Upcoming Teaching Center Events and Opportunities

Debora Finch (University College) presents her G.I.F.T. (Great Ideas for Teaching) at the Teaching Center May Workshop

As we transition from the end of the spring semester to a summer schedule, I’m writing with the final blog post of the 2017-2018 school year. The blog will be taking a summer break until August, but don’t hesitate to contact us in the meantime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. As Mike stated in an email he sent out last week, we hope that summer includes time for reflection, rest, and rejuvenation.  Below are some reminders of upcoming Teaching Center events and opportunities.

  1. If you wish to be part of a summer Writing Group, please check your email for an invitation from the Teaching Center sent out a few weeks ago. If you want to arrange for a consultation regarding your spring semester student course evaluations, please see the separate email invitation sent from teachingcenter@belmont.edu.
  2. Also, check your email for a message from Mike with a list of conferences with a SoTL element or emphasis. Where possible, he included deadlines for proposals in case you are interested in developing a presentation proposal for such a conference.
  3. Please mark your calendar for our August 13, 2018 Teaching Center Workshop to be lead by Dr. Jim Lang, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Professor of English, Assumption College.  Dr. Lang will provide an interactive presentation entitled Cheating Lessons and workshops on Small Teaching.  He is the author of recent books with those titles. We will send out an email during July inviting you to register for the workshop.
  4. Between now and August, there are nine reading groups meeting and discussing books offered by the Teaching Center. Our Teaching Center June 27th lunch discussion will be an opportunity for general conversation about the reading group books. We will send out an email invitation for the lunch discussion one week in advance.
  5. We will welcome our incoming new faculty members to Belmont during New Faculty Orientation scheduled for August 1-3, 2018.  The Teaching Center works with the Provost’s Office and Human Resources to plan and provide a variety of interactive sessions for NFO.
  6. The Teaching Center will offer two different kinds of reading groups during Fall 2018:
    • a September group, in partnership with the Office of General Education, for a title (poetry or prose) by Nikki Giovanni in anticipation of Giovanni’s September 23 presentation as the FYS Speaker
    • Fall semester Belmont Applied Teaching and Learning groups (BeATLes) – we will use Lang’s Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From the Science of Learning as one of our Fall 2018 book options

Faculty Reflections

A New Kind of Journey
By Hope Buckner

I sat in those seats – in fact, I was a student at Belmont when the very building I’m teaching in was the newest one on campus. I remember walking the halls as a tour guide my sophomore year and the classrooms I sat in as a student throughout my years on campus. Now, though, I’m in this room for a very different reason. Though I’ve been a member of the Belmont community for nearly 10 years (as an undergraduate student, graduate student, alumna and now full-time staff member), when I entered Inman 342 early this semester, I found myself in a very different role.

As I prepared to teach my first class in January, I sought out a lot of advice. I was told many things—but one of the most poignant in my mind came the night before classes began. As I was reviewing my notes one last time and checking my syllabus for final details, I heard from a colleague. Passing along final blessings before my first day she said, “I suspect you will want to remember tomorrow, your first day teaching, always.” I wasn’t aware of the meaning of her words initially, but now, just 4 months later, they resonate with such truth.

I’m not sure that I’ve developed what will ultimately become my teaching style, I know there are plenty of times when I confused things that should have been clear and there’s no doubt that some of my ‘rockstar ideas’ flopped when put into practice – but the ways in which my students have embarked on a valuable, intentional journey of engaged learning has been some of the most meaningful moments of my time at Belmont.

They’ve trusted my leadership, participated whole heartedly, completed assignments and engaged with the process—all with the goal of learning as much about nonprofit leadership and fundraising as they possibility could. And I’ve been amazed at the ground we’ve been able to cover.

Forever and always, as long as I continue teaching (which I hope to be quite lengthy), may each semester, each month, each class begin with the mentality that accompanied this one. May I continue to desire to craft experiences my students will want to remember—always. May I lead them down paths of discovery that are meaningful, evoke so many unanswered questions and continue to make them think—always. May my classroom be conducted in a spirit of curiosity, inclusivity, thoughtfulness, intentionality, community-mindedness that invites their responses, their best thinking, their truest levels of themselves—always.

Q & A With Campus Partners

The Q & A With Campus Partners series is designed to connect faculty with personnel and offices on campus in order to better serve Belmont’s students. This installment features Tim Stewart from the Office of Service-Learning.

What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
I am the Director of the Office of Service-Learning and I have been at Belmont since October, 1994.

