Internal - Faculty & Staff

Upcoming Events

CFE Events for Spring 2021

If you would like a recording of any of these sessions, please email [email protected]simmons.edu.


Spring 2021 Keynote on Excellence in Teaching- “Connected Teaching: How a Relational Approach Fuels Learning and Builds Faculty Resilience”

April 6 | 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Facilitator: Harriet L. Schwartz, PhD; author of “Connected Teaching: Relationship, Power, and Mattering in Higher Education”.

What does it mean to be a relational teacher in the current moment? How do we connect with students and energize the learning space? How do we balance care for our students and ourselves with commitment to the essential teaching of our disciplines? Through the lens of Relational Cultural Theory, a human development theory centered on growth-in-relation, we will explore connected teaching stances and strategies. In addition, we will discuss the emotional demands of teaching and consider approaches that help us respond to our students’ humanity while also honoring our own. Please join us for this interactive session. Contact [email protected] to request the recording.


Pivotal Pedagogy: Support Student Well-Being and Attention with Contemplative Practices

April 28 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Facilitator: Facilitated by: Ruthann Thomas, Associate Director (Center for Faculty Excellence)

Panelists: Naresh Agarwal, Associate Professor (School of Library and Information Science), Stacey Maguire, Associate Professor of Practice (Physical Therapy)

Classroom introspective and contemplative practices focus attention, reduce anxiety, and deepen understanding of course concepts. In this session, we will share evidence for the benefits of mindfulness practice, consider best practices and limitations, and highlight applications of contemplative pedagogy in practice with examples from Naresh Agarwal and Stacey Maguire.


Book Club Discussion on Connected Teaching

May 3 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Facilitator: Harriet L. Schwartz, PhD; author of “Connected Teaching: Relationship, Power, and Mattering in Higher Education”.

Q&A-style book discussion with the author and keynote speaker, Harriet Schwartz. A limited number of paperback copies of the book will be provided, please RSVP to [email protected] to request a copy. The e-book is available through the Simmons University Library.


Prevent Pandemic Burnout (in Ourselves, in Our Students) with a Focus on Purpose and Connection

January 27 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Facilitator: Ruthann Thomas, Associate Director, Center for Faculty Excellence

The demands of teaching and learning against the backdrop of a pandemic create a situation rife with the potential for burnout. In this session, we will model and discuss teaching strategies that can be applied to motivate students by (re)surfacing their core values and sense of purpose and by building community to reduce feelings of social isolation in those first critical weeks of the class. Moreover, we’ll consider ways our own burnout may affect our teaching and identify ways to recognize and cope to improve our well-being and motivation and to model humanity for our students.


Virtual Sparkshop: Promote Careful Reading and Collaborative Learning with Digital Annotations in Perusall

February 9 | 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Facilitators: Ruthann Thomas, Associate Director, CFE and Lydia Fash, Assistant Professor of English

Taking notes in the margins is an age-old technique to elaborate on the provided text. Perusall is a digital annotation tool that promotes engagement with texts and videos as well as classmates. In this workshop, we will discuss ideas, assignments, successes, and failures to explore how this tool can be used to promote careful reading, deep analysis, and collaborative learning across disciplines.


Pivotal Pedagogy: Detecting Hidden Signals from Students in Need of Support

February 18 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Moderator: Ruthann Thomas, Center for Faculty Excellence

Panelists: Lisa Bauer, Office of Accessibility Services; Talia Hirsh, Undergraduate Advising; Terry Müller, Tutoring & Writing Centers; Mary Struzska-Tyamayev, Center for Global Education

How can faculty notice worrying behaviors and encourage online students to seek support in this challenging time? Join staff in the Center for Student Success to discuss how faculty can observe and act on behaviors signaling that a student would benefit from additional support and how their offices support students facing challenges. Bring your questions and ideas to share and discuss with colleagues about ways faculty can work with CSS offices and help bridge student support services in the classroom and beyond.


Pivotal Pedagogy: Cultivate Belonging to Build Inclusive and Equitable Class Climates

February 24 | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Facilitators: Shreya Bhattacharyya, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Physics; Eugenia Knight, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Field Education for the BSW Program; Ruthann Thomas, Associate Director, Center for Faculty Excellence

Students who feel that they belong in their academic community feel empowered to take ownership of their learning, engage more fully in the classroom, and report higher motivation to achieve. In this interactive session, we will share psychological research on students’ sense of belonging and model classroom strategies and activities that are intentional in fostering students’ voice and role in our classrooms. Moreover, we’ll exchange ideas with colleagues and be inspired to intentionally create a community where everyone belongs and where everyone’s contribution is celebrated and elevated.


Virtual Sparkshop: Inspire Visual Creativity, Presentation Skills, and Teamwork with Canva

March 8 | 11:00 am – 11:30 am

Facilitator: Matthew Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Biology and CFE Faculty Fellow

Using this free visual design platform, students can create presentations, newsletters, infographics, worksheets, social media graphics, and more using customizable templates and free graphics that spark their creativity. The intuitive drag-and-drop functionality and the ability to collaborate on designs together in real-time makes Canva a great tool for project-based learning, assignments, and presentations. In this session, we will go over how you can get started using Canva, look at examples of assignments and student work using Canva in my courses, and brainstorm how you can use Canva to increase student engagement and build community in your courses.


Virtual Sparkshop: Increase Engagement and Collaboration with Miro

April 8 | 10:00 am – 10:30 am

Facilitator: Laura Saunders, Associate Professor of Library & Information Science

Using this free, online whiteboard, students can share images and texts and respond to each other’s posts in real time. Miro comes with a number of templates to facilitate the creation of timelines, workflows, and other structured materials, or it can be used as a free-form tool for brainstorming, concept-mapping, gallery walks, and other collaborative and interactive activities. In this session, we’ll explore various features of Miro, share specific examples of how it might be used in courses, and engage in some hands-on activities with the tool.