Strengthening The Foundation of Academic Excellence

Spring 2014 Faculty Development Day
Strengthening Our Academic Foundation

Saturday March 22nd, 2014

New Castle Campus
Doberstein Admissions & Classroom Center (DAC)

The focused discussion sessions on academic quality held during Fall 2013’s Faculty Development Day produced a great amount of valuable feedback. Our instructors most commonly cited the following areas as ones that they would benefit the most from in terms of professional development opportunities:

  • Developing critical thinking skills and finding ways to encourage students to demonstrate critical thinking skills in their assessments
  • Supporting high expectations of student writing and creating writing assignments that connect course concepts to their professional applications
  • Improving communication of student grading policies and expectations
  • Understanding the outcomes assessment initiative at Wilmington University
  • Becoming culturally responsive to the ever changing student population that Wilmington University serves

The Spring 2014 Faculty Development Day will focus on this feedback and will feature a wide variety of workshops, workgroups and focused discussion in these identified areas. Our theme for the day will be Strengthening the Foundation of Academic Excellence. The goal for the day will be to take the conversation started during our last Faculty Development Day and continue to build upon what we have learned and the foundation of academic quality we have established.

Due to the positive feedback received regarding our recent modification to the day’s schedule, the Spring Faculty Development Day will once again begin with college meetings.  From there we will be holding a focused discussion session, which will be followed by the different workshop sessions listed below.  The workshop topics are categorized based on the target areas described above, and available times for each workshop are provided within their descriptions.  The day will end with Dr. James Wilson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, recognizing the instructors who have been promoted to adjunct professors. We will then have lunch and a prize drawing.

Agenda - Spring 2014 Faculty Development Day
8:00 am. – 2:00 p.m.


8:00 – 8:30

Sign in (lobby), Continental Breakfast (on 3rd floor)

8:30 – 9:30

College Meeting

9:30 – 9:40


9:40 – 10:40

Focused Discussion

10:40 – 10:50


10:50 – 11:50

Workshop Selection 1

11:50 – 12 Noon


12:00 – 1:00

Workshop Selection 2

1:00 – 2:00

Lunch (available on 1st and 3rd floors), University Updates, Promotion Announcements, and Raffle Drawings

Sessions Focused on Critical Thinking

Using Essential Questions to Drive Instruction (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Rachel Rudinoff, Ed.D., Adjunct Faculty.  There is often a misunderstanding of how Essential Questions are utilized within a unit and/or a lesson. This workshop will demonstrate how to design an appropriate essential question and how to use this essential question to create a meaningful lesson plan. Registration Full.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Developing Critical and Creative Thinking Competencies in the Classroom (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Robin Weinstein, Ed.D., Chair-Human Resources Management Program, College of Business.  This presentation will highlight the importance of integrating multiple disciplines in collegiate education models in preparing students for the future workforce. The presentation would focus on the need to integrate or “mash up” other disciplines and how to do it in the classroom. Registration Full.

Creativity in the Classroom towards Critical Thinking (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Jackie B. Cousin, Ed.D., Adjunct Faculty.  This critical thinking workshop session will focus on how instructors can include the use of internet video links in understanding the lessons and assignments in a Hybrid/Online/Face-to-Face course. Instructors will learn different examples of video links that can be included in their instructions and inspire critical thinking in their students. In addition, instructors will understand the importance of using different methods for explaining assignments by providing examples of videos that relates to the assignment. This workshop session will include having instructors participate in a simulated group exercise to demonstrate a classroom creative thinking method. Furthermore, this session will also be hands-on and interactive. Registration Full.

Embracing Critical Thinking, Enhancing Student Success (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Dawn Green, Adjunct Faculty.  This workshop will aid instructors in understanding the importance of critical thinking and how to apply it in the classroom. We will define what is critical thinking and why this skill is needed for our continually changing workplace and everyday life. Come and learn how to better position our students for success. Registration Full.

The Power of Questions (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by John Gray, Ed.D., Dean-College of Education.  Using EQs (Essential Questions) to organize a course or learning activity or class discussion is a hot topic among educators. This workshop will help participants answer such “essential” questions as … what are EQs, anyway?  Where do they come from?  How do they affect teaching and learning?  Should I use them? Registration Full.

