Faculty Network

I am the founder and co-organizer (with Susan Baglieri) of the New and Not-So-New Faculty Network, an interdisciplinary group of junior and senior faculty who meet twice every semester. Each of these meetings features a faculty member who has volunteered to give a presentation or lead a discussion on a topic that helps other faculty in our pursuit of scholarship, teaching, or service. It is a time to learn about our campus community, and share lunch, stories, and tips for thriving at LIU.

We started with fifteen newly hired faculty in September 2003 and now have more than one hundred junior and senior faculty members. Below is a list of upcoming and past events.

If you are a faculty member on the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, please e-mail me at sophia [dot] wong [at] liu [dot] edu  to join our network and our listserve, which we use to post general questions and answers, to publicize upcoming events of interest, and to announce our meetings.

List of Past Events

TopicSpeaker(s)
Info on the new Health, Life Insurance, and Long-Term Disability Benefits Senior Director of Benefits John Doran
The TIAA-CREF Faculty Retirement Program Dave Flynn, TIAA-CREF
Q & A on Getting Grants and our New Contract Anthony DePass, Associate VP of Research, and Rebecca States, LIUFF
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Want to know about getting grants to fund your research?

Confused about the new union contract and what it means for you?

Here's your chance to meet our Assistant VP for Faculty Research Development, Anthony DePass, and LIUFF Treasurer Rebecca States.  They'll give short presentations and then answer your questions.

This event takes place from 3:00-4:00 pm on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.  Please RSVP to susan.baglieri@liu.edu or sophia.wong@liu.edu if you plan to attend.


What's Your Impact? Tools for Selecting and Evaluating Journals for Publication Betsy Crenshaw, Chuck Guarria, & Diana Mitrano, Library
Using Educational Technology Norm Sutaria, Educational Designer
Roundtable on Faculty Retention: Tips on Preparing the Personnel Summary and Tenure Portfolio Evangelos Pappas, Physical Therapy, & Srividhya Swaminathan, English
Third Roundtable on Student Support and Retention: Supporting LGBT Students Sara Haden, Psychology; Courtney Frederick, Director of the Academic Reinforcement Center
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Minutes of the Third Roundtable on Student Support and Retention: Supporting LGBT Students
Organized by the LIU Brooklyn Campus New and Not-So-New Faculty Network

Date: Wed, Feb. 17, 2010, 11:00am -12:00 pm in H823
Presenters: Sara Haden, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Courtney Frederick, Director of the Academic Reinforcement Center

19 people present, representing School of Education, Business School, Writing Center, Library, Social Work, Psychology, Biology, English, Tutoring Center, Special Education. Minutes taken by Ady Ben-Israel, condensed by S. Wong.

Summary: LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.  We organized this roundtable to raise awareness of the diversity of our student population, reduce homophobia and heterosexism on campus, and make our LIU Brooklyn campus a safer and freer environment for all members of our community regardless of sexual orientation.

Participants were drawn to this meeting because of the following factors:

  1. Lack of visible campus presence of LGBT people
  2. Surprise about lack of organized LGBT presence on campus
  3. Feeling isolated on Brooklyn campus
  4. Interest in getting updated “pulse” of attitudes in student body about LGBT issues
  5. Desire to be better educated about LGBT issues so as to be able to effectively engage LGBT students in education.

Key Issues Identified:

  • Until now, no sustained, coordinated initiative to make LIU-Brooklyn safe and welcoming for LGBT students
  • History of LGBT organizing on campus: faculty organized a group, though group faced difficulty of some faculty not wanting to be out on campus. Student group existed 5 years ago. School of Education is making attempts to increase LGBT material throughout the curriculum.
  • Impact of assumptions of heterosexuality on student learning is unknown
  • What is the impact on student retention considering elevated risk factors that LGBT students may face including family rejection, social marginalization, fear of harassment, increased levels of depression related to marginalized social position?
  • Need for explicit, visible, public LGBT-affirming voice for LIU. How does the public “read” LIU in terms of this aspect of diversity? How are LGBT-affirmative messages included in recruitment materials, the website, etc?
  • How should discriminatory attitudes be dealt with in student writing?
  • What is current census of LGBT presence on campus and student needs around LGBT issues?
  • What are possible connections to the Gender Studies program?

