FLCs for 2015-2016

Best Practices in Calculus Instruction

One of the seven main recommendations of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) publication, Insights and Recommendations from the MAA National Study of College Calculus, is the coordination of instruction, including the building of communities of practice. This Faculty Learning Community will meet weekly to develop the base of a community of practice for teaching calculus at the University of Georgia. Instructors of Calculus will discuss details of the course syllabus, interpretation of learning goals, and pedagogical strategies with a goal of building a library of course resources shared with all calculus instructors.   

For more information, contact Malcolm Adams at mradams@uga.edu

Defining and Evaluating Learning Outcomes in Professional Schools

Professional schools increasingly are being called upon to set out with greater clarity the learning outcomes they expect from their students, and to ensure that their teaching and evaluation methods are advancing their articulated goals. This can be uniquely challenging in professional schools, in which the educational goals include not just a transfer of knowledge and measurable skills, but also the inculcation of students into the norms of a profession (such as how to "think like a lawyer"). This FLC would build on the work done in last year's "Learning to Assess Learning" FLC, but with a particular focus on the unique challenges professional schools face in designing and implementing these types of assessment methods. The goal of the FLC would be to help educators within professional schools learn from each other about how to better incorporate these methods into their courses and institutions.

For more information, contact Michael Fulford at mfulford@uga.edu

Everything you wanted to know about teaching but were afraid to ask

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.

For more information, contact Tom Reichert at reichert@uga.edu

Examining Gender in Higher Education

This FLC will read and discuss recent scholarship that addresses gender balance in the workplace, with the goal of producing some recommendations for the Provost and President on gender balance by the end of the academic year. One book that the FLC might consider is Bridging the Gender Gap: Seven Principles for Achieving Gender Balance by Roseberry and Roos (Oxford University Press).

For more information, contact Sarah Covert at covert@warnell.uga.edu

Greenleaves: Ecocrit Conversations

Ecocriticism is the study of the confluence of nature, literature, and culture, and the insights inspired by such study are increasingly important. The best ecocritical conversations span academic disciplines in complex ways. This FLC will function as a forum for ecocritical thinking that we hope will attract the entomologist 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.

For more information, contact Claiborne Glover at glover@uga.edu or Ron Balthazor at rlbaltha@uga.edu​ 

Issues Facing Faculty in Non-Tenure Track Roles

The 2014-15 NTT FLC surveyed non-tenure track faculty on issues relating to hiring, promotion, climate, and other topics, garnering nearly 350 responses from lecturers, academic professionals, clinical faculty, and public service faculty. The 2015-16 FLC will work to develop and implement recommendations based upon the data from this survey, in order to tangibly support the working conditions, experiences, and professional development for other faculty in non-tenure track positions. Other topics we might explore could include maintaining an active research agenda; researching funding available to our particular professional community; grant writing and funding application processes; collaborating with other non-TT and TT faculty on research and teaching projects; applying to and interviewing for tenure track positions; developing a pedagogical philosophy, and forming a community to provide pedagogical feedback.

For more information, contact Paul Matthews at pmatthew@uga.edu or Elizabeth Osborn-Kibbe at eok@uga.edu

Mindfulness and meditation for education, research and personal benefits

How to use mindfulness in the classroom. Mindfulness for personal and relational benefits of the faculty/staff and for students. Research on meditation. Have an on-going meditation group meeting every two weeks at the GMOA which will be open to the University community. The FLC would help do this group, and we will have our own meetings separately about once a month.

For more information, contact Jerry Gale at jgale@uga.edu or Janette Hill at janette@uga.edu

Nexus Classroom: Where Teaching and Research Coalesce

The relationship between teaching and research is one of the perennial issues in contemporary American higher education. This FLC explores both the incredible potential that rests at the nexus of teaching and research and how the interaction of research and teaching can enhance student learning inside and outside the classroom at the University of Georgia. The FLC's examination of the "nexus classroom" calls on members' experiences in both teaching and research, ultimately considering many experiential learning issues such as: integrating (independent) research into courses; designing student-driven data generation and analysis projects; creating learning opportunities outside the classroom (e.g., community experiences or work through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities); bringing technology-enhanced research into the classroom; incorporating a variety of active-learning exercises into courses, and; any other themes arising from member’s individual or collective interests.

