September - Week 1

Hello Everyone-
Below you’ll find information about upcoming programming at the Faculty Center and beyond.

Over the past few months the Faculty Center team has been looking at some strategies for incorporating virtual reality into curricula. Over the summer we hosted representatives from Embodied Labs for a Teaching and Learning day. You can click here to see information about their products.

Recently, we were able to secure funding from the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities to purchase two virtual reality kits as well as a one-year subscription to the Embodied Labs modules for the UCF community. This will allow us to engage colleagues like you in related programming and complete some exciting assessment projects. We will be able to work with you to use the tools with student, staff, and faculty groups. While the basic content of the modules focuses on health-related issues, it also addresses the development of empathy and cultural competencies. It would be a great tool for students to experience before working with members of the community, or before starting a design project that needs to be shaped by end users’ needs. It has relevance for any discipline dealing with education or social issues and concerns and could be of value in courses designed to encourage creativity and innovation among their students. It can also be used with faculty or staff groups.

This Thursday, September 7, Carrie Shaw, the EL CEO will be doing a workshop and demo for all interested faculty members from 9:30 to 11 in CB1 205 (the classroom attached to the Faculty Center). We have limited space available for that event, so RSVP by emailing the Faculty Center at ASAP. The Faculty Center will then host a lunch for interested colleagues from 11:30 to 1. We need lunch RSVPs (including dietary restrictions) by Tuesday, 9/5, at noon and have a cap of 35 participants for that event. These sessions will allow you to connect with Carrie and to let us know when and how you might want to use the tool in your fall and spring courses or co-curricular programs. If you are interested but unable to attend, please email for information.

Have a great (short) week,

The activities below will take place in the Faculty Center (Classroom Building One, Room 207) unless otherwise noted. If you would like to participate virtually, please email for information and assistance.

Thursday, September 7th
Faculty Writing Club—10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Embodied Labs Virtual Reality Workshop and Demo—9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Classroom Building One, room 205 (RSVP required. Email
Embodied Labs Lunch—11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 205 (RSVP required. Email
Workshop: Strategies for Addressing Student Readiness for Learning—2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Classroom Building One, room 205. See details below.

Friday, September 8th
Faculty Writing Club—10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Strategies for Addressing Student Readiness for Learning
Students' prior knowledge may have gaps, inaccuracies, or insufficiencies that will hinder learning new concepts. In this session we will examine methods for diagnosing students' prior knowledge, for addressing problems that arise from too much cognitive load, and for scaffolding complex learning tasks.

Course Innovation Project: Improving Student Learning Approaches
Led by Eric Main & Amanda Wolcott
Faculty members often remark that their students do not study enough or only perform work in exchange for significant extrinsic rewards. The Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning is seeking 15-20 faculty members to participate in a Course Innovation Project that will focus on interventions using metacognition and study strategies to encourage students to study more effectively. The cohort will meet from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the following Wednesdays: September 13, September 27, October 11, and November 8.
To register, please apply at by September 8th at 5:00 p.m.

Contemplative Practices in the Classroom Special Interest Group (Thursdays)
Led by Eric Main & Amanda Wolcott

“What if we were to take seriously the possibility that our students have a rich and authoritative inner life and tried to nourish it rather than negate it?” – Mary Rose O’Reilley
Are you interested in learning about applying contemplative practices in your classroom, looking to deepen your practice, or willing to be a part of a community of scholars who understand the benefits of contemplative pedagogy for both students and instructors? The Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning is hosting a special interest group in Fall 2017 and we would like you to join. The SIG will meet from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on the following Thursdays: September 28, October 12, October 26, and November 9. If you are interested in participating, email

Minds Online Book Club (Thursdays)
Led by Anna Turner
The Faculty Center and Center for Distributed Learning will cohost Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology by Michelle D. Miller, who was our keynote speaker at the 2017 Summer Faculty Development Conference. Faculty members who teach in web-enhanced, mixed-mode, or online modalities are invited to join us for a discussion on cognition and technology-aided approaches to teaching. Meetings will be held on September 14, September 28, October 12, October 26, and November 9 at noon in the Faculty Center. If you are interested in participating, email The first ten respondents will receive a free copy of the book.