What brought you to Belmont?
For the first seven years of my time at Belmont, I worked as Coordinator of Volunteer Services while being employed by the YMCA of Middle TN as their Student YMCA and International Director.  After some reorganization of the space I was using at a previous campus necessitated finding a new space to work, I approached Belmont with the idea of coming here to help coordinate volunteer opportunities for students.  The timing couldn’t have been better as the University had just begun the Convocation program that required students to do community service in order to graduate.  When the opportunity arose in 2002 for me to come onboard as an employee of Belmont, adding the responsibilities of Assistant Director of International Education, I was thrilled to be able to continue serving Belmont in new and expanded ways.

What do you do in your role as Director of the Office of Service-Learning?
I work to connect Students, Faculty and Staff to the community in ways that meet both the learning objectives for our students and the needs of the community.  I also collaborate with other offices and departments on campus such as Career Development, Community Relations, University Ministries and Student Affairs to give our students additional opportunities to learn and serve outside the classroom.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
Our office serves as a conduit between the campus and our students, helping our students meet their needs and desires for serving others while at the same time, helping agencies in our community meet vital community needs.  We host and/or facilitate volunteer fairs, regular Days of Service such as SERVE Day, MLK Joint Day of Service and Family Literacy Day, publish bi-weekly newsletters of volunteer needs in the community and maintain the Get Connected online platform that helps to connect the Belmont campus to more than 135 agencies in the community.

In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
Belmont faculty partner with me to design and implement service-learning components for their classes and students.  With over 20 years’ experience with service-learning in the community, I can help faculty identify ways to incorporate service into their learning objectives, find suitable community partners, support them and their students through the service experience and help them develop reflection activities to tie the service and learning together.

What would you like faculty to know about the Office of Service-Learning?
While incorporating service-learning into a class requires some extra effort, most faculty and students who participate in it feel it is worth the effort.  Seeing your students make the connections with the things you’re trying to teach them, while at the same time, building their confidence and helping them help make our community a better place for us all is very rewarding.  The Office of Service-Learning stands ready to help you make it happen!

You can find more information on the Office of Service-Learning here.

Resource of the Month

The Resource of the Month series typically features a recently published SoTL article. However, in the final installment of the series in the 2017-2018 academic year, we are going to feature an online resource you can revisit any time you are considering doing SoTL research. This month’s resource is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research Guide, created by Belmont’s Lila D. Bunch Library. The guide provides a wealth of information on SoTL, including conferences/journals, further readings, and additional resources to explore.

The purpose of the Resource of the Month is twofold:
1) To encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) by providing examples of high-quality research.
2) To provide faculty with innovative ideas that promote effective pedagogy.

Resource of the Month

April’s resource, Digital Storytelling: A Method for Engaging Students and Increasing Cultural Competency, is found in The Journal of Effective Teaching. According to its website, the journal is “a peer reviewed electronic journal devoted to the discussion of teaching excellence in colleges and universities.” The article, written by Natalie S. Grant and Brien L. Bolin, explores digital storytelling as a pedagogical approach to develop students’ cultural competency.

The purpose of the Resource of the Month is twofold:
1) To encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) by providing examples of high-quality research.
2) To provide faculty with innovative ideas that promote effective pedagogy.

Recently at the Teaching Center…

Christi Williams discusses ideas from Teach Students How to Learn.

On April 12th, the Teaching Center hosted its final lunch discussion of the 2017-18 school year. The luncheon, “Celebrating Effective Teaching: Applying Teaching and Learning Ideas in the Classroom”, examined interesting and innovative teaching ideas that faculty members explored over the last year.  Attendees heard from eight faculty members who implemented ideas from one of our recent Teaching Center BeATLe (Belmont Applied Teaching and Learning) group books. Panelists represented five different colleges and discussed five different BeATLe books. Panelists included Beth Ritter-Conn (Theology), Christi Williams (Physical Therapy), Phil McGovern (Accounting), Christie Kleinmann (Public Relations), Jennifer Thomas (Biology), Rachael Flynn-Hopper (Education), and Jamie Adam (Nursing).

You can find more information on Teaching Center book groups, including BeATLe groups, here. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Q & A With Campus Partners

The Q & A With Campus Partners series is designed to connect faculty with personnel and offices on campus in order to better serve Belmont’s students. This installment features Thandi Dinani from the Office of Study Abroad.

What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
I am the Director of Study Abroad, and I’ve been here 14 months.

What brought you to Belmont?
After completing my doctoral program focused on international engagement and working in university contexts that send significant numbers of students abroad, my passion for international engagement continued to grow. I enjoy creating opportunities for faculty and students to engage with international counterparts. As Belmont’s study abroad participation increased, I was intrigued by what was occurring at Belmont in such a short amount of time. After coming to campus and learning about Belmont’s creative faculty and interdisciplinary approach to study abroad, it became apparent that my passion and energy matched Belmont’s environment, so the decision to come to Belmont was pretty easy!

