Resource of the Month

Instead of focusing on a particular journal article this month, November’s Resource of the Month is another online teaching and learning resource. The Scholarly Teacher Blog, which is associated with the International Teaching Learning Cooperate (ITLC), invites readers to “purposefully pause, think critically, reflect on your teaching and your students’ learning.” Recent posts have focused on topics like mid-semester formative reviews, connecting assessment to learning, and increasing classroom participation. ITLC is also affiliated with the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching and Learning. Check back next week to learn more about Belmont’s recent involvement with Lilly Conferences.

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.

Get to Know First-Year Faculty


Alexis Lee
Faculty Fellow, School of Music

The Juilliard School, Bachelor of Music
Manhattan School of Music, Master of Music
Boston University, Doctorate of Musical Arts

What is your educational/professional background?
I started playing the piano at age five, and cello at age eleven. Since then I have dedicated 20 years of my life practicing and practicing.  Before moving to Nashville, I was an active chamber and orchestral performer around Boston area and had a studio of private students.

What brought you to Belmont?
I was attracted to the fellow position and the environment of the Belmont community. When I visited the campus for an interview in March, Boston was going through multiple nor’easter and I was screaming in excitement to see tulips on campus in MARCH. We don’t see tulips in Boston until first week of May. So…. yes warm weather was another factor =)

What is your favorite part about working with college students?
Although I enjoy teaching young students, with college students it is much easier to guide them into more advanced musical conversations and technical approach.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
My all time favorite hobby is figure skating. Although I have not been able to find time since I moved to Nashville, I hope to find a good private coach over the summer. I like to take my dog Cuddles to parks and trails. Cleaning my home is a stress relieving activity for me and I also enjoy working out at the gym.

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
There are many wonderful concerts and recitals given by our students and faculty every week and we would love to see you!

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 John Delony from the Office of Student Affairs.

What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
Associate Provost & Dean of Students.  I have been at Belmont since May/June of 2018.

What brought you to Belmont?
Belmont is a unique, welcoming and hospitable Christian community. During the interview process I was struck by the many ways Belmont is confident in who it is and how it is continuing to buck many of the trends across the higher education landscape.  And wow -the students, staff, and faculty! Behind the beautiful grounds, the new buildings, and the fancy showcases are talented, communal, and lovely people.  They have been worth the move.

What do you do in your role as Associate Provost and Dean of Students?
My job is fourfold: To make sure each and every Belmont student feels a deep sense of belonging, to make sure students have the spaces and services for their success, to create a safe and welcoming campus community, and to make sure the faculty and staff who serve our students them have the support and resources they need to best carry out the mission of Belmont U.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
The Division of Student Affairs welcomes students, houses students, teaches students, supports student mental and physical health, and offers multiple engagement, fitness, and recreation opportunities. Additionally, we offer academic accommodations, respond to crisis, offer co-curricular education, and leadership development. And other stuff too…

What would you like faculty to know about the Office of Student Affairs?
Student Affairs professionals are teachers and mentors, too. We teach students how to follow processes, how to disagree and live in community, how to develop resiliency, how to laugh and support one another, how to weep and ask courageous questions, and how to live in community with others who look, smell, act, and dream differently than each other.

You can find more information on the Office of Student Affairs here.

Get to Know First-Year Faculty


Kendall C. Shultes, Pharm.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice

BA, Communication, SUNY at Geneseo
PharmD, Belmont University

What is your educational/professional background?
I graduated with my BA in Communication and a minor in Business Studies from SUNY Geneseo. Prior to graduation, I had decided I wanted to attend pharmacy school and immediately began fulfilling my pharmacy pre-requisites after graduation. Upon completion, I moved to Nashville, TN to attend Belmont University College of Pharmacy (BUCOP). I knew very quickly that this was the right career for me and the place to be. I graduated with my doctorate of pharmacy in BUCOP’s third graduating class. After graduation, I moved to St. Louis, MO where I completed pharmacy residency training at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. My first year of residency exposed me to all different kinds of clinical pharmacy, while in my second year of training I focused in oncology. After residency, I worked as a clinical pharmacy specialist in hematological malignancies and stem cell transplantation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

What brought you to Belmont?
I had decided to change up my career a bit and was looking for a new position when I found out about an open faculty position at BUCOP that was specifically looking for an oncology trained pharmacist. Being that Belmont was always my “home away from home” while in school, I was excited to apply and thrilled to accept the position and move back to Nashville.

