FLCs for 2013-2014

Books about Teaching

DeLois Wenzel Hess and Sherry Clouser
In this FLC, participants will choose 2-3 books about teaching and learning to read and discuss. Examples of possible titles include "Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice" by Maryellen Weimer, "Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice” by Terry Doyle, and "The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning"by James Zull.

Confronting the Great Divide: American College Students and their Professors

Thomas Chase Hagood
As with other social institutions, the ongoing revolutions in technology, media and communication have challenged the American university system and its ideals. Significantly, such rapid changes in connectivity and information-sharing have transformed universities' students who came of age in the 2000s. Interestingly, however, these revolutions have had limited influence on pedagogy or on the professional practices of many American professors, especially in disciplines with more traditionalist approaches to teaching and learning.  Meeting throughout the 2013-14 academic year, the FLC: "Confronting the Great Divide" will engage the challenges and complexities of two areas of concern expressed in the recent CTL@UGA survey of faculty: Today's Students and Engaging Students. Drawing on both scholarship as well as personal experiences, FLC members will be able to participate in a constructive dialogue about the sometimes confusing, sometimes adversarial relationships that develop between students and professors. These dynamics, often propelled by generational differences, can stymie individual learning or, worse, create a seemingly unconquerable divide between the two constituencies at the heart of higher education: teachers and students. It is the design and purpose of this FLC to explore these dynamics as well as solutions.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Teaching But Were Afraid to Ask, Cont.:  Exploring Teaching Topics in Higher Education

Tom Reichert and Paul Quick
This FLC is designed for faculty interested in improving their teaching and student learning through discussion with other faculty.  Using short readings from the rich well of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) to prompt discussion, the Teaching FLC will provide a relaxed and informal forum for participants to explore their teaching practice and will encourage participants to consider and implement changes ”large or small" in their teaching with the support and feedback of other participants. Topics could include course design, alternative pedagogies (e.g. team-based learning), innovative teaching and learning activities, active learning, improving assignments and more. Tom Reichert (Reichert@uga.edu) is an Advertising professor and Department Head in the Grady College whose teaching specialties include an array of advertising courses. Paul Quick (pauquick@uga.edu) is the Coordinator of TA Development and Recognition in the Center for Teaching and Learning, has taught in the Department of English, and will join us in the spring semester.


Melissa Harshman
Are you teaching a First-Year Odyssey seminar this fall or next spring? Are you excited about working with first-year students? If so, this Faculty Learning Community is for you! We will discuss issues that relate to the pedagogical needs of first-year students and brainstorm ideas to facilitate the goals of the First-Year Odyssey seminar program as well as successful teaching techniques. Participants will help determine other topics of interest the group may want to explore in more depth. Our goal will be to work collaboratively to generate helpful ideas and strategies around teaching an FYO seminar and to share this information with colleagues.

Greenleaves:  Ecocrit Conversations

Claiborne Glover and Nathan Camp
Ecocriticism is the study of the confluence of nature, literature and culture, and the insights inspired by such study seem more important than ever. The best ecocritcial conversations span academic disciplines in complex ways.  This FLC quite simply will function as a forum for ecocritical thinking that we hope will attract the entomologists and the political scientist, the evolutionary biologist and the literary critic, for conversations that range from compost to Whitman's "This Compost," from sustainable agriculture to Wendell Berry's  "Home Economics," from E. O. Wilson to Barbara Kingsolver, from Frankenstein to factory farming.  The conversation will be a relaxed exchange prompted by short ecocritical writings, and the conversation will by design be free-ranging.

"In-Broad" Experiential Learning FLC

Barbara Mccaskill
ThisFLC group is open to a maximum of ten (10) Humanities faculty, who will gather approximately every three weeks during AY 2013-2014 in order to design resources for classes to feature short educational trips specifically in and around the US mainland: to other cities in Georgia, and/or other states.  This year-long conversation and planning seeks to catalyze subsequent internal and external funding of these experiential learning trips, including (but not limited to) topics such as civil rights and human rights; religion and philosophy; American literature, history, art, film, and music; and the environment and the Humanities.  We will compose such items as assignments, itineraries, maps, grading rubrics, and best practices for safety and civility, designed to integrate course objectives successfully with such trips.  Faculty who already have included experiential travel in their courses, and/or who have developed study abroad programs, will be invited to share the benefits and challenges of such initiatives, and to advise the group as they compose these resources.  As a collective FLC Project coming out of this year's meetings, the information that the group has gathered and composed will be posted on the Center for Teaching and Learning website to share on an ongoing, long-term basis with the teaching and learning community within and beyond UGA.

Internationalization of Teaching and Learning

Kavita Pandit
The integration of international experiences and knowledge into the curriculum is increasingly seen as an important way to foster intercultural awareness and develop global competencies.  Indeed, according to Jane Knight (1994), the curriculum can be regarded as "the backbone of the internationalization process" (Knight, 1994, p. 6).  Discussions in this learning community will revolve around questions such as:  what do we mean by intercultural awareness/global competency?  How can we prepare our students with the skills necessary to thrive in an international and multicultural environment?  We will also examine a range of curriculum internationalization strategies:  the use of technology to create global classrooms, fostering greater interaction between domestic and international students, and tapping the experiences of returned study abroad and exchange students.  Participants will take turns in developing topics and leading discussions.     

Learning to Assess Learning

Leslie Gordon
What is learning outcomes assessment?  How are you supposed to do it?
  What does it do for you?  Join other faculty members to explore learning outcomes assessment and to find out how it can be done in order to benefit the teacher, the learner, and the program.  Members of this FLC will work through the assessment cycle, from clearly defining outcomes statements to collecting evidence to using assessment to improve teaching and learning.  At regular intervals participants will apply group discussions to advance their own course or programmatic assessment efforts. Faculty with all levels of assessment experience are welcome.

