Recently at the Teaching Center…

Teaching Center 25th Anniversary Comments

As discussed in last week’s post, the Teaching Center hosted a lunch discussion on April 1 to celebrate 25 years of the Teaching Center at Belmont University. At the luncheon, Vice Provost Phil Johnston spoke about the history and role of the Teaching Center at Belmont University. You can read Dr. Johnston’s comments below.

Dr. Phil Johnston speaks at the Teaching Center 25th Anniversary Celebration.

I want to welcome you on behalf of the Provost and other Senior Leaders.  This is a great day in the life of the Belmont University Teaching Center. For twenty-five years, faculty from Belmont University have benefited in many ways as a result of the leadership, mentorship and guidance offered through the Center.

On a daily basis, the Center staff provide conversations on the art (and science) of teaching and learning.

On a regular basis The Teaching Center offers reading groups, seminars, conferences, lunch discussions, references, retreats, and personal coaching for faculty on the art and scholarship of teaching and learning.

On an annual basis The Teaching Center is instrumental in providing new faculty a thorough orientation to the University, a robust August Workshop for faculty and others, and offers current faculty an array of opportunities to interact with notable faculty from other institutions, providing a dialog with colleagues.

The Center staff are engaged with a network of conferences nationwide, and provide useful information enabling faculty to participate as presenters and engaged learners, even by offering travel grants to support this development!

I want to offer an additional thanks to Mike Pinter, Nathan Webb and Nanci Alsup who currently serve in The Teaching Center, and who have rather recently engaged with the University’s Fellows program.  In the past four or so years, Fellows who have joined us have benefited greatly from the hospitality, engagement and guiding hand of these staff.  Our Fellows program is designed to assist newly minted terminal degree colleagues a structured entry into academia.

It is very likely that every person in this room has benefited in one or more ways from the offerings of The Teaching Center – I know I have.  The commitment of the faculty and staff who have served in The Teaching Center undoubtedly have helped shape and enrich our students’ education and their lives.

I want to say thank you to the faculty who have served as Directors of The Teaching Center over these past 25 years: Mike Awalt, Marcia McDonald, Pete Giordano, Kim Entsminger, Merrie King and Mike Pinter – (twice)!  Along with them have been many hard working members of the Teaching Center Advisory Board, as well as those who have served as Assistant Directors and staff.

I’ll conclude my comments by reminding you that the current Bruins 4 Bruins campaign, announced by Provost Burns recently, features four endowments you can support with your financial gifts.  I ask you to seriously consider these and remember that one of these is the Teaching Center Endowment for faculty support.  We know that in time, gifts donated to this endowment will further the mission of The Teaching Center.

Again, welcome and thank you.

Editorial Note: Please check the blog in the next few weeks for more information on the Teaching Center Endowment.

Recently at the Teaching Center…

Teaching Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Teaching Center Directors Past and Present: Kim Entsminger, Mike Pinter, Pete Giordano, and Marcia McDonald

On April 1, the Teaching Center hosted its final lunch discussion of the spring semester. Faculty and staff gathered to celebrate 25 years of the Teaching Center at Belmont University. At the luncheon, former Teaching Center directors offered comments regarding the role of the Teaching Center on campus during their terms and thus provided some historical framework for the work of the Teaching Center. Specifically, attendees heard from former directors Marcia McDonald (Professor of English), Pete Giordano (Professor of Psychology), and Kim Entsminger (Professor of Chemistry). In addition, current director Mike Pinter and Vice Provost Phil Johnston spoke about the history and role of the Teaching Center at Belmont. Check back over the next few weeks for additional information on the Teaching Center’s 25th anniversary.

Summer Reading Groups

The Teaching Center invites Belmont faculty to join a
Summer 2019 Reading Group!

To sign up for a group, reply to with the title(s) of the book(s) you are interested in reading.  You are welcome to sign up for more than one group.  Please reply by Tuesday, April 16th so that we have adequate time to determine which books have sufficient interest to form a group.  Also include your general availability from Maymester through the second summer session.

