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Academy News - January 27, 2021
Guided Mid-Semester Survey Workshop

In this new, online environment, it is more important than ever that students and faculty take advantage of opportunities to communicate with one another, give and receive feedback, and work to ensure the voices of all students are heard. The Guided Mid-Semester Survey process provides this opportunity.

Participants in this workshop will work in pairs to administer a research-based survey in their classes, review the results, and using peer-coaching strategies to help interpret and act on the findings within the semester.

Academy & Blackboard Support: How to Get Help

The Academy is here to help all full-time and adjunct faculty at Harper. Here are the ways to get instructional and Blackboard support through the Academy:

Check out this fun video we made to remind you of the three ways to give us a shout!
faculty retreat
Faculty Retreat - Register Now

This year's Faculty Retreat, Simpler Times: An Afternoon of Reflection and Connection, will take place virtually on Friday, April 9 from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. View agenda.

Life may never actually have been simple, but hopefully there was a time in your early years when the demands of your daily life were lighter and your responsibilities were fewer. For one afternoon, join us for a relaxed program with low key interaction inspired by a typical primary school schedule. Explore some of the common issues we face through activities that include a motivational opening about how to engage students amidst chaos, story time with a popular podcaster in higher education, rest time for restoration and contemplation in the style of your choice, and play time in which you can join in one of several activities designed to leave you with ideas for your own virtual classroom. 

Learn More & Register (Register by February 15 to have a box of retreat materials sent to your home)
Online Instruction Support & Resources

Here are important resources to help you this semester:

Please review the resources above and let us know how we can continue to support you. For additional support, please reach out to us.
Spring Workshops

The Academy has developed programming for the spring semester with a focus on equity pedagogies and practices, accessibility, and connecting with students. All Harper College faculty (full-time and adjunct) can register for any of these offerings at no cost.


This year more than ever, making connections with students in a primarily online learning environment has been critical to their success. The unique nature of online learning coupled with a pandemic has been challenging for many students, yet you have been a great source of support and encouragement for those you teach. This is evident by your use of the Starfish student success system to provide proactive feedback to students and to help facilitate connections to other campus support services such as Academic Advising and the Academic Support Centers.

tech week 2021
Tech Week 2021

Harper’s 3rd Annual Tech Week is going online! Save the dates and join the events February 24-26, 2021 as we all navigate this new virtual world.

Highlights include:
  • Virtual Tech Expo – Friday, February 26
  • Carl Hooker will bring his unique blend of educational background, technical expertise, and humor to the keynote on Thursday, February 25
  • Drop-in events during the three days and prizes

Watch for details coming soon in InsideHarper and the Academy News. Hope to “see” you there!
Did you miss the Spring 2021 President's Addresses or would you like to review some of the information? The recordings of the President's Addresses are now available. See the Spring 2021 Opening Session Stream channel, which also includes other Orientation Week sessions.

Tenured, full-time faculty who have attained a minimum of one promotion as a Harper faculty member are invited to apply for the Faculty Director position. Please use the link above to review the position terms and duties/responsibilities, ensure you meet the minimum qualifications, and discuss the opportunity with your Dean before applying. Applications are due by Friday, February 19, 2021.

All Library instruction continues to be offered online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, including our Embedded Librarian program that pairs a librarian with your course. Learn more about Library instruction offerings, tutorials/videos, and how to submit a request using the link above.

With monthly updates and weekly patches/fixes on our Blackboard Server, we want to keep you up to date on all that is happening in real time with Blackboard. We’ve created a “Blackboard Known Issues/Updates” page that we will update weekly. You can toggle between the Known Issues/Updates pages in the top right corner of the page. We suggest you check this page for the latest updates and fixes. Please bookmark the link above.

Have an idea for a new project? Want to develop or pilot a program or service, but lack the funding to support it? The Harper College Educational Foundation has up to $100,000 available through the Resource for Excellence (RFE) grant program which could be the answer to those questions.

