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, https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-11-2017-0141
  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.

Resource of the Month

This month’s resource, Students as Partners in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, is found in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (IJ-SOTL). The essay, written by Kevin M. Bonney, examines how faculty might “engage undergraduate students in SoTL research-based learning…” According to its website, IJ-SOTL is published by the Centers for Teaching & Technology at Georgia Southern University, and “is an international forum for research and information about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and its applications in higher/tertiary education.”

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.

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 Scott Corley from Belmont Athletics.

What is your title and how long have you been at Belmont?
My title is Director of Athletics.  I have been at Belmont for almost 3 years.

What brought you to Belmont?
I graduated from Belmont in 1990 and was lucky enough to play basketball under Coach Rick Byrd.  Upon graduating with a degree in Finance I spent 25 years in the banking industry in Nashville.  During that time I was able to stay involved with the University as a Bruin Club donor, President of the Alumni Board, and as a fan of our sport teams.  When Mike Strickland, the previous athletic director, decided to retire I made the decision to apply for the position.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen.  It has been an amazing blessing to come back to your alma mater and help lead an incredible group of coaches and staff.

What do you do in your role as Director of Athletics?
I am responsible for overseeing all operations of the athletic department.  Key responsibilities include managing 13 coaches and the department staff, providing our student-athletes and fans a great game-day atmosphere, fundraising to enhance our various programs, and helping promote our teams and University to the Nashville community and beyond.

How does your office serve Belmont’s students?
We are here to provide academic, athletic, and spiritual support for all of our student-athletes.  Additionally, we want to provide all of our students a place where they can come together, build community, and be entertained for a few hours while promoting school spirit.  We believe that this is valuable to the co-curricular development of all students on campus.

In what ways do (or can) faculty partner with your office?
The faculty has been amazing partners for our student-athletes by understanding the scheduling demands of our student-athletes particularly for away competitions.  We also love the support of our faculty members at our athletic events.  Our student-athletes always appreciate seeing their professors in the stands cheering them on.

What would you like faculty to know about Belmont Athletics?
The athletic department takes pride in ensuring all of our coaches and student-athletes are great ambassadors for Belmont University.  This is demonstrated in good sportsmanship, strong academics, and success on the field of play.

You can find more information on Belmont Athletics here.

Get to Know First-Year Faculty


Dr. Ashley Scism, DNP, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor of Nursing

BS, Nursing, Treveca Nazarene University
DNP, Belmont University

What is your educational/professional background?
I have been a Registered Nurse for almost 7 years with experience in various specialties including medical/surgical nursing, urology/gyn, and women’s health. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I managed patients primarily with Endocrine disorders including Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and accompanying comorbidities including Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Neuropathy, Nephropathy, and Vitamin Deficiencies. I was also trained in adjusting and interpreting insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring. In addition to practice, I thoroughly enjoy conducting and/or participating in research. While working as a Diabetes Nurse Practitioner, I had an amazing opportunity to practice as a sub-investigator for two prominent clinical trials regarding new antidiabetic medications. Education and research opportunities has always been at the heart of any job experience.

What brought you to Belmont?
As a native Nashvillian, I was very familiar with Belmont’s nursing program and their excellent reputation in the community. After attending a Belmont Preview Day and witnessing the simulation labs, I knew in my heart I wanted the opportunity to be a student and receive a quality education based on the highest standards of evidenced based practice. In high school, I was recruited and received full tuition golf scholarship to attend Trevecca Nazarene University, which happens to have a partnership program with Belmont. Therefore, I was able to experience the best of both worlds (golf and nursing) at two wonderful institutions.

What is your favorite part about working with nursing students?
I enjoy partnering with students on their life journey to become a nurse and seeing them succeed in providing quality and compassionate care to patients. As nurses, we are privileged to provide care to individuals who are at their most vulnerable and I love witnessing/helping students experience the servant heart of Christ in their future profession.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
I enjoy spending time with family, especially my new furbaby Roscoe (dog), playing golf, being outdoors, and volunteering at local nonprofit organizations in women’s health/pregnancy counseling.

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
My “dream job” has always been to one day work full-time as an instructor at Belmont and I am so excited to finally be here! Everyone has been very welcoming!

Spring 2019 Events and Opportunities

Below, you will find the Teaching Center calendar of events for the Spring 2019 semester. The Teaching Center will email invitations and reminders for each event and opportunity listed.

Also, please note that the Teaching Center has been relocated to the 2nd floor of JAAC in rooms 2049/2050. We are just across from the south bank of elevators. As always, you are welcome to stop by and see us.

Lunch Discussions

Tuesday, January 22
A Native American Perspective on Inclusion for Our Classrooms
11:30am – 1:00pm
Massey Boardroom

Wednesday/Thursday, February 6/7
Short Term Study Abroad and Study Away Programs
12:00pm – 1:30pm (February 6)
11:30am – 1:00pm (February 7)
Massey Boardroom

Wednesday February 27
SoTL: Opportunities to Connect our Teaching and Learning
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Massey Boardroom

Monday, April 1
25 Years of Belmont’s Teaching Center
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Frist Lecture Hall

Mini-Workshop Series

Supporting Our Students: Campus Connections
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Wednesday, February 13
Johnson Center 423

Wednesday, March 20
Johnson 474

Sabbatical Preparation and Planning Workshop

March 6 or 7
Location and Time TBD

Reading Groups

February 5, 12, & 19 or February 8, 15, & 22
Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
Tuesdays at 8:00am or 3:30pm or Fridays at 10:00am or noon
Location TBD

Dates, Times, and Locations TBD
Belmont Applied Teaching and Learning (BeATLe) Groups
Cheating Lessons: Learning From Academic Dishonesty by James Lang and If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face by Alan Alda

Faculty Awards Finalists Reception

Thursday, April 4
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Frist Lecture Hall

Additional Deadlines and Opportunities to Note

Tuesday, February 12 – 4:00pm
Deadline to submit Teaching Center Travel Grant application

February 5 – 22
Teaching Center Formative Reviews

Save the Dates

April 18 and May 8
Circle of Trust Retreat

Tuesday, May 7
Teaching Center Workshops

Season’s Greetings and an Invitation from The Teaching Center

As one semester wraps up and you begin to prepare for the next one, we hope you find time over the next few weeks for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Along those lines, we invite Belmont faculty to attend a half-day Circle of Trust© retreat facilitated by Judy Skeen (Professor of Religion). The retreat will take place on Belmont’s campus Thursday, January 4 from 10am to 2pm (lunch included). The deadline to register for the retreat is this Friday, December 14, so please email judy.skeen@belmont.edu to reserve your spot. Please email any dietary requests with your reservation.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Teaching Center!

– Mike, Nanci, and Nathan

Resource of the Month

December’s resource, Making Meaning from Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs): Seeing Beyond Our Own Horizons, is found in Teaching and Learning Inquiry (TLI). The article, written by Carina Jia Yan Zhu, Diana White, Janet Rankin, and Christina Jean Davison, examines how faculty members make sense of student evaluations.  According to its website, TLI “publishes insightful research, theory, commentary, and other scholarly works that document or facilitate investigations of teaching and learning in higher education.” TLI is the flagship journal of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), whose annual conference will meet in Atlanta, GA October 9-12, 2019.

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.