The Teaching Center will provide a book for reading group participants!  The exceptions to this are the books for which we have unlimited access to an ebook available through the Bunch Library website; in this case, the Teaching Center will provide a single hard copy of the book for each group to share.  We will have a brief planning meeting with your group on Wednesday, April 24 (Academic Preparation Day) so that group members can decide on dates, locations and times the group will meet.

Feel free to contact the Teaching Center with any questions.  Drop by the Teaching Center (JAAC 2049/2050) if you would like to skim through a copy of a book in which you are interested.

Here is a list of the book titles being offered this summer:

  • Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change by Leonard Mlodinow
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  • There, There by Tommy Orange
  • Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
  • The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser
  • Called to Rise: The Power of Community in a Nation Divided by David Brown and Michelle Burfort
  • The Children Act by Ian McEwan
  • Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories That Give Us Meaning by Richard Hughes

Resource of the Month

The Resource of the Month for March is another online teaching and learning resource. The SoTL Advocate is associated with the Office of the Cross Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University (ISU) and edited by Jennifer Friberg (Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL at ISU). The blog was created in 2014 “to highlight SoTL and to encourage discussion within the SoTL community on various topics of interest to those working in SoTL at ISU and beyond.” Recent posts have examined topics like upcoming SoTL conferences, data sources for SoTL research, SoTL advocacy, and how to start doing SoTL research.

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…

 Christie Kleinmann Named Assistant Director for 2019-2020

Christie Kleinmann, Associate Professor of Public Relations, will serve as the Teaching Center Assistant Director for 2019-20.  Christie has been very involved in Teaching Center programs during her time at Belmont, including active participation in recent Teaching Center August and May workshops, reading groups, and lunch discussions.  She brings strong communication skills to the position, and among other aspects of her work with the Teaching Center, Christie will focus on connections across our campus that build and sustain the community of learning at Belmont. In addition, Christie will manage The Art of Teaching blog during her tenure as Assistant Director.

Please join us in thanking Christie for her desire and willingness to serve our campus commitment to effective teaching that leads to deep learning.

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 Adrianne Archie from the Belmont Office of Leadership Development- BOLD.

What is your title?
Assistant Dean and Director of Leadership Development.

What brought you to Belmont?
I believe, the campus culture and the students brought me to Belmont. In 2012 when I relocated to Nashville from Louisville, the first friends and associates I made were Belmont employees and students. I didn’t know much about Belmont at the time but I knew that I enjoyed my new friends.  The Belmont students I’d worked with spoke well of the university and the experiences they had as we collaborated on various service-learning and music projects.  Having worked in the non-profit sector, the music industry and in field of education for more than 15 years, Belmont has turned out to be an excellent fit!

What do you do in your role as Assistant Dean and Director of Leadership Development?
I provide support and care for all Belmont students in partnership with the Dean of Students in the Division of Student Affairs. My position came out of the Vision 2020 Student Leadership Development task force approved recommendations between 2014 and 2016. When I arrived in August 2017, I was charged with centralizing and creating a framework and database for campus-wide leadership development, highlighting and bolstering leadership within the general education and honors requirements and creating a leadership development hub for all students. I partner with various Belmont offices, departments and academic colleges to create experiences and opportunities for students to realize their full leadership potential.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
The Belmont Office of Leadership Development- BOLD creates and provides experiences that help students increase their capacity to lead and serve ethically.  We believe every Belmont student is a leader with or without a formal leadership position. The office’s ultimate goal is to meet students where they are and provide guidance as they journey to become ethical, transformative servant-leaders who engage and transform the world. Leadership development is one of the keys that will help our students go from here to anywhere. BOLD helps students make sense of their leadership development experiences in and outside of the classroom by tracking and assessing their progress in a co-curricular transcript in Bruin Link. Students who complete programs and experiences across campus within the four BOLD levels of engagement will receive a certificate in leadership development upon graduating.

