Welcome Back!

And welcome to our newsletter, a new way that the Faculty Hub will be communicating with you going forward. In this newsletter, you will find our monthly schedule of events, highlights of upcoming programs, links to resources, an introduction to our fantastic staff and associates, and additional content that we hope will be useful to you. We would be happy to receive any feedback on the newsletter and our programs and faculty are always welcome to suggest new and useful programs and events.

Best wishes,
The Faculty Hub team

Read the full newsletter here to catch up on upcoming events and check out some useful resources.

Faculty Hub Opportunities

December Events 

  • Friday, December 3, 9:00-9:50 a.m. – Morning Blend: Reflecting on the Semester (Zoom) (see below for details) 
  • Tuesday, December 7, 12:00-12:50 p.m. – Conversation: Adjuncts (Zoom) 
  • Wednesday, December 8, 10:00-11:00 a.m. – Conversation: Course Design (Tower Room/Zoom) 
  • Thursday, December 9 and Thursday, December 16, all day – Grading Breaks in the Faculty Hub (see below for details) 

 Early January Events 

Note: The Tower Room is in the Faculty Hub. If you have any questions about access, please contact Jane Bise. 

Morning Blend 

Our final fall term Morning Blend, Reflecting on the Semester, will be facilitated by Dr. Libby Gruner on Friday December 3 at 9 a.m. Afterward, we will pause the Morning Blend until January, but our presentation and tip sheet archives are available 24/7/365! Our consultants are also happy to meet with you individually to discuss applying these and other ideas to your teaching and scholarship goals. We welcome suggestions for future Morning Blend sessions; please email us at facultyhub@richmond.edu. 

 Hub Talks 

We have had a great time engaging with faculty who have shared their current scholarship through Hub Talks. Looking ahead to spring term, we have an excellent lineup for this program to share scholarly works (or works in progress) and build community among the faculty. Registration is now open for the first talk in February. 

  • Thursday, February 3, 2022 from 12:12-1 p.m.: Melinda Yang, Assistant Professor of Biology, “Using Ancient DNA to Understand Human History: Perspectives in East Asia” 
  • Friday, March 25, 2022 from 3:12-4 p.m.: Doug Bosse, Professor of Strategic Management and the David Meade White Jr. Chair in Business, “Exploring Stakeholder Capitalism” 
  • April, 2022, Date and Time TBD: Jessica Erickson, Professor of Law and Director, Richmond Law & Business Forum, “The Gatekeepers of Corporate Litigation” 

Faculty Hub Associate for Spring Term, 2022 

Interested faculty are invited to apply for a one-semester position as Faculty Hub Associate. In this role, a faculty member will work closely over the course of the spring semester with Faculty Hub staff in creating and facilitating a series of workshops and/or discussions on a focused topic related to inclusive pedagogy. Details are available here; brief applications are due by December 8.  

Faculty Hub Conversation: Course Design 

Join the Faculty Hub for an end-of-semester conversation on course design. In this session, we’ll offer a brief introduction to three frameworks/tools that can be useful for course design – backward design (Wiggins & McTighe), integrated design (Fink), and Universal Design for Learning (CAST). This hybrid conversation will take place on Wednesday, December 8 from 10:00-11:00 a.m.* Please register in advance for this conversation on course design. Coffee, tea, and light breakfast will be provided at 10 am for in-person participants.  

Grading Breaks at the Faculty Hub 

Come by the Faculty Hub on December 9 and December 16 to take a break from your grading or to enjoy a new space to do your grading! We’ll have coffee and breakfast available all morning, quiet spaces to work, and an optional mindfulness meditation break at 12:30. In the afternoon, we’ll have more coffee and snacks, and the same quiet space. Come for as long as you like and enjoy our pleasant space, the company of others, and a brief break before the semester closes. No registration required—just drop by when the timing works for you. 

Responding to Student Feedback 

As you begin planning for the spring, consider scheduling a consult with Libby Gruner or another Hub staff member to help you analyze and respond to feedback generated by end-of-semester course evaluations. This is also a good time to start planning how to gather feedback from students about your teaching and/or their learning next semester, if you haven’t done so already. Email us at facultyhub@richmond.edu or give us a call (804-662-3000) for more information or to schedule a consult. 