What is your favorite part about working with pharmacy students?
I think that my favorite part about working at BUCOP stems from my enjoyment in working in the world of oncology. In oncology, there is always something new to learn and problems to work through. In my faculty position, I get to help students grow their knowledge and work through problems. I’ve enjoyed getting to share my excitement for my clinical practice with students and teach them about a different area of pharmacy.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
After spending a couple years outside of Nashville, I have loved getting to explore the area again and see how much the city has grown! I’m always trying new restaurants and coffee shops. I’m often out running, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to music throughout the city.

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
Belmont is such a special community and provides a true family feel. I’m so glad to be a part of it!

Faculty Reflections


Using Images to Mediate Critical Thinking and Dialogue
Jeremy Fyke, Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Studies

“What do you see?” “What comes to mind here?” As instructors, these are two simple, yet powerful, prompts we can use to generate discussion. Yet, as we all know, what we think are sure-fire good prompts don’t always work as well as we’d like. If you’re like me, and you lean on discussions for much of your courses, then you’re always looking for fresh ideas to promote critical thinking and dialogue. I’ve found in recent years that nothing does this quite like images.

Along those lines, I’d like to introduce you to Visual Explorer, created by The Center for Creative Leadership. Having used this approach several times in various settings—including classrooms and corporate trainings—I know of its effectiveness in generating discussion. Photographs are universal in their ability to spark innovative problem solving and stimulate creative thinking. Furthermore, they simulate what good discussion ought to do—draw out different angles (literally) of issues and connect those perspectives to real life.

The activity works in just about any setting and topic, but for brevity I will focus on one particular application I use often—the first day of class. There is minimal advanced preparation needed on the part of the instructor, other than to craft 1-2 framing questions/prompts for the students to use to unpack the images (see below).

This activity may completed in a 50 or 75 minute class period. The activity requires a PowerPoint slide show or white/blackboard. Second, you need space to lay out 1-2 pictures per person, at a minimum, either on the floor or on tables/desks. The number of pictures you need depends upon how many students you have in the class and how many framing prompts you have (see below).

The framing questions are one of the most critical parts of the process, and can be included on a PowerPoint slide. For instance, your framing questions/prompts for the first day of an organizational communication class could be:

  1. Select one image that represents your worst organizational experience (e.g., internship, job, volunteer work).
  2. Select one image that presents your best organizational experience (e.g., internship, job, volunteer work).

I recommend laying out the images at the very start but not telling the students what they are for. It oftentimes generates a little “buzz” in the room as they come in. Then, allow the students to browse the images for as long as possible. It is important to allow plenty of time so the students can select the images that jumps out to them the most. Students will typically have their images within 5 minutes. Instruct them to study the images quietly when they return to their seats. Once they return, then you show them the following instructions. I recommend showing the framing prompts until the students return from selecting their images. Once the students have a few minutes to study their images, place them in groups of 3-4. Instruct them to follow these directions step-by-step in their groups.

  1. Describe the image. Do not connect to the question yet. Look carefully and deeply into the image to make sure you fully understand it. What do you notice, what’s interesting, surprising, odd, etc?
  2. How does it connect to the question?
  3. Each person in their group then responds, noting what they see in the images. What do you notice that is similar/different? How does it represent/not represent your experiences?

After each person has had the chance to share their images, I call at least one person from each group up to the front to share their images. I have them follow the three-step process, and the whole class weighs in via open discussion on what they see and how it connects to the questions.

The debrief generally follows along with the three-step process because of the dialogue that creates by itself. In other words, as students see how differently each other sees images, they begin to make connections to real life and how we see things differently. Specific questions and points to help them transfer and connect further include:

  1. What insights about perspective-taking does this activity demonstrate?
  2. How could we use this to understand how organizational members (employees, volunteers) view their workspaces and activities?
  3. If you were a member in an organization, how could you use images to foster dialogue?

