2021-2022, Issue 2 Spring
Core Faculty Newsletter
2021-2022, Issue 2 - Spring
I hope you are doing well as we approach the conclusion of another semester. For us in the Office of the Core, the end of the term marks the true beginning of our work with assessment. The end of this semester also welcomes a beginning of a different kind: the return of Dr. Lauren Poor as the Director of the Core. Some of you might know that I have accepted a position at the University of Leeds and will be moving to the UK with my family this summer. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve in the Dean’s Office and for the many friends, colleagues, and students at Baylor who have enriched my life and given my work such purpose over the years.
In this spring edition of the Core Faculty newsletter, our contributors prompt us to reflect on change. Rev. Dr. Erin Faith Moniz, Associate Chaplain and the Director for Chapel, shares how the oldest tradition at Baylor is reaching students in new ways. Dr. Christopher Richmann, Assistant Director for the Academy for Teaching and Learning, explores assessment and how changes in higher education affect how we might assess ourselves and adapt our teaching practices. Amy James, Director of Instruction and Information Literacy, challenges us to respond a changing information media landscape. Lastly, David Aycock from Baylor University Press introduces us to a new director, Dave Nelson. Change presents opportunities, and it is my hope some of the changes expressed here encourage you to try new things in your Core courses. The Opportunities for Engagement section offers more ideas.
For spring 2022, our spotlight shines on a particularly meaningful piece of the A&S Core that we are in the process of phasing in: Civic Engagement (CE). Dr. Mona Choucair, Director of Civic Engagement, has been running a CE pilot this year with two different faculty cohorts. We would like to offer special thanks to Tracey Jones, Lecturer in Spanish, for giving us a clear example of the ways in which CE courses can benefit Baylor students and the local community through her work with BRILLA.
For more information on the core curriculum, including the Core Vision, Core Assessment Plan, and Core Assessment Report from last year, visit www.baylor.edu/ascore.
Danielle M. Williams, Ph.D.
Director of the Core, College of Arts & Sciences
Chapel and the Core
Welcome Rev. Dr. Erin Faith Moniz
Dr. Burt Burleson, University Chaplain
As of this spring, we are joined by Rev. Dr. Erin Faith Moniz who comes to Baylor from Berry College where she has served for nine years as the Assistant Chaplain to the undergraduate community. Her focus in that role has been spiritual direction, mentoring, discipleship, and formative event programming. In addition to creating and leading formative programs at Berry, she has been a regular preacher in chapel and a guest lecturer/speaker in many classes and at other events.
She is now leading the oldest tradition at Baylor with a Chapel team and others who will seek to engage over 4,000 students each semester in Christian faith and practice, meeting them where they are spiritually and encouraging their growth through various Chapel options. Implementing this new vision for Chapel that has been emerging over past several years will be at the heart of Erin’s work.
From Rev. Dr. Moniz:
Chapel services at Baylor have been through an exciting evolution. The pandemic and creativity of the Spiritual Life team has allowed us to explore new avenues for chapel that move beyond some of the limitations of the previous model. You may have noticed a new variety of opportunities. Faith & the Arts or Faith and Business are just a few examples of how students can participate in a chapel that is uniquely designed to align with their academic experience. Similarly, morning and evening prayers have allowed for students locate worship communities that are in sync with their residential or academic experience. We have smaller gatherings of worship that continue traditional, liturgical opportunities for students to sing, pray, and hear preaching together. We have also had the privilege of creating meaningful spiritual films for chapel online. While it is not our hope to keep our students in an isolated worship experience, we are grateful that it is a safe and valuable option we can utilize as the pandemic continues to affect our community.
We are planning some exciting new opportunities for Fall 2022 in hopes that we will be able to safely gather larger number of students for shared worship experiences through chapel. We are aiming for diverse but substantial experiences that fit both the schedule and faith spectrum of our student body.
We invite you to join us in helping us place students in chapel opportunities that are truly meaningful, communal, and spiritually formative. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to refine chapel at Baylor.
The Teaching Corner: Pedagogy and the Core
Our Relationship to Assessment
Dr. Christopher Richmann, ATL Assistant Director
In an influential 1995 article, Robert B. Barr and John Tagg discerned a "paradigm shift taking hold in American higher education." The shift was from what they called an "Instruction Paradigm" to a "Learning Paradigm." The differences between these paradigms are far-reaching. The Instruction Paradigm provides instruction, while the Learning Paradigm produces learning. The Instruction Paradigm focuses on student access, while the Learning Paradigm privileges student success. The Instruction Paradigm structures education in credit hours, while the Learning Paradigm employs and creates diverse learning environments.
