Physical Activity = Fulfillment

If I offered you a pill with decades of research showing it helped to increase energy, reduce bodyfat, increase muscle, improve sleep quality, increase flexibility, enhance overall quality of life, improve cognitive function, and reduce the chances of experiencing heart disease, stroke, and cancer, would you take it? What if I said that the pill was free and the main side effects were improved self-esteem and significant reductions in depression and anxiety, would you take it (sounds like an infomercial I know)?

There is something that does all this and more  – and the only investment required is a little bit of your time. The name of this medicine is “daily physical activity” and it is the most effective way to improve and/or maintain your health. If you’re more motivated by potential negative consequences, consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that physical inactivity (i.e. a sedentary lifestyle) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death for adults in the U.S.

Fortunately, Chico State has several low or no-cost opportunities for you to be physically active in a fun and safe environment:

  • 3WINS Fitness is a free exercise class run by Kinesiology students on MWF 8:30-9:30am on the Yolo field (see attached flier). It is open to students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the Chico community with no cost or obligation.
  • Noontime Fitness is a program for any campus employee (no students) interested in using the weight room or fitness area in Acker Mon-Fri 11:50-12:50 for $50/semester (includes summer and breaks). Contact Mitch Cox for more info or to sign up.
  • Free Qigong and Meditation at lunchtime Mon-Thurs for all campus employees and students.
  • Join the Wrec for $215/semester (includes summer and breaks).

If you’re motivated to be physically active and want to learn more about wellness, attend a free wellness workshop on October 11 from 11-1 with Dr. Dominique Gummelt (wellness coach and Chico State alumna). Details forthcoming.

Don’t forget to register for the CELT conference next week.

Professional Development Pays Off

Earlier this year, the American Council on Education published a white paper (PDF) that discussed how improvements in instruction lead to increased student retention, fewer failed courses, and more timely progress toward graduation in higher education. The authors point out the positive relationship between faculty development programs and outcomes such as student learning, motivation, persistence, and performance. One study cited found that the more a faculty member participated in development programs, the more student outcomes were improved.

In 16 days, you will have access to the most diverse and densely packed faculty development opportunity of the year: the CELT conference. In addition to the keynote address and workshop, you can choose from 19 oral presentations and panels on topics such as “The Truth Behind Student Success” (4pm on 10/5), “Information Literacy in the Age of Disinformation” (noon on 10/6), and “Identifying High and Low Impact Teaching Practices” (4pm on 10/6). Best of all, it’s free and requires no travel (plus you get a couple free meals).

As a sidenote, my colleagues with children say that they have to prioritize their own wellness in order to be the best parent possible. Similarly, educators have to prioritize their own professional development in order to be the best teacher possible.

I hope to see you at the conference!

Register here.

How to Benefit from Your FDEV Office

Dear colleagues,

In my first e-mail to you as Faculty Development Director, I’ll share what this office provides to faculty. First off, this is your office and the programs we offer are tailored to your needs. Our mission is to deliver programming that enhances your professional lives as teachers and scholars. We team up with you to enrich the faculty experience so that you can provide world-class instruction to your students. All of the professional development programs are free and, in many cases, we pay you to participate.

What your FDEV office offers you

  1. Faculty Learning Communities (e.g. Improve your Pedagogy, Article in 12 Weeks)
  2. Academy e-Learning institutes
  3. Annual CELT conference (Oct 5-6 this year)
  4. Bb training workshops including one-on-one consultations you can schedule with TLP staff
  5. Tuesday Tip e-mails
  6. Mentoring program for new faculty
  7. Internal campus grants and access to many CSU grant opportunities

What you can offer your FDEV office

  1. Volunteer your expertise as guest presenters in workshops
  2. Send ideas to us for “Tuesday Tip” e-mails that would strengthen our campus

We’re stronger as a campus community when we leverage our expertise to help each other. I look forward to collaborating with you this year!


Josh Trout, Ph.D.

Faculty Development Director


(530) 898-3094


New Colleagues and Old Problems

This time of year can be challenging for all of us—but especially for new faculty. The balance of scholarship, teaching, service, and life outside campus can be difficult to maintain even if you have been at it for a long time, but take a minute to recall the time when it was all new. In Faculty Development we have a formal mentoring program run by Susan Wiesinger that provides assigned mentors for new tenure-track faculty and a specialized workshop series for lecturer faculty. However, we acknowledge that the most important mentoring work is almost always informal and local. I want to highlight a few realities of these relationships that I hope you will keep in mind as this semester closes and we look toward Fall 2017.

  • Lecturer faculty need mentoring too. Lecturers have a dramatic impact on student success as they are often the people called on to teach first-year students and serve in other critical roles. Prioritizing student success means equipping lecturers with research, resources, and drawing on their expertise. It also means engaging them in conversation on effective teaching, research opportunities, and helping them navigate the university. This is a job for all us, regardless of classification. Talk to new lecturer colleagues about professional development like the CELT conference and how to access resources for travel.
  • Minority faculty face unique challenges, but you do not have to share the same life experience to be helpful. A recent Chronicle article highlighted key strategies for mentoring new minority scholars. I encourage you to read the whole article, but I want to highlight the first piece of advice “Practice cultural humility” and in doing so “demonstrate empathy for the professor’s experience as a faculty member of color in the institution.” In institutions like ours with strong organization culture we are often too quick to bring newcomers up to speed with “how things are done here” without being attentive to other strategies or experiences. Mentoring is mainly learning and listening.
  • Make a plan and get out there. Writing “be a good mentor” on a post-it note may be a reminder for you, but it is not a plan. Talk with your colleagues and your department/college leadership about what is being done and what is possible, but get started. Make a point to drop by a new colleagues office to ask how things are going, make a trip to a different floor or building to talk to a new lecturer that you have not met, but take the first step in outreaching to your new colleagues.

I am advising this now in hopes of helping our colleagues at the end of the term, but also to compel you to think about how next year could be even better with new faces, new ideas, and new mentoring relationships.

The call for the 23rd annual CELT conference is live! Submit an abstract today to change the world tomorrow—or maybe in October.

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Don’t forget to subscribe to the Caffeinated Cats podcast! Our newest episode is out now! Mary, Tracy, and I are joined by student guest Martin Morales to discuss housing and food insecurity at CSU, Chico. Link to it on soundclouditunesovercast, or follow the podcast on facebook.