In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
Faculty members provide a wealth of knowledge, resources, and expertise in the areas of ethics, resilience, collaboration, communication, inclusivity, and service as they help facilitate the various programs, workshops, retreats, and convocations offered by the Belmont Office. These competencies are all leadership development.  Faculty members have also helped edit and evaluate the curriculum created at each BOLD level of engagement to ensure that the office achieves its learning objectives and outcomes.

Faculty can continue to help spread the word about BOLD opportunities and help students understand how they are being developed as leaders in and outside of the classroom.

What would you like faculty to know about Belmont Office of Leadership Development- BOLD?

  1. If we have not met, I would love to come to your office to get to know you. There is so much that I can learn from you if you are willing to share. I am ready to listen in order to serve our students well.
  2. The Belmont Office of Leadership Development believes in leadership development for all!
  3. Leadership development is everyone’s business at Belmont and we want to highlight the work you are doing to create bold, ethical Belmont leaders.
  4. When a faculty member tells even one student about BOLD or offers just 15-30 minutes of their time to help a Belmont student realize and increase their capacity to lead, we all win! The Belmont mission is accomplished.

In partnership with the faculty, BOLD is committed to preparing and empowering students with a toolbox of leadership skills and experiences through a seamless, integrated, high-impact leadership development presence in both curricular and co-curricular spaces.

You can find more information on BOLD here.

Resource of the Month

This month’s resource, An Analysis of the Effect of Student Prepared Notecards on Exam Performance, is found in College Teaching. The article, written by Daniel M. Settlage and Jim R. Wollscheid, examines the effect of student-prepared notecards on student performance. According to its website, the journal “provides an interdisciplinary academic forum on issues in teaching and learning at the undergraduate or graduate level.”

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

Our Experience Conducting and Publishing
Teaching and Learning Research

By Robin Lovgren (Mathematics) and Kara Smith (Economics)

Our goal in writing this blog is to encourage other faculty members to think about ways you can conduct SoTL research and reap the rewards!

We have been teaching an Interdisciplinary Learning Community (ILC, or “linked”) class with Elementary Statistics and Microeconomics for several years. Having spent a great deal of time developing and improving our course, we had a desire to formalize our process and share our results. We were motivated to embark on the specific project discussed below in response to Ken Bain’s work on Deep Learning.

One semester, we each taught two linked sections and two unlinked sections of our respective courses. (Yes, that’s four of essentially the same course for each of us.) We went through the IRB process which allowed us to collect a variety of demographic and academic information on each of the students, including their level of introversion and extroversion.  At the end of the semester, we embedded specific questions into both final exams that were carefully chosen to represent deep thinking in each discipline. The research design allowed us to compare students in the ILC version of the two courses against those enrolled in unlinked versions.

The introversion and extroversion characteristics gave us a basis for a qualitative discussion of our results. The final version of our research was focused on the quantitative analysis and results. Our results differed from the previous literature on the topic, finding no difference in the deep learning between linked and nonlinked classes. We offered some ideas as to possible reasons for the difference based on the fact that our courses were both quantitative in nature.  Furthermore, our study population had a higher percentage of introverted students than average university populations. This made our research ripe for publication in a high quality journal and suggested that further exploration is needed with respect to deep learning in quantitative courses.

A list of Scholarship based on this research as reported in Tk20 for both of us – aka “the rewards”:

  1. Scholarly and Creative Activities Kara and Robin presented their initial research design at a Teaching Center Lunch Discussion in April 2015.
  2. Scholarship II, Robin presented at the Lily Conference on Teaching after the research was conducted, but before the paper was written, in November.
  3. Scholarship II, Kara presented at the American Economic Association Conference after Quantitative analysis was performed in January 2016.
  4. Scholarship II, Kara and Robin presented final results at the Teaching Center SOTL Workshop in May 2016.
  5. Scholarship I, The final paper was accepted into a high quality, peer reviewed journal:
    Kara Smith, Robin Lovgren, (2018) “Empirical evidence of deep learning in learning communities”, Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 Issue: 3, pp.311-321,
  6. Scholarly and Creative Activities, Kara and Robin wrote Blog for Teaching Center Faculty Reflections Series, Spring 2019.