Teaching Squares 

Faculty interested in developing their teaching practice in community may want to join a Teaching Square in the spring. Teaching Squares provide an opportunity for mutual, non-evaluative peer observation. This is a low-stakes way to learn more and reflect on your own teaching. More information and an invitation to participate are on our website. 

Digital Pedagogy Cohort 

The inaugural Digital Pedagogy Cohort is wrapping up our semester’s work on crafting digital media assignments (resource materials developed by the Hub technology consultants can be found here). Registration is now open for next semester’s Web Publishing cohort. If you’ve used course blogs or ArcGIS Story Maps in the past and/or are interested in using them in future semesters, please consider joining us.  If you don’t have the time to commit to a semester long cohort but have a digital pedagogy question, schedule a consultation with one of our technology consultants.  

Faculty Hub Book Collection 

As you look ahead to prepare for your work this spring, please also consider stopping by the Faculty Hub to browse the faculty development book collection. Faculty and instructional staff are welcome to borrow a book from our collection and return it at your convenience. Do you have a topic or specific title you are seeking? Give us a call and we’ll let you know what’s available in our collection. 

Innovative Instruction, Collaborative Curriculum, and Diversity and Inclusion Grants 

The Associated Colleges of the South has a rolling deadline for faculty and staff to submit pre-proposals for projects ($25,000 – $50,000) that end by September 1, 2022. The rolling application deadline runs through May 1, 2022 (or until funds are exhausted). If you have questions, please email Stephanie Fabritius, President of ACS. Please reach out to the Grants Office and the Faculty Hub for assistance with the pre-proposal. 


Call for applications: Spring Semester Faculty Hub Associate

Faculty Hub Associate: 

The Faculty Hub invites applications for a one-semester position as Faculty Hub Associate to work closely with Faculty Hub staff in creating and facilitating a series of workshops and/or discussions on a focused topic related to inclusive pedagogy. If you have an expertise or interest in specific topics related to ensuring inclusive classroom environments, we invite your application to serve as a Faculty Hub Associate for the spring semester of 2022. In this pilot program for a one-semester appointment, the Faculty Hub Associate will receive a stipend of $2,000 upon completion of the work.   

Eligibility and Time Commitment: 

We invite applications from all University of Richmond tenured faculty or non-tenure track faculty with similar teaching experience (minimum six years) who have expertise to advance faculty professional development in one or more of the following areas:  universal design for learning, facilitating difficult conversations in the classroom, anti-racist pedagogy, avoiding or handling microaggressions in the classroom. 

The Faculty Hub Associate will be expected to: 

      • Work with Faculty Hub staff to plan, develop, and facilitate three or four one-hour discussions in faculty-facing workshops or conversations during Spring 2022. 
      • Produce an additional deliverable for the Faculty Hub, such as a brief video, podcast, blog post, case study for discussion, or other resource to guide faculty development.  
      • Commit to regular planning sessions with Faculty Hub staff during Spring 2022.  

Application Instructions: 

Applicants should complete this brief application and upload their CV as part of the application process. 


The application deadline is December 8, 2021. We will schedule brief interviews with applicants to assess the potential impact of the proposed work, the ability to complete the work in one semester, and the opportunity of the work to expand faculty development opportunities in the Faculty Hub. 


Dates and Times to Connect and Learn 

November 5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Blackboard is hosting a virtual Digital Teaching Symposium featuring faculty speakers from around the world. Registration is free, and presentation topics UR faculty might find useful include: 

  • The accessibility tool-kit: Strategies for ensuring accessibility for all learners 
  • Discussion boards: How to manage feedback using rubrics and break into groups 
  • “Teach the class with your own example.” Giving students a stake in the F2F class 
  • Using SafeAssign in Blackboard: Plagiarism prevention in one click 

November 12 @ 3 p.m.  In collaboration with the Provost’s Office and Jennifer Cable from our mindfulness community on campus, faculty and staff are invited to a virtual workshop on Mindful Leadership with Janice Marturano, author of Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership. The session is designed for those who have yet to explore mindfulness practices, as well as those who regularly practice. Registration is limited and includes a copy of Ms. Marturano’s book. Friday, November 12 from 3-4:30 p.m. Sign up for the workshop here.  