Integrating Service-Learning into Student Learning (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Debra L. Berke, Ph.D., CFLE, Director, Psychology Programs- College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.   This workshop will discuss what service-learning is and how to incorporate service-learning into the college classroom. Attention will be paid to authentic assessments as well as formative and summative evaluation of the service-learning experience from the perspectives of learner, educator, and community partner.

Sessions Focusing on Student Writing

Term Paper: Meaningful Alternatives ( 10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Ciro Poppiti, III, Adjunct Faculty.  We are a real-world university, so shouldn’t we teach real-world writing techniques?  Our students won’t be writing term papers in their careers, but they will most certainly have to write effective emails and memos.  Serendipitously, by focusing classroom time on shorter writing projects, we can actually improve student proficiency.  This workshop focuses on alternatives to the term paper, whether teaching face-to-face or online.  We will delve into the classic 5-paragraph essay, explaining why it is such an important writing technique.  We will look at how to turn students from “reporting” facts to using facts to “prove” their theses.  A number of easy-to-apply tips will be shared, including a pro forma model that teachers can immediately implement.

Developing Critical Writing Skills (10:50 – 11:50). Presented by Johanna P. Bishop, Director Behavioral Science Programs, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Are you challenged with helping students improve their writing? Have you struggled to grade long term papers? Would you like suggestions for how to improve both? Learn how to give students meaningful feedback on their papers, identify compositional weaknesses that make student papers hard to read and grade, and identify types of writing assignments that will enhance concise writing, develop critical thinking, and connect your course content to enhance the student’s mindset.  This workshop will provide handouts that instructors can share with their students. Registration Full.

An Academic Writing Dilemma:  Misunderstood Instructions (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Liz Slater, Instructor Support Coordinator-College of Arts and Science.  The workshop identifies specific challenges in grading student writing and offers a take-away remedy for writing clear, easy to grade instructions for written assignments in all subject areas.

Strengthening Writing through Rigor and Student Engagement (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Portia N. Tyson, Adjunct Faculty.  This workshop session is designed to empower learners in any environment and serve as a strong foundation for establishing routines around writing. Afternoon Session Registration Full.

Motivating Students to Choose Success (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Debbie B. Taylor, Manager-Student Success Center and Adjunct Faculty.  The Student Success Center offers a wide range of services that help our students achieve academic success.  Whether they are incoming freshman, a returning adult student, a transfer student, or a graduate student, the SSC can provide our students with the support and resources necessary to achieve their goals.  Realize the power you have to inspire your students to choose success. Registration Full.

Sessions Focused on Outcomes Assessments 

Student Learning Outcomes – What Does it All Mean? (10:50 – 11:50).  Presented by Sheila Sharbaugh, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President, Academic Affairs.  Presentation of basic information concerning student learning outcomes and the outcomes assessment process at Wilmington University; including the role of the faculty in this important process.

I Can See Clearly Now the Pain is Gone: Demystifying the Outcomes Assessment Plan & Identifying the Obstacles in Your Way (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Rebecca Mattern Ghabour, Ph.D. Assistant Professor & Chair of Psychology, College of Social & Behavioral Science.  Each college at WilmU has a plan for measuring student learning. Similarly, each instructor has a plan for assessing the learning of their students. This workshop will focus on understanding the plan, the purpose, and the importance of assessing student learning outcomes at the college-level by comparing it to what you do within the context of your courses. We will identify and discuss the factors that may hinder the effectiveness of our measurement efforts and devise methods for removing these obstacles. You will have the opportunity to create an effective assignment and formulate ways to use the data to enhance the learning experience in your own classroom.

Sessions Focusing on Communicating Expectations and Grading

What are high academic standards and how do we convey this knowledge to our students? (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Stephanie Berridge Ed.D., Assistant Professor and Behavioral Science Program Chair-College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.   This workgroup will be a facilitated discussion of how we define high academic standards at WU and how we convey these standards and our expectations to students. The discussion will also cover how the standards are reinforced throughout a class and strategies for instructors when dealing with students who are not meeting the standards. Registration Full.

Grade Expectations and the Student Appeal Process (10:50-11:50).  Presented by James Wilson, Ed.D., Vice President-Academic Affairs.  This workshop will review Wilmington University’s grading policies and expectations for faculty, as well as explain the student grade appeal process.  This discussion will focus on how the university will support adjuncts through this process and explain how adjunct faculty can prepare themselves for a student grade appeal hearing. 

