First Thursday presentations primarily focus on pedagogy, from introducing innovative teaching strategies and instructional technologies to understanding student development and diversities. These one-hour presentations are open to all faculty and include a complimentary lunch. Sessions are held in the Whitman Room (Ramsey Library) on the first Thursday of each month, from 12:00-1:00, unless otherwise noted.
Presentation topics from recent academic years are described below. Where possible, pdf versions of slides or handouts are provided. (Please note that you must be logged into your UNC Asheville gmail account to access google files.)
Fall 2018 First Thursday events focused on the theme of saving time:
- Saving Time with Specs Grading (9.13.18): Three members of the Spring 2018 learning circle on specs grading (Brian Graves, Shawn Mendez, and Melissa Himelein) discussed the philosophy of this innovative approach to evaluation and their experiences piloting it in classes.
- Saving Time with Instructional Technology (10.4.18): The CTL's instructional technology team (Laurie Miles, John Myers, and Anne Ogg) introduced time-saving digital tools, including videoconferencing, Chrome extensions, and Moodle gradebook features.
- Saving Time in Evaluating Writing Assignments (11.1.18): Faculty from all University divisions (Jessica Pisano, Elizabeth Porter, Ellen Pearson, and Oksana Love) shared their tips for evaluating student writing more efficiently and effectively.
Spring 2019 First Thursdays focused on the theme of student success:
- Implementing Student Success Strategies in the Classroom (2.7.19): Evelyn Chiang introduced the topic of student success, reviewing challenges currently experienced on our campus; Jackie Langille described field activities in geoscience classes and their positive impact on student engagement, learning, and affective qualities; Mark McClure discussed open educational resources, their financial benefit for students, and advantages they can provide for instructors; and Sally Wasileski provided an overview of a first-year seminar course she developed on the science of learning (Chem 178: The Science and Practice of Learning and Thriving in College).
- Implementing Student Success Strategies, Part II (3.7.19): Brad Petitfils, UNCA's new Senior Director of Advising and Academic Success, discussed the organization and initiatives of his office; Caroline Kennedy described AVID strategies she introduced in her LA 178 classes and students' responses to them; and Ameena Batada provided an overview of community-engaged "data-to-action" projects incorporated in health and wellness service learning courses.
Implementing Student Success Strategies, Part III (4.4.19): Michelle Bettencourt introduced the idea of incorporating mindfulness-based activities in language classrooms to assist students with anxiety about oral skills; Regine Criser discussed curriculum design strategies known to facilitate student success; and Tiece Ruffin demonstrated the use of collaborative strategic reading, a technique for enhancing students' reading comprehension (see references here).
"Instant" Accessibility: Small Changes, Large Effects (4.5.18): Evelyn Chiang (Psychology), Carolyn Ogburn (Academic Accessibility), Heidi Kelley (Sociology & Anthropology), Greg Boudreaux (Math), & Jessica Pisano (English/Writing Center) shared ideas for enhancing a course's accessibility. Based on Universal Design for Learning principles, these strategies can benefit all learners.
Open Textbooks: Can We Save Students Money Without Sacrificing Quality? (3.8.18): Scott Walters (Drama), Brian Graves (English), & Mark McClure (Math). Textbooks have been called the "second tuition" by students burdened with increasing costs of course materials. Could open texts (free and online) meet your needs? Faculty panelists discussed their experiences, and librarian Jon Morris introduced a related UNC System initiative.
Writing Instruction at UNC Asheville: How Can We Encourage Transfer across the Curriculum? (2.1.18): Brian Graves & Jessica Pisano (English). As both teachers and researchers of writing, Brian and Jessica shared findings from their recent study of faculty writing instruction practices and facilitated discussion about how faculty across the curriculum can work together to assist students in transferring first-year writing course concepts to subsequent writing experiences.
Engaging with Michelle Alexander’s Work (11.02.17): Patrick Bahls (Math, Honors), Reid Chapman (Education), & Elizabeth Porter (Economics). In preparation for Michelle Alexander's visit to UNC Asheville in January, 2018, Patrick, Reid, and Elizabeth shared ideas for introducing students to Alexander's work.
Writing Strategies for Faculty with No Time to Write (10.05.17): David Clarke (Biology), Melissa Himelein (Psychology, CTL), Erica Abrams Locklear (English), Leah Mathews (Economics), & Tracey Rizzo (History). A multi-disciplinary panel of faculty described strategies they have found helpful in making time for scholarship, ranging from scheduling solitary time or short daily sessions, to using deadlines to one's advantage, to organizing writing groups and collaborative research teams.
Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences in Science and Humanities (9.7.17): Eva Bares (Art & Art History), Mark Harvey (Psychology, Undergraduate Research), & Jen Rhode Ward (Biology). Mark described the benefits of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), considered a "high-impact" practice in undergraduate education; Jen shared how biology has successfully incorporated CUREs across the curriculum, and Eva presented her redesign of an art history course to be a CURE.
