Instructor Debora Herold sitting in a chair at her desk with a bookshelf behind her to her left and wall behind her.

Content Refresher: Using Exam Wrappers

Are you searching for ways to support students in becoming more self-directed learners?

Consider using exam wrappers to help students reflect on their performance and identify areas where they might improve. An exam wrapper consists of questions that prompt students to think about how they prepared for an exam, the strategies they used during an exam, and the specific types of questions they found challenging. By completing an exam wrapper, students are able to better understand of their strengths and weaknesses and can use this information to guide next steps for their future exam preparation.

Ask Yourself: How might you use data from exam wrappers to inform your teaching and support students in their preparation for exams?

Image of a video camera on a tripod facing a large yard.

Expert Dive: Motivating Students to Learn with Dr. Michael Wesch

How can we use videos to help motivate and engage students in learning?

Watch Dr. Michael Wesch, renowned cultural anthropologist and digital storyteller, share inspiration on how to create “out-in-the-world” opportunities for learners to “encounter the true adventure of your discipline.”

Ask Yourself: What are the especially interesting or important concepts that you might bring to life using digital storytelling?

Association of College and University Educators to Strengthen Teaching and Learning for More Than 250,000 Students Through New National Initiative

Fostering a Culture of Belonging: The National Higher Education Excellence Challenge Grant Program will certify up to 2,000 professors and staff

NEW YORK — June 27, 2023 — The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) today launched a new national initiative, Fostering a Culture of Belonging: The National Higher Education Excellence Challenge Grant Program, that will strengthen the higher education experience for hundreds of thousands U.S. students. Developed with Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), this new program will allow up to 2,000 professors and staff to earn an ACUE certificate through its “Fostering a Culture of Belonging” course. Given typical teaching loads, the course will benefit an estimated 250,000 students annually. The announcement was made last week at the inaugural National Higher Education Teaching Conference co-hosted by CCNY, ECMC Foundation and others.

“Our first task as educators is to create a welcoming learning environment that enables all students – regardless of their backgrounds – to succeed. A sense of belonging must transcend differences of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and one’s beliefs. Great teaching makes this happen, and it’s the pre-requisite for learning,” said Jonathan Gyurko, Ph.D., ACUE President and Co-founder. “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Carnegie Corporation of New York on this program. We further intend to grow the initiative with additional matching funds and ensure that more than a million students know that they belong in college — in-class and campus-wide.”

ACUE’s “Fostering a Culture of Belonging” course provides campus professionals with practical approaches to ensure students and colleagues feel seen, heard, and valued. Its commonsense strategies deepen an institutional culture that supports all students, particularly those who can most benefit from a college education including first generation and historically under-deserved students. To date, thousands of professors and staff from public, private, and denominational institutions, across 23 states in all regions of the country, have earned this certificate. Among these diverse course-takers, 98 percent find ACUE’s commonsense recommendations relevant to their teaching and students.

Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Vice President, National Programs, and Program Director, Education, LaVerne Evans Srinivasan, said, “One of our long-time areas of focus is post-secondary success, because we know that economic and social mobility is critically dependent on educational attainment. We also know that quality instruction is fundamental to the success of the students in our collective care, which is why we have invited ACUE to apply for a challenge grant to support this initiative.”

Today’s announcement builds on the success of a similar initiative launched late last year with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), involving dozens of private independent colleges. This new program will be administered in collaboration with the National Association of System Heads and is open to all colleges and universities eligible for federal support. Interested institutions can find more information and apply at go.acue.org/NCTCGS.

About ACUE

The mission of the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) is student success through great teaching. In partnership with colleges, universities, higher education systems, and associations, ACUE prepares and certifies professors and staff in the evidence-based teaching practices that lead to higher retention and achievement, deeper learning, and closed achievement gaps. Numerous and independently validated studies confirm that students are more engaged, learn more, and complete courses in greater numbers when taught by ACUE Certified faculty members. ACUE’s online, cohort-based certification programs are delivered through institutional partnerships and open enrollment courses endorsed by the American Council on Education.

faculty development

Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning: Why Community Colleges Invest in Faculty Professional Development with ACUE

Community colleges remain a critical component of the higher education system—providing pathways to education and the workforce for millions of learners. As of the fall of 2021, there were approximately 5.3 million students enrolled in U.S. community colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), representing nearly 27% of all undergraduate enrollment in the country. As enrollment trends vary regionally and are influenced by a variety of factors, community colleges face a number of unique challenges, from funding to changing student demographics and needs to retention. While these challenges can be daunting, there are several strategies and resources—provided by ACUE—that community colleges can employ to address them and ensure that they continue to provide high-quality education and training to their students.