Proposal for Safe Zones program on Brooklyn Campus:

  1. Would entail faculty/staff identifying themselves as safe people for anyone with an LGBT-related concern to be able to talk to and receive information and referrals.
  2. Faculty/staff do not have to be LGBT themselves, nor do they have to be LGBT experts. They need only demonstrate a capacity to be affirming and accepting and be willing to talk to a student and direct them to additional resources if necessary.
  3. Demands on faculty/staff are minimal. Participating individuals would complete a brief workshop and training on LGBT issues and resources before designating themselves as Safe Zones by placing a sticker or some kind of identifiable symbol in a visible, public space (e.g. office door)
  4. Such a program exists on the CW Post campus of LIU, and at other campuses in the country.
  5. Defines the LGBT community as inclusive of LGBT identified individuals as well as family members and friends of LGBT people.
  6. Interested participants identified their interest in being put on a listserv and/or indicated their willingness to support the planning stages of the project.
  7. For more information and to join the listserv for Safe Zones contact Sara.Haden@liu.edu.

Second Roundtable on Student Support and Retention Phyllis Brown-Richardson, Special Educational Services; Harry Stucke, MBA Program Director; Charlotte Marchant, Learning Center for Educators & Families; Susan Halio, HEOP Counselor; Elizabeth Crenshaw, Reference Librarian
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Minutes of the Second Roundtable on Student Support and Retention

Organized by the LIU Brooklyn Campus New and Not-So-New Faculty Network

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 3:00-4:30 p.m in Pratt 251

Mrs. Phyllis Brown-Richardson, from the Special Educational, Achievement Studies and Renaissance Studies, described the student population that her department serves – high-risk students who have deficits both financially and academically, as well as students with disabilities – and services which they provide, including, tutoring, counseling, and coaching in life skills such as time management.

Mr. Harry Stucke, from the School of Business MBA program, described an initiative of his program, in which each new student is contacted by phone in their third or fourth week of class to provide their opinion of how LIU is doing, how the University could improve, and whether the student needs tutorial services.  The purposes of this initiative are to show that we care, address expressed needs, and receive input on the adjunct instructors on whom the program relies.  The initiative has been very positively received.

Ms. Charlotte Marchant, the Director of the Learning Center for Educators and Families described the Family University Afterschool Program or FUN Program, an art-based afterschool program for 7 to 12 year old children of LIU students.  This grant-funded program provides dinner, help with homework, and the opportunity to work on art projects from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  It receives staffing and support from several programs, including interns from LIU’s Social Work program as well as fieldwork placements for School of Education students in Teaching and Learning.

Ms. Susan Halio, Senior Counselor at HEOP (Higher Education Opportunity Program), described her program.  It serves educationally underprepared – meaning that they do not meet LIU’s admission standards for the program that they want to pursue -- and financially challenged students.  In contrast with Student Support Services, in order to be admitted to HEOP students must have never been in college before and be accepted before classes begin or have transferred from another college or university where they were in a comparable program. HEOP tries to create a place where students feel secure and welcome.  Services provided include a computer lab, group counseling sessions, and tutorial services and workshops, peer counseling, some financial support, and academic support.  Students receive mid-semester evaluations in order to improve their success.

The services and sense of community among the student in the program has allowed it to contribute to improving student retention for LIU.  A remaining challenge for retention is cost to students.

Elizabeth Crenshaw, Reference Librarian, described services available to students at the Brooklyn Campus Library and efforts to increase awareness of library services.  The library is meant to be a supportive place where students can get help, use computers, do research, and experience success.  Library faculty members provide reference services – one-on-one assistance with assignments – in person, over the phone, and online, as well as in-class instruction.  Outreach efforts include book sales, exhibits, contests, and workshops.

 

Questions ensued, including how students get referred to HEOP and Student Support Services.  Students who are identified by recruiters, or inquire at Admissions, and who have not yet enrolled, are interviewed by two different counselors, who decide whether to admit the student to HEOP.  Once students have enrolled, they are no longer eligible for HEOP, but may still qualify for Student Support Services.

A reported suggestion of establishing “Houses” for students, which would give them a place to go and enable them to make connections among themselves, was originally raised by Jose Sanchez (not present).  These houses could be either virtual (on-line) or physical lounges that would encourage a sense of belonging to communities similar to the Honors program and the HEOP program.

Other suggestions included student-run roundtables, shortening the semester from fifteen to twelve weeks, moving to a flat-rate tuition system, and expansion of the one-week courses currently offered by the university during January.


