Feature Article

June Faculty Success Story: Faculty Development Day - The Ultimate Faculty Success Story!

This year CTLA’s monthly newsletter will feature the stories of individuals or faculty groups who have had successful outcomes after engaging with CTLA; if you have a success story to share, please contact ctla@apu.edu.

Every year faculty rise to the occasion to provide, for each other, a fabulous, one-day mini conference around teaching and learning. This year, with the theme of “Grow,” there were faculty panels, scholarly presentations, teaching-learning round tables, cross-disciplinary collaboration, cool technology displays, collegial networking, great food, live music, and raffles galore!. If you missed it, we captured photos, recorded sessions, and the presenters’ materials, all on the CTLA FDD website.

New this year to FDD was a special track, focused on The Classroom of the Future, co-sponsored by the Office of Innovative Teaching and Technology (ITT) and the Office of Information and Media Technology (IMT). This track provided faculty and the larger community an opportunity to interact with technology professionals from major vendors and to learn about some of the latest trends that are shaping the classroom of the future. Through five different vendor-sponsored workshops, faculty learned about wireless display technology, digital textbooks, smartboards, immersive workstations, and lecture capture. Moreover, faculty had opportunities to interact with ITT and IMT professionals about resources from respective offices.

Faculty Development Day in Review

  • Number of workshops: 20
  • Number of presenters: 37
  • Number of departments or offices represented across presenters: 29
  • Number of attendees: approximately 156
  • Number of text book, subscriptions, gift cards raffled: 25

What Faculty Said About FDD (anonymous feedback from survey)

“Great workshop sessions - wonderful to hear on a variety of topics from colleagues. I also like the lunch with music - a chance to see and spend unstructured time with people I don't get to see all that often. I like the classroom of the future as a way to continue to get faculty colleagues to be thinking about shifting up their classroom practice to meet current student needs and trends.”

“It was a very full day - but one that I enjoyed immensely and was able to get a variety of new ideas. Thank you!”

“I love FDD as a whole and the fact that we as faculty have an opportunity to come together across disciplines to discuss teaching. It's an event that I look forward to attending every year.”

“Keep up the great work supporting faculty and bringing them together!”

May Faculty Success Story: Faculty Success with Learning Assessment Techniques (LATs)

During this academic year, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment disseminated a weekly Learning Assessment Technique (LAT) in hopes that these educational resources would assist faculty with assessing student learning in their courses. This month we are pleased to share 7 faculty success stories on the impact the LATs had on their teaching and on student learning.

Learning Assessment Techniques Stories from APU Faculty:

Richard Barsh, Ed.D. - Teacher Education, Murrieta Regional Center

“I was introduced to an LAT strategy entitled "3-2-1 Response" at new faculty orientation. The strategy asks students to read a text/chapter and respond with "3 main ideas, 2 questions regarding the text, and 1 idea for application." My students use the "blog" forum in Sakai to post their "3-2-1" responses. Students then come to class to share out their responses in pairs or small groups, with the idea of collaborating to answer questions and consider "best practices" for implementation. Afterwards, we debrief about final thoughts and answer any lingering questions. This LAT strategy has assisted in helping students to interact with their reading, while encouraging authentic learning and teaching experiences between peers.”

Ann Bradley, Ed.D. - Teacher Education, Orange County Regional Center

“I recently introduced the LATs to my Foundations of Education class. In this class students learn the fundamentals of planning lessons and assessments appropriate for the diverse student populations they can anticipate finding in their own classrooms when they finish their credential work. One of our primary objectives is to train new teachers to incorporate a variety of assessments so they can collect student mastery levels during a lesson instead of waiting until afterwards to find out that their students "just didn't get it"! After learning about diagnostic, formative, and summative evaluations, I had my students each choose one of the LATs, incorporate it into one of their current lesson plans, present it to their peers, and lead a discussion on how it might be utilized across grades levels and disciplines. By providing them with the LATs, the discussions were far richer because they built upon clear evaluation models. New teachers were able to create and use a wider variety of tools to assess student readiness and progress and to do so in ways that were far more interesting for their students. My students enjoyed learning to use the tools in a variety of ways and I found the LATs a good reminder (to even an experienced teacher) that better student engagement leads to more reliable information about who is struggling and what concepts need to be modified or retaught. Incorporating these simple tools really helped to illustrate the ease with which we can create engaging and informative assessments that help students and teachers alike.”

