Lilly Conference on College Teaching to Feature Sessions on Creativity and Innovation, and More!

The 35th annual Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching ( is almost here! Held at the Marcum Hotel and Conference Center on Miami’s Oxford campus (this year from November 19-22, 2015), the Conference’s central theme of “Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning” along with a wide variety of other teaching and learning themes supporting MU’s commitment to the Engaged University ( will be addressed in the over 140 accepted sessions. All Miami faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend. We expect over 600 attendees from across the US and internationally.

Registration for Miami faculty and staff is subsidized by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Space is limited to the first 600 registrants, so register early to ensure your spot (go to

Christine Asmar

Christine Asmar

The Conference’s opening plenary session is at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 19, in the Marcum Hotel and Conference Center. Christine Asmar (Murrup Barak – Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, University of Melbourne), will explore Moving Beyond “Kitchen Table Prejudices”: Innovative Research-Based Approaches to Teaching Majority Students About Minority Issues. This presentation will discuss “how such approaches might be successfully applied to innovations in participants’ own diverse classrooms.”

Tom Angelo

Tom Angelo

The Conference’s keynote presentation on Friday afternoon, November 20, at 3:15 pm in the Farmer School of Business, room 1000, is What Have We Learned About Promoting Creativity and Innovation in the Last 35 Years—and How Might We Apply That Knowledge? Thomas Angelo (UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) will have attendees “consider potentially transformative, research-based ‘lessons’ learned since 1981 on promoting expertise, creativity, and innovation.”

Jim Sibley

Jim Sibley

On Friday night at 8:00 pm in Marcum, Jim Sibley (Centre for Instructional Support, University of British Columbia) will present Teamwork That Works: Why Team-Based Learning Is Important. Sibley will discuss “how to get your students to come to class prepared and then how to use that preparation to ‘flip’ your classroom so that class time can be better spent helping students learn how to apply course concepts to solve significant problems.”

Robbie K. Melton

Robbie K. Melton

The Saturday afternoon plenary session by Robbie K. Melton (Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobilization Emerging Technology, Tennessee Board of Regents) at 3:20 pm in FSB 1000 is entitled Creative Teaching and Learning Possibilities With Emerging Mobile Technologies. Melton will “showcase the latest innovations of emerging mobile technologies impacting education in regards to mobile devices, smart gadgets, wearables, and 3D augmented virtual reality. Participants will explore creative ways to utilize these technologies for enhancing teaching and learning.”

Dennis Cheatham

Dennis Cheatham

The Conference’s closing plenary session is at 10:55 am Sunday morning in Marcum. Dennis Cheatham (Art, Miami University) will explore Learning to Fail: How to Make Failing Part of Learning. Cheatham will present “the results of a case study that explores what professors can learn about their students and themselves as teachers when they engage in implementing innovations in their teaching.”

Conference sessions that will be of special interest for new faculty are accessible on the Conference website by clicking on the relevant “Keywords” at

An entire-Conference party with live entertainment concludes each day’s activities, providing an opportunity to relax and discuss your experiences with colleagues from Miami and elsewhere. See the Lilly website ( for the entire Conference schedule, including times and abstracts of all sessions.

Important Reminder: Conference registration is required to attend. Register early to ensure your participation. To register, go to

Respond to the Seminar: HELP! Handling Emotional and Life-Challenging Problems With College Students: The Faculty-Staff Dilemma

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Kip Alishio, Director, Student Counseling Service; and Tim Parsons, Emergency Case Manager, Office of the Dean of Students.

This program will help participants:
– Recognize the difference between disturbed students and disturbing students
– Become familiar with steps faculty and staff can take to intervene in response to both types of student crisis
– Know institutional resources to use in seeking support and assistance with students in crisis

Miami’s Faculty Learning Communities for 2015-16 Focus on Creativity and Innovation, Other Topics

A faculty learning community (FLC) is a cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of 8 to 12 members engaging in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, interdisciplinarity, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building.

There are two categories of faculty learning communities: cohort-based and topic-based. Cohort-based learning communities address the teaching, learning, and developmental needs of an important cohort of faculty that has been particularly affected by the isolation, fragmentation, or chilly climate in the academy. Each topic-based learning community is yearlong and has a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning issue, for example, diversity, technology, or cooperative learning.

