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Pre-Week 2023 PD Day

On August 24th, faculty gathered for a day of discussion and learning to prepare for the start of the Fall 2023 semester. Three session tracks were available:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Learn how AI has developed, where it is going, and strategies for your classes
  • Compassionate Challenge: Learn about creating safe environments encouraging learning risks (while taking care of yourself, too) with an early-semester focus on building engagement and participation
  • Course Design: Learn about creating courses and assignments meeting specific curriculum requirements

Session resources, if available, are below. Please note that slide decks often have links to additional materials. Please reach out to individual session facilitators for more information or follow-up questions.

Teaching in Honors: Transforming Your Classes into Honors-Designated Courses and Supervising Honors Capstone Projects

This session will provide a quick overview of the Honors Program requirements (including the capstone), offer practical strategies for designating a course as Honors, and answer some of the misconceptions about Honors education at UMW. For example, did you know that non-Honors students can enroll in HN-designated courses and many students in a major field seek the HN-designated courses for the smaller class size and innovative classroom structures? Or that UMW Honors firmly holds that an HN-designated course should not be more work for students or faculty? Come learn how you can enrich your own classroom and support this critical population; if time allows, we will be happy to consult one-on-one also. (Track: Course Design)

Questions? Contact Kelli Slunt or Mara Scanlon.

Compassionate Challenge: What It Is (and Isn’t) and Why It Starts with You

Join this session for an introduction to Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s concept of compassionate challenge, and learn why supporting students AND ourselves is not an either/or proposition.

Session slide deck

Questions? Contact Victoria Russell.

FSEM Workshop: Lean Into Quality Not Quantity

Ever feel like the FSEM includes everything including the kitchen sink? In this workshop, we will go through ways to remove items from your course as you focus on quality of student work not quantity. Is that formal paper too long, do you ask for too many sources (my vice!), or could you use focus in your assignments so students know the skills that you want them to learn? Join this session for an honest discussion about how to match our FSEM instruction to the needs of our first year students. (Track: Course Design)

Questions? Contact April Wynn.

You Know It When You See It? Reimagining Class Participation

The varied and jagged learning pathways students followed beginning three years ago have had lingering impacts, especially in class participation. Inconsistent practice of classroom skills back then can sometimes look like disengaged, absent students today. Join this session to reimagine ‘participation’ as a student-led, skill-building experience, especially if participation is a portion of your course’s grading system. Consider this a first step towards compassionate challenge for your students! Materials and resources will be shared for use from day one of the fall semester. (Track: Compassionate Challenge).

Session slide deck (including links to form templates)

Questions? Contact Victoria Russell.

AI in the Classroom: Where are We Now?

AI tools like ChatGPT are changing the way teaching and learning is happening. While these tools can be helpful, there is considerable concern that AI allows students to submit assignments (writing, math, computer code, art, music, etc.) that shortcut learning. This presentation will update faculty on the state of AI, provide general strategies faculty can use now to prepare their courses, and present the ongoing plans to help faculty navigate the impacts of AI in the classroom. (Track: Artificial Intelligence)

AI in the Classroom: Where are We Now?

Questions? Contact Jerry Slezak.

Encouraging Reading and Participation: Simple Strategies to Reenergize Classroom Discussion

We want students to read, and have good reasons for that, but getting those reasons to turn into action isn’t always easy. This session will focus on easy strategies to encourage reading and discussion preparation. We will share strategy examples, when and how they can be incorporated, and take time to plan ways to use or adapt them for our own classrooms. Bring your syllabi and calendars to plan for the semester ahead! (Track: Compassionate Challenge)

Session slide deck

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Johnson-Young.

College Level Writing: Instruction, Terminology, and Rubrics

We will focus on concrete strategies to teach college level writing in any discipline. Topics will include shared terminology in assignment descriptions, using the WI rubric to help instruct and assess student writing, and how to give useful feedback that improves writing quality. This session is great for FSEM instructors and folk teaching writing in any discipline. (Track: Course Design)

Questions? Contact Leah Schweitzer or April Wynn.

You Get What You Get: Prompt Development and the Boundaries of AI

A college professor chronicled what happened as she trained ChatGPT through incremental prompting (Lingard, 2023). Read or skim the short piece about her experience–and then join us to discuss the insights and recommendations offered, especially as they can apply to teaching students about the opportunities, challenges, and limitations in using AI for class assignments. A special thank you to Dr. Leah Schweitzer, Director-Speaking & Writing Center, for sharing this piece that she is using during peer consultant training this semester. (Track: Artificial Intelligence)

Lingard, L. (2023). Writing with ChatGPT: An illustration of its capacity, limitations, and implications for academic writers. Perspectives on Medical Education, 12 (1): 261-270. DOI:

Session slide deck

Questions? Contact Victoria Russell.

FSEM Thriving in College: Proposal Development Working Group

Thriving in College was the most popular FSEM among incoming first year students. Based on positive psychology principles, this FSEM developed by Dr. Miriam Liss (CAS-Psychological Sciences) is relevant to our first-year students through exercises and examples that can positively impact students’ college transitions and academic success. This working group will help instructors develop and submit an FSEM proposal to teach Thriving in College and build an instructor cohort for this popular course. Resources and course materials will be shared as you plan your proposal and ultimately prepare to teach the FSEM. Attendance does not commit you to teaching the FSEM but does help you have an approved FSEM up your sleeve! (Track: Course Design)

Questions? Contact April Wynn or Miriam Liss.

AI and Academic Integrity: Navigating Expectations

Join this session to discuss the intersection of artificial intelligence and academic integrity, including syllabi statements, proactive assignment design, and steps forward if you suspect unauthorized use of AI in a course assignment. (Track: Artificial Intelligence)

Session slide deck

Questions? Contact Wes Hillyard.

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