support incarcerated and formerly incarcerated college students across California, here are some resources

If you want to learn more about how you personally can support justice-impacted students here are some tips and resources:

  • Use humanizing language and avoid deficit-based or stigmatizing stereotypes. Check out the UC Berkeley Underground Scholars Language Guide and the workshop slides to learn more.
  • Share resources with justice-impacted students in your classes as well as formerly incarcerated potential Chico State students. Here are a few:
    • Root and Rebound “My Education, My Freedom” Toolkit (you can download it here)
    • The California Community Colleges Rising Scholar Network, which provides supports for justice-impacted students at the community college level. 
    • Chico State Rebound Scholars which is a new student org for and by Chico State justice Impacted students and allies. Currently we are meeting Fridays at 5:30pm in Ayres Hall (AYRS) 106. Have your students contact Dr. Gabby Medina Falzone (gfalzone@csuchico.edu) to find out when we will meet next semester.
  • Support Rebound Scholars’ first event. The organization is happy to welcome Shelley Winner, who with share about her journey from incarceration to professional employment, on April 25 at 6pm in BMU 203 (see flyer)
  • Help create a Project Rebound chapter here at Chico State. Currently 14 CSU campuses have a chapter. Chico State is not one of them. Contact Dr. Gabby Medina Falzone gfalzone@csuchico.edu if you are interested. 

READI for next year

Dear faculty, 

This Tuesday Tip is more an occasion to share some updates and announcements as we approach the end of this academic year, and we plan for the next one. 

March 25 was the deadline to apply for the positions of READI Coordinator and Equity Fellows, and since this process was completed, I want to take a moment to announce the names of the faculty members that were selected. 

READI Coordinator: Rachel Teasdale (Earth and Environmental Sciences) 

READI Equity Fellows: 
Josephine Blagrave (Kinesiology) 
Mark Faaita (Communication Arts and Sciences) 
Jamie Gunderson (School of Education) 
Katie Oesau (Business Information Systems) 
Tina Hanson-Lewis (Chemistry and Biochemistry) 
Grazyne Tresoldi (Agriculture) 
Alisa Wade (History) 

I am excited about the different disciplines that will be represented as we launch the new hub for Research in Equity, Antiracism, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Fall, and how I can be the first one to learn from these colleagues. 

One key goal of READI will be to systematically assess the connections between faculty development and student success, and to collaborate with different units on campus to facilitate the process of assessment and continue to build a dialogue across divisions to help us overcome some academic silos.  

Resources for Neurodivergent Students

Sent on behalf of Dr. Josephine Blagrave, Betina Wildhaber, and Sean Murphy 

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 50,000 students on the autism spectrum will be entering college over the next decade. Since we’re already well into that timeframe, it’s likely these students are already on our campus. According to the University’s Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), the number of our students who identify as being on the autism spectrum increased by 54 percent from fall 2020 to fall 2021—over that same time students on our campus who report being neurodivergent has increased 47 percent. 

Let’s explore how we can better serve those and other neurodiverse students! 

We can start by learning more about what neurodiversity means. It’s the term typically used to include neurological differences like autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome) and cognitive disorders like dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). It’s estimated that 5 to 7 percent of the national college population identifies as neurodivergent, and while these students can certainly be as intelligent and capable of learning as neurotypical students, they may face unique challenges due to, for example, difficulties with social communication, reliance on routine, or sensory sensitivities. 

So, what is Chico State doing to accommodate this student group? 

  • This academic year, President Hutchinson established a Neurodiversity Taskforce to explore ways to raise awareness and acceptance and to better serve neurodivergent members of the campus community 
  • This semester, ARC has developed a program called CASE: Chico Autism Spectrum Empowerment 
  • For the last five years, Regional & Continuing Education has hosted a conference on autism—formerly the Northern California Autism Symposium, it is now called Disability and Neurodiversity Symposium 
  • Chico State offers its Autism Clinic to the wider community (it was also featured in the spring 2020 issue of Chico Statements) 
  • Faculty Development will release a podcast this Thursday that focuses on neurodiversity 
  • Dr. Blagrave has created a teaching guide for Faculty Development that offers resources and information on neurodiversity, specifically in higher education 

Additionally, Chico State is considering how to accommodate our prospective neurodivergent students for orientation activities and we are looking at bringing in guest speakers (both in-person and virtually) to educate the campus community more on neurodiversity. 

If you have ideas or feedback or would like to become involved in the Neurodiversity Taskforce, we want to hear from you! Email us at NDTaskforce@csuchico.edu

Forest Therapy

Sent on behalf of Blake Ellis (Ecotherapy Program Manager) and Josh Trout (Kinesiology Professor)

Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or “Forest Bathing.” Forest Therapy is a simple, guided, immersive experience in a natural environment to promote the well-being of both people and the land. Forest Therapy is an opportunity to slow down and experience the natural world through your senses.  During your guided immersion, a certified guide will offer a series of invitations to deepen your sensory experience and assist you in finding your own authentic way of interacting with the land. There’s no right or wrong way to do it; just come and be yourself. It’s all welcome in the forest. Forest Therapy experiences finish up with tea made from wild-foraged forest herbs and snacks.