Facilitating Civil Discourse in Uncivil Times (CTL-sponsored Provost’s Forum, 9.9.16): Mirlesna Azor, Rick Chess, Anne Jansen, and Lorena Russell provided guidance to faculty whose course content includes discussion of challenging or politically-charged topics. Ideas for constructive management of diverse perspectives included the use of contemplative pedagogy, “leaning in” to discomfort, and encouraging critical thinking.
Building an Inclusive Classroom (10.6.16): Guest speaker Keith Woods, NPR’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, applied his experience strengthening diversity in journalism to consideration of equity in the college classroom. Co-sponsored by the Center for Diversity Education.
Why Educational Technology Works and Why It Doesn't (11.3.16): Guest speaker Michael Vaughn, an educational technology designer at Elon University, presented strategies for assessing the utility and benefit of innovative digital tools.
Inclusive Pedagogy: Reaching All Learners (2.3.17): Melissa Himelein and Evelyn Chiang provided an overview of inclusive pedagogy and some concrete strategies for teaching; Tiece Ruffin offered a perspective on responsive teaching and Universal Design for Learning principles.
Block Grant Blitz: Lightning Presentations from 2016-2017 Interdisciplinary Grant Teams (3.2.17): Final reports of Block Grant recipients are now posted here.
Inquiry ARC: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going? (4.6.17): Faculty, students, and members of the Inquiry ARC Assessment Team shared their perspectives about the successes of our campus Quality Enhancement Plan.
Innovative Technology Tools (9.3.15): Presentations by Anne Ogg, Laurie Miles, and John Myers (Teaching & Learning with Technology Resources). What’s new and different in instructional technology in higher education? Our TLTR team designed a workshop to demonstrate innovative tech tools and to assess your interest in using them, introducing options designed for teacher-student communication, content creation, active learning, and collaboration.
Liberal Arts Colloquium in Lightning Format (10.1.15): Materials from presentations by LA 178 instructors Jerad Crave, Regine Criser, Rodger Payne, Tracey Rizzo, & Lorena Russell (google file).
Diversity Pedagogy (11.5.15): Looking for new approaches to teaching about diversity? This “ideas exchange” featured brief presentations from faculty about an assignment or activity that they have found effective in their diversity-oriented or diversity-intensive courses, shared in a google file.
Impressions of Cuba: Opportunities and Challenges (2.5.16): Greta Trautmann (Modern Languages and Literatures) introduced COPLACuba, a December, 2015, COPLAC-sponsored faculty development program in Havana. Till Dohse (Mathematics) and Jennifer Rhode Ward (Biology), who participated in the trip along with 18 other COPLAC faculty, presented their experiences, and ideas for future COPLAC and UNC Asheville initiatives in Cuba were shared.
Mentoring Relationships (3.3.16): Dr. Cerise Glenn, associate professor of communication studies at UNC Greensboro and a UNC Asheville alum, discussed her research on mentoring relationships in academic environments.
Students in Distress: How Faculty Can Help (4.1.16): Karen Cole (Academic Advising), Jay Cutspec (Health & Counseling), Gabby Porcaro (Student Affairs Case Manager), and Sue Lipiec (Health and Counseling) discussed contemporary students' emotional challenges and offered advice about how faculty can best assist students in obtaining the coping resources they need.
Using Critical Thinking Tools to Teach about Diversity (9.5.14): Inquiry ARC faculty participants Ameena Batada, Lyndi Hewitt, and Lorena Russell demonstrated how the tools of critical thinking can be applied to classroom conversations about diversity.
Triggers in the Classroom: Join the Debate (10.2.14): Lori Horvitz, Lorena Russell, and Melissa Himelein provided background on the "trigger warnings" debate, offered examples from their classes, and shared recommendations.
Applying the Principles of Universal Design to College Classrooms (11.7.14): Guest speaker Barbara Levin, Professor of Education at UNC Greensboro, reviewed principles of Universal Design for Learning, educational practices that give all individuals - regardless of abilities or disabilities - equal opportunities for classroom learning.
Translational Science Education Research in the Classroom: From Theory to (Successful) Practice (2.5.15): Guest speaker Anna Hiatt, Assistant Professor of Biology, East Tennessee State University, described innovative teaching strategies in STEM classrooms.
Innovations in the Humanities Program (3.5.15) Kate Zubko, Coordinator of Humanities 124, explained recent updates in Humanities 124, including flipped classroom segments and a thematic approach.
Teaching Students to Respond to and Incorporate Sources in their Writing (4.16.15), Patrick Bahls and Deaver Traywick provided tips for helping students use references appropriately and thoughtfully in writing assignments.