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Engaging minds while teaching and learning innovation | Stetson Today

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence sponsors the annual Colloquium on Teaching & Learning Innovation. See below how Stetson faculty and staff are considering a definition of global learning that advances inclusion and academic excellence.

In her welcoming remarks at Stetson’s “Beyond EngagementColloquium on Teaching and Learning Innovation, Stetson Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Paul, said, “This is our day to celebrate learning at Stetson. It’s such a treat to gather together as a community to focus on the heart of what we do. Our goal of inspiring students to be lifelong learners is more important in this fast-paced knowledge age. In today’s society we need to ‘turbo-charge’ life-long learning! The effect of an inclusive learning community is powerful.”

Held in early April, the second annual colloquium showcased passion for all aspects of learning. It opened with an interactive workshop led by Hilary Landorf, Ph.D., and Stephanie Doscher, Ed.D. from the Office of Global Learning Initiatives at Florida International University.

Together, Landorf and Doscher presented the keynote workshop in which attendees broke into small groups. Group members were challenged to look at a serious problem through not only their perspective, but through the ‘lens’ of others. Attendees were further challenged to see the interconnectivity of individuals, noting how inclusive education and dialogue is paramount to address today’s most pressing problems.

“Global learning is the key to inclusive excellence,” said Landorf.

“But that doesn’t mean we need to necessarily leave the classroom. Integrative learning can take place anywhere. You just need to make meaningful connections,” added Doscher. “Examine how you can bring global learning and integrative learning to create meaning for your students. We need to learn what we don’t know in order to achieve Global Equity.”

The morning session continued with plenary speaker Kirsten Shippert Brown, director of Stetson University’s Community School of Music.

Brown said the best example they have of integrative and service learning in the School of Music occurs in private lessons in which a Stetson student becomes the teacher to others from the community at large.

“Now in the role of a teacher, student-teachers become aware and naturally observe themselves as they observe their students. Our students learn firsthand that the better you get at teaching, the better you get at playing.”

The colloquium’s afternoon portion consisted of round-table discussions, interactive presentations and poster sessions.

Brown Innovation Fellow Michele Randall, visiting assistant professor of English at Stetson, was an attendee as well as co-presenter of a poster session titled, “Buffy Belongs in College: What Popular Culture adds to the University Classroom.” She notes that by integrating popular culture into the material, student motivation and course interest increases.

“The more interesting you make the material for the students with pop culture stories, the more they can connect to the material. The students are increasingly invested and then we can pack everything in that approach. Students come in to class ready to learn when they are engaged and excited,” said Randall. “What I’ve learned is that if I’m passionate about teaching it, the students, in turn, become passionate about learning. I’m having a lot of fun with this style of teaching and am excited to be sharing my experience and learning from others today.”

“In addition to expanding from a half day event, the most important change I’ve observed in 2016 is engaging learners from even more institutions,” said Rosalie Richards, associate provost for Faculty Development and Colloquium Chair. “Last year, members from Daytona State College and Bethune-Cookman University joined in the discussion, and this year we hosted those institutions as well as colleagues from Saint Leo University, Georgia College and Florida International University. Next year, we envision it to be a hub for all aspects of engagement – including K – 12, not-for-profits, government and more. As a collective, we can enhance or reimagine how we work together in the service of learning by all,” she explained.

“The more opportunity we have to engage with each other, then the higher likelihood we are to have inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary innovations,” Richards continued. “That kind of engagement is the type of learning we must model for Stetson University students so they are equipped to address complex challenges.”

Stetson University’s annual colloquium is supported by Stetson University’s Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, thanks to the pioneering vision of trustees and longstanding Stetson supporters Hyatt and Cici Brown.

By: Trish Wieland

This article was reprinted from Stetson Today.

Sparking the Conversation | Stetson Today

Clay Henderson, left, hosted Stetson’s recent open dialogue on the effects of climate change. Panelists, from l to r: Dinah Pulver, Jason Evans, Chad Truxall and Sister Pat Siemen. (Photo by James Valentine.)