Proven health benefits include:  

  • Reduction in cortisol and adrenaline levels. 
  • Enhanced immune system function by increasing the production of natural killer cells. 
  • Improved respiratory and cardiovascular function. 
  • Decreased anxiety and depression. 
  • Improved mood, focus, academic performance, and creativity. 

We hope you can join us and experience valuable tools for mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being!  

Click on the dates linked below to sign up for a guided Forest Therapy experience.

  • On Campus – wheelchair accessible
  • Off Campus
    • Saturdays from 9:30-10:45 a.m. (April 2nd and April 16th)
      • Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful: Forest Therapy for Individuals Facing Severe Illnesses & Their Families at Cedar Grove Trail with Emiliano – wheelchair accessible.
    • Sunday, April 3rd 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. : Forest Therapy at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve with Liz.
    • Sunday, Apr 10th 1:30-4:00 p.m. : Paradise Lake with Dan. 
    • Thursday, April 14th 7:00-9:00 p.m. : Full Moon Forest Bathing at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve with Dan.
    • Sunday, April 24th 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. : Forest Therapy at Cedar Grove Trail with Josh – wheelchair accessible.
    • Saturday, May 7th 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Forest Therapy at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve with Liz.
    • Saturday, May 13th 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. : Full Moon Forest Bathing at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve with Josh.

Flexibility in the class: yay or nay?

Dear faculty, 

One question that I often receive from instructors, and certainly more so since the pandemic, goes approximately like this: how can we allow for flexibility in our classes without losing track of meeting objectives and teaching the importance of meeting deadlines? 

This is a very legitimate question: we want to be flexible and acknowledge how hard the last 2-3 years have been, but we also want to teach students that in the professional world they will have to respect due dates and meet their responsibilities. 

To look at flexibility from different perspectives, I want to share a couple of readings that invite to consider flexibility as both a blessing and a curse, so to speak. In Flexibility is key if we want students to connect with their studies (Nave, 2021), the author makes a great point about how “the forced shift to online education was in fact a great windfall for many students, who found the flexibility it brought to be life-changing. Education, suddenly, became much more accessible.”  

On the other hand, in The Perils of Flexibility (2022), Breana Bayraktar reminds us that flexibility might actually be an inequitable practice: “I’m always concerned that being flexible when asked for grace from a student means that some students will ask but others equally in need of extra help will not” and therefore she “prefer[s] to build in from the start of the semester whatever flexibility or choice I plan to offer.” 

Specifically, Bayraktar advocates for negotiable deadlines, which 

  • Teach evaluation & planning skills 
  • Helps students articulate their process 
  • Improves self-awareness 

I hope these readings will encourage some conversations among faculty about both the benefits and the perils of flexibility, as I remind everyone that faculty always have the ability to establish thresholds of flexibility, as long as they are applied equitably to all your students! 

Inspired 2022

Sent on behalf of Jodi Shepherd, Interim Dean of the Meriam Library, and the Meriam Library and CSE Inspired Team.

Tuesday Tip: Take a few minutes to recognize your research and creative activities for Inspired 2022. 

Event: April 6th 3:30-5:00

Inspired 2022 will be a virtual event hosted on Zoom from 3:30-5:00 on Wednesday, April 6th. During this event we’ll recognize Lantis awardees,  FRAS awards, Early Career Community Engagement award and  Our Civically Engaged Scholar Award, among others. While Inspired 2022 looks a little different this year, we are excited to celebrate the awardees and the work that has gone into research and creative activities in the past year. The decision to hold the event online was a result of COVID uncertainties and  4th floor upgrades

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to host Inspired 2020 and Inspired 2021 because of  COVID-19.  We will acknowledge past recipients during this year’s virtual event.  Recognition of awardees will also be on display in the library during the month of April. 

We hope you’ll join us to celebrate the awardees who are being recognized for their achievements. 

In-Person Exhibit: Library throughout April

The continued scholarship of Chico State faculty will be recognized with posters throughout the library during the month of April. With one poster dedicated to each department and each author’s citations listed with a link to their work, we welcome the Chico State community to view the research that has been accomplished during the pandemic. Our aim is to engage students who are in the library as well in displaying their faculty’s research achievements

Participate and be recognized. Please take a few minutes and submit your research or creative work completed between:

January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021

January 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2020

We are excited to celebrate with you,

Jodi Shepherd, Interim Dean of the Meriam Library

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Teaching Practices

Dear faculty,

Last week I was asked by Dr. Zach Justus to have a conversation with teaching assistants in Communication Studies about inclusive teaching practices and how equity and diversity can be brought into the classroom.

The request was both incredibly simple and incredibly complex!

My main concern was being able to condense information in a way that would be comprehensive and yet not overwhelming, and create a set of resources that could capture all the nuances of approaching EDI from a pedagogical perspective.