Some common characteristics of FLCs at Miami are as follows:

• Participants engage in scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching
• Community members participate actively in the Lilly Conference on College Teaching and present their work to the campus and at a national teaching conference
• Criteria for selection include commitment to quality teaching, level of interest in and commitment to participation in activities of the community, need, openness to new ideas, potential for contributions to the community, and plans for use of the award year
• Participation needs approval of applicant’s department chair
• Appropriate committees select participants
• Faculty facilitators receive one-course release time (or equivalent funds) or the same professional expenses as members of the FLC or both, and facilitators in administrative units receive the same professional expenses as the members of the FLC

For the 2015-16 academic year there are 8 FLCs at Miami:

Cohort-Based FLCs:
• Faculty Learning Community: What Now? Strategies for Female Associate Professors
• Alumni Teaching Scholars Community for Early-Career Faculty

Topic-Based FLCs:
• Faculty Learning Community for Exploring and Improving Assessment of Student Learning
• Faculty Learning Community on Inspiring Creativity and Innovation
• Faculty Learning Community on Advising and Mentoring Diverse Students
• Faculty Learning Community on Developing Deep Impact Equity Projects: Bridging Intellect, Creativity and Action Students
• Faculty Learning Community on Interdisciplinary STEM Collaborative: Developing New Capacities
• Faculty Learning Community on Creative, Innovative, and Sustainable Approaches to Teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

To read more about FLCs and the application process, go to:

To see the final reports of Miami’s FLCs for the past 5 years, go to

Respond to the Seminar: Mobilizing Anger Into Activism

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Dominique C. Hill, Stephen John Quaye, and Mahauganee Dawn Shaw, Educational Leadership

The Mobilizing Anger Collective (MAC) is a group of people affiliated with Miami University (undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, and community members) who regularly connect virtually and in-person to: create space and community in which to process instances of injustice, organize actions that make literal and symbolic statements about our shared commitment to social justice, and galvanize our collective power. The purpose of this session is to learn more about the importance of engaging in activism, what mobilizing one’s anger into activism looks like, and the implications of these actions on Miami’s campus. Participants will also build connections with each other and develop ideas for future MAC activities.

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) for Mid-Semester Feedback Available Now!

Don’t wait until the end of the semester to get your students’ feedback—help your students when they need it most! The Center for Teaching Excellence staff will facilitate this straightforward approach to formative course assessment involving small-group discussion among students to provide feedback to an instructor. This mid-semester process is confidential and arranged only through an instructor’s request.

The benefits of the SGID are many. For instructors, it provides formative feedback on what your students think about your teaching and the course. It allows you to engage in personal interaction and interpretation of results with a supportive colleague who has faced many of these same issues. Students’ suggestions provide a diversity of perspectives and may even save you time in developing problem-solving alternatives.
For students, the SGID opens lines of communication between their instructor and them. It gives students a voice in course direction. It may increase students’ interest in and acceptance of course materials and methods.
Among the benefits that instructors have cited are “finding out early what was working for students and what was not” and “providing an accessible and enjoyable forum for my class to freely discuss my teaching.”
Because of its formative purpose, the SGID is best scheduled before midterm so that there is time for the instructor to make any desired changes in the course. Schedule as early as possible to ensure a time that works best with your syllabus. Because of limited staffing and high demand, we must limit SGID requests to one per instructor per semester.

SGIDs for Fall semester 2015 will only be conducted until October 31, so act now! For additional information or to request an SGID, visit

Respond to the Seminar: The Global Miami Plan

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Richard T. Taylor, Liberal Education

While the Miami Plan for Liberal Education has been the template for Miami’s general education requirements for about 30 years, this year’s entering class (Fall, 2015 and later) will see a major change in emphasis and format. The revised plan is designed to be compatible with the broader university 2020 goals and emphasizes student competencies with ongoing assessment. Such a revision necessitates changes in both course development and academic advising. A brief outline of the revised Miami Plan will be presented, along with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities it presents to new faculty.

Rose Marie Ward Receives 2015 Miami University Effective Educator Award

Rose Marie Ward

Rose Marie Ward

Rose Marie Ward, a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (formerly CELTUA), has been chosen as the Miami University Alumni Association’s 2015 Effective Educator.

An excerpt from the article by Vince Frieden, Development Communications, follows:

“Ward, a frequent recipient of nominations and awards for teaching excellence, arrived at Miami as a visiting assistant professor in 2002. She is the 33rd recipient of the award, which annually recognizes one faculty or staff member whose impact extends both within and beyond the classroom. She will be recognized during Miami’s Homecoming Pep Rally, Friday, Sept. 18, and during the Homecoming football game, Saturday, Sept. 19.

“Miami’s Class of 2011—the five-year reunion class—provided nominations for this year’s Effective Educator Award. Ward’s nominations cited her enthusiasm in the classroom, passion for research and enduring influence on her students.”

To read the entire article, go to

Fall Proposal Deadline for Two of the Center’s Grants Is September 15!

September 15 is the fall due date for proposals for two of the grants offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Both grants are for a maximum of $3000.

Major Teaching Project for Departments/Programs grants are to encourage departments/programs to engage in innovations that are consistent with university goals, e.g., diversity initiatives, implementation of curricular renovation at the university or divisional levels, or engaged learning across the curriculum. To learn more and submit a proposal, go to

Major Teaching Project for Individual or Small Groups of Faculty grants are to encourage individuals to engage in innovations that are consistent with university goals, e.g., diversity initiatives, implementation of curricular renovation at the university, divisional or department/program levels, or engaged learning across the curriculum. To learn more and submit a proposal, go to

To read about all of the Center’s grants and awards and see past winners, go to

Summer Book Discussions Help Kick Off Miami’s “Year of Creativity and Innovation”

In summer 2015 the Center for Teaching Excellence hosted discussions of three books (one in June, one in July, and one in August) focused around Miami’s 2015-16 theme of Creativity and Innovation.