For more information, contact Andy Owsiak at aowsiak@uga.edu or Jen Birch at jabirch@uga.edu

Online Language and Literature Pedagogy 

The growing number of classes of foreign languages and literature being taught online call for a renewed pedagogy that reconcile the oral- and interpersonal-driven approach of language pedagogy with the capabilities of networked computers. We believe that this renewed pedagogy should rely on a creative collaboration between established faculty, who benefit from a long experience in teaching foreign languages and literature, and younger faculty and students, who benefit from a know-how and curiosity for the newest capabilities of networked computers. The goal of the monthly meetings of this FLC is to share our experience in online teaching and supervise a workshop series on online language and literature pedagogy open to both faculty and advanced graduate students. In addition to its workshop series, the FLC will share the transcripts of its workshops as well as tutorials on specific online pedagogical tools through its website.

For more information, contact Jonathan Baillehache at baille@uga.edu

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for Faculty

Most of us engage in scholarly teaching; we evaluate and reflect on our teaching and interactions—adjusting, modifying, and changing—in an attempt to improve learning. When we transform that informal reflection to a systematic study of learning, we move from scholarly teaching to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). SoTL is the systematic study of teaching and learning; it involves asking a question, gathering evidence, drawing conclusions based on that evidence, and making those findings public for the benefit of others through publications or presentations. The members of this community will decide the direction and goals of the community, but a general plan will be to design a SoTL research project in the fall, and to gather data during spring semester.

For more information, contact Lindsay Coco at lcoco@uga.edu

Sustainability Across the Curriculum: An emphasis on Watershed UGA

In order to move towards 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 to integrate social, economic, and environmental concerns as they apply knowledge learned. The Sustainability Across the Curriculum FLC will function as a working group on sustainability in the curriculum. This year, the FLC will participate in Watershed UGA (http://www.watershed.uga.edu/), a campus stream restoration initiative to create a transformative experience in sustainability for all UGA students.

For more information, contact Ron Balthazor at rlbaltha@uga.edu

Teaching with Simulations and Games 

The FLC would be an opportunity for faculty to share experience in the use of computer and non-computer simulation and gaming as a tool in the classroom. The focus would be on use of simulations and games as an effective method to engage students, enable them to apply and test course content, and test strategies in a simulated environment. Many faculty have explored simulations and gaming and the FLC would be an opportunity to learn from each other about successes and failures to improve our skills in using these strategies for student collaborations, problem solving, group work, decision-making, real-life problem solving, etc. Topics might include: -Creative Problem Solving and Innovation through Games and Simulations -Use of Scenario-based Simulations -Use of paper based simulations -Use of case studies -Evaluating simulations and games -Use of computer simulations -Demonstrations -Evaluating effectiveness of games and simulations.

For more information, contact Joel Lee at joellee@uga.edu

What are the best, most effective ways to teach diversity classes and issues? 

Many departments on campus require that students fulfill a diversity course requirement. This is an important endeavor because many of our UGA alumni will graduate and move into positions of power and influence in society, so a lofty goal of these diversity courses is to give these future leaders practice and skills for flexible thinking that will allow them to question the stereotypes that are part of the fabric of society. From the perspective of faculty on campus who teach these courses, or courses that incorporate diversity elements, these issues are often difficult to teach and discuss. Students' couch some diversity issues in moral terms and we all come to the table influenced in various ways by the majority culture and by images in the media that further entrench stereotypes of different groups of people. Students sometimes become defensive and some research has shown that faculty who teach diversity courses are given lower evaluations--again, due to the lightning-rod properties of the course content. The FLC that I am proposing would therefore learn and talk about the most effective, impactful and engaging strategies for discussing issues of diversity and privilege. What works? What approaches make people more receptive to being self-critical rather than becoming defensive? What can we do to make students more receptive to self-examination? Also, while we tend to think of these courses as creating more cognitive flexibility and understanding among those who belong to advantaged groups, it would also be beneficial to discuss the aims of these courses for people who are members of marginalized groups. How do the courses directly benefit these students (ideally there are indirect benefits through societal change) and what is the responsibility of faculty in protecting them from the potential dangers of dwelling on the injustice that they already know exist in the world and may be trying to ignore as a coping mechanism?

For more information, contact Melissa Landers-Potts at mlpotts@uga.edu