November 17 @ 3 p.m.  Please join us for “What Inclusive Instructors Do: A Focus on Students’ Sense of Belonging,” a discussion with Dr. Tracie Addy, author of What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching on Wednesday, November 17 from 3 – 4:15 p.m. on Zoom. Please register here.  

November 30 @ 12:12 p.m. Leadership During Personal Crisis: Research and Implications for Practice”  Come learn from Laura E. Knouse (Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Faculty Director of the Richmond Scholars Program) and Gill Robinson Hickman (Professor Emerita, Jepson School of Leadership Studies) who will share their current scholarship on Tuesday, November 30. The talk will be from 12:12 to 12:30 p.m. with discussion to follow. A Zoom option is available; there will be pizza in the Faculty Hub for those joining in person. Please sign up for the Hub Talk here

Each week, on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings, we host coffee break conversations on timely topics; see the Morning Blend program on our website for in-person and Zoom options. Upcoming topics include:  

  • Writing Strong Letters of Recommendation with Dana Kuchem 
  • Adapting Exams for Flexible Delivery
  • Academic Integrity and SafeAssign 
  • Reflecting on the Semester 

Tip sheets and videos of prior topics are available on our website and our consultants are happy to meet with you individually to discuss applying these or other ideas to your teaching and scholarship goals. 

 Services and Resources Available From the Faculty Hub 

It’s not too late to do a facilitated course assessment! For anonymous student feedback on a new assignment used this term or new teaching approaches you addedconsider a confidential, formative, facilitated course assessment from the Faculty Hub for quality feedback you can use. Contact us to learn more.  

Associate Professor Kristine Grayson has completed her role as a Faculty Hub Associate in our pilot program designed to support individual faculty development while also developing resources and knowledge to share with other faculty. To learn about Grayson’s experiences and access her resources on “Teaching Quantitative Data Literacy, please read her blog post here and contact Grayson or the Faculty Hub for more information. 

Resource Spotlight: Group Projects – Faculty using group projects in their courses may find helpful suggestions and resources in our “Group Work: Overview”and “Group Work: Assessment” tip sheets. 

Learning Communities in the Faculty Hub 

Digital Pedagogy Cohort members have been improving their skills with methods and increasing their familiarity with theories related to digital media assignments. If you are interested in diving deeper into digital pedagogy, consider joining the Faculty Hub’s spring term cohort focused on web publishing or reach out to one of our technology consultants to discuss your needs and interests.    

The Faculty Hub’s Alternative Assessments Working Group met on Friday, October 22 at 2 p.m. to discuss portfolio grading; specifications, contract, and labor-based grading; and ungrading. Future conversations will take place roughly monthly at the same time; contact Libby Gruner for more information or to join the group.  

Faculty Hub Associates Project: Teaching Quantitative Data Literacy by Kristine Grayson

When I started teaching in the Biology Department, I was enthusiastic to incorporate active learning with data into my classroom. My ideal activities asked students to use data and graphs to draw conclusions from studies that tested biological principles. Unfortunately, I kept running into student discomfort with very basic data skills such as organizing, summarizing, and graphing that resulted in short activities becoming lengthy and frustrating. To help students acquire data literacy skills, I started scaffolding data tutorials into most of my classes alongside biology concepts.

While this worked well, I wanted more time to engage students in thinking deeply about the presentation of data in biology and society. And I was anxious to advance my own knowledge, as my graduate training was not keeping pace with the tools now used by many in my field. I decided to invest more time in using Program R and learning pedagogical approaches for building student enthusiasm for coding. I just needed a nudge of confidence and support, and the pilot year of the Faculty Hub Associates program came at the perfect time to explore approaches for teaching data literacy at UR.