The Academic Support Center services are online only for Spring 2021. These services include the Anatomy Room, Developmental Math Center, Success Services, Supplemental Instruction, Tutoring Center, and Writing Center. Students can make an appointment to work with a tutor or join a drop-in tutoring session.
Student Learning
Professional Development Opportunity

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee

Would you like to learn how other community colleges are improving student learning? Are you seeking new ways to infuse assessment techniques? Are you exploring professional development opportunities to improve student success? Attend the 25th Annual Illinois Community College Assessment Fair: Assessment Work is Equity Work!

  • Date: Friday, February 26, 2020
  • Time: 8 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
  • Location: Held Virtually at the College of DuPage – Glen Ellyn, IL

If interested, please contact Deann Surdo at dsurdo@harpercollege.edu for more information.
How well can Harper students interpret and evaluate quantitative data?

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee

Our General Education Learning Outcomes state that students should be able to “Use quantitative analytical skills to interpret and evaluate problems” at the time they graduate from Harper. This spring, the Learning Assessment Committee and its Quantitative Reasoning Work Group will lead an assessment of the Quantitative Reasoning outcome. Those of you who teach a course that maps to this outcome may be asked to participate in the assessment. Courses are selected at random and faculty members will be notified by their Dean in early February.

Critical Thinking Update
A large-scale assessment of the Critical Thinking outcome was conducted in 2017-2018. A follow-up assessment will be conducted this spring. Courses that are mapped to this outcome may be asked to participate. For more information or to get involved, please contact Deann Surdo at dsurdo@harpercollege.edu.
Faculty Experience
Congratulations, Dominique Svarc, 2020 Glenn A. Reich Faculty Award Winner

Congratulations to Dominique Svarc, winner of the 2020 Glenn A. Reich Memorial Faculty Award for Instructional Technology!

Dominique is an associate professor in the accounting department. Since Dominique’s start as a faculty member in 2007, she has embraced technology and utilized it to enhance her traditional classroom students and online students. Dominique attended a teaching conference in 2018 and saw a new technology to create professional videos using a lightboard. This system uses a large window where the instructor records a lecture using a video camera and a soundproof recording studio.

Online Learning
Blackboard Ally Pilot

To support Harper’s commitment to a more inclusive campus, we’ve introduced a new tool called Ally to help improve the accessibility and usability of course content in Blackboard. Ally works by scanning the content an instructor uploads to Blackboard, and then performs a series of steps to help make the content more accessible.

To date, 29 faculty have signed on to try Ally in their courses as part of the Ally pilot. Twelve of those faculty have completed the criteria to achieve “Ally Advocate” status and have earned a badge which recognizes the ability to leverage the Blackboard Ally tool to improve the accessibility, quality, and usability of course content for all students. Instructors who use the Ally tool have shared their positive feedback on its ease of use and the knowledge they have gained about course accessibility.

Blackboard Assist - New Feature!

Blackboard has introduced a new feature this semester called Blackboard Assist. Blackboard Assist is a student success hub for campus and online resources, available on desktop or from anywhere with the Blackboard mobile app.

This tool provides an opportunity to build awareness of and highlight Harper resources including academic and student support, health and wellness, and student life so students can find the help they need.

Upcoming Professional Development Credit Opportunities
January 28, 2 p.m. (CEUs: 1.0)

February 2 - March 9 (GECs: 3) registration closed

February 5, 9 a.m. (CEUs: 0.3)

February 9, 1 p.m. (CEUs: 0.4)
February 10, 10 a.m. (CEUs: 0.4)

February 11, 10 a.m. (CEUs: 0.05)

February 15 - February 28 (GECs: 1) register by: February 1
What's Happening @ Harper?
Academy for Teaching Excellence | 847.925.6174 | Building F, Room F317
Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The mission of the Academy for Teaching Excellence is to create a vibrant teaching and learning culture for full-time and adjunct faculty that cultivates professional development in support of student success.
Accessibility: Individuals with disabilities who would like to request an accommodation or who have questions about physical access may contact the event host or Access and Disability Services at ads@harpercollege.edu, 847.925.6266, at least two weeks in advance of the event date.
Harper College enriches its diverse communities by providing quality, affordable, and accessible education. Harper College, in collaboration with its partners, inspires the transformation of individual lives, the workforce, and society.