FLCs for 2016-2017


Learning outcomes assessment is integral to knowing steps one should take to improve the quality of instruction, courses, and programs, and there are a range of practices that can be employed to determine if students are achieving your program’s student learning outcomes.  This FLC provides an interdisciplinary opportunity for faculty, administrators, and assessment specialists to ask questions and share best practices regarding learning outcomes assessment with colleagues across campus who are engaged in similar work.  Topics will likely include how to write measurable learning outcomes, strategies for performing assessment in programs of varying sizes, how grades are different than outcomes assessment, creating rubrics and using other measurement instruments, statistical topics (such as inter-rater reliability), and how to make the most of your findings.

For more information, please contact: Laura Crawley at lcrawley@uga.edu.



Improvisation fosters spontaneity and creativity in our teaching, research and outreach engagements.  Informed by Keith Johnstone’s book on improvisation, our group will engage in improvisational structures that foster creative relationships to enhance our sense of spontaneity, narrative storytelling and embodied performances.  Our group activities will explore our individual and collective creativity, relationship building and occupying a sense of place in ways that stretch us. We will also learn to reflect on everyday performances, such as local theater events or coffee shop interactions, to think about how improvisational play can inform how we respond to every day challenges. 

For more information, please contact: Ruth Harman at rharman@uga.edu or Aliki Nicolaides at alikin@uga.edu.



The ePortfolio Interest Community (EPIC) may choose to explore a number of issues surrounding the use of ePortfolio here at UGA. These may include using ePortfolio for facilitating integrative learning, assessing learning outcomes, encouraging reflection in experiential learning activities, supporting career development, and more. 

For more information, please contact: Sherry Clouser at sac@uga.edu.



This FLC continues the thoughtful discussions of a 2015-2016 FLC by addressing gender as one of several interrelated personal characteristics that affect academia as a workplace. One focus for 2016-2017 will be that academia, on the whole, is fighting an out-of-date fight: We still question the presence or the influence of differences between men and women, or wonder how male-female issues can be resolved for academia, but gender and other personal characteristics are no longer binary.  

Today's high-school students refer to a single known specific friend as a "they," because choosing "he" or "she" for a single person is no longer necessary for them. "Diversity" for today's university student means a depth and breadth of personal experiences, assumptions, and relationships that is unimaginable to older faculty members who still use "diversity" to mean "African American."  Some faculty members insist that gender, age, and family/racial/ethnic background are not or should not be relevant to how we assess our students' academic achievement; some faculty members insist that such variables cannot be separated from academic achievement; and, all the while, we all remain very much afraid to discuss gender, sex, age, or any other personal characteristic, for fear that we are somehow violating EOO requirements by even raising the questions. In such a multi-dimensional and continually changing atmosphere, how can UGA faculty address such questions as gender equity in salaries, gender balance among administrators, and gender-based assumptions in everything from what we expect of our students and how we write our tests to why we volunteer for committees and how we judge each other to be worthy of promotions or tenure? 

For more information, please contact: Anne Marcotte at abothe@uga.edu.



This FLC focuses on the Foxfire approach to teaching and learning. In 1966, Foxfire began when a teacher and his students at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Northeast Georgia conceived a new approach to teaching and learning that was student-focused, authentic, and connected to community issues. This year, the Foxfire Fund celebrates the 50th anniversary of that breakthrough moment. In fall 2016, incoming University students will be required to engage in experiential learning prior to the completion of their studies at UGA. As a result of this new requirement, it will be incumbent on faculty to provide the “kinds of hands-on experiences that enhance learning and position [students] for success after graduation” (http://www.experienceuga.com/). Foxfire’s emphasis on authentic learning experiences provides opportunities for student leadership, ownership of learning, and connecting “students’ work with an audience far beyond the classroom” (http://www.foxfirefund.org/about.html). 

This FLC will aid in UGA’s effort to “create and expand strategic faculty development opportunities and resources” related to the experiential learning initiative (http://www.experienceuga.com/faculty-faqs/). Faculty members engaged in this FLC will explore how to implement the Foxfire Core Practices (http://www.foxfirefund.org/teach.html) in their courses and programs and how to engage in research related to the implementation and outcomes of experiential learning. While UGA faculty from various disciplines/units on campus, including the Department of History, the College of Education, the UGA libraries, and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, have been associated with Foxfire throughout the years, participants in this FLC can be from any discipline and need no prior training in the Foxfire approach to teaching and learning.