Addressing diverse student populations

While institutions continue to strategize on how to deliver accessible and equitable learning experiences to the range of students within higher education, community colleges have long been revered for their commitment to affordable tuition, accessible programming, and ability to serve students from vastly different backgrounds. As community college faculty and leaders continue to refine their approach to delivering on these values, many have turned to ACUE.

Built into the ACUE offerings, courses, workshops, strategies, and teaching frameworks is an understanding—and application—of inclusive, equitable teaching practices that span across all aspects of a faculty member’s interactions with learners. By taking into consideration the full (and complex) student and academic lifecycle, ACUE is helping community colleges across the country accelerate their student success and equity goals. For instance, at the City College of San Francisco, ACUE Certified faculty member Dr. Tracy Burt, EdM, has been able to make inclusive, accepting environments for her students.

“Professor Burt really helped me understand that everyone’s opinion matters,” said her student. “By sharing our experiences, I feel like I know my classmates better, and they know me better in a way too.

With ACUE, faculty are empowered to intentionally create a learning environment and equity-centered courses that welcome, encourage, and support all students right away.

Building faculty and student confidence

Educator confidence plays a critical role in creating a positive and effective learning environment. When faculty feel confident in their abilities, they can inspire and motivate their students to achieve their full potential. ACUE’s Effective Teaching Practices framework instills confidence in educators by preparing them to effectively design a learner-centered course, establish a productive learning environment, use active learning strategies, promote higher order thinking, and promote learning success with formative and summative assessment.

ACUE-trained faculty have witnessed the impact of these practices in real time and even have recorded how their confidence has impacted overall student success. Take, for instance, Miami Dade College.

“Because of the ACUE course, when I walk into the classroom, I feel more confident, more prepared. I know exactly the goals that I want to reach for that day,” said Associate Professor José A. Donis.

Across 100 courses taught by ACUE Certified faculty—with an enrollment of 6,100 students—student GPAs improved by 0.19, surpassing 3.0.

Reducing DFW rates

A large percentage of community college students are often at risk for stopping out or dropping out of their academic programs. To combat this challenge and help students overcome the compounding barriers that may contribute to degree incompletion, many colleges also use ACUE programs to help faculty members develop teaching practices that directly address DFW rates.

“We have faculty who are ACUE trained. And we actually assess and see that these students are learning, they are engaged, they are moving on to their next class. We can see through the efficacy data that this is really working,” reflected Jeffrey Nasse, PhD, College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Broward College.

As exemplified by a number of ACUE community college partners, faculty who earn an ACUE credential teach effectively online or in person—and in a way, that motivates all students to stay enrolled and succeed.

Community college faculty sentiments

96%

Find their ACUE experience relevant

91%

Would recommend ACUE to a colleague

97%

Refined their teaching practice

The direct correlation between faculty professional development, student success and retention

There is a strong correlation between faculty professional development and student success in community colleges. Professional development activities such as research-based courses, microcredentials, certification programs, and workshops help faculty members stay current with new teaching methodologies and technologies, which can in turn improve the quality of instruction they provide to students. In fact, field studies and ACUE research have shown that when faculty engage in ongoing professional development, students tend to perform better academically and are more likely to persist in their studies.

From Florida to California, ACUE is enabling community college instructors and institutions to effectively address some of their pressing challenges. ACUE partners can point to measurable student outcomes attributed to educator professional development: higher student retention, lower DFW rates, and closed equity gaps.

As Dr. Grant Goold, Visiting CTE Faculty at California Community Colleges states, “ACUE invests in faculty to provide them with additional tools that they can use to directly impact the success of their students.”

Interested in learning more?

