Unless otherwise noted, if you wish to participate in any of these projects, please email email@example.com with your contact information and a short explanation explaining your interest.
PROPOSED WORKING GROUPS
Proposed Working Group 1
Strengthening the Arts and Humanities across ACS Schools
Organizer: Dr. Genelle Gertz, Associate Dean, Washington and Lee University
Need (Updated): This group is now full. Please email us if you would like to be added to the waitlist.
Description: This working group dedicated to Strengthening ACS schools’ Arts and Humanities programs seeks to bring together various stakeholders within ACS institutions who will study and brainstorm strategies and solutions for addressing the declines in Arts and Humanities majors and enrollments.
Participants may include department heads, deans, faculty, admissions officers, and career and professional development counselors. By the end of four virtual sessions, the group will have clarified some tactical problems and identified a variety of situations. We will have collected preliminary data across institutions, familiarized itself with recent studies and practices designed to increase student involvement in the Arts and Humanities, and developed a shared set of tools and/or goals for handling the challenges faced by ACS schools. The work of the group also supports efforts of inclusive teaching, as it promotes support for disciplines, and thus student projects, that are increasingly devalued today for their supposed “unscientific,” “subjective,” or “impractical” content. Affirming the value of artistic and humanist thinking is central to this working group; aligned with it is the goal of helping students follow their true passions in their college studies, as opposed to majoring in something merely or exclusively because of its perceived practical value.
Proposed Working Group 2
Synergies of Team Teaching
Organizers: Dr. Rashna Richards, Dean for Faculty Development, Reviews and Assessment, Rhodes College and Dr. Genelle Gertz, Associate Dean, Washington and Lee University
Need (Updated): We now have 4 spots left.
Description: We are well aware of the myriad ways in which the pandemic hindered student learning while leading to faculty burnout. We believe that one way to address both of these challenges is to encourage team teaching across disciplines and divisions. Research has consistently shown that team teaching benefits students, who gain from learning about multiple disciplinary perspectives, and faculty, who “benefit from conversations about their teaching strengths and weaknesses, while modeling effective collaboration for students.” More importantly, there is evidence that team teaching offers “an energizing opportunity for faculty to renew their passion for their profession.” This working group gathers faculty from ACS institutions to discuss several models of team teaching and to develop course syllabi that draw upon those models. The working group will contain four virtual sessions covering the major models of team teaching as well as studies detailing best practices; syllabus design for team teaching, which will include standards for equitable success in the classroom along with development of content that reflects the diversity of the student body; and strategies for bridging the major intellectual areas of STEM, Humanities, and the Social Sciences. A fifth session will be held for administrators to discuss the complexities of offering team-taught courses, in which models would be developed for facilitation of curricular and workload obligations of team teaching even in instances of minimal resource allocation. As we emerge from the grave impacts of Covid-19, we can look to team teaching as a revitalizing force. Through facilitation of team teaching, ACS schools can enable more faculty to rediscover their joy and passion for teaching. Genelle Gertz and Rashna Richards each have experience in the work of team-teaching. Genelle has collaborated with colleagues in career development to design new career-oriented literature courses; Rashna supports faculty development in her dean role and facilitates interdisciplinary appointments as well as review of faculty in dual appointments.
Proposed Working Group 3
Embracing the Prospects and Addressing the Challenges of Artificial Intelligence Represented by Chat GPT for the Teaching and Learning of Foreign Languages
Organizer: Dr. Zhengbin “Richard” Lu, Associate Professor of Chinese, Spelman College
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), exemplified by the recent release of ChatGPT 4 by OpenAI, has garnered significant attention and sparked extensive discussions on the potential impacts of this technology on human beings. ChatGPT 4 is known for its powerful language generation capabilities, and the forthcoming ChatGPT 5 is projected to be even more advanced. Yet, the implications of this cutting-edge technology for the teaching and learning of foreign languages have not been deeply studied. How will AI-powered tools impact language education? How can language educators effectively leverage this technology to enhance their teaching and research? Faculty, staff members, and administrators from ACS institutions who are interested in exploring answers to these questions and more are invited to join a Working Group. The Working Group will delve into the opportunities and challenges of incorporating ChatGPT and other AI-powered tools into language education, and to explore strategies for maximizing their potential benefits in the field. The Working Group will produce a paper to report their findings, recommendations, and useful resources.
