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FCETL Director Marina Gerson

Marina M. Gerson is the Director of the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She is especially interested in what the data say when it comes to implementing genuine strategies for success in the face-to-face or virtual classroom. This perspective is no doubt a result of many hours mired in statistical analyses; she earned a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from University of Texas at Arlington. Marina came to CSU Stanislaus as a Lecturer in 2005 and was hired on the tenure track in 2006, when the previous herpetologist retired; she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. She has broadly sampled the Faculty Center’s offerings over the years and encourages you to do the same. Marina invites you to come by the Faculty Development Center to chat pedagogy and share your ideas about how the center can help you to meet your goals. Your every question about lizards, ecology, animal behavior, or the desert are also welcomed.

Faculty Learning Communities

Ann Strahm, Department of Sociology

Matt Cover, Department of Biology

Department Chair Leadership Development - Dr. Nancy Burroughs, Facilitator

The Department Chair Leadership Development FLC aims to improve the knowledge and leadership skills of the faculty serving as FLC members, and to create better resources and training and support structures for current and future department chairs throughout the campus.  Drawing upon Chu’s (2012) Department Chair Primer (to be provided to all FLC members) and a variety of other resource materials, FLC members will explore such topics as leading faculty colleagues, visioning and positioning programs, advocating for resources, addressing workload concerns, work-life balance, responding to conflict, evaluating faculty, budgeting, scheduling, and supporting faculty development.

Assessing Quantitative Reasoning Capabilities - Dr. Tom Carter, Facilitator

This Faculty Learning Community will explore broad issues related to the development of campus-wide approaches to assessing student quantitative reasoning capabilities, and, more importantly, to developing curricular approaches aimed at helping students improve their quantitative reasoning capabilities throughout their undergraduate experiences.

FCETL Fellows 2014 – 2015

Chris Nagel, Department of Philosophy

Chris NagelAcademic freedom is constantly invoked and frequently discussed, but there is no consensus about its meaning or to what or whom it applies. In addition, there is much less discussion of academic freedom in smaller universities and in relation to the working lives of non-tenure-track faculty. I want to make that a focus of a more general attempt to grapple with the concept philosophically and practically. There's no better place to inquire into academic freedom than right here. What does academic freedom mean at CSU Stanislaus?

Chris Roe, Department of Teacher Education

Chris RoeThe focus of my faculty fellowship will be to connect Teacher Education faculty (Single Subject and Multiple Subject) with feeder department faculty in order to coordinate, plan and implement model lessons using Common Core planning. These lessons will be based on curriculum from each department, with the common thread of instructional delivery using Common Core shifts (in E/LA: balancing info and literary text, knowledge in the disciplines, staircase of complexity, text-based answers, writing from sources, academic vocabulary), and how these can be applied to all content areas.

A series of meetings will be held at the beginning of the semester explaining the concept and examining the practices of common core instruction to interested faculty from across the college disciplines. These meetings will include modeling to compare lessons and to set up lesson study groups to facilitate practicing Common Core strategies within their own classrooms. Debriefing after lessons will be an essential part of the process so that faculty can hear from an outside observer (other faculty) what components of their lessons were enhanced by the infusion of Common Core shifts. 

The end result will be a group of faculty who are more connected and moving toward the same page in preparing pre-service teachers for the Common Core.

Koni Stone, Department of Chemistry

Koni StoneDiscipline Based Writing Assignments:  Less Pain, More Gain

Workshop Leader: Koni Stone, Professor of Chemistry

This series of workshops is designed to enlighten (and lighten the load for many) faculty about the design of meaningful writing assignments.  Faculty are often discouraged by the heaping piles of papers that are chuck full of dangling participles and misplaced modifiers, and thus leave the heavy lifting to others.  The goal of this series of workshops will empower and encourage faculty to increase the quality and quantity writing assignments in their classes.  These workshops will explore three topics:

  1. How to design writing assignments that encourage students to analyze and synthesize.  Creative assignments can enhance student learning and discourage copying the work of others.  This will include exercises to match learning goals with assignments, and grading rubrics with the learning goals.  (Turnitin will be demonstrated as a source of rubric management.)
  2. Project management (also known as dividing and conquering) and individual development plans as they apply to large writing projects (e.g.  master’s thesis, capstone projects and term papers.)  “How to be a Writing Midwife”, we can’t birth the paper for them, but we can ease the process in a calm, dignified way with less risk to the writer and less pain to the reader.  
  3. How to give effective feedback that strengthens the students’ understanding of the material, leads the students to improving their writing and does not wear out the reader. (Magic potions will be served at the door.)  The use of peer evaluations and Turnitin will be explored.

Jay Strangfeld, Department of Sociology

Jennifer StrangfeldOne of the most difficult tasks faculty members face is dealing with acts of student plagiarism. Most of the students faculty encounter have grown up in a culture of technology where “knowledge” can seemingly be “googled” at will. Students are able to type key words into a search engine and find anything from a few lines to entire papers on a given topic. Some students will copy information they find on these sites directly into their own papers without citation or will make only minor word changes while maintaining the same sentence and paragraph structure. Current policies on student plagiarism tend to focus on presumptions about either students’ lack of knowledge about plagiarism or a failure in their moral compass. However, interviews with students on our campus who have committed acts of plagiarism suggest that structural inequalities that persist in our public K-12 education system may be playing a role in why students decide to commit certain kinds of plagiarism. For example, students entrenched in the standardized testing model most common in low-income schools and schools serving almost exclusively students of color are schooled in rote memorization and obedience (and submission) to authority. Students  in these environments not only struggle with writing skills but also struggle to see themselves as authors and creators of knowledge. It is important to understand this reality and the educational experiences of students at CSU Stanislaus to improve how faculty approach and address acts of student plagiarism. In the Spring 2015 semester, I will host a series of workshops that will focus on two things. First, I will present quantitative and qualitative data gathered from students on our campus discussing their personal experiences with plagiarism. This presentation will focus not only on the acts of plagiarism themselves but students perceptions of themselves as authors and creators of knowledge. The second aspect of the proposed workshops would be to facilitate discussions about specific problems faculty have encountered with student plagiarism and discussing strategies for addressing problems both before and after they occur. In other words, how do we encourage students to believe in their own abilities as knowledge creators and authors and how do we address acts of plagiarism once they occur.