Editorial Note: If you’re interested in using a Visual Explorer kit in a class, you can borrow one from the Teaching Center by contacting Nanci Alsup or you can check one out from the Bunch Library.

Resource of the Month

October’s resource, Participatory Pedagogy: Oral History in the Service-Learning Classroom, is found in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. The article, written by Elena Foulis , describes how using oral history as a pedagogical tool in service-learning courses can provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and community stakeholders to engage in participatory pedagogy. According to its website, the journal’s mission is “to serve as the premier peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities.”

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.

Get to Know First-Year Faculty



Jane Gilliland Dalton, J.D.
Associate Professor of Legal Practice

BA, Political Science, University of Kansas
MA, Latin American Studies, University of Kansas
JD, Georgetown University Law Center
LLM, University of Virginia School of Law

What is your educational/professional background?
I served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, first as a line officer on ships at sea, then in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  I then served one year as the Stockton Professor of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, then two years with the Office of the Legal Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, providing legal counsel to the Political-Military Affairs Bureau.  After a few years consulting and working for a non-profit organization, I retired and spent the last few years volunteering with church, community and environmental organizations.  Most recently, in 2017, I spent 7 months in the Peruvian Andes, teaching English at a Christian elementary school to 1st – 6th grade students.

What brought you to Belmont?
I am here as a Visiting Professor to teach Legal Information and Communications to First Year Law Students.

What is your favorite part about working with law students?
I am very impressed with the First Year Law Students’ commitment, engagement, and interest in the law, and their positive attitudes toward the study of law.  The students are bright, respectful and eager to learn.  It is an honor and a delight to work with these budding young attorneys.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
Watching SEC, ACC and Navy football games, jogging in 5K races, trying new restaurants and attending cultural events – all of which Nashville offers in abundance!

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
I am grateful to be a part of the Belmont University College of Law and the Belmont University Community.  I particularly appreciate the faith-based foundation of the University and the commitment to service that it seeks to encourage and develop in the students.  Service to the Lord and to this country are important aspects of my life.

 

Resource of the Month

This month’s resource, Supporting and Mentoring New Social Work Instructors: A Formative Evaluation of the TEAM Program, is found in the Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL). The article, written by Shane R. Brady and Michael S. Spencer, provides a formative evaluation of a peer mentorship and teaching support program in a school of social work. According to its website, JoSoTL “aims to address contemporary issues bridging teaching and learning in higher education, philosophical approaches to teaching, current research, and praxis.” The journal, founded in 2001, is published by Indiana University’s Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching.

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.

Faculty Reflections

It Started With a Book
By Lina Sheahan, Music Librarian


I am a librarian, I am a musician, I am not an avid reader.  Surprising, I know, but it is also something I am trying to remedy, which is why I decided to participate in one of the Teaching Center’s summer reading groups.  I chose Violins of Hope, a book I wanted to read, and I knew participating in the group would keep me accountable.  Little did I know, my summer reading group would point me on a journey to uncovering some family secrets feeling more connected to my family history than ever before.

When I picked up my copy of Violins of Hope, I skimmed the table of contents, and among the violin names one stood out – Ole Bull’s Violin.  As a lover of Norwegian music and a proud person of Norwegian heritage, I am very familiar with Ole Bull’s work, but I was unfamiliar with the story that unfolded in the chapter.  Ernst Glaser, who was born in Germany but lived in Norway and identified as Norwegian, was concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic, and his love for Norway and its music made him a beloved cultural figure.  In January of 1941, Ernst was scheduled to perform a concerto with the Bergen Philharmonic on a 1742 Guarneri violin donated by Ole Bull’s family.  However, Bergen was occupied by the Germans and performing there was a huge risk for the Jewish artist.  The concert was disrupted by the Norwegian Nazi Youth, fights broke out in the aisles of the concert hall, and Ernst fled with the violin back to the relative safety of Oslo.  As anti-Semitic sentiments grew in Oslo, Ernst was encouraged to flee to neutral Sweden, which he did on October 27, 1942 with the help of members of the Norwegian resistance movement.  Ernst and his wife Kari traveled Sweden giving concerts for the “Boys in the Woods,” Norwegian freedom fighters who were being trained as a reserve police force in anticipation of liberating Norway from Nazi occupation. They returned to Norway in 1944, immediately after the liberation.