As I learned from the experiences of others, I’ve collected and curated materials for low stakes ways to build data skills in students across disciplines. Some of my favorite resources include:

Initiatives in Data Analytics and Data Science highlight the investment on campus for building student data skills. These include the quantitative data literacy general education requirement, the proposed interdisciplinary Data Science & Statistics Minor, strengths in Digital Humanities and Spatial Analysis, and the recent purchase of a high-performance computing cluster and webserver. Courses that build student skills in programming and data analysis are already available across disciplines, and these initiatives strengthen the programs and resources that prepare students for a data-rich world.

For biology students, the increasing availability of environmental and public health data makes learning skills in exploration and visualization vital. My colleague Angie Hilliker and I developed a new upper-level biology course to address this need called Data Visualization and Communication for Biologists (syllabus).

As we explored topics in data visualization, we introduced students to Tableau and Program R and it was the first time either of us taught with these tools. While it was great to give students exposure to multiple platforms, doing both well was hard and we’ll likely shift more towards Program R when we offer the course again. There are pros and cons for including Program R in undergrad biology courses due to the time needed to develop confidence and independence with coding and it really helped to have an entire course focused on these skills. Our students were highly enthusiastic about learning data skills, and reported valuing the tools they learned for their future careers.

Thank you to the Faculty Hub for supporting my exploration of new skills and pedagogy. Despite being mostly virtual, I really valued spending time at the Hub with Linda Boland, Ryan Brazell, Kylie Korsnack, Andrew Bell, and Jane Bise as well as fellow Hub Associates Libby Gruner and Kristine Nolin. I explored several other new teaching approaches during my time in the Hub, including social annotation tools to increase student engagement and accountability with course readings (Perusall was a game changer for having students show up to class having done the reading). I am grateful for the support of the Biology Department and chair Krista Stenger for developing a new course and especially to Angie Hilliker for teaching with me.

October in the Faculty Hub

Mid-Semester Feedback – This is a great time to gather feedback from your students about their learning. You can use the feedback to make changes before the end of the semester and give students more agency and voice in shaping their learning experiences. Here are some suggestions and resources for facilitating a midterm assessment. The Faculty Hub also offers a confidential, formative, facilitated course assessment process that some faculty use as a midterm assessment. Contact us to learn more.

Morning Blend - Weekly, the Faculty Hub hosts coffee break conversations on timely topics; one session each week is in person and one is on Zoom. See our website for dates and times. Upcoming topics include:

  • Finding Grant Funding
  • Book Arts Studio – Incorporating Creative Projects into Courses
  • Using R Workbench
  • Digital Media Projects

Hub Talk - Todd Lookingbill will share his current scholarship on Friday, October 15.  Join us for “What’s Hot in the City? The Unjust Evolution of Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, VA.” The talk is from 3:12 to 3:30 p.m. with discussion and a reception to follow in the Hub or join the talk and discussion on Zoom. Please register here.

Upcoming Fall Break - As we head into fall break, we hope you will take some time to rest, reflect, and reassess. These two recent pieces, from Inside Higher Ed and VCU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence offer tips to make a shift, let go of perfection, and reduce stress.

We are re-starting an Alternative Assessments discussion group. If you are interested in specification grading, portfolio grading, or other non-traditional assessment methods, please contact Libby Gruner.  Whether you want to discuss current needs or explore approaches for a future course, we welcome your participation.

External Opportunities - Our colleagues at the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship at Lafayette College are offering several dynamic workshops this fall, open to all. Get more information and register for all workshops on Lafayette’s registration page.

Innovative Instruction, Collaborative Curriculum, and Diversity and Inclusion Grants – The Associated Colleges of the South has a rolling deadline for faculty and staff to submit pre-proposals for projects ($25,000 – $50,000) that end by September 1, 2022. The rolling application deadline begins now and runs through May 1, 2022 (or until funds are exhausted). If you have questions, please email Stephanie Fabritius, President of ACS. Please reach out to the Grants Office and the Faculty Hub for assistance with the pre-proposal.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NOVEMBER:  What Inclusive Instructors Do – A discussion with Dr. Tracie Addy, author of What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching on Wednesday, November 17 from 3 – 4:15 p.m. on Zoom. Please register here.