Jane Tawel, M.F.A. - English

“I have used in several ways the Dramatic Dialogue suggestions from the November 2016 LAT email. This again is something that students at first might balk at or not see as productive for a “grade,” and yet it is often the way they best and most fondly remember ideas, characters, conflicts or topics. I also like the fact that it is a very “Socratic” way of learning. Students learn by creating and extrapolating for themselves and beyond not being as boring as listening and taking notes from me all the time, it involves several different learning styles and draws on unique capabilities of students. The dramatic dialogue presentations in my APU class revealed a much deeper level of understanding and comprehension of key ideas than any test could have done – and the students had a blast doing them. Honestly, the LAT emails I get from CTLA are a major reason I am so glad I still have my APU account even though I am off this semester.”

Scott Bledsoe, Psy.D - Graduate Psychology

“I implemented the Learning Assessment Technique, Role Play, in my Cultural Diversity class, and the course is designed to help students understand the interaction of culture and psychotherapy. One of the course textbooks featured in-depth diversity-based narratives, so before class I assigned half the class to read one story (Chapter 5) while the other half read another narrative from Chapter 8. I divided the activity into three 10-minute segments and provided room for discussion afterwards. For the first segment, the students who had read Chapter 5 sat together, compared notes and discussed “talking points” about the story they’d read, while those assigned to Chapter 8 did the same in another part of the classroom. For Part 2, students arranged themselves into dyads consisting of one “Chapter 5” and one “Chapter 8” student; and conducted mock therapy interviews in which each “Chapter 5” student role played the “therapy client,” and their “Chapter 8” partner acted as therapist. For the final segment, the roles were reversed (Chapter 8 students became the clients), and a similar mock session was conducted. Upon completion, I gave students ample time to debrief in pairs and after a break, we discussed the activity as a class. As an assessment measure, students were then given a homework assignment in which they reflected on their in-class work as therapist and client, and discussed the impact of the activity on their understanding of cultural diversity. The role play exercise was ultimately very successful and many students offered consistently positive feedback about their experiences.”

Rick Sturdivant, Ph.D. - Engineering and Computer Science

“I have found the Learning Assessment Technique (LAT) emails from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment to be useful for student learning. When I receive the LAT emails, I can get the main point in just about 30 seconds or less and determine if there is something I can or should implement in my classes. For instance, I figured I could use the Entry Tickets (Nov 1st, 2016) method in my astronomy class. For this method, prior to students arriving to class for a new learning module (which is weekly for this class), they must answer a few Sakai questions about the material covered that week. This allows me to assess student learning from the assigned reading and to better understand how well prepared students are for the new learning module. Using this method also means that students have done at least some thinking about the material for that week. I do not have time for a detailed read of every LAT email I receive, but I am thankful to have a stream of useful tools that keep me thinking about how to improve student learning. If you take just a few short moments to read the LAT emails, I am sure you will agree it is worth it.”

Jeremiah Kitchel, M.A. - Communication Studies

“The LAT article on Fact or Opinion provided a helpful and affirming resource which I used in my Comm 305 Writing for Communications class. At this moment in time when trust in the media is reportedly at an all-time low, according to a recent Gallup study, it is imperative for communication students to understand the difference between opinions and facts. A quick survey of today’s “news”-- in its various electronic and print forms—provides plenty of grist for students to dissect language and then discuss their findings to better understand the difference between what’s factual and opinion-slanted content.”

Joshua Rasmussen, Ph.D. - Philosophy

“I was delightfully intrigued when I first discovered the learning tips from Learning Assessment Technique (LAT). I am constantly thinking about how I might improve my impact in the classroom, but my ideas are limited. So I was excited to find that LAT provides expert, time-tested, cutting edge ideas FREE of charge. In a particular e-mail, they gave a specific technique for motivating students to do their reading and to ENJOY doing so! Imagine that. I could probably spend a decade experimenting with students to discover some of these techniques, but rather than wait that long, I now have access to tips and strategies that improve the learning process for both students and teachers. I am grateful and honored to be at a place where we receive such high value from experts who work with us. I read a study that the best teachers never stop aiming to improve their learning environments. They keep experimenting with new techniques and finding ways to increase their impact. I am thankful that LAT is here to help me run miles ahead of where I could be on my own!”

It has been a pleasure to provide APU faculty with 30 Learning Assessment Techniques over the course of this academic year. If you missed any of these LATs, please access the LAT repository here. As always, the offer to discuss LATs and improving student learning through assessment and curriculum design (over a free cup of coffee) still stands! Please contact Shawna Lafreniere, Ph.D., Director of Curricular Effectiveness to set up a time to meet!