When I read this chapter, I got chills. Growing up, I was always told that my grandfather (my Morfar) fought in the Norwegian resistance, but we knew very few details.  I knew that he was chased by a Nazi through the mountains of Norway because he worked in mining and had access the heavy water Hitler wanted to build the atomic bomb.  Eventually, he fled to Sweden and was an officer who trained the troops that marched back into Norway and liberated the country.  Aside from a conversation we had in the Norwegian Resistance Museum when I was 10 (that I barely remember), Morfar never talked about the war so these few facts are all I know about his military service and life in occupied Norway.  I did know that Morfar loved music, and while I read about Glaser’s time in Sweden, I could not help but wonder if he was one of the “Boys in the Woods” that had the pleasure of listening to the violinist and his wife.

I brought my few facts, my curiosity, and my new knowledge from the chapter of Violins of Hope to the next reading group meeting.  I started telling my grandfather’s story, expecting that we would discuss it for a few minutes before moving on to another topic.  Instead, my fellow reading group members took immediate interest, and we ended up talking about my grandfather’s life and my family history the entire hour.  At the end of our meeting, the prevailing questions were “When are you writing a book?” and “You’ll include us in the acknowledgments, right?”  The interest, care, and support shown by my colleagues is indicative of my Belmont experience.  Even though I did not know a lot of information (my grandfather died with a lot of secrets), my reading group members were so encouraging and excited and interested in what little information I did know, that it lit a fire in me to fill in the gaps and find out the details Morfar was not able to share.  Now I have a project – a big project – my life’s work, if you will, and it all started because I decided it was time for me to read a book.

During the fall 2018 semester, the Teaching Center is offering book groups for Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang, Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice by Maryellen Weimer, and A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter by Nikki Giovanni. For more information on Teaching Center book groups, click here.

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 David Sneed from the Growth & Purpose for Students (GPS) office.

What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
I currently serve as the Director of the GPS Program. I have had the privilege of serving for seven years now.

What brought you to Belmont?
After serving for over 20 years as a VP for Student Life and/or Dean of Students at small institutions, I wanted to seek a role that allowed me to work more directly with students and spend MUCH less time in the “administrivia” areas (especially campus budgeting).

What do you do in your role as Director of GPS?
Recently we’ve been reduced again to a staff with one full-time person, so my role will again change. Our entire model is about service to students in the general area of “academic success” and discernment.  Because of the support of Drs. Burns, Davis, and Schneller we have been able to grow to meet more needs.  We have an excellent corps of GPS Coaches, and my role is now to support them and office operations. That said, I will always focus on a few students who need my specific experiences and skill sets.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
We focus on 3 areas: Discernment & Direction, Academic Engagement, and Academic Success/Recovery. In each area, our focus is on individual student meetings. We also maintain an active Convo Series (Wednesday’s at 10 a.m. in JAAC 1034) in order to give students a broad understanding issues related to academic success and engagement, as well as providing an open invitation to have an individual meeting.

  • Discernment & Direction – Exploring and/or affirming academic programs. Too many times students do not know about the many offerings that could help them better achieve their goals.
  • Academic Engagement – We help students understand how to be a better student. Much of this information comes directly from Teaching Center speakers and resources, but also from experienced/successful students. This includes academic planning, understanding available resources, enhancing academic skills and strategies, etc.
  • Academic Success/Recovery – This is working with students with difficult circumstances (e.g. hospitalization, illness, emotional distress, etc.) that causes absences and/or a feeling of failure. We work with professors and students to develop a plan to salvage academic credits and still move forward in degree completion.

In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
Primarily by allowing us to speak to your class or having us listed as a resource for your students. We want you to know that if your student is concerned (or you are concerned FOR your student), we can be a place they can come for support and planning.

What would you like faculty to know about the GPS office?
We are here to partner with you to help your students be successful. Ideally, we love to help them identify their purpose and passions and relate those to their academic program. We would love for them to better understand why faculty and professional staff are here – to help them love learning and gain skills and experiences so they can meet their purpose.

You can find more information on the GPS office here.