Presentation Zen Book Club
Led by Anna Turner
In his second edition of Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, Garr Reynolds has included a new chapter focusing on technical and educational topics, in addition to his original approach on creating meaningful presentations. We will use our meetings to discuss Reynolds’s approach in terms of teaching and learning. If you’re looking to improve your presentations, revamp some of your lectures, or learn more about design, please join our discussion. Our meetings will take place on September 6, September 20, October 4, October 18, and November 1 at noon in the Faculty Center. If you are interested in participating, email The first ten respondents will receive a free copy of the book.

This October marks the 25th anniversary of the celebration of diversity and UCF efforts to build an inclusive learning and professional environment. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion asks for your participation – in the classroom, with your colleagues, with your department. We count on everyone on campus to contribute to this celebration and to foster inclusion. This year’s theme is “Transform and Inspire Inclusion.” Encourage the engagement of your students and department; submit an event online and access the Week’s calendar at (some Diversity Action Grants are available to support - ).

The Reimagining the First Year initiative in collaboration with Housing & Residence Life, within the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services, is seeking two Faculty Fellows to join our team to enhance student success, particularly for first year, underrepresented, low income and first generation students. Seeking both tenure and non-tenure track faculty members. Faculty Fellows receive a $2,500 stipend for participating in this commitment through June 30, 2018. Email letter of interest and resume/vita to Elba Miscannon ( by September 5, 2017.

The UCF Biology department will host a one-day conference on Plants Beyond Limits: Building A Better Future With Plant Science at UCF main campus on November 10, 2017. The conference aims to highlight the values of plants in defining a better future for us and for the changing society. If you are interested in being a part of the conference, please let us know through this short survey. We will get back to you with more information.

The editorial board of the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) is pleased to announce a call for submissions for new TOPR entries from now until September 15, 2017. Selected entries will be announced in October 2017. Please explore the newly redesigned site ( and consider submitting an entry using the submission form at: 

This peer-reviewed scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) resource is emerging as a go-to destination for faculty/designers in search of ideas for online and blended courses. Each entry is highly focused on one teaching practice with a solid description, concrete example(s), relevant professional practice or research literature, and key words connecting to other practices. Please contact Baiyun Chen ( or Aimee deNoyelles ( with any questions.

Help your students make the most of their research…have them talk to a Peer Mentor:
Undergraduate Research offers drop-in hours and appointments with Peer Mentors to help students who are new to research, or those who are currently engaged in research, make the most of their experience. Peer Mentors can help students determine which structured programs would be a good fit, go over funding opportunities, discuss options for disseminating their research, and answer other questions your student may have about research at UCF. The Peer Mentors are available four days a week and their schedule can be found here: As always, if you or your students have questions, please contact our office at or 407-823-3125.

Florida Statewide Symposium(October 27 & 28)
Registration is now open for the 10th Annual “Florida Statewide Symposium: Best Practices in Undergraduate Research.” We invite you to participate in this two-day symposium focused on strengthening and developing undergraduate research. The deadline for submissions is September 8th. New this year, limited registration funds are available to UCF attendees who are presenting at the symposium through What’s Next, UCF’s QEP. Please visit for symposium details including the tentative schedule and previous event programs. The Symposium keynote is open to all: This year’s keynote seminar is “Leveraging campus-wide initiatives to grow student scholarship” presented by Dr. Bethany M. Usher, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, George Mason University, and will take place October 27.