April Faculty Success Story: Celebrating Faculty Scholarship from FLC & Faculty Writing Courses Participation

Sometimes it is a matter of knowing how to start, sometimes a matter of securing input across disciplines, and sometimes it is simply a matter of holding your feet to the fire. CTLA provides an annual faculty learning community (FLC) on developing a program of research that meets monthly. In addition, CTLA shepherds a suite of faculty writing courses that assist faculty in cannibalizing a dissertation, choosing a target journal or publisher for a manuscript, preparing a manuscript for submission, and walking faculty through the publishing process.

Stories of participation and celebration from your faculty colleagues:

Pam Cone, Nursing

I have been a faculty member here for 25 years. In this time, I have taken all of the faculty writing (publishing) courses. This practice has helped me improve my writing and raised my confidence to submit my work for publication. In the courses, I have been able to prepare my 2006 PhD dissertation in abridged form for a book chapter. I also wrote a successful US Fulbright Scholar application. Following the Fulbright, I developed five articles, published in peer-reviewed journals. I not only received writing mentoring and encouragement, I had guidance on what to submit to which journal. The Cone and Giske (in Norway) co-researcher team has published seven articles together in peer-reviewed journals and given multiple presentations on work in spirituality. The publishing class also gave good feedback for several other publications. This year, I have received invitations to be a keynote or plenary speaker for nursing or healthcare conferences in China, Dubai, and Australia, all based on my publications! I will continue to participate in faculty writing (publishing) classes or faculty learning communities because they have been of huge benefit to me as a faculty member!

Dave Dorman, Theology

The writers’ FLC has been critical in finalizing the publication of an article I had been working on, and for developing its depth and value significantly. The dynamics of accountability were important, but more so were the facilitator’s instinct for how to cultivate the literature and her willingness to challenge productivity. The article has been accepted by a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, and I have good hopes for further articles, and a book as well. All of this is life-altering in some sense and a very satisfying step in my professional career.

Yvette Latunde, Special Education

I am very excited about my program of research: family, school, and community partnerships. Opportunities such as the faculty publishing courses have supported me in converting my passion for research and writing into tangible outcomes. I recently (2016) published a book, Research in Parental Involvement: Methods and Strategies for Education and Psychology (Palgrave-Macmillan), introduced a new model for parental involvement using an application of hospitality in a peer-reviewed article, Towards more inclusive schools: An application of hospitality in parental involvement (International Christian Community for Teacher Education), had another peer-reviewed article accepted in The School Community Journal, and was recently invited by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) to write a piece on parental involvement for their flagship journal Educational Leadership.

Gregory Richardson, Teacher Education

The information that I learned in the publishing courses, accompanied with weekly accountability, were valued factors in my academic outcomes during this past year. My scholarly products consisted of a published book chapter, two articles currently under peer review for consideration for publication, and a third manuscript scheduled for publication in April. Also, because of these writings, I received a special invitation to attend the Council of Learning Disabilities Inaugural Leadership Institute, which affords me with the opportunity to network with publishers, leading authors, and colleagues in the field.

Becky Roe, Art & Design

After my doctoral studies, I needed to learn the process for publishing articles and knew the faculty publishing class would help: it has! Last spring I submitted a manuscript from my dissertation to a new design educator’s journal, Dialectic. While it wasn’t accepted, the reviewers gave me very positive feedback and suggested changes for resubmission for the next issue, which I did. This semester I also submitted a proposal for presentation at a design educator’s conference and, after blind peer-review, it was accepted for a conference in June. This proposal is the framework for a project that involves the relationship between teaching design and the reflexive practitioner, which I will submit for publication--I’m looking at the International Journal of Art and Design Education. This academic year I also had a proposal accepted for a track at an upcoming Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) biennial conference that is entitled: “Identity, Power, and Making Art.”

Regina Trammel, Social Work

The results of being in the faculty publishing classes speak for themselves. If not for these classes, I would still be trying to finish up my dissertation and navigating the treacherous waters of PhD work. I would not have published an article prior to completing my PhD--out of a faculty publishing class I was taking-- and I would not have had the first of three articles accepted from my dissertation. I would also not have a research agenda that is keeping me on track to build into an area of expertise. I have a theory article accepted (to be published in the next couple months) and a faith integrated paper published only nine months out of graduating from a PhD, which I finished in three years instead of 4-6. The mentorship, encouragement, and faithful pushing of me to do my best has been a true God-send. I am so grateful to APU for providing support for the faculty writing classes and so grateful to have a mentor in the course instructor. Her knowledge base and decades of experience in research in writing are invaluable to me.