Finger to the same winds, faculty development professionals labeled the 1990s as the "Age of the Learner," but the shift from the Instruction Paradigm to the Learning Paradigm is incomplete and contested. The logic, however, is simple and forceful, especially regarding the goals of education and their measurement. The Instruction Paradigm measures the input—how many hours the student attended class, how many courses the student passed, etc. The Learning Paradigm, however, measures the output—the amount and kinds of learning the student exhibits. The distinction between the paradigms calls to account the integrity of education itself. After all, what business would issue a press release touting the number of collective hours its employees worked and omit the number of widgets it made in the latest quarter?
The focus on measuring learning is reflected in the movement in recent decades for programs and courses to articulate—and then assess—learning objectives, outcomes, or goals based on some taxonomy of learning like Bloom’s or Fink’s. Understandably, some faculty have questioned the "assessment movement" in higher education, suspecting an intrusion on academic freedom or capitulation to the consumerization of higher education. But, as the saying goes, abuse does not nullify use. A positive relationship to assessment emerges from the following two realities.
First, the concern for student success that motivates much of the "assessment movement" arises from the changing nature of higher education itself—specifically the diversification of the student body and the rising costs of attendance. The dominant structures and styles of American higher education came into place when the student body was overwhelming white and middle-class. As students from underrepresented ethnicities, cultures, and socio-economic statuses increasingly participate in higher education, universities have been rightly self-critical about their methods and results. Assessment helps universities discover and address inequities in education. Relatedly, the high cost of attendance puts all students—but especially underrepresented students—on alert regarding the value of higher education. Through assessment, universities can produce evidence of the real impact of the college experience. This is not so much folding to consumerism as it is demonstrating that the institution is true to its advertised mission.
Second, institutional and programmatic assessment is an extension of classroom assessment, which we all take part in. Through major assignments, exams, and—increasingly—through low-stakes activities like quizzes, surveys, and minute-papers, instructors are measuring student learning. These assessments not only report students’ level of achievement (summative assessment) but provide actionable information to students and the instructor on how to improve learning (formative assessment). Just as formative assessment in the classroom can help an instructor make decisions on the sequence and emphases of topics and activities to maximize learning, so assessment of programs helps faculty make decisions about the sequence and emphases of the curriculum. This encourages us to see our courses in relation to one another, which is at the heart of the Core Curriculum. For we know that what we teach our students in our discrete courses has the potential to be applied, challenged, reinforced, or deepened in their other courses. In this way, more comprehensive assessment—when accompanied by critical conversations among faculty—stimulates our pedagogical imagination.
We should not pretend that the assessment of learning outcomes captures the richness of university education. Aside from the social, emotional, and intellectual development that occurs beyond the contexts of formal coursework, faculty intentionally aim to instill dispositions and attitudes in students that may be difficult (but not impossible) to measure. But a holistic approach to assessment helps us articulate and stay true to Baylor’s commitment to transformational undergraduate education.
Updates from Baylor Libraries
Amy James, Director of Instruction and Information Literacy
One of the ways that we can help students to become "informed and productive citizens" is to ensure their ability to navigate successfully the information landscape in today’s fast-paced world, differentiating between well-researched, authoritative information and "fake news." We also want our students to be more than information consumers; we want them to become productive contributors to scholarly and professional conversations
The Baylor Libraries have a range of initiatives to support faculty as you design and embed literacy curricula into your Core courses to prepare students to be thoughtful, effective communicators and researchers. The Libraries provide on-demand and customized content and support for literacies in information, data, media, and making. Some of these methods include the following:
- Partnering with the Baylor Libraries to integrate literacies into your A&S Core classes.
- Embedding one of our on-demand modules on library research, academic integrity, source authority (and more).
- Reaching out to your liaison librarian to develop customized literacy activities, modules, or live instruction (in-person or online).
We are looking forward to collaborating with you!
Updates from Baylor University Press
David Aycock, Baylor Press
In January 2022, Baylor University Press welcomed Dave Nelson as its new director. Dave comes to Baylor with more than a decade of editorial experience at Baker Academic and Brazos Press, where he acquired and developed more than eighty-five books. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Aberdeen and a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.
Nelson invites conversations from Baylor University faculty and staff about how the Press can come alongside and assist departments, programs, and courses in their goals, particularly as they relate to textbooks and publishing. "I’d like to see the Press continuing to support the Core at Baylor by collaborating with professors to help provide professionally developed, affordable resources to students," says Nelson. "I welcome faculty’s ideas for textbooks, readers, and course materials. I feel certain the Press can help—we have the ability to shepherd publications internally as well as connect faculty to other publishing resources, depending on the project."
Baylor University Press has assisted with and produced several textbooks that were developed and edited by Baylor faculty for courses within the Core—most recently:
- ENG 2310, American Literary Cultures: A Reader, edited by Elizabeth J. Dell and Joe B. Fulton for American Literary Cultures
- HIS 1300, The United States in Global Perspective: A Primary Source Reader, edited by Julie K. deGraffenried and Stephen M. Sloan for The United States in Global Perspective
- REL 1310, Exploring Biblical Backgrounds: A Reader in Historical and Literary Contexts, edited by Derek S. Dodson and Katherine E. Smith for Christian Scriptures
- REL 1350, Exploring Christian Heritage: A Reader in History and Theology, edited by C. Douglas Weaver and Rady Roldán-Figueroa for Christian Heritage
Campus-targeted textbooks made by Baylor University Press have three key advantages: full editorial control by faculty editors who manage the projects, affordable pricing for students, and the option to direct royalties back to the department. In addition, the Press’ marketing support introduces these textbooks to the larger academic market and can lead to adoption on other campuses.
Please reach out to Dr. Nelson to introduce yourself and your department and to discuss your publishing goals for the Core.
Diversity & Inclusion in the Classroom
As we work toward inclusive classroom environments for our students, there are numerous occasions for you, your colleagues, and your students to participate in diversity opportunities at Baylor and in the wider academic community, including:
- Leave Your Mark (Cultural Humility Training) - Register Soon
- MLK Luncheon (By Invitation)
- Neighbor Nights @ 6pm Bobo
- Multicultural Women’s Symposium
"Women Empowering Women." Kick off Women’s History Month with a symposium dedicated to women! Come enjoy panels of Women faculty and staff at Baylor and workshops on finances, self-care, career advancement and so many other topics.
MISTER (Males Inspiring Success Through Education and Relationships) aims and seeks to find ways of supporting, nurturing, and bolstering persistence of social, religious, and academic performance among minority males at Baylor University. Through the Department of Multicultural Affairs, MISTER provides a place for minority males to explore issues impacting them as they conceptualize positive features for themselves. This organization is open to all students, friends, and allies who are interested in being a supportive presence in the lives of these young men.
- My Sister, Myself
Baylor University's "My Sister, Myself" is a unique series of monthly meetings dedicated to addressing contemporary issues facing Black Women and Women of Color. Our goal is to share information on ways in which we can improve ourselves individually and collectively in the community, home, and professional world. We desire to create a comfortable environment where in-depth discussion can encourage self-improvement, community and cultural awareness and global thinking. Most importantly, My Sister, Myself seeks to facilitate a casual space where participants can be encouraged and refreshed through fellowship.
Want to get involved? Email Monique Marsh or Courtney Streat. Instagram @baylor_msms twitter @BaylorMsms
- Latinas Unidas
Latinas Unidas is a community support program for women of all Latin American backgrounds. In our meetings, we come together in an environment that promotes empowerment, self-improvement, cultural awareness, fellowship, and mentorship. Latinas Unidas provides safety, supportive relationships, and community involvement to effectively impact student’s overall well-being. Our goal is to help our students find a sense of belonging in the Baylor community, initiate reflection and discussion, and promote academic success, professional growth and leadership development through mentorship with Latina staff/faculty members. Contact Michelle Gonzalez for more information. Instagram @baylorlatinasunidas
- Black Community (open to all)
African American Leaders Panel
Survival of the Sicest
- Latinx Community (open to all)
- Asian Community (open to all)
Lunar New Year
Gateway to India
Asian Night Market
If you have any speakers or events that you would like to publicize that relate to multicultural experiences, please send us your information to share with our campus community. For faculty resources, you may also visit the A&S Core Diversity & Inclusion webpage.
- Apr. 7 – My Sister Myself
- Apr. 11 – Leave Your Mark
- Apr. 12 – Neighbor Nights
- Apr. 21 – M.I.S.T.E.R.
- May 12 – Leave Your Mark
Inclusive Pedagogy Webinars in Summer and Fall 2022
July 27 - 1-2 PM EST
"Choosing Our Words Carefully: Using Language in the Classroom"
In this webinar, participants will discuss the evolution of language around disability, navigating language that is now considered inappropriate, as well best practices for referring to people with disabilities in our teaching and interactions. Resources on appropriate language, including style guides, will be provided.
September 28 - 1-2 PM EST
"Beyond Stereotyping: How to Meaningfully Integrate Non-Dominant Voices into our Syllabi"
In this webinar, participants will learn to audit their syllabi to make them more inclusive of varied perspectives and voices. Resources on disability will be provided for various topics and domains within theological and religious education, including in the inter-religious resources.
November 2 - 1-2 PM EST
"Beyond Pity: How to Incorporate Activist Learning in the Classroom"
In this webinar, participants will learn how to incorporate activist voices and practices related to disability into their teaching. Participants will learn how to help their students become leaders and allies within the disability community.
To view more opportunities for engagement and further details, please visit the Opportunities for Engagement webpage.
DR. DANIELLE M. WILLIAMS, Office of the Core, 254-710-4558, Danielle_Williams2@baylor.edu