Our Services

These are just some of the ways that the IDEA Center can help all of us to think critically about our roles as professionals who teach, conduct research,  who write for publication, and who are active in our community. Come on in and enjoy some coffee, and see how we can help each other to succeed in educating our students and in our careers. Some of these groups are offered every semester, others we will try and see if there is interest.

Coaching and Mentoring

Do you have a pre-tenure review coming up? A peer review for promotion or tenure in your future? Would you like to have a “practice run” just to gain confidence? Would you like someone to visit your class to lead a focus group with students and provide you feedback about your teaching and how the students perceive the class is going? One of our Scholars can collaborate with you about what kinds of feedback you would like to receive and then do a classroom visit. The Fellow would follow up with you at the IDEA Center, where you both can talk about how the class went, and come up with strategies to use during the formal visit.

Have you been asked to teach a supersection for the first time and are concerned about how to take your teaching “big”? Or what new kinds of classroom management issues might emerge in a big class?

Struggling with how to balance your teaching, research, service, and a private life? Coaching sessions could help you to clarify your short-term priorities for this semester and help you to think through some time balancing strategies so that you move forward in your research, do well in the classroom, and share time with those who are important to you – and de-stress some too! Email IDEACenter@valdosta.edu if you want to set up a time to talk about coaching or mentoring.

Teaching Circles

Teaching Circles are small groups of faculty that come together to discuss a various topics and share their personal experiences and expertise, as well as develop new skills and ideas. This fall, the IDEA Center will host eight different teaching circles that will meet throughout the semester.

his semester the IDEA Center's teaching circles are joining up with the Office of Employee and Organizational Development's training database. This will mean that if you join a teaching circle, it will automatically appear in Digital Measures at the end of the year, when you are creating your Faculty Annual Report.

Once you decide to join a teaching circle, follow this link, log in and search for the teaching circle and register for it. Thank you.

Teaching graduate students is a unique, but always rewarding experience. Are you teaching graduate students now, and have good ideas to share about what has worked well? Would you like to gather ideas from others currently teaching graduate students, for your current or future teaching graduate student assignment? If so, come and join our group “in progress” – any and all newcomers welcome! Some possible topics for this semester, based on group selection: encouraging honest and engaged discussions in the graduate seminar, translating F2F graduate courses to online versions, preventing academic dishonesty in online graduate assignments and assessments, differentiating graduate from undergraduate expectations and written assignments, designing online graduate programs (the ins and outs), etc.
Meets 11-11:50 am on Jan 24, Feb 21, Mar 21, Apr 11. Led by Maren Clegg-Hyer

Are you an online instructor who is struggling to keep your students motivated, energized, and engaged with the course? Would you like to learn ways to increase your students’ perceptions of connectedness with their peers, with the course content, and with you? If so, please consider joining this teaching circle. Members will be provided with the text The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (2nd Edition) by Judith V. Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad. We will also discuss research-based best practices that could help increase retention and success rates in your online classes.
Meets 3:30 – 4:30 pm on Jan 25, Feb 15, Mar 08, Mar 22, Apr 05, Apr 19

Successful teaching requires accurate and efficient assessment to find out the strengths and weaknesses of our teaching so that we can make continuous improvement in future offerings of the course. In this teaching circle, the participants will learn the course assessment, reflection and improvement cycle and study different ways to conduct course assessment and apply them to their courses.
Meets 1-1:50 pm on Jan 30, Feb 13, Feb 27, Mar 13

It’s hard finding the time to write every day or sometimes, even once a week! So join us for First Friday Write-a-thons at the IDEA Center. Bring your favorite way to write, grab some coffee or tea, maybe even fresh hot cookies, find your favorite place to write at the Center, and spend time writing. Limited conversation, but lots of good writing energy.
Meets 9 - 9:50 am on Feb 03, Mar 03, Apr 07, May 05

This teaching circle blends the scholarship of teaching and learning with techniques from mindfulness meditation to help you discover and make manifest the true teacher within you. Reflecting on your teaching is seen as a necessary step by many scholars to align your methods with your goals and ground your teaching in a pedagogical or theoretical basis. Join us to spend some focused quiet time and peer discussion to help refresh and invigorate your teaching.
Meets 1 - 1:50 pm on Feb 06, Feb 20, Mar 06, Mar 20, Apr 03, Apr 17

The Scholarship of Teaching of Learning (SoTL) involves post-secondary practitioners conducting systematic inquiry -- built upon their past scholarly work -- into teaching and learning. An important goal is to enhance and augment teaching and learning results by investigating the many features of discipline specific expertise and best pedagogical practice (McKinney, 2006). As many practitioners may question “how,” this teaching circle is aimed to answer the question by assisting participants, including faculty from different disciplines, new or interested in SoTL, to create a SoTL project outline for their discipline specific area or for an interdiscipline area. Specifically, participants will learn about the process regarding how to generate a SoTL research question, design their SoTL study, collect and analyze data, and disseminate their SoTL results. By the end of this teaching circle, participants will have an outline delineating all the above steps to help them move forward with their SoTL project.
Meets 1- 1:50 pm on Feb 15, Mar 08, Mar 29, Apr 19


The IDEA Center's workshops are listed in the Office of Employee and Organizational Development's training database. This will mean that if you register for one of our workshops and attend, it will automatically appear in Digital Measures at the end of the year, when you are creating your Faculty Annual Report. 

Once you decide to participate in a workshop, follow this link, log in and search for the workshop and register for it. Thank you.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Workshop – Li-Mei Chen

Date: Jan. 25, 1 - 1:50 pm

Location: IDEA Center

What is scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)? How does it differ from scholarly teaching or other types of scholarship? This workshop, serving as a kickoff of the SoTL teaching circle that will start in February, will introduce SoTL and its relations to other types of inquiry and scholarship. After this workshop, participants will be able to define SoTL, distinguish it from other types of inquiry and scholarship, and explore possible SoTL projects in their classrooms/programs.


LEAP into the Core – Kathleen Lowney

Date:  Feb. 1, 1 - 2:30 pm

Location: IDEA Center

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) created its LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) in 2005. Since then, many university systems and private higher education institutions, including VSU, have joined the initiative. LEAP is about energizing the teaching and learning in the core curriculum – for faculty but especially for our students. LEAP promotes essential learning outcomes, principles of excellence, and high-impact educational practices (HIPs) such as undergraduate research, internships, learning communities, and so on.

Come learn about LEAP and HIPs. See how many of these practices you might be doing or could easily build into your core courses. If enough are interested, we’ll create a teaching circle for Spring 2017 semester to build on this workshop and brainstorm more about how to integrate these pedagogical best practices into our teaching.


Study Abroad Proposal Writing Workshop I – Victoria Russell

Date: Feb. 7, 1 - 3 pm

Location: West Hall Language Lab (WH 140)

In this hands-on session, participants will learn how to plan and organize travel, create a budget, conduct site visits, and begin the proposal writing process. Note: The Center for International Programs asks that proposals for the summer of 2018 be submitted no later than May of 2017.

Techniques for increasing student engagement – Dereth Drake

Date: Feb. 9, 3:30 - 4:30 pm

Location: IDEA Center

Have you ever asked an open ended question in class and in return were met with vacant stares and dead silence?  If so, then come to this workshop.  Here you will learn strategies and techniques which can help you increase student engagement in your class.  Some of the techniques to be discussed will include 3-pens, flying snowballs, and send-a-problem.


Designing Unique and Rhetorically Effective Teaching Philosophies – Maren Clegg-Hyer

Date: Mar. 21, 2-3:15 pm

Location: IDEA Center

All faculty, sooner or later, have to write (or re-envision and re-write) a teaching philosophy for a variety of settings: promotion and tenure, grant applications, and other academic opportunities. But we all know from reading our own and others’ philosophies that they can become lackluster, stereotypical, and (frankly) boring. This workshop is designed to overview some of the most important elements of successful and rhetorically effective “Teaching Philosophies,” while considering how to make each teaching philosophy a document that translates what is unique about each participant as a teacher.


An Efficient Teaching Assessment Program – Chunlei Liu

Date: Mar. 27, 1 - 1:50 pm

Location: IDEA Center

In this workshop, the participants will learn a selective and objective assessment method and use an automated spreadsheet to identify areas that are well done and areas that need improvement. 


Study Abroad Proposal Writing Workshop II – Victoria Russell

Date: Apr. 11, 1- 3 pm

Location: West Hall Language Lab (WH 140)

In this hands-on session, participants will complete their proposals and engage in peer editing. Participants will also learn about risk management and what to include in pre-departure student orientation sessions. Note: The Center for International Programs asks that proposals for the summer of 2018 be submitted no later than May of 2017.



Our faculty scholars hold regular office hours during the week, when you can drop by and find someone to talk with about your teaching, research or writing project.