Center for Educational Excellence

Drop Shadow

Center for Educational Excellence Programs

New and Junior Faculty

We encourage all New and Junior Faculty with up to four years of teaching experience at USD to attend all of our workshops and events. Certain CEE events are specifically designed with new and junior faculty in mind. These opportunities allow time for networking and informal conversation. The first week of each semester we offer our New Faculty Social at an off-campus location. This is a time meet new colleagues, and enjoy good food and dialogue. Additionally, at the end of the fall semester, we offer a new faculty holiday social to introduce and engage with campus resource personnel. In May we gather for a final session to reflect on the academic year and to examine the experiences of new faculty with the intention to design and improve new faculty support mechanisms. Visit our Blackboard Course containing resources for new faculty including classroom management mentorship videos produced by Magna Publications.

Adjunct Faculty

We encourage all new and continuing adjunct faculty to attend any or all of our workshops and events. We have special events specifically designed with adjunct faculty in mind. These are our Fall Welcome and Orientation usually held in mid-August, our special half day workshops in Janaury as well as our Adjunct Reception usually held in April. Come join us to meet new colleagues, get connected with others on the USD campus, and enjoy good food and dialogue. Visit our Adjunct Corner section for resources gathered especially for our part-time and adjunct faculty.

Preceptor Workshops and Resources

Preceptorial courses began at USD in 1973 to address rising student attrition. The program was an immediate success and was expanded as first year class sizes increased. The goals of providing effective academic advising to first year students, introducing students to the university's intellectual atmosphere, academic program planning, and establishing early and continuing communication between students and their advisors have continued. Additional resources were established in recent years to help foster an integrative learning approach and support the special role of preceptor. In collaboration with Dr. James Gump, Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Merrick Marino, Assistant Dean of the Center for Student Success, workshops are designed to provide opportunities for current preceptors and faculty who are considering teaching a preceptorial to gather informally to discuss topics of particular relevance to the first-year college student experience. These workshops aim to equip preceptors with knowledge and resources to both teach and mentor these important introductory courses in USD's liberal arts undergraduate program.

Faculty & Professional Learning Communities

What is a Faculty/Professional Learning Community?

A Faculty Learning Community is a group of 6-12 multidisciplinary faculty who meet frequently (e.g., monthly or every 2-3 weeks) for a 6-12 month program. The purpose of this type of faculty development program is to encourage faculty to engage in an active, collaborative seminars and activities that provide learning and development, scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) include staff and/or graduate students. Community is often missing in higher education, where connections across disciplines and institutional units are overlooked. Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FLCs and PLCs) help establish these connections and achieve increased interest in teaching and learning, retention, active learning, rate of intellectual development and civic contributions to the common good. Safety and support is engendered in the community that enables risk taking and the achievement of both individual and team objectives. There is evidence that FLCs and PLCs provide deep learning that encourage and supports faculty and staff to investigate, attempt, and adopt new methods of teaching and mentoring. It is also the goal of an FLC or PLC to create a product, such as a presentation or publication about the findings that participation in the community allowed. Research assessing the impact of faculty development interventions has noted that professional learning communities are among the most effective means of influencing positive outcomes for those involved in such project-based communities of practice (Chism, Harris & Holley, 2011).

2012-2013 FLC & PLC Call for Applications

Building Our Diversity Curriculum FLC

Call for Applications

Application Form

Why Join Building Our Diversity Curriculum FLC?

Diversity can be described in many ways but the current D curriculum at USD is limited in its scope, inconsistent in its quality and usually one-dimensional. Expanding our definition of diversity and developing more focused and relevant learning outcomes are important steps to helping our campus become a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all our students. As the USD campus reexamines its Core curriculum, now is an ideal time and this FLC is a good opportunity to imagine more integrative courses.

