Pew FTLC: Late March 2024
Pew FTLC: Late March 2024
Grand Valley State University
Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center
Grand Valley Marching Band sculpture
March 27, 2024

Director's Note 

Making (more) space for reflection. I made the mistake today of searching for the word "reflection" in my "Director's Notes" folder. I am simultaneously embarrassed and proud of how often I reference the act of reflecting on our work, both for ourselves and for students. While the contexts of my reflective suggestions have varied, the underlying theme of values alignment is clear. This past month, I have thought a lot about clarity of values and alignment of actions with our values. From the not-so-simple acts of living into our institutional values to the tentative glimpses at the Chronicle of Higher Education DEI Legislation Tracker, I am finding strength and focus by spending time talking and writing about my values. Am I alone? I truly appreciate how busy you all are, but I still encourage you to carve out even a few minutes a day for reflection, with a keyboard or journal. I would be curious to hear if the activity helps clarify paths of action for you, so don't hesitate to drop me a quick note. As I am wont to do, I offer two resources for inspiration: (1) Reflection Toolkit, University of Edinburgh and (2) The Reflection of Values: A Response to Toni Morrison, a beautiful piece from which I will borrow the statement, of course we teach values. 

There's an app for that. We are in a season of abundant events, celebrations, and learning opportunities. The notice today about Mental Health Screening Day (Thursday March 28) reminded me that we have access to a superbly helpful app, GV Mental Health, providing faculty and staff with a mobile mental health guide. I encourage you to explore the "I have a student I am concerned about" area as well as the Classroom Techniques and Campus Resources sections. On a related note, a dedicated group of faculty and staff are hard at work as part of our Pace Initiative for Connecting Mind and Health incorporating topics of well-being, health, and mental health into courses and campus programs. I continue to be inspired by their work to ensure that academic learning becomes aligned with growth and development of the whole person in and out of the classroom. On the subject of apps, I have been reflecting (🙂) with my team on the ways in which we engage in shared and individual work. Three apps that I lean heavily on are Microsoft To Do, Microsoft OneNote, and Pomodoro Focus Timer. I acknowledge that there are many approaches to collaboration, personal productivity, intentional plugging in and purposeful unplugging. I would be curious to learn your favorite approaches and if you are interested in the Pew FTLC hosting a session or two on this topic. I would love to hear from you. 

Take good care,
—Christine Rener
This two-day workshop will help faculty create International Virtual Exchange (IVE) projects for their courses in the 2024-25 academic year. It will cover IVE models, showcase success stories, and offer guidance on integrating global learning into classrooms. Participants will learn from experienced faculty, explore tools, address challenges, and discuss finding teaching partners. The workshop will include hands-on project design sessions led by experts. No prior IVE experience or identifying partners is necessary, just an interest in virtual exchange. 
Register Here for the Two-Day International Virtual Exchange Workshop

Our Minds that Matter Series Returns! 

GVSU, like many universities, faces increasing challenges with students' mental health and learning differences. While campus services help, faculty can enhance support in their courses. The Minds That Matter series will enable faculty to delve into these issues, using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to develop teaching strategies and course designs that promote student success.
Register Here for the Minds that Matter - Understanding Autism Session

Only Two Webinars Remain!

Join us for the third session of this four-part webinar series! Hosted by AAC&U and led by José Antonio Bowen and C. Edward Watson, their expert knowledge of teaching with AI will help higher education professionals understand the current AI landscape and prepare for a new era of human learning.
Faculty and staff are welcome to register for both remaining webinars or just the one that interests them. The remaining dates and topics are:
April 1st: Assignments and Writing
April 8th: AI to Improve Classes and Courses

And Don't Forget: 
For every session you join, your name is entered into a raffle to win a copy of Teaching with AI: A Practical Guide to a New Era of Human Learning (Johns Hopkins University Press, April 2024).
Register for the AAC&U Teaching with AI Webinar Series Here
Are you teaching first-year students and discovering the unique challenges and supports required for new students?
Pew FTLC still has two remaining sessions of our Strong Start Light Lunch Series, where we will discuss these topics with colleagues to discover strategies to get these students off to a strong start. Drinks will be provided.

Join Us:
The following Tuesdays 1:00  2:00, JHZ (Zumberge) 3068:
April 9: The Fundamental Things Apply
May 7: Topic T.B.A.

While sessions are most relevant to faculty teaching and working with first-year students, ALL are welcome to join. Each session focuses on a different topic related to giving students a Strong Start at Grand Valley, so please register for both remaining sessions or just the one that interests you. 

Please RSVP by emailing

Partner Events You Won't Want to Miss!

From Surviving to Thriving: Taking Blackboard Ultra and Microsoft 365 to the Next Level 
Facilitated by eLearning Technologies
Monday, May 13, 2024 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM in Seidman 1008
In May 2024, Grand Valley will celebrate the first anniversary of our Bb Ultra migration. In the ongoing efforts to support faculty with the transition to Ultra, our friends at eLearning Technologies are excited to announce a half-day event on May 13, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in SCB 1008 (Seidman College of Business conference room).  
Register Here for From Surviving to Thriving: Taking Blackboard Ultra and Microsoft 365 to the Next Level
Save the date
Personnel Portfolio Workshop (Spring 2024)
April 29–May 31, 2024
New Faculty Orientation
August 7, 8 and 9, 2024
30th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching and Learning
August 15, 2024

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