These workshops have been proposed, but we are looking for additional collaborators for the development and implementation of the workshop. (We will seek registration for the workshops later in the summer for those proposed workshops that are approved.)
Proposed Workshop 1
Adaptive Learning Courseware and Lab Activities for a First Course in Undergraduate Statistics: Empirical Evidence and Practices.
Organizers: Dr. Denny Garvis and Dr. Zoila Ponce de Leon, both from Washington and Lee University
Need (Updated): We now have 1 spot left for a colleague from and institution other than Washington and Lee University.
Description: This workshop explains adaptive learning processes incorporated into Statistics courseware created and supported by the Open Learning Initiative (OLI), a flagship project of the Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. Substantial empirical evidence focusing on undergraduate Statistics courses supports the emergence of adaptive learning as a prominent pedagogical recommendation (see Bibliography below). Furthermore, using adaptive learning processes in undergraduate Statistics courses is consistent with the long-term instructional emphasis on “learning statistics by doing statistics” as well as an emphasis on fostering inclusion and equity.
New and experienced Statistics instructors will find beneficial pedagogical solutions as well as impactful course improvements by adopting these practices for their courses. Potential content-rich takeaways from this Workshop include new teaching plans, lab activities, projects, or course discussion materials.
Professor Zoila Ponce de León can share the perspective of an Instructor relatively new to teaching Statistics, as she began using OLI when she started at WLU in 2018. Zoila received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In comparison, Professor Denny Garvis can share the perspective of having taught WLU’s Statistics courses for over 20 years and using OLI materials since 2014. During his time at WLU, Denny has served as a subject matter expert for Accessibility and DEI audits conducted for the OLI Statistics courseware, conducted statistical literacy assessments for accreditation, and focused some of his scholarship on online learning styles and adaptive learning applications. His Ph.D. in Management is from Georgia State University.
Given the unique characteristics of WLU’s Academic Calendar, the majority of this Workshop would be developed in late April and May, 2023. A Draft Workshop Outline could be shared upon request. Specific Workshop dates, planned as two sequential sessions within a single week, would be contingent on the availability of Workshop participants in June 2023.
Proposed Workshop 2
Listening with Purpose: Improv and Active Listening
Organizer: Dr. Elyzabeth Wilder, Sewanee: The University of the South
As an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Sewanee, Dr. Wilder has incorporated improv into her playwriting classes, as well as her course, Introduction to Theatre. In addition, She completed a workshop on improv for educators at Second City in Chicago and has since led workshops on improv for creative pedagogy for Sewanee’s Center for Teaching. During the Pandemic she both participated in and facilitated improv workshops online, so she also has experience using Zoom as a teaching platform.
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: Successful improvisation depends on agreement, collaboration, and listening with purpose. In this playful and highly interactive workshop participants will engage in a variety of exercises that focus on active listening and motivation. In improv, actors must be present and in-the-moment, ready to both give and receive openly and organically. Every character must have a clear objective which motivates their actions. We will begin by reading Tina Fey’s short essay and discussing the rules of improv before engaging in a simple warm up activity meant to help break the ice and to start thinking collaboratively. We will then work through three to five improv exercises that focus specifically on active listening and motivation. At the end of each exercise, we will have time for reflection so that participants can discuss their discoveries and their challenges before moving on to the next activity. We will close the workshop with an open dialogue about the practical applications of the form and how it translates to the classroom, committee work, and daily life. Participants will leave the workshop with a detailed list of improv exercises that they can use or adapt for use in their classrooms or to share with colleagues at their own institutions.
