Pew FTLC: Early September 2023
Pew FTLC: Early September 2023
Grand Valley State University
Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center
September 7, 2023

Director's Note

There are no easy answers this semester. Or ever, right? Regardless of the question, challenge, or opportunity, I offer three strategies to consider:
Fumble forward.
I came across this teaching strategy in the wonderful edited volume, Picture a Professor: Interrupting Biases about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning. In their chapter, Donna Mejia describes Fumbling Forward as a way to encourage students to use the phrase "I'm about to fumble my words... to signal that ideas and opinions aren't yet fully formed. Classmates respond with an encouraging chorus of "Fumble Forward!" I appreciate this short video that describes this explicit approach to creating an environment of inquiry and collaboratively practicing intellectual humility.

AI is here and it will impact what we do. Let's learn and talk with one another.
Depending on your discipline and the courses that you teach, AI tools such as ChatGPT will sit differently. Rather than suggesting a one-size-fits-all syllabus statement this semester, I have sought to open up broadening conversations among faculty. I invite you to join conversation(s) throughout this semester. yes there will be snacks. In the meantime, please acquaint yourself with the tools, their origins as well as the varying perspectives and complex contextual considerations. I encourage you to try out some guiding language as part of your assignments, and above all, talk to your students.

Just One Thing.
In each mailing this year, I will be sharing one (small) thing that you can do in your classes to better support student success/achievement/transition/thriving/etc. beyond your course content. It's not to say that you aren't already doing these things, but I am suggesting that we all need to be all in. I will be drawing in part from this article: "The Ones that Care Make all the Difference": Perspectives on Student-Faculty Relationships.
  • Do more than teaching: awareness and promotion of resources
    • Faculty can absolutely influence the likelihood of student utilizing a campus support resource. Step one: Familiarize yourself with the array of available support resources at GVSU. I recommend bookmarking this site and then taking even a few minutes of class time to talk to talk about a resource, explaining its purpose and promoting its use. Additionally, the Pace Initiative for Connecting Mind and Health, ably led by Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow, Patty Bolea, has assembled a host of teaching-focused suggestions and resources: Supporting Student Health and Mental Health at GVSU. Part of what I find so exciting about the Pace Initiative is the way in which faculty and staff are partnering across departments around such a pressing issue. There is so much great work taking place on this campus and much for us all to learn about one another's work.

I look forward to our shared journey.
—Christine Rener
P.S. In addition to the wonderful collaborative learning opportunities below, I wanted to remind you that all faculty, staff, and graduate students have access to a range of NCFDD resources focused on academic career success, thriving and productivity. Two new resources to consider: the next 14-Day Writing Challenge, an opportunity to experiment with daily writing, online community, and supportive accountability (October 9–22; registration closes on October 3) and the Early-Career Faculty Guidebook (check out the list of 15 Biggest Mistakes New Faculty Make.)

Join an Faculty Mentoring Community!

Our Pew FTLC Mentoring Programs offers structured meeting opportunities to gather with colleagues and explore the multiple sources of guidance and connection available at GVSU for professional growth and development. An experienced faculty member serves as a mentor to groups of 6-10 faculty. Each session centers around topics that are top-of-mind for participants—meaning the content of each meeting is flexible and responsive to group members.
We have Mentoring Communities for First-Year-Faculty (FYF) which meet every other week this semester and Mentoring Communities for faculty beyond their first year through our Faculty-to-Faculty (F2F) program which meet once a month. Click the Mentoring Community titles below to learn more about a particular group. Register for a group via our Online Registration form.  Groups start meeting the week of September 18th so register by September 15, 2023.
Learn more about our Mentoring program by visiting our Mentoring Communities Webpage.
Register for a Mentoring Community

Fall 2023 Learning Communities are NOW OPEN and accepting members!

Looking for a way to connect with others this semester? Searching for community perhaps outside of your department? Interested in a restorative and fun way to engage in trending topics related to higher education, teaching, and learning?  Consider joining one of our Learning Communities! Open to all faculty and staff!
Learning Communities (LCs) bring faculty and staff together to foster a 1-2 semester-long conversation on a topic of mutual interest and encourages an application of the new knowledge gained. Each LC consists of a facilitator and a group of at least four faculty or staff.  Past participants consistently report this experience to be reenergizing, supportive, and just plain fun!  Below are just a few of the Learning Communities that are currently open and accepting new members.  You can view the complete list of open LCs by visiting our Current Learning Communities webpage.  
Apply today by submitting an LC application in our online grant system.
Have a topic you are passionate about and/or are interested in exploring further?  Propose an Learning Community for this semester or even next semester by submitting an online Letter of Intent.  Learn more by visiting our Current Learning Communities webpage.
Apply for a Learning Community Today!

Seeking Facilitators for Identity-Based Learning Communities

Inclusive excellence refers to cultures that establish and sustain environments that cultivate and benefit from a full range of talent. In academia, hidden benefits, structures, and implicit bias often limit the ability of individuals from marginalized groups to fully engage their talents. Furthermore, un-surveilled spaces, where faculty are able to candidly share their experiences in ways that are mutually beneficial, often do not exist. 
To elevate conversations on teaching and learning that advance agency, a sense of belonging and teaching competence, the Pew FTLC seeks learning community proposals and facilitators which bring people together around identity-based teaching conversations. These learning communities can meet over one semester or the academic year.
If you are interested, have questions, or need further information, please contact Dana Munk, Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow and Professor of Movement Science at

Access the Fall Conference Keynote Address Video

Did you miss the 29th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning featuring Dr. James M. Lang? Or perhaps you did attend but want to view the keynote address by Dr. Lang once more?  We've got you covered!
You can now access the recording of Dr. James M. Lang's keynote address, Teaching Distracted Minds: Old Challenges, New Contexts in which he encourages us to shift the focus to creating educational experiences that cultivate and sustain attention. GVSU network credentials are required for access.
View the Recording of Dr. Lang's Address

Dissertation Research Request:
Factors Affecting Technology Integration for Teachers at K-12, Adult Education, and Higher Education Institutions since Virtual Learning due to COVID-19

Dear Fellow Educator, 
Your participation is needed for a research study conducted by our team at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. We are asking instructors in the Midwest to complete a very short survey found at this link. Participants and their institutions will not be identified in the data collected. We know your time is valuable, but this study will not be possible without the participation of educators like yourself.
This study will use the responses from this survey to investigate
  • factors instructors perceive as affecting their level of technology integration,
  • how virtual learning, due to COVID-19, may have altered instructors' self-perceptions of their digital competence,
  • and perceptions of how institutions can improve the technology integration self-efficacy of instructors
If you have any questions about this study, contact one of the following researchers: Stephanie Collins -; Lisa Hollins -; Christina Northrup-Thompson - Or, contact the faculty advisor, Dr. Paulette Isaac-Savage - You may also ask questions or state concerns regarding your rights as a research participant to the Office of Research Administration at (314) 516-5897.
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