Notice that the research started with ideas that were presented at a Teaching Center Workshop.  The work was then presented multiple times at the Scholarship II level prior to the final culmination of the process with a Scholarship I peer reviewed publication. The takeaway here is to present your ideas and get feedback in the process. This helps shape the direction of the research while at the same time, allowing you to share your work with your peers.

Now that we’ve gone through the process, we have ideas for future research that will address additional questions about our classes. For example, is there a difference in student performance when students take a test on a computer in class, versus taking the same test on a printed paper version? Is there a qualitative difference? What are the students’ attitudes? Is there a quantitative difference? Would the test scores be different? This is a topic we would both like to know more about, so you may be hearing more about this and sharing your ideas with us at a future Teaching Center Workshop!

Editorial Note: Be on the lookout for an invitation to attend a Teaching Center Lunch Discussion on SoTL research on February 27. The luncheon will take place from noon until 1:30pm in the Massey Boardroom.

Get to Know First-Year Faculty

Christopher Born, PhD
Assistant Professor of Japanese and Asian Studies

BA, Valparaiso University
MA, Washington University
PhD, Washington University

What is your educational/professional background?
My love of learning foreign languages began at age five, when my mother gave me some audiobooks and learning tapes in French. I began studying German from age 8-15. Despite being compulsory, I truly enjoyed Latin in high school, and discovered Japanese my third year of high school. After a summer high school exchange program, I was captivated by the language, culture, and literature of Japan. That summer, I became fascinated by the works of 19th century author Natsume Sōseki, and decided to pursue a degree in Asian Studies. Since then, Japan has been a constant source of personal and scholarly inspiration. I went on to receive a BA and MA in Asian Studies and my PhD is in Japanese Language and Literature.

What brought you to Belmont?
My undergraduate institution was very similar in scope to Belmont, and after initial conversations about the Japanese/Asian Studies position here, I found myself quite drawn to this university. After learning about Belmont’s commitment to Asian Studies and interacting with other faculty and students at Belmont, I knew that Belmont would be a special place in which I might invest and grow as a teacher and scholar (I was right!) I have come to love the Christian community and the enthusiasm of the students here.

What is your favorite part about working with college students?
Discussions and interaction within and outside of class. At our weekly Japanese language table, we’ve had conversations about grammar and syntax, Japanese orthography, Chinese characters, popular culture, Buddhism, Christian influence in Japan, theology, popular music, fashion, food, history—the list goes on. It’s exciting to work with young minds as they add fresh perspective to topics I’ve studied for so long.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
I enjoy being a husband and a dad. I like to spend time with my family, cooking, watching YouTube, listening to French and German organ music, reading to my one-year-old, playing video games with my older kids, and helping them with school. I also enjoy discovering the local foods and parks in the area.

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
There’s a Japanese church (Crossroads Presbyterian) in Cool Springs near the Galleria that meets on Sundays at 2PM. They also offer a number of ESL classes and other community- oriented events during the weeks. I’d love to see students get involved there as well—it’s a great way to connect to the Japanese community in Nashville!

Recently at the Teaching Center…

Guest Presenter: Charles Robinson

On January 22 the Teaching Center partnered with the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee to host its first lunch discussion of Spring 2019. Guest presenter, Charles Robinson, spoke on “A Native American Perspective on Inclusion for our Classrooms.” Charles spoke to attendees about gaining a more inclusive understanding of tribal culture and values, by 1) recognizing the value of tribal people/contributions and 2) understanding how a tribal perspective can create a more complete college experience.

You can learn more about the work of Charles Robinson, and his wife Siouxsan, here. To read more about MLK week events at Belmont click here.