Weather Watch

Seattle University is open. Please check here or our social media sites for any updates.

Center for Faculty Development

Current Events

One of our goals as a Center is to engage SU faculty in conversation around the deeper questions of academic practice, based on national and international research into higher education. Events are open to all SU faculty.

Faculty Writing Groups
Wed, Oct 5 | 12:30-1:30 | Student Center 130 | Lunch provided
Co-sponsored by ORSSP

The “research on research” gives us good evidence on what helps faculty progress with their research, and in response, we’ve been launching Faculty Writing Groups since 2007. These groups provide you with camaraderie and accountability to achieve more in your scholarship. And they are intentionally interdisciplinary so that you remain the expert in your own field throughout.

By the end of this session, you will be grouped with two or three other colleagues from across campus and will be ready to meet with your group independently and regularly to help you achieve more in your research – and with less stress.

Full details on Faculty Writing Groups are on our website here.


Canaries in the SU coalmine? International students and a thriving classroom
Tue, Oct 11 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Wed, Oct 12 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by David Green
Co-sponsored by the Office of Global Engagement

Fifteen percent of SU’s students are international, according to our latest figures (fall 2015). Their presence brings opportunities to encourage understanding and communication across cultures, but the reality in the classroom can often feel very different.

We hear concerns that class dynamics noticeably shift as the proportion of international students increases; in last year’s campus climate survey, 20% of students reported experiencing tension in classroom discussions that they felt was specifically due to the international status of some class members. In addition, bringing international and US students together for group tasks and projects can pose challenges for both sets of students – and for their professors.

Yet while it is tempting to see international students as a group with unique issues, they have more persuasively been likened to “canaries in the coalmine” of higher education, alerting us to potential issues in our classes that other students could also find challenging (Ryan & Carroll, 2005). 

In this workshop, we draw on the research and on our own experiences at SU to explore what these “canaries” might be telling us about our classes and how we might make adjustments – whether subtle or substantial – to cultivate the kinds of culture where all our students feel welcomed and heard, and where everyone is learning.

(In winter, we are running a follow-up workshop on international students and writing.)


Mastering academic time management
Tue, Oct 18 | 12:30–1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
NCFDD Presenter: Mindi Thompson; SU Hosts: David Green & Jacquelyn Miller

New faculty members commonly describe:

  • Working long hours but making little progress on their research and writing
  • A sense of loneliness that stems from limited mentoring and community
  • Feeling unsupported in their desire for work-family balance and without the skills to achieve it
  • Wondering whether the academic path is the right career choice

This webinar is specifically designed to address these issues and provide participants with concrete skills to successfully transition from graduate student to professor. Specifically, participants will learn:

  • The three biggest mistakes that new faculty make in managing their time
  • Why and how to align work time with institutional and personal priorities
  • How to create time for academic writing and research
  • How to organize a network of support and accountability for writing productivity and balance


Designing writing assignments that work for your course, your students’ learning, and you
Wed, Oct 19 | 12:30–1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Dr. June Johnson Bube (Core Writing Consultant and Director of Writing Studies)
Co-sponsored by the University Core

  • Have you ever been inspired by an idea for a writing assignment but then had reservations about how it furthered your course goals?
  • Have you ever given a writing assignment in class and then received emails from puzzled students asking for clarification?
  • Have you ever read a set of papers and discovered that only a few students in the class were prepared for the complexity of the writing tasks you had given them?

Creating effective writing assignments is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching and is closely related to the University Core curriculum’s emphasis on encouraging students to become competent, flexible academic writers.

Effective writing assignments stimulate students’ learning and creative/critical thinking and result in papers that are interesting for you to read and grade. 

In this workshop we’ll consider the challenges of designing writing assignments and will discuss the features of best practices according to the research on student writing. The second half of the workshop will offer you the opportunity to share and receive feedback on a writing assignment you are using this year in a Core class you are teaching.

Please bring two copies of one of your writing assignments.



Sowing the seeds of inquiry: The whys and hows of faculty–student research
Tue, Oct 25 | 12:30–1:50 | Student Center 130 | Lunch provided
Facilitated by David Green
Co-sponsored by ORSSP and SUURA

Have you considered involving students as research partners, but are not sure how to achieve the best results? Or, are you curious about the benefits of faculty-student research for both you and your students?

Working on a research project with a faculty member has been found to be a “high-impact educational practice” (Kuh, 2008) for students, accelerating the development of important critical thinking and practical disciplinary research skills. Involving students in your research can also impact a faculty member’s research agenda in new and exciting ways as well increasing your productivity level by having a built-in accountability partner and someone with whom to share the workload.

While faculty–student research has been more prominent in the sciences, other disciplines across campus have also developed ways to work with students that ensure a best practices approach. So how do these practices look and what can we learn from our colleagues who are already engaged in this work?

In this panel discussion with SU faculty from a variety of fields, you’ll have opportunity to learn how you can nurture the skills of inquiry by creating joint faculty–student research projects of your own.


The short straw? Pros and cons of becoming a department chair
Tue, Nov 1 | 12:30–1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Jacquelyn Miller

Might your future involve a stint as a department chair or a program director? If so, do you look forward to taking on this role or dread it like the plague? In this frank Q&A discussion, you’ll meet a panel of former and current chairs and directors to discover what these roles entail and how they can contribute to the smooth functioning of your area and the university. Learn about some of the possible pitfalls and hidden pleasures of chairing to help you figure out whether, for you, this really would be the short straw or a rewarding opportunity.


Atmospheric pressure: Post-sabbatical strategies for successful re-entry
Wed, Nov 9 | 12:30–1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Jacquelyn Miller

Academic transitions, such as re-entering university life after a sabbatical, are often times of uncertainly and stress for faculty. Returning to one’s regular university routine following months of unscheduled freedom to focus on research, course redesign, and exploring new areas of interest can be jarring and sometimes daunting in terms of increased work expectations and social interactions with students and colleagues.

During this roundtable discussion, you will have an opportunity to reflect on this period of life and to share with others how you perceived your re-entry transition as well as offering some of the professional and personal strategies that enabled you to make this transition meaningful and productive. You’ll also be able to make suggestions about the kinds of pre- and post-sabbatical faculty development work that would ease your experience next time around.