In this discussion, community college leaders will explore how faculty development informs, supports, and reifies successful student retention strategies. Featured panelists include Dr. Laura Ortiz, Dean for Faculty Development and Engagement at Waubonsee Community College; Anastasia L. Urtz, JD, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs at Onondaga Community College; and Kate Smith from Rio Salado College.

From Florida to California, ACUE is enabling community college instructors and institutions to effectively address some of their pressing challenges. ACUE partners can point to measurable student outcomes attributed to educator professional development: higher student retention, lower DFW rates, and closed equity gaps. As Dr. Grant Goold, Visiting CTE Faculty at California Community Colleges states, “ACUE invests in faculty to provide them with additional tools that they can use to directly impact the success of their students.”

Instructor standing at the front of a classroom facing a group of students in front of her and another group of students virtually on a large TV screen behind her.

Bennett College Spotlight: HyFlex Classes

HyFlex classrooms are two-way learning experiences that use technology to allow educators to provide simultaneous instruction to online and in-class students with the expectation that all students in the course achieve the same learning outcomes, regardless of their location. Educators need training in both online pedagogy and technology to effectively facilitate a HyFlex learning experience for all students.

In this video, you will see Dr. Santiba Campbell and Dr. Annie Harrison demonstrate their use of HyFlex at Bennett College to create a collaborative community for online and in-person students. Dr. Campbell explains that Bennett College’s HyFlex model, Tech Enabled, was designed to first focus on online pedagogy, and then the use of technology, to deliver effective instruction. She emphasizes that strong pedagogy is essential to creating an “integrated, accessible space.” As such, instructors who are ACUE Certified in effective online teaching practices were selected to take part in Bennett’s first cohort.

Ask Yourself: What do you see as the benefits and challenges of teaching in a HyFlex modality?

 


 

Resource

Beatty, B. J. (2019). Values and principles of hybrid-flexible course design. In B. J. Beatty (Ed.), Hybrid-flexible course design: Implementing student-directed hybrid classes. EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/hyflex_values

Silo-Busting in Support of Student Success

How can instructors and advisors work together to ensure that students are fully supported throughout their college experience? ACUE’s Julie Candio Sekel sat down with Prairie View A&M University’s Dr. Tabitha Morton, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Alvin Johnson, Director for Academic Advising Services, to learn about their collaborative effort to make connections with one another and with students to enrich students’ learning and sense of belonging.

Preparing for the Future: The Impact of AI on Higher Education

Since the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI)—most notably ChatGPT—the general discourse in higher education has been a tale of conflicting opinions as many institutional leaders and faculty contend what the tool means for student success. Some worry its disruption will give way to academic dishonesty and lack of student comprehension, while others believe it could be the next step in revolutionizing learning, increasing efficiency, and creating innovative learning opportunities that could better emphasize the learning process rather than outcome.

As educators and leaders at college and universities respond to students’ use of this transformative technology, the question remains: how can AI learning and ChatGPT help innovate student learning and what buy-in needs to take place to best leverage these emerging tools in an effective and ethical way?

To learn more about generative artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on higher ed, register for the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) webinar on May 9.

Webinar:
Reimagining Higher Education Through AGI/ChatGPT 

The Early Indications: Teaching and Learning with ChatGPT

Developed using a breakthrough AI technology, the ChatGPT chatbot acts as a word predicator with a “large language model” that has been trained on enormous amounts of information and data and “generates new texts by making statistical predictions about what should come next based on its training data,” states Dr. Julia Staffel, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“It can write you stories, cooking recipes, screenplays, suggestions for how to decorate your living room,” Dr. Staffel shares in a ChatGPT explainer video she posted to YouTube earlier this year. “But it can also write the sorts of essays that we ask our students to write in our classes,” she warns. Given these capabilities, thousands of instructors and administrators have reported their concerns since ChatGPT was released to the public in November 2022, especially in response to the platform’s growing popularity.

Early research suggests that generative AI is said to have the greatest impact on teaching and learning within higher education. Undergraduate teaching, teaching and learning centers, faculty development, and graduate teaching are the most frequently cited areas of an institution already affected by AI, according to an EDUCAUSE QuickPoll of 1,000 faculty, staff and leaders in early February. Yet those responsible for providing instruction—faculty—expressed the most pessimism towards AI, the poll found.