Undergraduate Research Journal: Fall Publication Opportunity For Undergraduate Researchers
The Undergraduate Research Journal fall priority deadline is September 18th. Students can submit completed manuscripts for publication of research done at the undergraduate level with a faculty mentor. Please see the URJ website for more details or contact us at

Academic Advancement Programs is pleased to announce that the applications for the McNair Scholars Program, the Research and Mentoring Program (RAMP), and the Research and Mentoring Program for Transfer Students (RAMP-T) are available at  These programs offer students interested in pursuing graduate education with impactful experiences designed to prepare them for graduate school and the graduate school application process.  Applications for RAMP and RAMP-T are due on September 15th. Applications for the McNair Scholars Program are due October 5th. For more information please contact

2nd Annual “Reach for the Stars” Faculty Fitness Challenge
Being active and spending time with family and friends are both directly linked to career satisfaction. Our primary goal for the 10-week challenge is to encourage faculty to participate in physical activity while spending time with family and friends.  First-timers, moderate exercisers, and fitness enthusiasts are all welcome to participate!
Eligibility and Registration: Registration from faculty, staff, students, as well as family and friends of faculty, staff, and students are submitted online at  Registration must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on September 7.  The challenge will begin on September 11 and conclude on November 12.

Click here for additional information.
Questions can be directed to Faculty Excellence (; 407-823-1113).

Faculty Excellence Advisory Committee
The goal of the Faculty Excellence Advisory Committee is to provide input, recommendations and feedback on various Faculty Excellence initiatives with the purpose of strengthening UCF faculty and assisting Faculty Excellence in fulfilling its quest. This year, the Advisory Committee will be organized around four subcommittees, each of which will focus on one of the following types of initiatives: Inclusivity, Mid-Career Faculty Support, Work-Life Balance, and General Faculty Excellence. Full‐time faculty members of all ranks and types are invited to apply by Sept. 7.

The Associate Professor Mentoring Communities are small, peer-directed groups of tenured associate professors designed to engage participants in career planning and advancement. Applications are due electronically no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 8.
Scroll and Quill Society
The Scroll and Quill Society recognizes outstanding achievement in research and creative activities. The 2017-18 application period is now open for all UCF faculty members who have maintained continuous full-time faculty appointment at UCF since August 2007. Apply online by Sept. 22

Ace Your Research Portfolio

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Training by the UCF Libraries and Web of Science (WoS) to meet the potential needs such as: citation for T&P, grant application, prestigious awards, identifying quality publications, collaborators and funders. Six sessions covering various topics for mid-career or early-career faculty.  RSVP by October 11, 2017 to Sign up for any or all. Snacks, coffee and lunch provided.  Click here to view detailed schedule.

Join a faculty writing club to start your fall off with a focus on productivity and camaraderie. Having trouble getting into a good writing rhythm? Need to get away from your office to get a change of perspective and a little privacy? Forget the coffee shop—join your colleagues on Thursday and Friday mornings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in FCTL for a loosely structured writing session. We'll take five or six minutes each week to go around the room and state a goal for the time block and then spend the rest of the time working on our individual projects. Bring your own laptop or use an FCTL computer. And of course there will be coffee. Everyone is welcome!

The Faculty Center is happy to share information about events or activities that are relevant to faculty in the listserv each week. If you would like to request that we include an announcement, please email me a paragraph (three to four sentences) including a link to additional information if appropriate, by close of business on Wednesday for inclusion on the following Sunday. Please verify that all links are correct before submitting. Due to technological constraints we cannot include attachments or HTML formatted text. Remember to include critical details like the place and time for the event and feel free to suggest a headline. Announcements will run for two weeks, with exceptions in special circumstances. Just send your announcements to me at and we will help to spread the word.

Faculty Spotlight View Other Award Winners

Amanda Koontz Anthony
College of Sciences Amanda  Koontz Anthony I base my teaching philosophy on the core values and structure of mentoring. I consequently define my role to be that of developing students’ abilities as independent scholars and engaged citizens. I share my enthusiasm and expertise on subjects with students, and in turn guide their applications of class co...

Jennifer Kent-Walsh
College of Health and Public Affairs Jennifer  Kent-Walsh Goals & Foundational Principles Beyond striving to ensure that students learn the fundamental content of the courses I teach, my objectives as a university teacher are as follows: (a) to foster critical thinking skills; (b) to facilitate the acquisition of lifelong learning skills; (c) to help ...

Mostafa Bassiouni
College of Engineering and Computer Science Mostafa    Bassiouni I have a strong passion for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science and information technology. For undergraduate courses, I emphasize providing students with a good understanding of current techniques, improving their problem-solving capability, enhancing their basic computer skills, and...