To be fully honest, I was surprised that I had not come up with such resources before. We have many tools about EDI in Faculty Development, they were just not collected in one place. So, this request was a great opportunity to explore some of our resources and organize them in a presentation that is easy to share. This is by no means an exhaustive and complete list, but I hope it is a good starting point for instructors that want to approach more inclusive practices in their courses.

You can access the slides here, and they will probably morph and grow into something bigger in the next weeks.

If you have used some of these practices, share your experience on our blog!

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 

Faculty Development, Director 

Upcoming Opportunities to Help Faculty Navigate Research.

This Tuesday Tip brings to you some resources in relation to research and the opportunity to grow as both a teacher and a scholar! 

Faculty Development(opens in new window) is working on a number of resources that can help faculty navigate research at Chico State. Below you find links and information for upcoming opportunities: 

“Join us for a conversation about interdisciplinary research opportunities! We will hear from faculty who are currently collaborating across Departments and Colleges on various research projects, we will discuss examples of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and we will look at possible funding opportunities for collaborative research projects!” (The description will be added to the website soon) 

I also want to take this opportunity to share the link to the Co-Teaching & Community Engagement page(opens in new window) hosted by the Office of Civic Engagement(opens in new window). Here you find tips and ideas on how to consider possibilities for teaching and research collaborations!  

We hope that these resources and events will be an opportunity to learn more about support for research on campus and a chance to hear about innovative research projects at Chico State! 

Stay tuned! 

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 

Faculty Development, Director 

why are students not reading the syllabus?

Dear faculty,

Today’s Tuesday Tip focuses on one of the thorniest issues in higher education: why are students not reading the syllabus?

The most recent development in this saga is the famous news from December 2021 (Smart, 2021) about a University of Tennessee professor who hid $50 in a locker at the beginning of the Fall semester and shared the information on how to unlock it in his syllabus. To no one’s surprise, the cash was untouched (and unclaimed) at the end of the semester.

While appreciating the good and playful intentions of the instructor, a Slate article (Weaver, 2022) questions the ultimate benefits of these stunts and explores the reason why most students just glance at the syllabus as opposed to dedicating time and attention to such an important document: “the biggest reason students skip such a crucial step is simple: Many syllabi are unreadable. They’re too long and clogged with opaque, administration-mandated fine print. Some are written with an eye toward a student challenging a grade—that is to say punitively, from a defensive crouch.” I also appreciate how the author of the article reminds how “syllabi not only set up expectations for a class, but are usually the first introduction to the professor. In other words, bad ones can create and perpetuate bad relationships.”

Recently, I have felt more and more that syllabi seem to be written as a weaver of liability for instructors as opposed to being written to provide resources for students. Of course this is a generalization, but it is important to open up the question and explore strategies that can help instructors create better syllabi and encourage students to actually read them.

FRIDAY FORUM: MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Faculty Development will offer a Friday Forum on February 25th (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) as a chance to discuss this complicated topic and to pause for a moment to think conceptually about what a syllabus should truly accomplish.

The forum, “So, the students aren’t reading the syllabus, ah?” is designed as a conversation where we can brainstorm ideas about what the function of a syllabus should be and what challenges students face in approaching an overwhelming syllabus. We will also explore alternative formats and ideas to creating engaging syllabi, such as infographics, course maps, and video syllabi.

And don’t forget that attending this workshop will count towards the FDEV Challenge!

Share ideas on our blog about strategies that have worked in your syllabi to engage students!

Lecturer Mentoring Program

Dear faculty,

Yesterday I announced in the FDEV Zine the selection of a new mentor, Tiffani Anderson, who will work with FDEV to support lecturers. I want to use this Tuesday Tip to share more details about this new program and to make sure you have all links and information available. First of all, I want to highlight the possibility to schedule an appointment with Tiffani to discuss matters pertaining to lecturers’ questions and support.

Faculty Development has renewed its commitment to targeting resources and support specifically to lectures, because while all lecturers are faculty, their needs, questions, and concerns might differ from those of tenured and tenure-track faculty. The Lecturer Mentoring Program was created in this spirit and I want to offer some tips on how to navigate this page.

Resources

  • On the webpage you find a useful infographic, created by Aaron Draper, that clarifies the type of support different offices can provide.
  • Below the infographic, under Lecturer Council, you find contact information and bios for the lecturer representative in each College. We encourage you to contact your lecturer representative if you have specific questions that pertain to your discipline or Department/College.
  • Orientation offers links to the video recordings and all slides that were shared during the lecturer orientation. These links allow you to re-watch those presentations  and explore the information or access them for the first time if you could not attend the orientation. These are good links for lectures that might not be new but still need to access this information.
  • Resources offers additional links to information that you will need as you join the Chico State faculty community, including accessing the system, important deadlines, etc.

Lecturer Academy

Faculty Development is working with Tiffani Anderson, Aaron Draper, and Erin Horst to plan a full-day lecturer academy on Friday April 29th. The academy will include a series of informational and interactive sessions followed by a reception in the evening. SAVE THE DATE for this important event and we will send more details as we have them available.

We hope that lecturers will take this opportunity to explore the website and to reach out to both Faculty Development and Tiffani Anderson to share your questions!