The discussions allowed faculty and staff from across campus the opportunity to consider the following questions, among others, raised by the books:

• In what ways is creativity a social act?

• How can we assess creativity in the various disciplines?

• Why do our students (and we) sometimes shy away from the challenge to be creative, and how can we encourage students to embrace this challenge with confidence and enthusiasm?

• What are the most pressing problems or challenges requiring creativity and innovation that our students are likely to face in their professional careers? How can we address them in our courses? In the Miami experience as a whole?

41MmaQgSR2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The first book discussion topic, on June 25, was Marty Neumeier’s Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age ( describes the book in this way:

“In this sweeping vision for personal mastery in a post-industrial era, Neumeier presents five metaskills–feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning–that can help you reach your true potential. They’ll keep you two or three steps ahead of the machines, the algorithms, and the outsourcing forces of the “robot curve.” They’ll also bring you greater creativity, higher purpose, and a deeper sense of fulfillment. . . .

Metaskills is more than a manifesto. It’s a compass for visionary leaders, policymakers, educators, and planners. It’s a creative framework for designers, engineers, scientists, and artists. It’s a picture of the future that allows people from a wide range of disciplines, industries, and professions to envision new ways to create value together. Perhaps more important, it’s a long-overdue examination of what it means to be human in the 21st century.”

41Ik6q3fzhL._AC_SY220_The July 23 book discussion topic was Bruce Nussbaum’s Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire ( describes the book as follows:

“Offering insights from the spheres of anthropology, psychology, education, design, and business, Creative Intelligence, by Bruce Nussbaum, a leading thinker, commentator, and curator on the subjects of design, creativity, and innovation, is first book to identify and explore creative intelligence as a new form of cultural literacy and as a powerful method for problem-solving, driving innovation, and sparking start-up capitalism. . . .

“Nussbaum investigates the ways in which individuals, corporations, and nations are boosting their creative intelligence—CQ—and how that translates into their abilities to make new products and solve new problems. Ultimately, Creative Intelligence shows how to frame problems in new ways and devise solutions that are original and highly social.”

41IABBlGx0L._AC_SY220_The final book discussion of the summer, on August 13, was Scott Berkun’s Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds ( says the following about the book:

“This definitive best-of collection of one of the web’s best young writers is packed with provocations and entertainments, guaranteed to make you think and smile. You’ll learn to find passion, think free, manage time, pay attention and more. Fast paced, inspiring and memorable, you’ll find new ideas and inspirations on every page.

“Essays include famous missives such as: How to be a free thinker; The cult of busy; Why smart people defend bad ideas; Street smarts vs. Book smarts; Hating vs. loving; Why the world is a mess; How to make a difference; How to be passionate; The secret motivation of death; Creative thinking hacks; How to detect BS; Why you must lead or follow; and nearly 20 more provocations that will get you motivated to create, think, and enjoy your life.”

All three summer reading books (along with over 1000 other titles on teaching and learning) are available for checkout from the Center for Teaching Excellence library in 317 Laws Hall on the Oxford campus. You may browse the library collection at

Is the Course Syllabus a Legal Contract?

A recent issue of Miami’s peer-reviewed Journal on Excellence in College Teaching ( features an article on the legal implications of syllabus construction. In “A Legal Analysis and Contrarian View of the Syllabus-as-Contract Perspective” (Vol. 26.2, 2015), author Kent D. Kauffman provides what he calls the “contrarian view” about whether or not a syllabus is a legal contract. Kauffman provides guidance in drafting syllabi that can both “enhance teaching and learning” and “minimize the legal risks of student grievances” (p. 177).

The article’s abstract explains Kauffman’s position:

Despite the claim made in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) literature for over two decades that a syllabus is a contract, the courts have uniformly ruled that it is not. While there is no harm in thinking one’s syllabus is a contract, there may be legal risk in proclaiming it so. The author provides an analysis of the syllabus-as-contract dilemma as well as a review of the legal precedents. Best practices from contract drafting are applied to syllabus creation to enhance teaching and learning and minimize the legal risks of student grievances. (p. 177)

To read this article and the rest of the Journal archive since 1990, go to

We invite you to use the Journal as a resource for teaching and learning. On the website, click “Issue Archive” to access all issues of the Journal published since its inception in 1990; to locate teaching and learning topics you wish to research, click on “Search Archive.”

For information about submitting manuscripts or other inquiries, click “Submitting Manuscripts” on the website ( or contact Gregg Wentzell, Managing Editor, at the Center for Teaching Excellence, 317 Laws Hall, on Miami’s Oxford campus (telephone: 529-9265; e-mail: