Pew FTLC: Early April 2022
Pew FTLC: Early April 2022
Grand Valley State University
Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center
April 7, 2022

Director's Note


Things have changed

Compassion fatigue. Outsized emotional labor. Lack of student engagement. If it is all helpful, know that you are not alone. Students and faculty continue to struggle with energy, focus, memory, hope, and physical and mental health. Here are two recent pieces about the challenges of our current time: A “Stunning” Level of Student Disconnection and Why Am I So Tired: Reflections on Compassion Fatigue. Both name some helpful strategies, but the reality is that right now is really hard for our students and for us. You are putting in a ton of effort to engage and support your students. You are seen. Your work is more important than you can know, so please keep trying to buoy students, taking yet another deep breath of patience, and checking in on one another. It all matters.  

Relationships. I have used that term a lot this year and will continue to do so. A recent Faculty Focus blog post reminded me of the newish book, Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College. Keep this one in mind for a summer reading list. The book reminded me very much of what is special about a GV education. Looking to scan for strategies you can implement right now? An important and practical new article from my colleague Floyd Cheung provides actionable steps to engage students in the classroom: Five Techniques for Better Class Discussions. For those looking to go a bit deeper, I offer: Engaging Students at a Deeper Level. This latter piece resonated with me in part because I was in three separate conversations last week where the need to closely examine one’s own values was mentioned. 

Things are changing. 

Here comes the hard(er) part. We need to take a fresh look at the ways we are designing and delivering our curricula. In some instances, it may be time to do more than just tinker around the edges, but to truly work from the ground up to develop new ways to engage students, to convey relevance, and to ensure equitable outcomes. I appreciated The Redefinition of Rigor that draws a helpful distinction between courses that are intellectually challenging and those that are logistically challenging. As I have stated before: We don’t teach content, we teach people. Who those people are is changing, and it is really on us to step back and challenge our assumptions about what students need, what they already know, and how they see themselves contributing to a better world. There are a few opportunities this summer to do this kind of work, in community with colleagues across the university. Maybe the banner of “inclusive teaching” doesn’t quite resonate with you, but I am here to tell you that what is addressed in the GV faculty-led Inclusive Excellence Teaching Institute and the online modules of the ACUE Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning is very much in line with addressing the current and future needs of our students and to living our value of being a student-centered, student-ready institution. Students are not single stories, but there are some solid approaches to better understanding students’ realities and designing impactful educational experiences. Not exactly sure what this might look like in your classroom? Here is a great example out of biology that is easily translatable to other disciplines: Structure Matters: Twenty-One Teaching Strategies to Promote Student Engagement and Cultivate Classroom Equity

I welcome further conversation on any of these topics. I have some ideas for how the Pew FTLC can support your “What Now?” work this summer, but I also invite your suggestions. In our next mailing, I will share additional summer opportunities, more about moving even further outside of comfort zones, and address both the benefits and challenges of the “ungrading” movement. There is a growing group of GV faculty rethinking approaches to grading and designing more authentic assessments of student learning. I find it truly inspirational and thrilling. 

– Christine Rener


P.S. This semester, we are piloting a faculty writing circle in response to calls for greater scholarly writing support and we do plan to expand this program in the coming year. In the meantime, please consider joining an upcoming 14-day Writing Challenges available free through our NCFDD institutional membership. The next offerings take place June 20-July 1 and October 17-28. 

Spring 2022 Personnel Portfolio Workshop
May 2—June 3, 2022

This workshop is designed to support faculty members preparing for any personnel review in 2022-2023; pre-tenure review, tenure, or promotion. Working with an assigned faculty member and a small group of peers, participants will compose their Personal/Reflective Statement and, as time permits, prepare other supporting materials for their portfolio in accordance with their college and unit personnel policies.
This multi-week writing-intensive workshop incorporates virtual large group meetings, virtual or in-person one-on-one meetings with your assigned mentor in which you will receive individualized feedback, virtual or in-person small group meetings in which you will give and receive peer feedback, two optional in-person writing days per week and self-study.
This is a four-week workshop that starts on May 2, 2022 and wraps up on June 3, 2022. Registrants are expected to attend all sessions.  Limited to 23 facultyLearn more and register in Sprout.
REGISTER for the Spring 2022 Personnel Portfolio Workshop

Are you an OER or ZCM user/advocate?