More than 250 local government officials, concerned citizens, academicians, journalists, students and environmental advocates packed Allen Hall on Feb. 16, to hear and be part of the significant conversation of protecting the environment by better understanding climate change and rising sea levels.

“As far as I know, this is the first public meeting of its kind in Volusia County to start a local conversation about the effects of climate change,” explained Clay Henderson, executive director for Stetson’s new Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience.

This “open dialogue” event regarding the recent Paris Climate Change Accords (COP21), was led by Stetson’s visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow Joseph Treaster, a prize-winning reporter and University of Miami professor with a passionate expertise for protecting water sources.

Members of the expert panel included: Sister Pat Siemen, attorney and director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law; Jason Evans, Ph.D., assistant professor in Stetson’s Department of Environmental Science and Geography, and public policy expert on climate change issues in Florida; Chad Truxall, executive director of the Marine Discovery Center and Florida Master Naturalist instructor; and Dinah Pulver, award-winning environmental journalist with the Daytona Beach News-Journal.


Sr. Siemen attended the COP21 and felt that the publicity and awareness raised was good, but it will be slow-moving to make meaningful action in governments across the globe.

“It was huge to get all 195 countries to agree (at the COP21) that climate change is real. They agreed to have a plan in place to reduce greenhouse gases in the next five years. But we need something more urgent and we can’t wait another five years,” she noted. “Our current environmental protection laws are not good enough. The environment has rights, too.”

Moderator Treaster, whose participation was made possible through Stetson University’s Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, agreed. “It’s a slow goal. But we can’t give up. We have to have conversations just like this,” he said. “We know the science dictates us to see the sea level rise.”

“The warming of the oceans globally means more flooding will occur in streets, septic tanks then pulls that wastewater back out. Our drinking wells have ‘intrusion’ from salt water containments as the sea level rise emerges more inland,” explained Evans.

But this problem is not just a coastal issue, noted Pulver. “The increasing salt content will exacerbate problems for river life. The more the sea level rises, the more salt you’ll have in the rivers.”


“We have to be willing to change our lifestyle more! Eat local, organic,” added Sr. Siemens. “We also need to include measures to conserve water in our legislation.”

Truxall agreed that prudent action is needed urgently.

“We need action now. We treat water as if it’s something we want to get rid of, so we need a new way of thinking about the value of water,” Truxall suggested. “People need to feel empowered when it comes to addressing climate change. We’re going to keep seeing these issues until the political scene changes.”

Evans proposed that, unlike some public-supported institutions that may restrict the dialogue, Stetson is the perfect place to launch the conversation.

“We have to talk about the science. Stetson University is a very good place for this dialogue because, as a private university, we can steer the conversation locally and nationally,” explained Evans. “I’ve found that once local government officials see the problem, they will believe. We just have to keep getting the facts and information out there.”

By Trish Wieland

This article was reprinted in its entirety from Stetson Today.

Making the Global become Local: SU to host Water/Climate Change discussion | Stetson Today

Stetson University will host a Water/Climate Change Panel on Feb. 16, regarding the recent Paris Climate Change Accords (COP21).

The public panel discussion will feature Stetson’s visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow Joseph Treaster, a prize-winning reporter and University of Miami professor with a passionate expertise for protecting water sources. In addition to Treaster as moderator, several expert panelists will discuss the outcomes and expectations of the Paris Climate Change Accords, as well as the most recent science on sea level rise in Florida.

Read the entire article in Stetson Today.

Learning through Change, Interaction | Stetson Today

Harvard’s Robert Kegan conducts Stetson’s Faculty Community Day 2016.

If adaptability in today’s world is the name of the game, then Robert Kegan, Ph.D., holds the tools to the rules.

“Dr. Kegan’s expertise is with adult learners,” explained Resche Hines, Ph.D., assistant vice president of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Stetson University. “He has helped hundreds of institutions deal with change. And his personality is one of modeling in a very non-threatening way.”

Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development, educational chair at the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard University. He was chosen to be the facilitator for this year’s Faculty Learning Community Day at Stetson, thanks to the university’s new Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. This event has taken place for the past four years on the Friday before the spring semester begins as a way of reflecting and discussing big issues that impact the university’s mission and learning community.