Upcoming Faculty Hub Events, Programs, and Services

Hub Talks  

Please join us to learn about the scholarship and creative works of other faculty. Hub Talk presentations are from 3:12 to 3:30 p.m., followed by 30 minutes for discussion and a reception from 4-5 p.m. We are planning for in-person talks and will adjust, if needed, based on campus conditions and policies. Our first talk will offer the option to join on Zoom. Updated information will always be available on the Faculty Hub website. Thank you, in advance, to the faculty speakers in our fall term program:

Wednesday, September 29: Camilla Nonterah, Assistant Professor of Health Psychology, “Addressing Racial Inequities in Access to Kidney Transplantation”  Registration is now open for this Hub Talk.

Friday, October 15: Todd Lookingbill, Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment and Associate Professor of Biology, “What’s Hot in the City? The Unjust Evolution of Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, VA

Friday, November 5: Laura E. Knouse Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Faculty Director of the Richmond Scholars Program and Gill Robinson Hickman, Professor Emerita, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, “Leadership During Personal Crisis: Research and Implications for Practice

Scholarly Writing

Securing focused and effective time for scholarly writing projects has been particularly difficult during the pandemic. While the challenge is ongoing, we can provide support to move forward when you are ready. Here are some opportunities to consider.

  • Write on Site. Some writers find it helpful to work independently while also in community with others. Consider our weekly “Write on Site” hours on Tuesdays from 1-4 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30-11:30 a.m. More information is available here.
  • Building a publishing pipeline. Teacher-scholars at all career stages know the challenge of bringing scholarly work to completion. If you want to consider new ways to plan and complete multiple publishing goals, please join an NCFDD 4-week course on building your publishing pipeline beginning on Wednesday, September 8, from 2-3 pm. Login to your university-sponsored NCFDD account and go to the Events Calendar to register.
  • Writing Groups. Let the Faculty Hub host your writing group- an opportunity for peer support plus dedicated time for writing. If you have a writing group or would be interested in starting one, we can help!  If you would like to work with an online writing group, we have experience with that too. Contact  Kylie Korsnack to discuss your interests.
  • 14-Day Writing Challenge. The next NCFDD writing challenge begins on October 18. Register here from 9/8 to 10/13. UR faculty who have participated in the past have reported benefits in establishing a writing routine. If you would like more information, please contact the Faculty Hub and we would be happy to discuss the process so that you can decide if it would be worth a try.

Ongoing Professional Development

Teaching Squares. This is an opportunity for small groups of faculty from different disciplines to engage in mutual, non-evaluative peer observation. UR faculty who have participated in this program have reported benefits to their own teaching and to joining a small community of colleagues who support each other. Instructors at all levels of experience can benefit and are invited to join. Contact Dr. Libby Gruner by September 10 for more information or to sign up.

Sharing of faculty development programming at other institutionsThe Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship at Lafayette College has extended an invitation to us to register and virtually attend any of their faculty fellows sessions in store for this fall. One series will focus on using creative dramatics in college classrooms across the curriculum and the other on building more inclusive classrooms. Detailed information is available here.

Facilitated Course Assessment. The Faculty Hub offers an opportunity for confidential, anonymous feedback from your students in a consultant-facilitated classroom conversation. These are non-evaluative and can provide specific feedback about the student learning experience. Instructors at all career stages may benefit.  Please contact us to discuss whether this service may be useful to you.

Save the Dates: 

Field Trip Friday: Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor– Friday, September 24, 1:30-3 p.m.

IRB Sessions with the Faculty Hub led by Dr. Don Forsyth (IRB Chair)

  • Review of 2018 Changes to IRB Regulations: Thursday, September 30, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. (via Zoom)
  • High-Impact Teaching with Human Subject Research Projects: Thursday, October 28, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. (via Zoom)

Open Houses All Week

The Faculty Hub will be holding open houses in our new space on August 23-27 at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Stop by for a tour and informal conversation with your colleagues about the return to in-person teaching! (Note that the 2:30 p.m. session will not be offered on August 26. Please join us for the Grand Opening at 4 p.m. instead.)