Proposed Workshop 3
Bullying in the Academic Workplace: What is Looks Like, Why It’s More Harmful Than You Think, and What You Can Do to Combat It
Organizers: Dr. Jana Mathews, Professor of English, Rollins College and Dr. Mattea Garcia, Associate Professor of Communications, Rollins College
Dr. Mathews is the outgoing faculty president at Rollins who has spent the past two years helping colleagues across campus develop strategies to cope with and combat vertical and horizontal bullying. Dr. Garcia is an expert on workplace bullying who researches, teaches, and consults on the subject. Both Garcia and Mathews are also current or former department chairs who have navigated these situations on a department level.
Need (Updated): We now have 1 spot left.
Description: Given that one of the overarching goals of higher education is to teach our students how to communicate respectfully with others, it is perplexing that so many exemplars of positive communication inside the classroom treat their departmental and institutional colleagues so poorly. Bullying within academia may look a little different than it does in non-academic workplace settings, but that doesn’t mean that its effects on individual mental and physical health and community culture is any less damaging. The unique attributes of the professoriate—including the fact that it’s common to work with the same individuals for 20+ years—not only breeds tolerance of negative behavior patterns through the creation and promotion of exculpatory narratives (“ie. that’s just the way [John/Jane] is”), but also serves as a powerful deterrent to direct confrontation: while speaking up might solve the problem, it also has the distinct potential of making things a whole lot worse.
We imagine this workshop being divided into three parts: 1) Briefly educating participants about how bullying frequently manifests in academic departments and within their broader institutional settings 2) Using case studies to problem solve from a variety of perspectives (department chair; tenured professor; untenured professor; staff member; bystander; victim) and 3) engaging in a substantive exercise of collective brainstorming about what local and cross-institutional programs and initiatives (besides ‘going to HR’ which rarely works…and we’ll explain why) can be developed to support and empower individuals who are experiencing bullying or witnessing someone else struggling with it. In particular, we are interested in what interinstitutional support groups, reading groups, or consortium-wide ombudsman training program might look like. The concrete deliverables are yet to be determined but we can imagine using the resources and materials collected in the research, planning, and presentation stages of this project to create an educational module that individuals and departments can use for training purposes.
Proposed ACS Summer Reading Groups
Proposed Reading Group 1
Book: Being Human in STEM: Partnering with Students to Shape Inclusive Practices and Communities
Authors: Sarah L. Bunnell, Sheila S. Jaswal and Megan B. Lyster
Facilitators: Dr. Kristen Cecala, Acting Dean of the Environment, Associate Professor of Biology, and Kate Cammack, Director of Neuroscience Program, Professor of Psychology, both of Sewanee: The University of the South.
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: Students historically underrepresented in the sciences are far less likely to remain in STEM, declare a STEM major, and/or graduate with a STEM degree. HHMI-funded SLACs have shared effective strategies that promote retention and persistence within science programs, which include curricular innovations, inquiry-based learning, and cohort/community building. It is clear that how we structure students’ learning experience in our classrooms matters to students’ motivation and persistence.
The Being Human in STEM (HSTEM) Initiative aims to “empower students, staff and faculty to reshape their classrooms, labs and departments to create an inclusive and equitable STEM community that enables humans of all identities to thrive and flourish.” Specifically, it provides valuable frameworks and models for students, faculty and staff to understand and navigate diverse identities in STEM classrooms, labs, and beyond. We believe HSTEM is a powerful way to explore pedagogical practices that promote STEM inclusion, belonging, self-efficacy, and science identity.
Proposed Reading Group 2
Book: Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
Author: Martha C. Nussbaum
Facilitator: Dr. David Wood, Associate Professor of Spanish, Millsaps College
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: I find this book persuasive and motivating. It describes pedagogical practices and applications while addressing declining interest in the academic humanities and weaknesses in our current democracy. Nussbaum’s arguments have not only become valuable tools in defending the humanities against university administrators and hostile politicians but equally important in reminding me to create a more dynamic, student-centered classroom through a rediscovery of classical pedagogy via Socrates, Rabindranath Tagore, and John Dewey.