Your Invitation

Whether your discipline falls in the sciences or in the humanities, consider joining the FLC or one of the publishing courses. The “Perishing to Publish” FLC begins every Fall and runs through the academic year, meeting once a month. The faculty classes on writing for publication focus on publishing (rather than on writing per se). They are designed for faculty who have completed research, in either the sciences or the humanities or faith integration, that needs to be brought to publication. These courses are regular, graduate-level, 16 week courses, offered in both Spring and Fall, and may be taken (repeated) both semesters. Come! Join your colleagues across disciplines.

March Faculty Success Story: Celebrating Faculty Success from Summer Institute Participation

With increasingly busy faculty schedules, having time to think about new ways of engaging student learning almost becomes a luxury as faculty move through the academic year. CTLA Summer Institutes are designed to give faculty opportunities to experience focused intensives on a variety of topics related to teaching and learning. Research indicates that faculty benefit when they participate together across rank and academic discipline in communal learning about an area of interest (Persellin & Goodrick, 2012). Not only do they gain additional expertise, but faculty share experiences and collaborate with peer colleagues who may come to serve as an informal support system lasting well beyond the institute itself.

Here are reflections from past participants of CTLA Summer Institutes.

Designing Significant Learning Experiences (DSLE)

“Our fantastic DSLE Institute made me unhappy with almost everything I had been doing in the classroom! Since attending last May’s institute, I have modified my existing (for me, mostly text and web-based) US History course to try and connect more effectively with visual graphics and active learning strategies.”

  • Dave Lambert, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Political Science

Academic Faith Integration: Discovery & Delivery

"The summer FI seminar is a great place to get fed, inspired and challenged. From the variety of readings to the empowering inter-disciplinary conversations, I really felt like the Holy Spirit spoke into my life as a professor and mentor to students, as well as a doctoral research student through this opportunity. Thanks."

  • Rachel Sharpe Bodell, Assistant Professor, School of Business and Management

"I thoroughly enjoyed the summer seminar last year. It was refreshing to study new material and to share ideas with such an engaged group of faculty under Paul Kaak's able and challenging leadership! Thanks for a great week!"

  • Leslie Van Dover, Professor, School of Nursing

Teaching with Technology (Formerly Course Redesign Institute)

"I’ve really enjoyed it (CRI). There were a lot of glimpses of different tools. Being able to pick and choose a few that really serve the needs that I’m trying to fill with the online experience has been really eye-opening."

  • Michael Wong, PT, DPT, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy

"I love to take something that already works and make it better – or at least try to. And I’ll do that on my own, but I was given space and permission and I was told – you must redesign this. Probably the worst reason in the world to do something is when someone says: That’s how we’ve always done it. There are always ways to make things better."

  • Jeffrey S. Boian, M.A., Assistant Professor, Director of Program Development and Assessment, Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology

"The value (of CRI) is: it gives you the resources, the tools, and the confidence to take your course, your curriculum, your syllabus, and really redesign it and implement new things. So, I’m confident and know my courses are better because of the things I learned."

  • William (Jody) Wilkinson, Associate Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science

Consider joining a CTLA Summer Institute so that you can add your own faculty success story. Announcements with applications will be coming soon to your inbox!

February Faculty Success Story: Personalized Learning Program, Faculty Success Story, Robin J. Dugall, D. Min.

This success story is about a faculty member who participated in the Personalized Learning Program (PLP), a new professional development offering from the Office of Innovative Teaching and Technology (ITT). Faculty participants choose from a list of 20 minute videos about various teaching topics, watch the video, and write a few paragraphs of reflection to earn a $25 Amazon gift card. Get more information and sign up here.

Robin J. Dugall, D. Min, a Senior Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies, has taught at APU since 2008. We asked him to share about his experience participating in the program. Robin says, “For an online adjunct, this helps me to feel connected. I feel the university is investing in me to be the best I can be online.”

What did you think of the idea of using a video?

The video was well-produced. And it It was easy to put into my schedule. I have it in my calendar to do another module in the next month or so.

How did you like choosing your own topic?

I have specific needs. One is the constant challenge of making sure I connect with the students, and that it’s not just a static experience but is a dynamic experience.

Did the video challenge or confirm any teaching beliefs/assumptions you previously held?

Yes it did. I had not thought about the fact that I can require that students respond to my critiques or feedback.

Also, at the end of my courses, I have a forum where I ask students: Do you have any suggestions about how this course could be better? I don’t want students to feel this is top down but instead feel like they can give and take. This enhances the whole environment.

How else do you use feedback?