Despite faculty reluctance or hesitance to embrace ChatGPT, students continue to use the tool to “fast-track assignments, brainstorm ideas, get unstuck as they start writing, receive help solving problems, and otherwise experiment with ChatGPT as a learning tool,” a Tyton Partners article reports. As a result, instructors and institutional leaders must be sure to set clear guidelines and policies to ensure AI tools are effectively used for learning enhancement.

Insights for University Administrators

While much is still unknown about ChatGPT and other generative AI systems, many argue that ignoring its presence—and popularity—is perhaps the worst thing to do. Instead, experts are calling for faculty and administrators to experiment with when and how the new technology can inform both teaching pedagogy and the learning experience.

As subject matter experts, instructors, and those responsible for academic affairs, student services, or institutional planning, experts say there are several considerations that must be immediately addressed:

Establish clear expectations for students’ use of ChatGPT and other AI tools. 

Provide sourcing and citation guidance for students using ChatGPT and AI tools in their work.

Provide intentional communications about how ChatGPT will be incorporated into academic integrity policies.

When regulated and integrated into the classroom correctly, ChatGPT can be harnessed to promote student learning and even help facilitate lecture organization. However, in addition to setting clear boundaries and guidelines for AI use in the classroom, it’s also crucial to open the conversation and include all relevant stakeholders.

Including Faculty in the Conversation About ChatGPT

The stark difference in opinion on ChatGPT is a reminder that faculty must be part of the conversation about AI and ChatGPT on campus. “Faculty must be involved and prepared to learn how to leverage the technology to advance student learning—and how they might need to adjust their instruction to ensure students aren’t cheating themselves out of authentic opportunities to learn,” says Dr. Penny MacCormack, chief academic officer at ACUE.

As the use of ChatGPT becomes widespread amongst students, there exists an opportunity for institutions to engage faculty in addressing the potential benefits and challenges associated with new technologies such as generative AI. Ultimately, as stewards of the teaching and learning process, faculty—and their challenges, triumphs, and experiences—remain central to how communities within the higher education ecosystem will move forward in regards to AI learning tools.

ACUE AI Webinar Panelists and Experts

Many institutional leaders, such as Sunem Beaton-Garcia, president of Chippewa Valley Technical College in western Wisconsin, have navigated ChatGPT successfully. In fact, President Beaton-Garcia has sought to embrace AI tools right away as a way to increase student engagement and boost skills and training needed to implement AI effectively in higher education.

Similarly, Greg Jordan, president of SeligoAI, has experienced how ChatGPT can positively impact student support systems, such as admissions and enrollment funnels as well as student advising. As president emeritus of King University, Dr. Jordan is an expert in using AI-driven data analytics in support of student relationship management and individualized learning.

Dr. Julia Staffel, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, created a ChatGPT explainer video for educators and leaders in higher education who were beginning to grapple with the rapid emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Her explanation helps to contextualize the benefits and the barriers to learning from a faculty perspective.

On May 9, Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia, Dr. Greg Jordan, and Dr. Julia Staffel will join ACUE and share their experiences with ChatGPT and address the ways in which AI can be used to positively impact teaching and learning.

Continued Reading on ChatGPT in Higher Education

Generative AI in higher education: From fear to experimentation, embracing AI’s potential: Tyton Partners leaders reflect, report, and project their findings on the impact of ChatGPT since its emergence into higher education.

How to worry wisely about artificial intelligence: The Economist provides insight on what AI means for education, the workforce, and the fear and excitement surrounding it.

How AI is shaping the future of higher ed: Inside Higher Ed offers its take on how AI is reshaping many of the routine activities in higher education and how it can and will inform the future of higher ed.

ChatGPT: Post-ASU+GSV reflections on generative AI: Michael Feldstein, the chief accountability officer of e-Literate, contextualizes how AI will affect knowledge and skills production.

Where will generative AI lead?: Ray Schroeder of Inside Higher Ed conjectures on AI’s influence on the workforce, job security, and learning techniques.