Are you using Open Educational Resources (OER) in your teaching? Have you replaced an expensive textbook with materials that have zero cost for students? The University Libraries would love to hear from you!
We're gathering information about the use of OER and other Zero Cost Materials (ZCM) as alternatives to traditional, commercially-published textbooks or coursepacks. If any of your courses in the 2021-2022 academic year use OER and/or ZCM instead of a conventional textbook, please respond to our survey on OER/ZCM use. By sharing information about your practices, you will help us assemble a more accurate picture of OER/ZCM use at GVSU, including estimated savings for Lakers. Your response may also shape future efforts to recognize faculty using OER/ZCM.
If you have any questions or wish to learn more about OER/ZCM, visit the Accelerating OER Initiative webpage or contact Matt Ruen, ruenm@gvsu.edu.

Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning Micro-Course
Starts May 16, 2022

GVSU is committed to instructional excellence and is excited to offer faculty our another professional learning opportunity!
Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning, an ACUE (Assocaition of College and University Educators) micro-course, begins on May 16, 2022 and will explore the following:
  • Managing the Impact of Biases
  • Reducing Microaggressions in Learning Environments
  • Addressing Imposter Phenomenon and Stereotype Threat
  • and more!
Learn more and register by visiting our ACUE Mini Courses for Faculty webpage.

Inclusive Excellence Teaching Institute (Virtual)
May 13, May 27, & June 10

Inclusive teaching involves a deliberate effort by faculty to create a learning environment that attends to and supports the needs of students with a variety of backgrounds, learning interests, and abilities. Inclusive pedagogical strategies shape the dynamics in teaching-learning spaces, affect individual's experience in those spaces, and influence course and curriculum design. 
The Inclusive Excellence Teaching Institute (IETI) is specifically designed to provide Affiliate and Tenure-Track faculty at all ranks with a transformative space to learn and strategize about inclusive excellence in teaching and learning. The Institute will encourage an atmosphere of cultural humility through the examination of social identity and bias. Motivational frameworks, barriers to learning for diverse student learners, and proactive strategies will also be introduced.
Learn more by visiting our Upcoming Events webpageLimited to 12 participants. 
Register for the Spring 2022 IETI today!

Apply for one of these Sponsored Teaching and Learning Event Grants TODAY!

Teaching Professor Conference
June 3–5, 2022 in Atlanta, GA

This large conference focuses squarely on teaching and is of interest to new and experienced faculty of any discipline. Here are a few highlights:
  • Plenary with Tracie Marcella Addy, Inclusive Teaching: A Pathway Towards Liberation in Higher Education
  • Plenary with Stephen Brookfield, You Can Do This Imperfectly or Not At All: The Dynamics of Teaching Race
  • Concurrent sessions and preconference workshops in tracks such as: (1) student engagement, (2) assessing learning, (3) online teaching and learning, (4) diversity, equity, and inclusion, (5) teaching in the health sciences, (6) teaching specific student populations, (7) instructional vitality.
We are sponsoring 10 faculty to attend. Application deadline is April 18, 2022. Apply via our online grants system.

Reacting to the Past Summer 2022 Conference
June 13–16, 2022 in Boulder, CO

Reacting to the Past (RTTP) consists of elaborate role-playing games informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. In order to "win," students must learn content deeply, write effectively, read closely, speak persuasively, think critically, conduct library research, collaborate, solve problems, and be creative. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. RTTP games are used in numerous disciplines, from STEM to Women's Studies, and range from Athens 406 BCE to Title IX.
The theme for this Summer 2022 Conference is Renewal in honor of a return to face-to-face learning (with precautions of course). Attendees can choose from two games out of seven, or opt for a special workshop track aimed at preparing newbies to teach with Reacting. Learn more by visiting the RTTP Conference website.
We are sponsoring 5 faculty to attend. Application deadline is May 31, 2022. Apply via our online grants system.
Fall 2022 New Faculty OrientationAugust 10, 11, & 12, 2022
28th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching and LearningAugust 24, 2022
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