This topic-based faculty learning community will meet monthly to:
• Read and discuss relevant literature on implementing diversity curriculum in various academic disciplines
• Explore the range of courses and programs that are currently a part of campus
• Encourage individual and collaborative research projects both for faculty and students
• Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses

If these topics interest you then this FLC may be the ideal professional development opportunity for you.

Application deadline: June 10th, 2012

Changemaking at USD PLC

Call for Applications

Application Form

Last fall, USD was designated as an AshokaU Changemaker Campus, one of only 15 institutions in the United States and Mexico. Because of the increasing number and complexity of the world’s problems, USD and Ashoka realize that far more changemakers are needed to become the architects of a sustainable, just and flourishing society. The university is a perfect institution to help develop the next generation of leaders, because it brings together a diversity of stakeholders and expertise and has the potential to develop curriculum that educates and supports students to become agents of change. To help expand and/or enhance USD’s current curricular opportunities, a professional learning community has been proposed.

This topic-based professional learning community will meet monthly to:
• Read and discuss relevant literature on implementing a social change/ innovation/entrepreneurship curriculum in various academic disciplines
• Explore the range of courses and programs that are currently a part of campus and how these might be better integrated and expanded
• Encourage individual and collaborative research projects for both faculty and students
• Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses and programs

If these topics interest you, then this PLC may be the ideal professional development opportunity.

Application deadline: June 10th, 2012

Current FLCs and PLCs include:

Exploring Contemplative Pedagogies

There is growing evidence that college and university students are seeking information, wisdom, and guidance through their studies as they address “the big” questions that life presents.  A recent longitudinal study has revealed that a majority of college students expressed a strong interest in spiritual matters while over half report that their professors never encourage discussions of religious/spiritual matters. (Astin, Astin & Lindholm, 2011) With increased demand from students, faculty need to feel confident about their ability to address spiritual concerns and questions. The CEE has offered several forums for faculty to expand and strengthen the study of spirituality. These efforts led to the establishment of a professional learning community (PLC) in Spring 2011, entitled The Spirit of the Academy: Investigating the Traditions and Practices of Diverse Spiritualties.

In November, 2012, this PLC’s name was changed to Exploring Contemplative Pedagogies in order to communicate that the topics being studied had become more focused on contemplative strategies for teaching and learning. This PLC is a group of 10 multidisciplinary faculty who meet once a month to explore a range of spiritual traditions and practices including prayer and meditation, encourage individual and collaborative research projects, participate in off-campus activities or retreats, and build community among members as they develop strategies to use in their courses. Participants will investigate the use of contemplative pedagogies and carry out teaching and learning projects.

Click here for a list of Members

Diversity as Defined by Sexuality: Investigating Curricula Options at a Catholic Institution

To propose a new faculty learning community or to learn more about the current offerings, please contact the Center for Educational Excellence at (619) 260-7402.

Graduate Student Development

The CEE is pleased to announce the launch of new initiative to support USD graduate students intending to pursue careers in the professoriate. Selected graduate students present their academic scholarship to the USD community at research colloquiums which take place each semester. CEE's graduate student support also entails the provision of faculty toolkits and instructive seminars on teaching to help prepare graduate students to better transition into their role as faculty members in higher education.

Writing Retreats

Starting Fall Semester 2011, the CEE is sponsoring quiet writing retreatas. At the request of the Junior Faculty Advisory Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences, we have organized a space to foster the writing productivity for all faculty. The Board Room in Manchester Executive Conference Center
has been reserved from 9 - noon on the dates listed below. There will be a coffee break - with
coffee delivery - at 10:30 a.m. The aim is to assign a block of time that will help faculty incorporate writing into their schedules. The format for these sessions is for faculty to work quietly on their own items with no discussion. These quiet writing retreats will be held as follows this semester:

Fridays 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the Manchester Executive Conference Center Board Room (2nd Floor)
•October 21; •November 18; •November 4; •December 2

Click here for a printable flyer about this program. Click here for information about the SoTL Writing Group program which is a multi-disciplinary group providing feedback on writing.