First Roundtable on Student Support and Retention Provost Gale Haynes; Dean Michelle Relyea, Student Development/Retention; Dean Elizabeth Storinge, Admissions; Courtney Frederick, ARC; William Burgos, WAC; Harriet Malinowitz, Writing Center
Responding to Students’ Writing: Tools & Ideas For Guiding Growth Susan Baglieri, Teaching and Learning
Writing Across Campus: New and Not-So-New Questions about Student Writing Deborah Mutnick, English
Tips on Preparing the Personnel Summary or Tenure Portfolio Yafeng Xia, History, & Christopher League, Computer Science
What the Psych Services Center Can Offer Your Students & How to Help Them Use It Linda Penn, Director of the LIU Psychological Services Center
Breaking The Silence: What Students with Learning Disabilities Don’t Tell You David Flink, Executive Director of Project Eye-to-Eye, a national mentoring program for students with learning disabilities/ADHD
How Our Research Group Motivates Us to Publish Marshall Hagins & Evangelos Pappas, Physical Therapy
Off the Record Classroom Observation Exchange Margaret Cuonzo, Teaching and Learning Initiative
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Summary of Oct. 24th, 2007 meeting co-sponsored with the Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI)

Overview

The Joint Meeting of the New and Not-So-New Faculty Network with the Teaching and Learning Initiative took place on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 from 12:30 - 2:00 PM in the Jonas Board Room on the Brooklyn Campus. The discussion topic was “Off the Record Teaching Evaluations.” Six faculty members attended, all of whom stayed and actively participated for the duration of the lunch.  Margaret Cuonzo (MC) served as facilitator and began the conversation by telling us that Mark Birchette is on sabbatical, then giving a brief update on past and future TLI events.

The format for the informal meeting was as follows: first, participants responded to the question “What are possible motivations for arranging informal teaching evaluations?”; second, we considered the advantages and disadvantages of informal evaluations; third, we discussed various ways of implementing informal evaluations, and finally, this segued into reflections on the question of whether our different disciplines call for different models of teaching, and what we can learn by informally observing colleagues who teach in radically different subject matters using divergent methods.

Possible Motivations for Arranging Informal Teaching Evaluations
The following points came up in response to the question about why faculty would be motivated to arrange informal teaching evaluations in addition to the required formal reviews:

1.Formal evaluations are recorded permanently in the files of probationary faculty

  1. Formal evaluations are stressful, especially when we (new faculty) don’t know what criteria are being used to evaluate us
  2. On formal evaluations, senior faculty may hesitate to give honest feedback since negative comments may influence future decisions about promotion and tenure
  3. While formal evaluations are relatively infrequent, more frequent informal visits can give observers a better picture of one’s teaching style and objectives
  4. During formal evaluations, faculty being observed often feel under pressure, and may modify their teaching style from what they do every day in the classroom
  5. Faculty evaluations differ from student evaluations, and usually carry more weight
  6. Student evaluations are not always accurate indicators of what is going on in the classroom
  7. Statistics based on student evaluations can be skewed by small class size or low participation in filling out the evaluations (e.g. two or three students’ opinions can represent “30% of the class”)

We then decided to examine the pros and cons of informal evaluations.

Advantages of Informal Evaluations:

  1. As discussed above, they enable our colleagues to give us more honest feedback
  2. When repeated or more frequent, they give a more accurate picture of our teaching
  3. Less stressful because they have no impact on our files for promotion and tenure, hence the focus is on improving teaching methods
  4. During informal evaluations, faculty could show observers what we really do in the classroom, e.g. small group work, teaching software in a lab, having students work on individual projects and circulating around the room to offer individual support

Disadvantages of Informal Evaluations:

  1. Opening up one’s classroom to outsiders can be difficult; many faculty feel territorial about having colleagues enter their classrooms, which they view as their own spaces where they interact with students
  2. The very act of having one’s class observed by an outsider changes the atmosphere in the classroom; having a stranger in the room is very noticeable in a small seminar where everyone knows each other fairly well (while perhaps less disruptive in larger, more anonymous classes)
  3. Informal evaluations require a lot of trust between the observer and the person being observed; there has to be a clear agreement that the feedback will remain 100% confidential and will not affect promotion or tenure decisions in any way

All of the above points generated considerable discussion and debate.  After a while, there was a consensus that because we teach at a university that is (in part) publicly funded, faculty should be open to observers and should seek feedback to improve our teaching, even if it makes us feel uncomfortable to be observed.