“Beth [Beth Paul, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost at Stetson] started the event because she wanted to give the faculty time to enjoy thinking together – across the whole university,” said Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “We invite thought leaders to come and think with us.”

Paul said she felt personally honored to have Kegan, a transformational learning specialist, on campus for this learner-centered discussion and workshop since she has known and respected his work for decades.

“Today we learned a new way to ask ourselves, ‘How do we help our students grow? What is eating away at their time unnecessarily to prevent them from reaching their goals and potential?’ We also look at the continuing growth of Stetson as an organization,” said Paul. “We’ve undergone lots of changes in recent years. And I think today’s workshop is a fabulous way to make us realize how special this place really is.”

Faculty and staff learned through interaction with each other. (Photos by Lisa Yetter)

 Through group exercises facilitated by Kegan, the Stetson faculty, staff and administrators could ask themselves if their systems of self-protection are enough to support and achieve goals. “Self-deception is a very powerful force,” noted Kegan. “We need to ask ourselves if we examine that enough. We need to look below the surface of the water as well as above it.”

“There are a lot of pressures on higher education that force us to dance as fast as we can to sustain our level of teaching here. This workshop is timely in light of recent events to find and grab the future we want in a positive manner,” explained Paul. “Today was a journey in which we spent time with one another and indulged ourselves in a reflective manner. We need to care about ourselves because we do something so important at Stetson University, which in turn does something important in this world.”

Matthew Schrager, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative health science, said that attending the workshop was an opportunity to reflect on the important issues that have been difficult to resolve. “Dr. Kegan taught me how to examine major assumptions that are not serving me well as a way to address long-standing problems,” he noted.

Assistant Provost for Student Success Lua Hancock, Ed.D., said she thought Kegan’s research about why humans desire new behaviors in their lives, but struggle to make the changes needed, was fascinating. “I was able to really dig into one of my goals and think deeply about what is the true root behind why I don’t achieve it,” she added. “The workshop was great for my personal development and also helped me think about how we best empower students to manage change so that they can graduate ready to solve complex problems in the world.”

“On a collective scale, I hope that everyone who participated today now feels empowered to ‘break the mold’ and that a ‘we-can-do-this’ mentality comes forward,” added Kegan. “I hope that they made a number of discoveries, but mostly for the professors to discover for themselves that they can surprise themselves, that they are still growing and developing themselves, and that they still have ‘unwritten’ chapters.”

At the end of the day, participants were asked to rate the workshop. “The feedback response shows that 82 percent of the faculty and staff reported an ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ experience,” explained Rosalie Richards, Ph.D., associate provost for Faculty Development and professor of education and chemistry. “The session challenged us to think about how we can transform individually and consequently, as an institution, to develop timely responses to change we are already experiencing and as we prepare for the future.”

This article was reprinted from Stetson Today.

Brown Innovation Fellows Program names professors | Stetson Today

Back row (l to r): Craig Lind, Jared Rawlings, Matthew Hurst, Sven Smith, Michele Randall; Front row (l to r): Cynthia Alby [teaching and learning consultant], Laura Crysel, Ranjini Thaver, Mario Rodriguez, Rachel Core, Danielle Lindner, Elizabeth Lamerial Jacobson, Dejan Magoc.
The Brown Innovation Fellows Program at Stetson University offers teacher-scholar faculty dedicated time for study and reflection on learning as well as strategies to facilitate deep, integrative student learning anchored in Stetson’s mission of preparing students to lead lives steeped in personal growth, intellectual development, and global citizenship. Congratulations to the following Stetson University’s 2015-2016 Brown Innovation Fellows:

  • Rachel Core, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Laura Crysel, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Matthew Hurst, Assistant Professor of Finance
  • Elizabeth Lamerial Jacobson, Brown Teacher-Scholar Fellow in Counselor Education
  • Craig Lind, Brown Teacher-Scholar Fellow in Ecology
  • Danielle Lindner, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Dejan Magoc, Assistant Professor of Integrative Health Science
  • Michele Randall, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
  • Jared Rawlings, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Music Education
  • Mario Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies
  • Sven Smith, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Ranjini Thaver, Professor of Economics

This year’s Fellows will participate as a cohort in a year-long Brown Innovation Institute with teaching and learning consultant Cynthia Alby, Ph.D., lead instructor for the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program and professor of education at Georgia College & State University. The institute will focus on innovative teaching and learning with an emphasis on course-building and high quality pedagogy. The first session of the Brown Innovation Institute was held on Sept. 25, and the next session will be held Oct. 23.