Meditation for personal, relational and educational enhancement

Jerry Gale
There has been an abundance of research on meditation in the last decade. Personal, relational, and clinical benefits have been clearly demonstrated. Additionally, benefits for enhancing learning for students as well as improving practice skills of professionals (physicians, attorneys, therapists, educators, athletes, etc.) have been found.  The purpose of this group includes learning (and sharing) meditation practices, discussing the research literature about meditation and discussing ways of how meditation can help in the classroom (and even in conducting research).  Discussion on different understandings of meditation (based on spiritual and secular traditions), and on different forms of mediation will be discussed. Likely we will read and discuss particular books and/or articles. A final goal of this group (FLC Project) might be to develop a proposal for how meditation practices can be expanded on campus and made available for faculty, staff and students (or another project decided by the group). The group will be for both beginner and experienced meditators and will be collaborative in process.

Mentoring Strategies for Faculty and Graduate Students

Gary Green and Denise Domizi
One of the most important steps that graduate students encounter is selecting a faculty mentor that reflects and fulfills their mentoring, teaching, and/or research needs. Conversely, many new faculty often struggle with how to provide graduate students with the best guidance and advice during their studies. Hence, this FLC will strive to identify the issues and challenges that graduates and faculty encounter in terms of receiving and giving mentoring. It is hoped that this FLC will result in two mentoring handbooks and/or resources, one for grad students and one for faculty, providing initial strategies, advice, and/or thoughts on mentoring skills and techniques.  Ideally, faculty seeking to join this FLC will have an invested interest in learning about mentoring skills and strategies, or be established faculty with a history of strong mentorship and guidance in regards to their graduate students.

New Collaborations: Incorporating Special Collections Resources into the Classroom

Jan Levinson and Jill Severn
In February 2012 the University of Georgia dedicated the new Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries. This facility, designed to help preserve and share the University's rarest and most treasured materials, houses three archives that document the history and culture of the state of Georgia: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, and The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. Equipped with reading rooms, exhibit galleries, classrooms and event spaces, the Special Collections Building offers a variety of access points for visitors to engage with history and knowledgeable and convivial team of archivists and librarians eager to collaborate with instructors.  

In the last year, many UGA faculty members have worked with special collections archivists to integrate this rich array of material into their teaching in exciting and productive ways. This faculty learning community would examine ongoing collaborations and create a space for imagining new ways to engage with the collections, staff, and spaces of the Special Collections Building to enrich educational opportunities at UGA. Initially, FLC facilitators will introduce participants to the primary content areas of the three special collections libraries and resources of the Special Collections Building. Subsequent sessions of the FLC will welcome faculty and archivists who have experience with developing specific assignments and courses  that incorporate primary materials from UGA special collections in sustained and creative ways. These opportunities to know more about what is available and how it might enrich the learning processes of students will prime FLC participants to embark on their own explorations of this valuable campus resource and its potential to enhance their own teaching and learning. This Faculty Learning Community will be co-lead by archivists Jan Levinson and Jill Severn of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty

Melissa Scott Kozak
This FLC will offer Non-Tenure Track Faculty (such as lecturers, academic professionals, public service representatives, research professionals, clinical faculty, etc.) a community to discuss issues unique to our roles across the university. Topics of discussion might include appointment and promotion guidelines, balancing multiple departmental roles, actively engaging students and other teaching issues, as well as topics of interest to the community. We will learn from each other to improve our teaching and service to the university. This FLC may choose to work towards an outcome related to Teaching Portfolios, compiling departmental policies, or developing a workshop for new/existing Non-Tenure Track Faculty.

Presentation Visualization

Mark Johnson
Sometimes it feels like teaching needs to be reduced to "Short Attention Span Theater" segments. How do we keep our students engaged? How do we prevent them from tuning out as we click to PowerPoint slide number 37, the 23 most important bullet points of this segment of the lecture?  This FLC will explore the different methods of visual presentations used in classrooms and attempt to develop a set of best practices and examples to be shared across the campus. We'll look at the most successful presentations each member has in their repertoire, critique them, and help them build better ones.  From formatting to content to presentation style to software options, we'll look at how we direct the student's attention to the material and keep them engaged.

Sustainability Across the Curriculum

Ron Balthazor
In order to achieve a healthy, equitable society while maintaining earth's basic systems, we as educators must cross disciplinary divides and infuse sustainability principles into every discipline, teaching our students to approach problems holistically and integrate social, economic, and environmental concerns as they apply knowledge learned. The Sustainability Across the Curriculum FLC quite simply will function as a working group on sustainability in the curriculum.  We will discuss readings, create and share assignments, bounce ideas off of one another, bring in other sustainability scholars and professionals, and try various classroom tools.  The discussions will range from the theoretical to the practical, from the basics of sustainability to examples of effective sustainability curriculum. 

Using Social Media Effectively In the Classroom

Marianne Shockley
As more students, faculty, staff, and organizations use social media to promote their programs, products, and services, there is potential to use these technologies to synergistically compliment existing courses and programs.  This FLC will allow faculty to delve deeply into how such tools can be successfully utilized in a wide range of higher education contexts.  Topics may include ideas for using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. in the classroom for assignments, measuring impact, tracking students, outcomes assessments, and program promotion.  Scholarship regarding how these tools have been successfully used for these purposes will be an integral part of this FLC.  Additional topics of interest and relevance to the group will also be discussed.