Center for Educational Excellence

Drop Shadow


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 January 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.

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).

2015-2016 Professional Learning Community

Implementing “Just in Time Teaching” into Your Courses: Focusing on Social Justice in Current Events

This group is open to full-time faculty and academic teaching staff in any discipline who are interested in integrating topics of social justice current events using Just in Time Teaching Techniques in significant ways in their teaching and that of others. Ways to measure these experiences and finding ways to fit them into one’s scholarly endeavors will also be studied.  $500 stipends are available at the end of the time period for all participants that meet the requirements of the PLC.

Why Join the JiTT focusing on Social Justice Current Events PLC?

Just-in- Time Teaching (JiTT) is a teaching and learning strategy designed to promote the use of class time for more active learning. Developed by Gregor Novak and colleagues, JiTT relies on a feedback loop between web-based learning materials (online news articles, discussion boards for example) and the classroom (Novak et al., 1999). Students prepare for class by reading from the textbook or using other resources posted to the web and by completing assignments online. These assignments often have complex answers; students’ work outside class serves as preparation for more complete work in class. Importantly, JiTT allows the instructor to create an interactive classroom environment that emphasizes active learning and cooperative problem solving. This topic-based faculty learning community will meet monthly for one academic year. The goals of the FLC will developed by the group but may include:

  • Read and discuss relevant literature on implementing JiTT with current social justice themes 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
  • Implement a SOTL project to measure student engagement and learning

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

Application deadline: August 20th, 2015

A cross-disciplinary group of faculty and staff will meet to share their experiences, learn from one another, and explore the literature and curricular models for including courses focused on or including topics of social justice as they occur using JiTT.  Each participant will investigate approaches to incorporating techniques of JiTT in their own courses as well as providing feedback to others in the group.  Projects, readings, and discussions will be related to a set of core questions the group develops leading to a proposal, set of courses or other scholarly work that can be presented to the campus community.  You do not have to be an expert!! These communities work best when there is a diversity of levels of experience.

Contact Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, Director for the Center for Educational Excellence with any questions.  (x 7402; )