Summer Faculty Institute 2016

foodforthought copy

Given the centrality of food in Christian practice and imagination, what might it mean to “eat well” in our teaching, learning, and scholarship? How might eating as a metaphor enlarge our thoughts and shape the ways we organize our classrooms, plan our syllabi, prepare our lessons, write our articles, and live in our academic communities?

We invite you to join us for a 3- day Faculty Institute, May 16-18!  We’ll kick off with a keynote from Dr. Susan Felch, Director of the Center for Christian Scholarship at Calvin College —  “Food for Thought”  — on Monday at 11:30, and then host two concurrent workshops with four sessions each:
Monday (1:30-3:30)
Tuesday (9:00-11:00; 1:00-3:00)

No cost for ACU faculty/adjuncts.

Cost for faculty outside the ACU system:
Keynote only $25 per person
Full Summer Faculty Institute $100 per person [Click here to register]
Group of 20 or more from one institution $75 per person (call for details)

The workshop descriptions are below.

Finding your Scholarly Vocation with Dr. Susan Felch
The purpose of this workshop is to develop your self-understanding as a scholar, to understand habits and practices that support continuing scholarly work, and to explore the breadth and benefits of Christian scholarship.  Each of the three workshop sessions will include a presentation, discussions, and the opportunity to share ongoing scholarly work. Short articles and other readings will be distributed in advance.

Creating Flipped Classrooms
Scores of studies have demonstrated that the flipped classroom structure is beneficial for student learning, especially for first generation and underrepresented students. This hands-on series of workshops will prepare you to deliver one of your classes using the flipped model and try it for yourself.

Please RSVP by April 29.


Faculty Reflection on the Flipped Classroom

Written by Berlin Fang

The Flipped Classroom model has been around for a while. As a matter of fact, teachers may have been doing it before the term was even coined. However, flipped experiences might flop without teachers being deliberate in the planning and implementation process.

In Fall 2014, David Christianson of Adams Center, Professor Laura Phillips and Professor Mark Phillips from the College of Business Administration, have been working with a group of our professors through a “flipped classroom” workshop, as well as ongoing mentoring, classroom observation, and feedback that came after the workshop.

In a recent progress review, Professor Karen Cukrowski and Professor Vic McCracken shared their experiences using the model. Here are a few takeaways from this session.

  1. “Just do it.” Students do not have to know you are trying a “flipped classroom” model. When they find that you are trying some new “gimmicks” in teaching, they may groan or even resist. However, a well-implemented flipped classroom experience, engaging and instructive, will be well received.

  2. Make it or Mix it. Online videos are often used for the flipped model. Students watch videos before coming to class for hands-on activities or discussions. It is a good option to use podcasting or screencasting tools to produce videos on your own. However, professors may also use or mix videos that already exist. When using existing videos, professors add value by screening, selecting and elaborating on the most effective videos. Most importantly, professors can project a strong professor’s voice throughout the teaching process even if videos are not produced locally.

  3. Design with the future in mind. When producing learning materials, be mindful of future uses of such materials. If intended for reuse, videos produced had better not include references to particular time, space or individuals that may make it difficult to use in the future.

  4. Make learning active. In the classroom, students should be actively involved in the learning process. Lecture out of necessity, but think of additional ways to make learning stick. Practice active learning mentally and even physically if need be. For instance, when discussing literal or metaphorical interpretation of the creation, Professor Cukrowski literally asked students to take a stand by moving to various areas in the classroom. She said students loved it.

  5. Use groups. Small groups can help a great deal in classroom activities. One special value it provides is that quiet students, when joining a small group, find it easier to talk. However, do not expect groups to just work. It is dangerous to assign students to groups without proper structure, guidance, or feedback. This could create the situation of “the blind leading the blind,” which both professors warned about. Good strategies for avoiding blind leading the blind include initial structuring or walking through, as well as “group reflection” for students to calibrate their position in the learning process. Providing rich learning resources is also a great way for students to learn when they are assigned to groups during the flipped classroom experience.

  6. Last but certainly not the least, value what students bring to the experience. With the use of group learning, learning communities among students can form in such flipped classroom experiences. Help shape such communities. There are times students bring great input to the process.  Make sure such highlights are captured. Structure for it, for instance, by asking students to present their discoveries after groups have an opportunity to work on problems.

Flipping the Classroom with Mark & Laura Phillips


What are you doing?
We have partially or completely flipped classes that we teach so that students receive course content before they come to class through readings, videos, podcasts, powerpoints, etc. Class time can then be spent answering questions, working problems, or doing activities that reinforce the concepts.

Why are you doing it?
Pushing some of the basic content delivery out of the classroom accomplishes several objectives. Students arrive at class better prepared to move past basic terms and concepts. They have the opportunity to engage with each other as they wrestle with challenging ideas together. We also have the opportunity to interact with the students individually, which gives us the chance to address the questions actually being asked—instead of general questions that student might have.


Why do you think it’s important to incorporate this practice into the classroom?
A lecture-style class is really a “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning, but our students do not all learn at the same pace. They also differ in which concepts they find difficult and which come easily to them. A flipped class allows for more individualized learning. An added benefit is that flipped classrooms help our students transition to self-directed learning, a skill that is valuable in the workplace.

Who is being impacted the most?
In a typical class some students struggle to keep up, while others are hardly challenged. A flipped classroom allows students to engage with the material at their own pace.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done?
As we become better at applying the flipped model our students should be able to move further into specific topics. We should also be able to customize instruction across the class population—allowing us to challenge the thinking of the stronger students while simultaneously allowing us to focus on foundational building blocks with struggling students.