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The story of my sabbatical: an inconvenience rightly considered: (AKA "Passport: Beyond the Adventure" – A Forty Year Reflective on "At-Risk" Youth & Families in a Therapeutic Wilderness Program.)

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. - G.K. Chesterton

“Passport for Adventure” was a therapeutic wilderness program for “pre-delinquent” and “at risk youth” that ran from 1972 through 1993. Early in my social work career I had been a senior guide / counselor in this program. In 2017 I learned that all of the original program files, including initial screening assessments of all participants, as well as of control groups still existed. This created an almost unheard of opportunity to conduct a 40 year follow-up / outcomes study of programs participants.


In the first week of the sabbatical study, a significant “inconvenience” to the completion of this project emerged.

Starting AY 2018-2019, Park began using Faculty180 for full-time faculty annual performance reviews and professional development plans. There will be several learning opportunities during the spring semester to learn more about the new system.The first of these sessions was a Deep Dive hosted by FCI on March 29, 2019.

The session covered:

  • How to add activities for AY 2018-19 to generate the annual accomplishments report;
  • How to access and complete the self-assessment; and
  • How to access and complete the PDP.

Please contact faculty180@park.edu with any questions on the new system.

  • Faculty180 Full-Time Faculty Annual Performance Review and Professional Development Plan (APR-PDP) Guide

Many instructors in the quantitative disciplines struggle to find meaningful ways to engage their students with discipline-specific writing. In fields traditionally dominated by numerical information, writing, at least as it’s long been construed, has often taken a second seat. However, every discipline, no matter how number-heavy, has its own writing conventions, and with a few aptly chosen exercises, students can begin to learn those conventions and become skilled writers in their chosen fields.

This presentation will provide instructors with a number of “out-of-the-box” writing activities that are adaptable to a variety of classrooms, including those in quantitative fields. Some of the activities are short, “low-stakes” exercises that students can complete in minutes and others are lengthier, multistage projects that help students develop a deeper understanding of disciplinary writing as a process.

Faculty across all stages of the academic career often struggle with how best to manage the increasing work demands placed upon them in relationship to their ever-changing demands in their personal lives. Too often, however, we focus our attention only on pre-tenure women faculty with young children, assuming that this is the only group that needs attention and assistance. Work/life management is important to faculty members across the career span, for both men and women, and for faculty in both tenure and non-tenure positions. This talk examined how a range of faculty, with different identities and in different phases of the career, manage work and life responsibilities. Special attention was paid to how institutions like Park University could facilitate work/life integration through policy and practice.

Managing Work/Life Demands presentation

This Deep Dive presentation explored the resources and tools available to faculty on MyPark, and also provided a more in-depth explanation of the unique advising system here at the university.

  • Advising Resources at Park University handout
  • Academic Advising Tools and Advising System of Park University handout

Amanda Bryant, Coordinator for Student Advocacy, discussed what to do when you are concerned about a student.

Types of concerns that were addressed included, but were not limited to:

  • personal issues affecting school (illness, homelessness, family concerns)
  • financial concerns (can’t afford textbooks, financial aid issues, military benefits)
  • academic struggles (academic integrity, disability services)

Participants learned how to respond to these issues and what resources are already in place, including forms Park has for some of the processes. In addition, participants understood why it’s important to be “involved” in what’s going on in a student’s personal life.

  • Helping Students Succeed: What to Do When You're Concerned about a Student presentation

Faculty180 is an online platform that will house faculty profiles, vita, and accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service. In addition to helping facilitate institutional reporting on faculty credentials and accomplishments, Faculty180 will also support a fully online workflow for annual performance review (beginning with AY18-19) and tenure and promotion applications. This session was to learn more about Faculty180 features, such as verifying your profile, adding activities, vitas, and biosketches – and to help inform Park’s rollout of this new tool.

International students sometimes struggle to work with the feedback provided by their instructors on their writing, and the conventional advice about effective commenting sometimes doesn’t work for students from other language and cultural backgrounds. During this workshop, facilitators discussed effective strategies for commenting on international student writing, and demonstrated effective commentary by practicing with a student paper.

Participants were able to write more accessible prompts for non-native English speakers. Many native speakers of English are unaware of how particular sentence structures, words, or document design choices make prompts harder to read and understand for ESL students. During this workshop, participants demonstrated some easy changes you can make to assignments and gave feedback on each of the participant's prompts brought to the workshop.

This workshop offered some ideas for exercises to teach about privilege & how to facilitate a productive classroom experience on privilege in any discipline, offering students a lens for understanding diverse groups in any future career field.

During this first session, we discussed the two major English proficiency exams used by Park to admit non-native English speakers to Park, discussed the scoring systems, and showed how different scores map to different student abilities in writing.

Military learners are one of Park's largest yet least visible populations. This session was an interactive event, where we addressed:

  1. Defining the military learner and some of the challenges these learners face
  2. Sharing optimal teaching strategies
  3. Finding ways to leverage the unique skills and abilities these learners bring to our classrooms

 

Paige Singleton from Turnitin provided an overview on how to use Turnitin Feedback Studio in Canvas to go beyond simple originality checking. This session focused on interpreting a Turnitin Originality Report, applying Turnitin best practices and delivering quality student feedback.

Park is among dozens of higher education institutions across the country actively exploring ways to reduce textbook costs for students while upholding the rights and responsibilities of academic departments/faculty to adopt the instructional materials best for their courses. Institutions are increasingly turning to Open Educational Resources (OER) and the collections within their own libraries to reduce cost, increase expedient access to instructional materials, and enhance learning outcomes.This conversation about reducing textbook costs through OER and library resources was presented by:

  • Jon Ritterbush, Director of Library Services and Learning Commons
  • Katelyn Handler, Assistant Professor and Reference Instruction Librarian
  • Scott Curtis, Open Educational Resources Coordinator, UMKC Libraries

 

The purpose of this session provided practical information about how to plan a meeting, lead the meeting, take notes at the meeting, and follow-up from the meeting. This session was designed for those leading academic department meetings, school or college meetings, campus center meetings and committee meetings.

This presentation offered a view of writing as a highly varied language activity that could be strongly tied to goals for student learning, and, through examples and research, suggested ways that it could play a central role in every discipline.

Find out how to help your students identify opportunities that are right for them and how to support students through the application processes. The presenters also discussed how to write letters of recommendation that will help your students win awards.

 

  • Scholarships, Fellowships, and Internships: Helping Our Students Succeed presentation

Roundtable representatives included: Raed Alhathni, Robin Burger, Julie Creek, Kevin Vicker, Maureen Wambui, and Zephra Weber

Park University has a long tradition of diversity and inclusivity, and our dedication to international students is a matter of pride. However, as faculty, we often struggle with the challenges of teaching students who come from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds than ourselves. We are good enough teachers that we find strategies to help our students, but what are we not considering? In what ways could we better support our international students, both in the classroom and outside of it?

This session provided information on student demographics and student development theory and the resources that Park provides for underprepared students.

 

This session explores pedagogical approaches to preventing plagiarism rather than punishing it. Presenters shared resources for working on proper source use with students and demonstrated how students can use Turnitin through Canvas as a revising tool.

 

In response to feedback Stacey Kikendall and Glenn Lester received through their “Teaching the International Classroom” reading group and faculty survey, they gathered five international students representing different cultural backgrounds who spoke about their educational experiences in their home countries and how it might differ from their experiences at Park. The student panelists included: Anna Jaehn, Arber Dumani, Iroda Narzullaeva, Jinhong Li, and Leonard Lindweld.

 

  • Teaching the International Classroom Prezi