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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.

Hear me out! Perspective-taking in the classroom and beyond
Tue, Jan 24 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Holly Slay Ferraro | Albers

Education is a collaborative experience. Yet think back on some of your educational experiences: As a student or faculty member, have there been times when you resisted sharing your opinion for fear of how others in the room would respond? Conversely, were there times when someone shared an opinion and you didn’t really listen because it was at odds with your own? Do you find this behavior replicated in  meetings or in other venues where the ostensible goal is learning and sharing?

You are invited to engage in a workshop on perspective-taking if the answer to any of these questions is “Yes, I’ve been in that classroom/meeting!” In this workshop, we’ll look at how identity impacts perspective-taking. That is, how might our values and how we want to be viewed by others get in the way of listening and speaking? We’ll also look at how asking questions helps us to better understand others and to be understood by them.

Finally, we’ll develop strategies to help students meaningfully exchange perspectives. Our goal is to better equip ourselves and our students to create inclusive classrooms where important discourse can happen.

Register (revised link)


Opening up another door to the classroom: Inviting our selves and our students into the authentic play of dialogue and research
Wed, Jan 25 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Jennifer Schulz | Arts & Sciences

As you walk through the door into your classroom, are you ever afraid of what Parker Palmer calls, “the judgment of the young?” Speaking in the voice of the students, Palmer fearfully imagines them thinking: “We are here only because we are forced to be here. So, whatever you have to do, get it over with, and let us get on with our lives” (from Courage to Teach 48). If this sounds familiar, now consider what your students imagine you are thinking about them.

The problem is that misperception becomes expectation, which gets in the way of genuine experience in the classroom. And how do we do lab research, analyze a poem, debate the sociology of media and political campaigns in a shared, exciting, and generative way - that is, “make something happen” - when we have such a short time in which to overcome these expectations?

This workshop offers an example of how to open that other door into your classroom through which expectations (and anxieties) can give way to present and creative experience.

Drawing from a growing body of research on the importance of attending to emotional (alongside intellectual and social) dimensions of learning in a college classroom as well as from phenomenologist Hans Georg Gadamer’s discussion of play and genuine dialogue, this workshop presents a framework for thinking about how to foster curiosity among students and between students and faculty. This culture of curiosity sparks, in turn, a collaborative approach to learning that is driven by listening, finding a shared language, and using this shared language to launch new discoveries: all crucial practices in the research process.

Come to this workshop ready to suspend critical thinking and analysis (at least for the moment) and engage in a process of creative play in which no one knows more than anyone else, in which we can’t predict what will happen, and in which we will all be in it together.

Register (revised link)

Moving beyond chalk and talk: Implementing project-based learning
Mon, Jan 30 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Katherine Raichle | Arts & Sciences

Do you sometimes wish that your students would be more motivated to engage with the course material? Are you struggling to identify how to deepen student learning of course content? Perhaps you are seeking new ways to bridge the gap between course content and application? 

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an effective pedagogical tool that has been shown to increase student engagement, motivation, application of course material, and enhanced critical thinking skills. Moreover, there is also evidence that PBL enhances instructor satisfaction of course delivery. 

What is PBL? PBL involves guiding students through a quarter-long project specifically aimed to further your students’ understanding of an identified discipline-specific challenge, content area, and/or skill. A PBL project could include addressing a real-world question within your field or furthering and deepening students’ understanding of a particular theoretical model, to name only a couple examples.  

By the end of this workshop you will:

  1. Better understand Project-based Learning (PBL),
  2. Better understand its pedagogical advantages,
  3. Cover an example of its implementation,
  4. Vet a class of your own that you would like to consider for PBL.  

Register (revised link)

Juggling the linguistic diversity ball: How focusing on the reading–writing connection creates instructional opportunity
Wed, Feb 1 | 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

Sometimes faculty teaching in the Core may feel as though we are juggling too many balls at once: delivering our content-rich Core courses; teaching to the Core’s complex learning objectives for our students’ growth as writers; and meeting the learning needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse students.

