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. Please check the registration link below to see what's offered in any given term.

Not sure if you want to join a group or circle? Come to one first and see what you think! Then if you want to continue, fill out the registration page.


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 Fellows 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 destress some too!

Please email the Fellows at ideacenter@valdosta.edu to schedule coaching and mentoring.

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Circle: Are You Feeling 'Sandwiched'?

This is a confidential support group for faculty and staff who might be dealing with aging parents and/or aging parents and also raising children. Taking care of another generation can be exhausting, on top of a full-time job. So come talk about the stresses, learn some new ways to cope, and have a place to share. This group will be led by Ms. Rebecca Smith, Assistant Director, VSU Counseling Center.

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Leadership Circles

Are you a new department head, who wants some peer coaching? Are you thinking about applying for an administrative position on campus and want to strengthen your leadership skills? Have you just been given a committee chair position and you want some mentoring on how to be a successful chair? Join with others in parallel situations and share ideas.

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Research Circles

Have a research idea, but want to find someone with whom to brainstorm? Are you unsure how to take your idea and turn it into a research project for publication? Are you interested in understanding how other disciplines use a theory? Do you need some advice on how to analyze your data? Research circles may be just what you are looking for to get some help and get your research published.

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Teaching Circle

This teaching circle is our "general" one for those who want to have a group of people with whom to share the highs and lows of teaching. Do you want to try a particular teaching idea, but want to talk it through with some who have used it, before you try it in class? Have you just been assigned a new course and are unsure about how to construct the syllabus? This teaching circle could help with issues such as these.

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Circle: Reinventing Teaching in the Core

Building on the work this Teaching Circle did in Fall 2014, this semester the members of the Teaching Circle intend to work together to draft a pilot proposal for an “Introduction to the Core Curriculum” course and a “Core Curriculum Capstone” course.

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Circle: Teaching Honors Students

The Honors teaching circle provides an opportunity for faculty to discuss strategies and ideas for teaching Honors classes. Topics of discussion will include developing engaging and challenging course content for academically advanced students. We will also discuss faculty objectives and ideas about Honors education specifically our focus on inquiry and scholarship.

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Circle: Teaching with Technology

Come learn about some of the latest technologies for classroom instruction and learning. The focus is on embedding technology into the pedagogical process, not "technology for technology's sake."

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Circle: Teaching in Online Environments

Join us for this teaching circle as we will share strategies and tips for teaching in online environments, ranging from hybrid instruction with a combination of face-to-face and online instruction to fully online instruction. Participants will see examples of activities and assignments that work in online environments and techniques for getting students engaged in online learning. Various resources and tools to assist online teaching will also be shared.

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Circle: Teaching Large Classes

Teaching 70 or more students in one class this semester? Or is such a class in your future? Then come share the joys (yes, there are some) and the tribulations of teaching large classes. We'll share strategies that work and ones which don't, and discuss classroom management and grading. 

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Pedagogical Reading Group

This semester's book will be The College Fear Factor: How Studens and Professors Misunderstand One Another by Rebecca D. Cox (Harvard University Press 2009). We'll read it together, talk about the book's conclusions and how they might influence our own teaching and interactions with students.

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Circle: Diversifying the 3 A's: Assignments, Activities, and Assessments

Join us for a teaching circle in which we will explore and discuss how to identify diverse resources, diversity class assignments such as reading and writing exercises, vary in-class activities, and use diverse assessments, whether quizzes, tests, or other formats so that all students can be successful. Bring your questions, problems, and successes to our meetings to share and learn.

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Open Educational Resources Circle

The Open Educational Resources circle is for those interested in open textbooks and other OERs to exchange ideas and experiences, to find others to collaborate with or to learn more.

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Circle: Teaching Diverse Students

Join us for this teaching circle in which we will strategize ways to teach and reach diverse students. In particular, strategies for teaching students with disabilities will be discussed. Learn ways to design course materials to be inclusive to a wide range of students. Resources that encourage and guide accessible design will be shared.

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Writing Circles

Do you have a great research project, but just cannot seem to find the time to write? Do you find yourself procrastinating when you sit down to write? Do you have writer’s block and can’t figure out what to do next? Would you like to be accountable to a group to get some writing done on a regular basis? Then think about joining a writing group.

Or maybe you have so many distractions in your campus office that you just can’t get much writing done there, but you wish you had a quiet place to write on campus. The IDEA Center has a dedicated writing room. Bring a computer or go low-tech and find some pens and a notebook and start writing!

We have 4 types of writing groups:

1. Meets every week. One week will be to write, the other week will be gentle critique of some members' writing.

2. Meets every other week.

3. Not up to this regular a writing schedule, but want to try an intensive burst instead? Every November, join VSU's AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month). Initially begun as a way to write a novel in a month, scholars have taken up the idea and challenged each other to practice scholarly writing daily during this month. Here's some more information: (http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/november-is-academic-writing-month/43608 and http://www.phd2published.com/2012/10/15/announcing-acwrimo/). We will also have a June AcWriMo@VSU activity, so if you want to try that -- please join us.

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 New Faculty Group

Stressed? Wondering how to survive the first year at VSU? You are not alone. Come, talk, and share strategies for coping and even thriving!

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Advising Group

Much like teaching circles, an advising circle is designed to share the benefits and challenges of your role as an advisor. An advising circle provides you with an opportunity to discuss applying advising theory or brainstorm ways to have students come in to discuss more than what courses to take next term. Whether you are new to advising or you have been advising for years, share your journey as an advisor with others on campus. 

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Circle: Community Engagement

Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. Does this sound interesting to you? Perhaps you wish to add a community engagement (or active learning, service learning) project to your course? Or maybe you are currently engaged in such activity in your course? Did you try and it was not successful? Then this is your chance to revisit the project since the second or third time might be a ‘charm.’ Perhaps you were wondering if you could turn your community engagement initiatives into a publication. The community engagement circle needs you - the curious, the novice, and the experts. You can attend all the sessions, or just try as time allows. Register and let us know.

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