The Faculty Hub is located on the third floor of Boatwright Library. Direct elevator access is available on the first floor of the Boatwright Library Administrative Wing, across from Room 022. No reservations are necessary.

Back to Class, But Not Back to Normal

Even though I had a relatively “easy” pandemic, my body is feeling the effects of the past year. While I stayed intentional about exercise, I also found myself sitting far more than I did in my pre-pandemic life, when I might have stood and paced about a classroom, walked across campus for a meeting, or even stood at my desk. While I fashioned a standing desk in my home office, I quickly discovered that it didn’t work well for Zoom teaching, which required me to stay put a little more than I like to while standing.

So I sat. And that sitting has taken a toll, and my right hip, especially, requires attention. Daily home PT and a monthly massage are now on my required maintenance schedule (and, yes, I am over 60, thanks for asking!).

But as I was on the massage table the other day, I realized that therapeutic massage is a good metaphor for the kind of pedagogy we may need to practice on our return. Because—much as some of us might wish it[1]—this will not be a return to normal. We will all have sore spots. Some will have injuries, both visible and hidden. And attending to one spot may trigger an unexpected response in another, just as sometimes my massage therapist simply holds my head and my shoulders and even hips respond.

Some painful areas will require work—and here, too, the massage therapy metaphor seems apt. Not every injury can be addressed by direct attention or deep tissue massage. Some require a lighter touch. Sometimes just acknowledging the pain and the fact that it may affect performance will go a long way toward healing. Ignoring and denying the pain, and trying to use the muscles as we always have, will cause greater damage—rest, hydration, and gentle attention are far more likely to lead to healing. [Note: I am neither a doctor nor a trained massage therapist. Deploy metaphors literally at your own risk.]

What might this mean for the classroom, and for our own return, though?

I think there are two sets of responses. First are the things that are sort of like home PT: the things we can do ourselves, though they do require attention. Second are the ones that are more like therapeutic massage or PT on-site (take your pick of metaphor): things that require the attention of an expert, but that we can learn to do with some help.

So, for the first, we need to start just by paying attention: to our bodies, our feelings, and the feelings of our students. Some of our students have never been on campus before. Some finished out high school remotely. Some got sick—I had more than one Covid-19 case among my own students, and at least one is still struggling with long Covid symptoms. What accommodations might those students need? What might we?

Paying attention, checking in mindfully with ourselves and our students, will give us a baseline to work from. Perhaps the syllabus accommodations that we made last year should continue going forward, for example. I learned in one class that reducing the number of texts we read did not reduce learning outcomes, because the students had more time to read, reflect, and write. Maybe we need to check in more frequently with students, whether that’s simply through low-stakes assignments that keep them engaged with the material between classes, or actual emails and invitations to office hours. I know, too, that I’ll be keeping my Zoom office hours to supplement in-person ones, as they offer a low bar to entry for many students who are nervous about entering my office. But we may especially benefit from attending to trauma-informed pedagogy strategies, including transparency (talking about what we’ve all been through), mindfulness (remembering why we’re here, and taking time to focus and breathe), and inclusiveness (incorporating strategies that center student learning needs).

So that brings us to the second kind of response—the massage, as it were. At the Faculty Hub, we’ve spent the summer talking about our return. We’ve got a lovely new space to share with you, and we are eager to support faculty in the return to whatever the new normal looks like. We can consult with you on anything I’ve mentioned above, of course (except massage—though we do have campus resources for that!). We will also have some specific programs that may be of particular interest as we negotiate our return:

    • Syllabus Workshop, August 17, 1:00 – 2:15 (in person); repeated August 18, 10:30 – 11:45 am (over Zoom). Bring a syllabus you want to work on and come to discuss strategies for revising/updating your syllabus for inclusion and accessibility.
    • Teaching Squares, ongoing program during fall 2021. An opportunity for groups of faculty to engage in mutual peer observation, to examine their own teaching in the context of new approaches observed, and to reflect on how the teaching positively affects student engagement.
    • Facilitated Course Assessment, ongoing. This is a new service that we are offering, in which Faculty Hub staff will survey your students and facilitate small group discussions with them to assess how particular pedagogical strategies are going, or to obtain mid-course feedback. The discussions will be confidential and formative, to assess student perceptions of their learning motivation, sense of belonging, or other topics relevant to your own pedagogy.
    • Faculty Hub Conversations, ongoing. This year we will continue our practice of co-facilitating discussions of topics of concern to faculty, including providing feedback on written work, facilitating class discussions, working with this year’s first-year students, etc. Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to host.

Please also make sure to stop by the open houses we’ll be holding during August (weekdays at 10 and 2:30, August 19-27)—during that week, we’ll hold informal conversations about the return after our morning open houses on August 20, 23, 25, and 27, so come for the open house and stick around for the conversation. Please also plan to come to our grand opening on August 26 to meet, greet, and explore the new space. I’m also listing a few articles below, including those linked in this piece, as potential resources. We look forward to working with you, to getting those knots out, and to defining a new normal that is accessible to all.

[1] As scholars of color and disability advocates too numerous to mention (but here are details from a few) have pointed out, “normal” was not necessarily equitable or accessible. We need to do better than normal.


(Note that a number of these articles came out before the pandemic, which in some cases merely highlighted existing issues and inequities in our practices. Not every article is applicable to every situation, but this list offers a range of suggestions for our return that may spark some interest for you.)

One Way to Show Students You Care—And Why You Might Want to Try It (Becky Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Ed, August 29, 2018)

Students Struggling with Mental Health Often Confide in Professors. They Want More Guidance on How to Help. (Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Ed, May 17, 2021)

A Pedagogy of Kindness (Catherine Denial, Hybrid Pedagogy, August 15, 2019)

Pedagogy of Healing: Bearing Witness to Trauma and Resilience (Mays Imad, Inside Higher Ed, July 8, 2021)

Dead Ideas: Reflections for Post-Pandemic Learning (Soulaymane Kachani, Catherine Ross, and Amanda Irvin, Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2021)

More Pandemic Consequences for Underrepresented Students (Greta Anderson, Inside Higher Ed, September 16, 2020)

Back to ‘Normal’ Isn’t Good Enough (Daniel E. Dawes and Brian C. Castrucci, STAT, February 10, 2021)

As Colleges Strive for a Return to Normal, Students with Disabilities Say, ‘No, Thanks’ (Serena Puang, Chronicle of Higher Ed, May 11, 2021)

Returning to ‘Normal’ is Really a Return to Ignorance (Torrey Trust, Times Higher Education, June 20, 2021)

ACS Professional Development Opportunities

Dear Colleagues,

The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) is offering several professional development opportunities this summer.

This flyer provides information on 4 workshops (90 minutes each). You are welcome to attend any or all that meet your interests.

The workshop topics include:

  • Robust and Flexible Course Design in the Natural Sciences, Post-Pandemic (June 23, 1-2:30 pm EDT)
  • The Benefits of Spending Time in Nature for the Well-Being of Educators (July 1, 10:30- 12 pm EDT)
  • Developing the Mindset of an Academic Leader- for department chairs (July 27, 10:30-12 pm EDT)
  • Crafting a More Inclusive and Learner-Centered Syllabus (Aug 4, 1:30-3 pm EDT)

ACS has also facilitated the formation of seven working groups to develop resources to share by the end of summer. I will email when the materials become available on the ACS website.

The resources to be developed include materials to address:

  • Enhancing the first-year experience
  • Fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom
  • Preparing department and program chairs for their leadership roles
  • Advising of non-traditional students
  • Study abroad in the post-COVID world
  • Decolonizing the curriculum
  • Leveraging digital pedagogies for learning

Best wishes,


Director, Teaching and Scholarship Hub