While all our students face the academic literacy challenges of managing hefty reading assignments with difficult vocabulary in preparation for writing in the disciplines, these challenges loom larger for our multilingual students. For us, juggling that third ball—that is, providing appropriate instructional help for these students—may feel daunting at times.

Research in writing across the curriculum and game-changing policy statements advocate a culturally sensitive, respectful pedagogy that rejects a difference-as-deficit model (focus on linguistic errors). To help us re-envision our task, scholar-teachers in second language writing offer useful instructional strategies. Perhaps the best news from this research is that, rather than increasing our instructional load, adapting teaching strategies for students working in a second or other language actually makes us more effective in teaching ALL of our students.

One main instructional strategy targets the reading–writing connection. As Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock write in Teaching L2 Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice (2014) “One cannot successfully teach writing without simultaneously teaching reading” (94). In this workshop, we will explore several of these instructional strategies: attention to the microskills of reading competency and focus on write-to-read and write-to-learn activities. Incorporating these strategies as part of your assignment scaffolding will benefit not only your multilingual students, but all of them.

Register (revised link)

Acknowledging settler-colonialism in the classroom
Thu, Feb 9 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey 517 | Lunch provided
Guest speaker: Prof. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Cal State East Bay)
Co-sponsored by SU's Indigenous Peoples Initiatives 

US policies and actions related to Indigenous peoples, although often termed "racist" or "discriminatory," are rarely depicted as what they are: classic cases of imperialism and a particular form of colonialism—settler colonialism. The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism, which forms its socio-political-economic foundation. The objective of US policies was to terminate their existences as peoples—not random individuals. This is the very definition of genocide in international law, and that policy remains in effect today. It is important for faculty to understand settler colonialism in order to deal with the attitudes that it gives rise to, namely an assumption of "white" supremacy, or more accurately, the supremacy of European and Euroamerican values and knowledge systems.

Register (revised link)

Before you press “Send”: Email strategies for professional and positive relationships with your students 
Tue, Feb 14 | 9:30-1:00 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Wed, Feb 15 | 9:30-1:00 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Bryan Ruppert | Albers

Email is an easy-to-use form of communication between faculty and students. We can email them and they can email us about any topic related to the course from anywhere and at any time of day—or night.

Yet how often do you feel that:

  • you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email from students?
  • you spend a disproportionate amount of time replying to an email that took a student only a few moments to send?
  • you agonize for far too long over how to phrase something in an email to a student?
  • you wish you could pull an email back after having hit “send?”

In this half-day workshop, we’ll look at what communication research and one instructor’s application of that research suggest are successful practices in email use in the Seattle University context. We’ll review emerging basic etiquette in professional email and explore how to apply this etiquette to our own context of emails to and from students. Together we’ll identify common themes in faculty–student email communication and draft email templates for recurring message types.

You’ll leave the workshop with a sense of when email can work for or against student learning and professional formation. Importantly, you’ll also see how you can reduce the time you spend in your inbox.

Register (revised link)

Future-proofing your career: NTT faculty in the driver's seat
Tue, Feb 21 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Wed, Feb 22 | 12:30-1:50 | Casey Commons | Lunch provided
Facilitated by Jacquelyn Miller

This roundtable discussion is specifically for non-tenure-track faculty, whether you are working full-time on a multi-year contract, teaching one or two courses a year, or any scenario in between.

How do you position yourself to flourish in a changing national higher education landscape? How do you maximize your talents and find your niche? Becoming “future-proof” means being aware of trends and being better able to position yourself when unexpected opportunities arise. It can bring you a sense of empowerment as you take a more mindful and strategic approach to your own career.

The purpose of this roundtable discussion is to share successes and strategies so that you will be better placed to create an action plan that will help you make your career in the academy more sustainable, meaningful, and rewarding.

Register (revised link)