What do you do in your role as Director of the Office of Study Abroad?
Is there a word limit to this question?! I provide administrative and visionary support to the study abroad office – ensuring consistent academically rigorous study abroad programs for students. My days may consist of working with faculty to explore new programming or troubleshoot issues that arise with their programs. Or it may entail working with administration and campus partners to identify opportunities for future partnerships with institutions and affiliate programs. Ultimately, my role is to identify study abroad opportunities that best align with the academic goals of Belmont majors, then support faculty and students in utilizing these opportunities to enhance their departments.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
Our office serves students by advising students on unique opportunities for them to study abroad to complete courses and/or internships that fulfill major, minor, or general education requirements. Once accepted on a program, our office works with students to complete all necessary paperwork to travel and study abroad successfully.

In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
Faculty can partner with our office through designing a faculty led program. They can also partner with us to identify strong programs and ideal terms for their students to study abroad. Lastly, they can partner with us to promote identified programs to students.

What would you like faculty to know about the Office of Study Abroad?
The Office of Study Abroad has opened the next call for Proposals for 2019 study abroad programs. Faculty who are interested in designing a faculty-led program for students for Spring Break, Maymester, or Summer 2019 are encouraged to connect with colleagues to design programs and submit proposals at: https://form.jotform.com/80553995558170. 

Proposals are due by May 15. If faculty need assistance in building a program, they can contact our office.

An Invitation to Present at the May 2018 Teaching Center Workshop

Last week you should have received an email inviting you to join us for our May 8, 2018 Teaching Center workshop sessions highlighting Belmont faculty Great Ideas for Teaching (G.I.F.T.) and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) work.  You will receive additional information regarding the opportunity to register for these sessions and another May workshop session in an email coming around the middle of April.

For now we invite your G.I.F.T. and SoTL proposals:

Great Ideas for Teaching (G.I.F.T.) —

propose a 10-minute roundtable informal presentation to be included in the Faculty G.I.F.T. session on Tuesday, May 8 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  The proposal should be associated with a classroom-tested activity, including activities for online or hybrid courses, to be shared with novice and veteran Belmont faculty members.  A proposal may include a previously given or planned presentation (poster or otherwise), a recently published, upcoming or submitted manuscript idea.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) —

propose a 15-minute presentation to be included in the Faculty SoTL session on Tuesday, May 8 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Co-presenters are welcome, if appropriate for your proposal.  The proposal can be associated with any of your scholarly work that is connected to SoTL, including a previously given or planned presentation (poster or otherwise), a recently published, upcoming or submitted manuscript, or a budding idea that you hope to develop into a SoTL project.   SoTL work at all stages in the research process and communication levels are welcome.

Please Note:  Completed manuscripts/papers are neither required nor expected for either session.

Please complete and submit the appropriate proposal form by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 16.  Send the completed proposal to TeachingCenter@belmont.edu. In addition to the G.I.F.T. and SoTL proposal forms, an example proposal of each was provided as an attachment in the email sent out last week.  A handout offering a general explanation of SoTL was also attached in case that is helpful for your understanding of SoTL.  Proposals will be reviewed by Teaching Center Advisory Board (TCAB) members.  Faculty who submit proposals will be informed whether their proposal is accepted for presentation by Friday, April 27. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Lunch Discussion Moved

The final Teaching Center lunch discussion of the spring semester will now take place on Thursday, April 12 from 11:30am – 1:00pm in the Frist Lecture Hall (4th floor of Inman). Please see the description of the lunch discussion below, and be on the lookout for an email invitation from the Teaching Center.

Celebrating Effective Teaching:
Applying Teaching and Learning Ideas in the Classroom

For our final lunch discussion of 2017-2018, we will celebrate and share some interesting and innovative teaching ideas that faculty members explored this year. In particular, we will hear from faculty members who implemented ideas from one of our recent Teaching Center BeATLe (Belmont Applied Teaching and Learning) group books. We will also include time for all participants to share ideas as part of the lunch conversation. In that regard, have you made an adjustment to a course that has reaped significant positive results? Or you have implemented ideas from Saundra McGuire, Christy Price, Ken Bain, or a Belmont colleague to good effect? We hope you join us for a lively, engaging, and fun interaction around the tables and in the overall group.

Resource of the Month

This month’s resource, Effects of Classroom Technology Policies on Students’ Perceptions of Instructors: What is Your Syllabus Saying About You?, is found in College Teaching. According to its website, the journal “provides an interdisciplinary academic forum on issues in teaching and learning at the undergraduate or graduate level.” The article, written by Jeffrey R. Stowell, William E. Addison, and Samuel L. Clay, examines how instructor technology policies found in syllabi affect students’ perceptions of instructors.

The purpose of the Resource of the Month is twofold:
1) To encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) by providing examples of high-quality research.
2) To provide faculty with innovative ideas that promote effective pedagogy.