Category Archives: Faculty Excellence

2020 Brown Innovation Fellows Cohort Applications

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence is seeking applications to the 2020 Brown Innovation Fellows Cohort.  

Program focus
Diversity, Equity and Multiculturalism in the Curriculum 

Today’s society faces numerous complex issues that require years of work, collaboration among individuals from different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, and innovative, creative thinking to solve. Inclusion is a key to learning. Those who feel excluded struggle to learn compared to those who feel represented. How do we help Stetson’s students realize their full potential as informed citizens of local communities and the world with the capacity and desire to address societal issues? How can we design courses that prepare students to meet the challenges presented by a world that grows ever more complex, create more equitable opportunities for students from marginalized groups to more fully participate in higher education, and promote learning outcomes that employers and society seek (e.g., complex thinking skills, an ability to work across difference, a preparedness to engage in civic participation, reduced bias, and appreciation of intersectionality)? 

To create an inclusive learning environment throughout the curriculum across all fields, all community members actively teaching need to consider how they are incorporating diversity into their courses and how they can be more inclusive in their teaching. Incorporating diversity, equity and multiculturalism into one’s teaching takes time and commitment. As Stetson’s student body becomes more diverse, it is imperative that faculty be enabled to design courses designed around a more equitable pedagogy centered on diversity, equity and multiculturalism. 

The 2020 Brown Innovation Faculty Cohort program will provide participants the tools to design or redesign a course using a more equitable pedagogy, so that Stetson students can be better positioned to realize their full potential as informed citizens of local communities and the world with the capacity and desire to address societal issues.  

Learning Goals 

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will: 

  • have undertaken a reflective assessment of their social and disciplinary identities influence their teaching 
  • have expanded appreciation for diversity, inclusion, cultural competency and intersectionality 
  • incorporate a variety of perspectives into their teaching and offer students new ways of looking at their discipline 
  • have a heightened awareness of diversity through the lens of intersectionality 
  • be better able to create a more inclusive learning environment 
  • use multiple methods to convey course content and provide students with a variety of opportunities to share what they know, recognizing students learn in different ways 
  • Share their experiences with the campus community via a workshop at the annual Teaching and Learning Colloquium in April 2021 

Award Eligibility 

Any Stetson University faculty or staff person is eligible for this program if they meet the following criteria: 

  • Are currently employed full-time by Stetson University 
  • Are able to attend bimonthly face-to-face meetings on the Stetson DeLand campus or remotely during Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters. (Visiting faculty are only required to commit to attending Spring 2021 meetings.) 
  • Will be teaching at least one course in either Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 semesters 
  • Commits to attending the Brown Innovation Summer Institute, May 2021 
  • Has received approval from their chair or direct supervisor to participate in the cohort 

Benefits to Participants 

The Brown Innovation Faculty Cohort will build knowledge together as a cohort and engage in diverse experiences to expand skill sets for designing courses that enhance student learning over the course of a year. Successful applicants will design (or redesign) a course through participation in a year-long cohort program. Programming will engage participants in diverse experiences to expand skill sets that foster an enhanced awareness of the importance of diversity, equity and multiculturalism in the classroom. Each Fellow will receive a stipend of $1,000 (Subject to change) to be issued upon completion of the two-day Brown Innovation Institute (May 2021) and submission of a reflective report and draft syllabus (before June 30, 2021). Additionally, each Fellow will receive a stipend of $1,000 to be issued upon completion of the Brown Innovation Institute and submission of a reflective report on their experience. 

As a cohort, Brown Innovation Faculty demonstrate cutting edge innovation across diverse aspects of the teacher-scholar role to foster lifelong excellence in learning. The cohort participates in a series of hands-on experiences over the course of a calendar year designed to help innovate or refine teaching techniques and learning activities.  Successful applicants participate in a multi-day course building institute in May. 

Application Process 

All full-time faculty or staff who teach at Stetson University are encouraged to apply. Applications are available at Brown Innovation Faculty Cohort. Please note that a copy of your application will be sent to your chair or direct supervisor to confirm their support for your participation in the program. 