For more information, please contact: Kathy Thompson at kthompso@uga.edu.



The 2015-16 Non-Tenure Track FLC continued to build on survey data of UGA's 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 2016-17 FLC will continue ongoing work to 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, please contact: Elizabeth Osborn-Kibbe at eok@uga.edu or Leslie Gordon at gordonls@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 continues a project began during 2015-2016 to explore 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.

In 2015-2016, the FLC designed and piloted a student survey, which we expect to give us additional insight into how students experience the research process in their courses (if at all). The students' experience might involve topic selection, writing/making arguments, the use of methodological tools, and the presentation of results, as well as how they engage with and integrate existing research into their projects. Our ultimate goal is to understand how the research experience affects inquiry/analysis, critical and creative thinking, written communication skills, problem solving, and information and methodological literacy. In 2016-2017, we plan to finalize the survey instrument, gain IRB approval of it, and administer it to an initial wave of respondents. Our ultimate goal is to general scholarship on the research and teaching nexus. 

For more information, please contact: Andrew Owsiak at aowsiak@uga.edu or Jennifer Birch at jabirch@uga.edu.


Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention of STEM Secondary Teachers

This FLC will create a collaborative faculty team who works to identify the current and potential barriers and affordances at UGA to the recruitment, preparation, and retention of STEM students into secondary teaching. With barriers and affordances identified, we will create a plan that bridges among stakeholders and conceptualizes a new or revised program that increases the number of STEM majors who are prepared to teach. This plan may include recruitment initiatives, courses, or faculty development programs.

For more information, please contact: Julie Luft at jaluft@uga.edu or Paula Lemons at plemons@uga.edu.



Service-learning is a "high-impact pedagogy" that allows students to learn material more deeply by applying their academic skills and knowledge to a real-world, community-identified need or issue, and is a key part of UGA’s experiential learning initiative. This new FLC, facilitated by the Office of Service-Learning directors, will support faculty who have experience in teaching using service-learning and now want to learn about, develop, and implement research (individually or collaboratively) investigating service-learning or community engagement topics, including for instance student-related learning outcomes (academic, civic, personal) from their service-learning courses; scholarship of teaching and learning with service-learning; impacts on the community; institutional variables (e.g., retention); or other, related topics.

For more information, please contact: Paul Matthews at pmatthew@uga.edu or Shannon Wilder at swilder@uga.edu.



This FLC is focused on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in design fields. Collectively, we will consider how creativity and critique are taught and assessed in higher education learning environments, and how we can systematically study this process. Long-term goals include development of a tool that can be used in interdisciplinary SoTL studies undertaken by members of the FLC and leading to publication(s). The FLC has just begun reading “Assessment in Creative Disciplines” (Chase, Ferguson & Hoey, 2014), purchased with funds provided by the Center for Teaching and Learning. Current members include faculty from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, College of Environment and Design, and College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Faculty from diverse UGA departments who are interested in studying processes of teaching and learning in design-based courses, seminars, and studios are welcome, as membership in this group remains open.

For more information, please contact: Colleen Kuusinen at ckuus@uga.edu.



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 focus on resilience – the ability of a system or community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt and flourish in the face of change.   We will discuss how components of resilient cities (flexible, inclusive, resourceful, reflective, integrative and robust) apply to UGA, ACC and our own research and teaching.  All disciplines welcome.

For more information, please contact: Tyra G. Byers at tyrab@uga.edu.



This FLC will serve as community for faculty interested in digital humanities, but who perhaps don't know where to start. With UGA's DIGI undergrad certificate launching officially this fall, this FLC will explore ways to integrate Digital Humanities (DH) methods and tools into the classroom, not just using technology to deliver content, but using technology to create and analyze content. We will examine how to scaffold and integrate DH assignments into existing classes or to create new classes around digital projects. Topics could include defining DH, particularly in relation to New Media and Instructional Technology; introduction to basic web-tools; and an introduction to DH methods and to the DH community.

For more information, please contact: Emily McGinn at mcginn@uga.edu.