The Best Defense Is… (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Josh Simpson, Faculty Development Manager and Adjunct Professor.  This workshop will focus on providing strategies for defending our grading practices against student appeal.  Tips for using Blackboard reports to document student progress and justify scoring practices will be discussed.  Techniques for proper communication of grading criteria and expectations will be offered.  The information provided will apply to both face to face and online course formats. 

Grading Using the Rubrics Tool in Blackboard (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Mary Beth Youse, Instructional Technology Manager Online Learning & Educational Technology Department.  Utilizing the Rubric tool in Blackboard allows the instructor to be concise and consistent in grading. This workshop will show how easy it is to align the University’s grading schema for levels of achievement and a variety of criterion. Creating, associating, and grading with rubrics is easy and is often considered to be the most useful tool for interactive grading in Blackboard. Registration Full.

Sessions Focusing on our Student Population

Culturally Responsive Engagement Strategies(10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Taryn L. Roane, Adjunct Faculty. The Culturally Responsive Engagement Strategies workshop will introduce and explore Dr. Robert Marzano’s four questions to achieving high quality student engagement through the lens of culturally responsiveness.  Participants will interpret and apply engagement strategies and differentiated instructional practices, while reflecting on the four conditions necessary for cultural responsive teaching.

Ways to Use Group Work to Create a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Stephanie Winfree, Adjunct Faculty.  Belief systems and values tend to differ considerably among our students. Because of these differences racially, ethnically, socio-economically, physically, and in sex and gender, our learning styles also differ.  When students are able to determine how they wish to interpret an assignment or create an assignment from their own personal frame of reference, they become more vested in their learning process.  The use of group work has shown to be very effective in bridging gaps caused by cultural differences by promoting acceptance and respect for difference and enhancing interest in things unfamiliar to our own cultures and world views.  Group work is also a creative way to create a culturally responsive learning environment for all students. Afternoon Session Registration Full.

Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Julie D. Lanzillo, Ed.D., Adjunct Professor.  Regardless of the curriculum, discipline or academic level (undergraduate/graduate), the need to reach students at a cultural level that they can appreciate and understand is critical to the inclusion of each student and engagement of the entire classroom.

Collaborate Ka-Ching!: Making Communication with your Students Payoff (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Dean Davis, Classroom and Online Technologist, Online Learning and Educational Technology.  Blackboard Collaborate can be used in a number of ways to communicate with your students or have them communicate amongst themselves. It doesn’t matter what format your class is, the engagement level will increase when you use this tool. Learning Collaborate is simple, using Collaborate is rewarding. Registration Full.

Developing Academic All Stars—It’s a Team Effort! (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).   Presented by Linda M. Van Drie Andrzjewski, Director of Athletics and Assistant Professor and Clinton Robertson, Ed.D., Faculty Athletics Representative and Director-MBA Graduate Business Programs.  This workshop will give faculty members a better understanding of rules pertaining to student-athletes at Wilmington University, including their academic requirements.  Attendees will also gain a better understanding of the life balance our student-athletes face and methods the Athletic Department and Academic Advising are using to encourage student-athlete success in the classroom.

Responding to Troubled and Troubling Students (10:50 – 11:50) or (12:00 – 1:00).  Presented by Gary Donahue, Assistant Professor – College of Arts & Sciences and Coordinator of Students Issues/Concerns - Student Affairs; and Jack Cunningham, Ed.D., Assistant Vice President-University Safety..  In our efforts to provide for the needs of all students we are sometimes required to provide feedback to students who manifest inappropriate, disruptive, or disturbing behaviors.  This workshop will help instructor’s distinguish between a student who is overly challenging and a student who may be in crises. The workshop will provide specific strategies for responding to students who disrupt the learning environment, inappropriately respond to teacher direction/correction, or attempt to engage the instructor in an “email war”.  Additionally, knowing how to identify, confront, and care for students who appear to exhibit behaviors that raise questions about a student’s health or well-being will also be addressed.  This workshop will provide practical insights related to these concerns and also identify specific steps that can be taken when “feedback of a different kind” is needed. Registration Full.