I also let students submit their paper a week ahead of the due date. I say: I’ll give you some feedback and then you can come back and improve it. If they take advantage of my early feedback, that always ends up being a good thing.

I also give 25 bonus points out of roughly 1000 for a face to face conversation in Zoom. I might ask: Do you have any concerns about the course? Etc.

Were there any other ideas or techniques you learned from the video?

For me, one of the things I have learned and was reinforced within the video was about the promptness of communication. I constantly check my e-mail. The immediacy of the connection and being able to respond ups the level of trust in the course.

What would you say to people that are perhaps considering doing the program?

I would encourage them to do it because if somebody comes away from one of the videos with one workable idea that can improve their classes - it’s going to blessing for them in the long run.

If you'd like to explore ways in which to enliven your teaching and engage students, try the Personalized Learning Program.

January Faculty Success Story: Celebrating Our Department Chairs

Among APU's unsung servant-leaders are our department chairs. Chairs have a remarkable number of tasks, systems, and scheduled obligations to manage, while also supporting their faculty, and all in addition to their ongoing passion for teaching, student learning, and scholarship! They aim to keep their departments humming along through advocating, motivating, and, yes, evaluating their faculty. While the job is demanding, many chairs find it rewarding.

According to Laurie Schreiner, Chair of the Dept. of Higher Education, “Being a department chair is deeply rewarding to me because of the opportunity to cast a vision for my department and to create the kind of environment where student-faculty interaction, deep learning, and mentoring flourishes. My favorite part, however, is partnering with such great faculty who are world-class scholars but who first and foremost love their students.”

Bryant Mathews concurs, "The most important part of a chair's job is to help to unleash the talents and passions of a department's faculty and staff both to seize opportunities and to overcome challenges. It is truly a privilege to be entrusted to carry out this role among such a faithful and dedicated group of colleagues." (Chair, Dept. of Math & Physics).

Although they have agreed to serve, being a chair involves sacrifice. For many, that sacrifice is their scholarship. “Most department chairs would spend more time on their own academic endeavors if they could, but find it virtually impossible because of the demands of leadership duties” (Gmelch & Miskin, 2004, p. 9-10). Providing our chairs with personal and professional support could open up additional hours for engaging in the research they love. APU (and CTLA) recognizes their significant commitment and strives to support chairs in various ways.

In a desire to network, learn, and stay up-to-date, chairs gather for a monthly lunch as the Chairs’ Advisory Committee. This get-together, ably led for many years by Dick Pritchard and now facilitated by his successor, Ryan Hartwig, is an opportunity to get and give input related to their role as academic leaders. The chairs meet to have “important conversations about academic, co-curricular, and policy matters that affect the work of the chairs,” says Hartwig “We also endeavor to resource the chairs to serve their departments’ faculty and students with utmost excellence so we can collaboratively advance APU's academic mission.”

The chairs also participate in an annual Chairs Retreat designed as a time of refreshment, encouragement, and dialogue related to key aspects of their work. Many chairs find this time very valuable; in fact, this year, one chair came out of sabbatical to attend the 3rd annual retreat!

Deshonna Collier-Goubil was a new chair in fall of 2015, tasked with starting a whole new department. She said, “When I was hired, I was very concerned about whether I'd receive enough training and support to be successful as a new chair. I was impressed, however, with the amount of training opportunities available to me and the kindness of other chairs. The new chair orientation (offered by CTLA) was great! It gave me an opportunity to meet other new chairs and also provided some good info. Today I can say that my dean, the training available to me, and just the friendliness of the APU community made last year a success for me.”

While the University attempts to resource and appreciate this valuable asset, expressions of appreciation from peers mean even more. So, let’s all make it a new year’s commitment to bless a chair. Start with your own chair, but don’t stop at just one. By celebrating chairs, Christ will be honored, students will learn, departments will be unified, and the world will sense more of God’s love and truth for the APU community.


A Prayer for All Chairs / or insert the name of your chair.


Bless those who’ve accepted the call to serve our academic community as department chairs and bless my chair in particular. Fill her/him with hope, courage, love, and clear-mindedness. May he/she find and make time for renewal, family, worship, and even research/study. Give her/him wisdom in decision-making, hiring, budgeting, curricular/program planning, and managing. May he/she have the confidence to challenge the faculty, resource the faculty, and advocate for the faculty. As she/he engages his/her many tasks, may she/he “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season they will reap, if they do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Thank you, Lord, for my chair. May he/she emulate Christ in her/his leadership. And help me to know how to bless and thank my chair for his/her important service at APU.