We then moved into a discussion of possible ways to implement the idea of informal peer evaluations.

Ways of Implementing Informal Teaching Evaluations

A. Informal Evaluation at the same time as Formal Evaluation

In some departments, the senior faculty member doing the formal evaluation submits two reports at the same time:

1)    The official report goes into the permanent record and is used for promotion and tenure decisions.  This report contains feedback phrased in a constructive, more diplomatic way.

2)    The “off the record” review is given directly to the faculty member, perhaps discussed verbally, and can be destroyed immediately afterward.  This review contains more blunt remarks about how the faculty member can improve in teaching methods for the future.

B. Classroom Observation Exchanges

Another way is to set up exchanges of visits between faculty members who are not observing each other in any formal way.  This would enable faculty from different departments and disciplines to learn from each other.  It was noted that it can be useful to learn how others teach their subjects, even if one does not plan to implement the same methods in one’s own courses.

C. “Guest Speaker” Visits to the Classrooms of Colleagues

A variation on B is to invite colleagues to give short guest lectures in one’s class.  This enables the colleague to observe the class while also participating in it for part of the time, and allows the observer to engage actively with the students.

D. Informal Student Evaluations – Written or Verbal

In this context we also discussed the method of having students do informal teaching evaluations, which are collected directly by the professor and not recorded in the official file.  One way is to have students complete a short in-class writing assignment halfway through the semester.  Ask students to identify what they are doing well in the class and how they could improve, and then to evaluate the professor’s teaching, identifying what methods are successful and what could use improvement during the second half of the semester.  Some colleagues find it useful to have ongoing informal conversations with students about their progress in the class and their needs for further review or explanation of the course material. It was agreed that both kinds of informal evaluations can be very eye-opening and enlightening.

Some Interdisciplinary Reflections on Teaching

Toward the end of our meeting we discussed the following questions:

How many models of teaching are being used on the Brooklyn campus?

Are the disciplines so different that they invite different approaches to teaching?

How can one work effectively with students in small groups?

How does one assign credit to students who have worked together on group projects?

How can one create a structure in class that is conducive to learning (no iPods, no texting)?

Should one treat students more paternalistically (e.g. “you need to get more sleep tonight”) or more as fellow adults who are responsible for their choices (e.g. “what can you do to ensure that you are better prepared for class next week?”)?

What is the effective use of case studies, stories, fairy tales, and dialogues in helping students learn theoretical material?

Next Steps

The session ended with unanimous agreement that participants would like to stay in contact with each other and to set up informal classroom observations.  MC agreed to circulate the list of e-mail addresses along with these notes.

Summary of Participants and Departments Represented

Six people attended the lunch on October 24, 2007.  At least two other colleagues indicated by email or by phone that they would like to have participated but were precluded from doing so because of scheduling conflicts.   The Departments and/or Schools represented were Media Arts, Philosophy, English, and Pharmacy.


Persisting and Publishing Sealy Gilles, English
Tracing Nature Hilary Lorenz, Visual Arts
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The Safe-T gallery is about one mile from LIU campus.  To get there, walk west on Willoughby and turn north on Jay St.  Follow Jay St. all the way downhill until you reach Front St. and turn left (west).  The gallery is at 111 Front St.

If you prefer to meet with me on campus, we can walk there together.  Just let me know.


Tips for Retirement Planning with TIAA-CREF Thomas Kelly, TIAA-CREF
Library Resources and Services Ingrid Wang, Library
Serving Students with Special Needs Jeff Lambert, Special Educational Services
Tips on Publishing Louis Parascandola, English
The Joys and Challenges of Parenting on the Tenure Track Andrea Slonosky, Media Librarian
Getting Grants at LIU Anthony DePass, Associate Dean of Research
Preparing for the Third Year Review Maria McGarrity, English
Integrating Writing into Your Courses William Burgos, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)
Survival Tips at LIU Stacy Gropack, Physical Therapy
Q & A on the TIAA-CREF Faculty Retirement Program Michael Pelias, LIUFF Treasurer
Poetry Welcoming the New Faculty to LIU Wally Glickman, Physics
Introducing Your Faculty Union Joseph Filonowicz, LIUFF Grievance Officer
Q & A for New Faculty Members Hal Barton, Anthropology
Applying for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Margaret Cuonzo, Philosophy