Program Timeline 

  • Application Opens: Oct. 9, 2020 
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 11, 2020 
  • Award Notification: Dec. 21, 2020 
  • Monthly Cohort Meetings: January – May 2021 
  • Presentation at Colloquium on Teaching and Learning: April 2021 
  • Brown Innovation Summer Institute: May 2021 
  • Monthly Cohort Meetings: September – December 2021 
  • Presentation at Colloquium on Teaching and Learning: April 2022 

If you have any questions you may contact us at the Brown Center email


The Brown Center invites you to our Faculty Spotlight on Wednesday,  October 21st at 12:00 PM on Blackboard Ultra. The spotlight series is a showcase of research, creative inquiry, and other scholarly engagement of the campus community. Stop by and learn about the research of our talented Stetson community! 

Blackboard Ultra Link:

Dr. Pamela Cappas-Toro – Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures (Spanish)

Department of World Languages and Cultures 

Spanish Co-Instruction in Prison: A Dialogue on Language, Identity, and Pedagogy  

In the summer of 2017, one of the co-founders and co-directors of the Community Education Project (CEP), Pamela Cappas-Toro, initiated the program’s first course that was co-taught by incarcerated students, Antonio Rosa and Ken Smith. This two month-long Spanish language course met three times a week and was initially conceived as a multidirectional class based on observation, conversation, co-teaching, and co-lesson planning (Cherian, 2007). Nonetheless, we encountered many barriers—both expected and unexpected—that limited incarcerated students’ ability to become teachers, researchers, and authors. This research interrogates how “explicit knowledge” such as curriculum, content development, and sociolinguistic training in Spanish is created, shaped, and negotiated in a maximum-security prison. It addresses specific challenges of creating concerted pedagogical ecosystems between incarcerated and non- incarcerated instructors, highlighting the power of the prison to limit learning outcomes. We also show how academic organizations reinforced barriers preventing incarcerated co-instructors from being considered equal producers of knowledge. This investigation highlights the importance of collaboration while also questioning how academic gatekeeping limits the critical knowledges produced by incarcerated people. It documents the fraught complexities of collaboration, and suggests how we reconceptualize and research the process of creating participatory knowledge in these learning communities. 

Pamela Cappas-Toro earned a PhD in Spanish & Latin American Literatures and Cultures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she also taught and tutored at the Education Justice Project in Danville Correctional Center – a model college-in-prison program. At Stetson University, Dr. Cappas-Toro teaches Spanish language, Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures, Latinx studies, and she is one of the co-founders and co-directors of the Community Education Project -a higher education in prison initiative at Tomoka Correctional facility which provides liberal arts education to incarcerated men in FL. She is also the founder and the director of La Casa Cultural Latina – a cultural center that provides ESL courses for community members, extend educational opportunities into our community, serves as a satellite space for local non-profit organizations, and engages university students in community-based learning.  


The Brown Center invites you to our Faculty Spotlight on Wednesday, October 28th at 12:00 PM on Blackboard Ultra. The spotlights series is a showcase of research, creative inquiry, and other scholarly engagement of the campus community. Stop by and learn about the research of our talented Stetson community!

Blackboard Ultra Link:

Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown – Associate Professor and Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education

Department of Education

Examining Turnover and Supporting the Wellbeing of PreK-12 Educators in High-Poverty Public Schools

Educator wellbeing and child poverty are social justice issues that merit our immediate attention. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of my summer grant project – Examining Turnover and Supporting the Wellbeing of PreK-12 Educators in High-Poverty Public Schools. My project focuses on supporting Pre-K 12 educator wellness, particularly in the context of high poverty public schools. It is rooted in the understanding that educator wellbeing should be prioritized because educators deserve to be healthy, nourished, and better supported. Additionally, when educators are healthy, nourished, and better supported, they can better support the diverse needs of students, families, and communities. Through civically engaged research, I discuss intersectional equity issues and articulate why it is imperative to support educators’ wellbeing and cultivate healthy schools (mind, body, and spirit), particularly in high poverty communities. As part of this presentation, I will highlight both the process and outcomes of my summer grant project, discussing the evolutionary process of my work, current accomplishments and further developments. By gaining a deeper and current understanding on the critical issue of educator turnover in the United States, my project aims to illuminate social inequalities and mindfully advocate for the wellbeing of PreK-12 public school administrators, teachers, and support staff.

Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the College of Arts and Sciences, including action research. In addition, she is an Executive Board Member of the National Coalition for the Homeless, a member of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform, a member of the Volusia Homeless Education Leadership Committee, the Co-Director of Acts of Kindness and Justice, and the Co-Chair of Equity and Justice for the International Society for Teacher Education and Information Technology. Dr. Shankar-Brown is a publicly engaged scholar who embraces and embodies Boyer’s expanded model of scholarship, intentionally working to build bridges between theory and practice.

Does your project qualify for a Hollis Institute Impact Grant?

The Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform
Steering Committee
invites you
to an Information Session for all faculty
to share ideas on educational reform and
encourage applications for the
Nina B. Hollis Institute
Planning Grants and Impact Awards

 Monday, Sept. 28
4 – 5 p.m.
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

Join us with your favorite hors d’oeuvres and beverage
during our virtual gathering.

No RSVP required
Contact:  Colleen Cooper at with questions.

recorded webinars: Stetson University College of Law Online Teaching and Learning Discovery Series

Law professor Kirsten K. Davis, J.D., Ph.D., Director, Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication at the Stetson University College of Law has created an archive of webinars to assist College of Law faculty as they transition their courses to online formats. Open the link below to access a collection of recorded webinars created as part of the Stetson Online Teaching and Learning Discovery Series.

New Classroom Technology Coming Soon!

Information Technology and the Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology (OOLET) are pleased to announce the upcoming availability of new classroom technologies to help support our Fall 2020 on-campus classrooms. The main addition will be the ability to record your live classroom session via lecture capture technology and to interact with remote students via web-conferencing. Please press here to open a detailed chart that reviews your new options.

While this technology is being installed, OOLET will dedicate our weekly Q & A virtual sessions for open questions regarding all of these options, their best practices and technical instructions. To make ongoing support easier, these sessions will be conducted at the same time every week.

Weekly Virtual Q & A Schedule

Tuesdays at 10:00  – 11:00 a.m.

Fridays at 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Use the link below to access any session during their scheduled time.

You can also email OOLET to request individual or group training, and feel free to contact us directly with any questions or concerns – we are happy to help!

-The Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology

Faculty share experiences with online learning, 30JUN2020 (Dr. Eskenazi, Dr. Underriner)

Dr. Michael Eskenazi and Dr. Chaz Underriner were invited to hold a panel around their experiences with online learning as a professor in the classroom. The Brown Center Director Harry Price worked with them to moderate the session which occurred on June 30, 2020. This is the third panel in a series we are doing around the experiences of professors working in an online format to discover best practices for teaching in an online format.

COVID-19 Planning for Fall 2020: A Closer Look at Hybrid-Flexible Course Design

This post contains content authored by Kevin Kelly, PhD, a specialist in online teaching and learning, and technology. His article appears on the “Phil on EdTech” website May 7, 2020, and provides a comprehensive overview of the process of designing and implementing a Hybrid course. Be forewarned, this article is lengthy, BUT WELL WORTH READING! Topics include a discussion of motivations for creating a Hyflex course, implications of adopting a Hyflex course, and discussion of pros and cons associated with the Hyflex approach. The author also provides as a response to a request posted on the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network listserv, a Creative Commons Google doc with detailed examples of the layout of HyFlex classes of differing lengths (e.g., 45, 50, and 75 minute classes). In the words of the author, ” Specifically, I wanted to see what types of typical in-class activities would work for different length HyFlex course sessions, as it may take more time to prepare students and conduct an activity with students participating in different ways. I based my examples on research-based practices, such as breaking the class session into mini-lectures paired with activities. This reduces cognitive load and gives students a chance to work with a concept before moving onto a new idea.”

The Google doc he so generously provides offers a detailed description of the temporal organization of different components of a Hyflex course (for example, breakout sessions, quick polls, mini-lecture, etc.). The link to the document is given below.