Proposed Reading Group 3
Book: The Prepared Leader: Emerge from any Crisis More Resilient than Before
Authors: Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten.
Facilitators: Alison Marr, Professor of Mathematics, Southwestern University and Della Dumbaugh, Professor of Mathematics, University of Richmond
Need: This group is now full.
Description: The next crisis might be here now, or it might be around the corner. In The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before, two history-making experts in crisis leadership―James, dean of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Wooten, president of Simmons University―forcefully argue that the time to prepare is always.
Proposed Reading Group 4
Book: Writing with Pleasure
Author: Helen Sword
Facilitators: Kylie Korsnack, Assistant Director of Teaching and Scholarship Hub, University of Richmond and Kitty Maynard, Director of Teaching and Scholarship Hub, University of Richmond
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: Helen Sword’s recent Writing with Pleasure (2023) takes on a difficult task: “to recuperate pleasure as a legitimate, indeed crucial, writing-related emotion”. Based on interviews and stories collected from academics all over the world, Sword advocates for cultivating writing practices that engage writers across five dimensions: social, physical, aesthetic, creative and emotional. Using Sword’s text as our guide, this reading group aims to bring together faculty and staff who support faculty development at ACS campuses to think together about how to help ourselves and our colleagues (re)discover motivation, passion, and confidence in writing and scholarship. For those of us who teach undergraduate writing courses, we may also discover new tools and strategies for helping our students find motivation and enjoyment in the writing process.
Pending the interest and availability of the group, we plan to meet biweekly throughout the summer for a total of 5-7 meetings. In each of our meetings, we will discuss a section of Writing with Pleasure, and then try out 1-2 of the book’s principles during a prompted, communal writing session. In short, we will test Sword’s formula for writing with pleasure by enacting her principles and practices on ourselves. In our final session, we’ll reflect on what we learned and how we might take these lessons back to colleagues at our respective institutions. Along the way, we’ll assemble our discussion questions, writing prompts, and reflection suggestions into a reader’s guide for group discussion.
Proposed Reading Group 5
Book: Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Climate Crises
Author: Bryan Alexander
Facilitator: Dr. Brandon Inabinet, Professor of Communication Studies and 2022-2023 Affiliate Faculty for Sustainability Coordinator, Furman University
Need (Updated): This group is now full.
Description: I come at this from the confluence of two different hats I wear: first, as the affiliate faculty coordinator for the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities, considering how faculty serve as institutional resources and catalysts for best decisions about campus sustainability; and second, as the chair on the former Task Force on Slavery & Justice, about how the local community sees a college in terms of environmental justice for local minority populations. So, in addition to the same obligations as all higher education regarding climate change, I believe southern institutions have a special role to play in conversations of rural and minority risks of pollution and climate crisis. Doing so, especially at predominantly white institutions, is tricky and involves careful self-reflection that I think this book will allow us to do, as it reflects on “town-gown” under the pressure cooker.
Proposed Reading Group 6
Book: The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom
Author: Eddie R. Cole
Facilitator: Andy Coe, Associate Director, Internship Office, Furman University
Need: 7 participants
Description: The Campus Color Line illuminates how the legacy of academic leaders’ actions continues to influence the unfinished struggle for Black freedom and racial equity in education and beyond.
Pathways to Diversity – Shaping Histories of Desegregation
June 19 – June 20, Centre College (in-person event). (funded via a subgrant)
The stories shared are the narratives believed. This project invites library archivists and faculty of art, anthropology, history, political science, race and ethnic studies and more to learn the strategy, the tools, and the multi-media technique from librarians and faculty who have been doing this work at Centre College, Rollins College, Washington & Lee University, and Furman University since 2018. We especially seek colleagues from Birmingham Southern, Centenary, Davidson, Hendrix, Millsaps, Morehouse Sewanee, Southwestern, Spelman, Rhodes, Trinity, and University of Richmond. Learn more.
Register directly! https://library.centre.edu/pathways-workshops/join Note: there is no cost to the workshop other than possibly some part of your travel – including a lodging subsidy, meals, and small travel subsidy.