The Brown Innovation Fellows Program is a project of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, made possible by generous donations from longstanding University Trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown. For more information, contact or call (386) 822-7010.

Source: Stetson Today

New Academic Opportunities | Stetson Today

Students as well as faculty can expect some new enrichment and academic opportunities at Stetson University this year.

For starters, two new master’s degrees, a new certification program and an impressive variety of undergraduate minors have been added to Stetson’s academic repertoire.

  • Master of Education in Elementary Education – Educating for Social Justice – This degree program’s core embraces the university’s values of diversity, inclusion, intercultural competence and social justice. This theory-to-practice degree program focuses on advocating for socially marginalized students in local and global societies.
  • Master of Creative Writing– The Stetson Low-Residency M.F.A. is a two-year hybrid program consisting of classroom and online work culminating in a master’s degree focused on one of two genres: Fiction or Poetry in an Expanded Field. The program follows all guidelines and best practices outlined by AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, of which Stetson University is a member.
  • Play Therapy Certificate Program– This certificate program offers graduate credit and a continuing education track. The program prepares counseling professionals to work with children, adolescents and their families by utilizing the most effective and developmentally appropriate theories and techniques.

New undergraduate minors include:

  • Asian Studies
  • Data Analytics
  • Public Health
  • Public Management
  • Undergraduate concentration in Public History

“We continue this year to advance this transformative approach to learning by expanding experiential learning opportunities such as community-engaged learning, internships, international study, mentored research and creative activity,” explained Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D. “Our faculty support students to reflect on how their learning comes together to guide them in living a life of significance.”

Furthermore, the newly launched Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience will be under the expert guidance of Clay Henderson, J.D., a 1977 Stetson graduate. Read more about Henderson’s new role at Stetson in Stetson Today.

“The institute highlights our university-wide commitment to and expertise in environmental responsibility and resilience,” said Paul. “It provides new learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff, as well as benefits for our community such as education, policy research and advocacy. It communicates regionally and nationally Stetson’s strength and excellence.”

Paul also notes that new undergraduate curriculum changes are underway for the School of Business Administration and that a new Writing Fellows Program is in the works.

“The official launch is going to be the fall of 2016, but we’ll begin working with future writing fellows during this academic year,” explains Professor of English John Pearson, Ph.D., who also serves as associate vice president for Academic Affairs. Pearson says this program will involve students who are specifically trained to work in designed classes, helping their peers develop and articulate thoughtful analytical arguments with particular attention to audience and conventions of the discipline.

“This program advances student learning by putting students together with students to learn and develop writing skills collaboratively,” says Pearson. “The Writing Fellows Effective written communication skills are essential for our students as they seek to address complex problems in their courses, their lives and the world.”

Faculty enrichment will be paramount at Stetson with the continuation of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, which aims at supporting and invigorating faculty dialogue around progressive pedagogy and learning.

“Similar to our commitment to students, Stetson endeavors to challenge and stretch faculty horizons through diverse learning opportunities,” says Rosalie A. Richards, Ph.D., associate provost for Faculty Development and professor of Chemistry and Education. “In particular, our large cohorts of new faculty over the past three years will benefit significantly from the resources available at this creative time in Stetson’s history.”

As an example of this, Richards cites Stetson’s new membership in New York University’s Faculty Resource Network ( which will expand and elevate the work of faculty through seminars on cutting-edge learning approaches as well as through scholarly residencies to advance their research and creative endeavors.

“Through this network, Stetson’s teacher-scholar faculty participate in rich experiences in New York City, as well as in other countries, alongside faculty and administrators from universities and colleges across the nation and the world,” she said.

By Trish Wieland

This article was reprinted from Stetson Today.

Revolutions in Teaching | Stetson Today

What does a professor with an “office” in a lobby, and a 3-D printer have in common?

They are just two of many innovative ideas presented at Stetson University’s first-annual Teaching and Learning Colloquium – a unique, “think outside the box” forum where professors discuss new and more effective ways to engage their students. The April 10 colloquium was the culmination of a year-long endeavor with the new Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, launched last fall with generous support from longtime Stetson University Trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown.

According to W. Tandy Grubbs, Ph.D., chair of the chemistry department, 3-D printing has become more cost efficient and can become a valuable visual tool for students in chemistry (minuscule molecules and complex bonds can “come to life”), biology (life-like skulls and other bones can be created) mathematics(students can touch forms and shapes), computer science (drone components can be constructed) and music (unique instruments can be designed).

Sue Ryan, dean of duPont-Ball Library and Digital Learning Resources, makes presentation on 3D printers.

“The student response to 3-D printing has been tremendous,” explained Grubbs. “Their motivation to learn has skyrocketed. They love this technology.”

Statistics professor John Rasp, Ph.D., wondered how to get more students engaged outside the classroom and nearly two years ago began hosting some office hours in the lobby of the Lynn Business Center.

“The results were astounding. Not only did I have more students seeking to talk with me but, while they are waiting, they are talking and solving problems with each other,” explained Rasp. “It works so I just keep doing it.”

“It’s our responsibility to educate the next leaders of our free world and we need to examine what ‘learning’ looks like,” said Rosalie Richards, Ph.D., associate provost for Faculty Development and Colloquium Chair. Richards, who is also a chemistry and education professor at Stetson, has led the development of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence while supervising the expansion of the Brown Teacher-Scholar Fellows and visiting master teacher-scholar programs.

Alicia Slater, Ph.D, Provost Faculty Fellow for Faculty Development and associate professor of Biology, helped designed the inaugural Brown Innovation Fellows Program this past year and had teams of professors from accounting, biology and philosophy who revised their courses to include unique learner-centered pedagogies. These professors presented frequently-discussed topics at the colloquium: team-based learning and “backward design”—a concept in which professors start with what they want their students to know by the end of the semester and then outline the coursework to achieve that result.

“We are trying to build momentum in innovative teaching,” explained Slater. “Our first year was extremely successful and we look forward to engaging even more professors and students with these powerful learning tools. The vision is to make this a yearly event.”

Professors and administrative leaders from Daytona State College and Bethune-Cookman University also attended.

By Trish Wieland

This article was reprinted from Stetson Today

Dr. James Johnson and the 3rd Annual Faculty Learning Community Day

The Third Annual Faculty Learning Community Day held in January of 2015, brought faculty together in a reflective setting for discussion of the big issues that impact Stetson University’s mission and learning community. National scholars are invited annually to engage the Stetson community in thought-provoking conversation. These learning communities created for the faculty are intended to develop connections, create networks, foster multidisciplinary conversations, and bring together those interested in the critical issues that exist in higher education. The Faculty Learning Community Day is held on the Friday before the start of the spring semester as a way to welcome the beginning of a new calendar year of learning as a community.

In 2015, the Learning Community Day welcomed esteemed scholar Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Johnson led a faculty-centered discussion and workshop entitled “Disruptive Demographics: Implications for Higher Education”. His research shows that demographic changes  have already begun to change the face of higher education. Faculty learned about the consequences of community development, inter-ethnic minority conflict, and workforce diversity issues. Dr. Johnson provided the Stetson faculty community with ways in which to develop timely responses to demographic changes already being experienced, and more importantly, the ways to fully embrace inclusive excellence in preparation for the future.

Download Dr. Johnson’s Presentation (pdf)

Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr. is a William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Johnson is also the author of several scholarly articles including a recently published book titled Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles. He has published research on everything from the impact on U.S. metropolitan economies resulting from September 11th to offshore white collar jobs and the competition in the United States. Dr. Johnson has focused many of his studies on inequality in American society and how that has affected disadvantaged youth socially as well as economically.