October 1, 2019
Volume 4, Number 4
Why a Professor Tells Students About Her Academic Low Point
Rigorous — but Human
To learn a bit about her students, Catherine Savini used to ask them to complete a survey about themselves on the first day of class. But over time, Savini, an associate professor of English at Westfield State University, in Massachusetts, came to see this expectation as “asymmetrical”: She shared very little of her own experience with them.

Savini had her reasons for that. “When I first started teaching,” she said, “I felt like I needed to project an air of authority. Probably because I didn’t have any.”

When she was in college, Savini said, she carefully avoided giving any kind of public presentation. The very first time she taught, as a graduate student at New York University, a student approached her afterward and said something like, “First time teaching, eh?”

Most new instructors want to be taken seriously. But the challenge of pulling this off, Savini said, is “amplified” for women. Her approach? “I set up really rigid boundaries.”

Slowly, Savini came to see the limitations of this strategy. She read books like  The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, which helped her to see students at her institution — many of whom are first-generation-college and struggling to succeed — with new eyes. When students seem checked out, she learned, the cause might not be laziness. Another possibility is fear of failure — a feeling she can identify with.

“The students would do well,” Savini thought, “to learn about the ways I faltered on my way into this position.”

So a couple of years ago, Savini started something new. Before the semester begins, she now sends students an introductory email sharing a bit about herself. She describes feeling out of place in graduate school, where she was surrounded by graduates of Ivy League colleges. Once, she tells them, a professor walked out in the middle of a presentation she was giving.

“I felt completely demoralized,” she continues, “and I considered dropping out, but I am glad I persevered or I wouldn’t be able to have the job I have now. I want to make sure that students at WSU don’t feel inadequate the way I sometimes did in graduate school.”

Then Savini makes a request: “Please let me know if there are ways I can better support your learning.”

The email also includes a set of questions, similar to the survey that she used to give out. Students’ responses have helped Savini get to know them — and at times, even changed the way she teaches. This semester, one student described having serious social anxiety. That led Savini to change her plan for the first day of class, when she had planned to use an improv activity. Savini will look for ways for this student to participate, she said, but that seemed like too much for the first day.

Savini is selective in what she tells students about herself, she said. This isn’t about being “their buddy,” she said — whatever she shares has to serve a purpose. That curation lets her model for students the kinds of things she’d like to know about them. And it lets them know that she’ll be able to connect with their stories.

Savini considers herself to be a “rigorous” professor, she said, and that has not changed. “You can be rigorous,” she said, “but also be human.”

I’ve heard a number of stories like Savini’s — in which professors come to see their students as fuller people and share more of themselves as their careers progress. It makes me wonder: How do you decide which personal information to share with students? Have you ever regretted sharing too little, or too much? Have you received any good advice on striking the right balance? Tell me about it at  beckie.supiano@chronicle.com, and your example may appear in a future newsletter.

– by Becky Supiano, Teaching Newsletter: The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us at   dan.berrett@chronicle.combeth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com, or  beckie.supiano@chronicle.com. If you have been forwarded this newsletter and would like to sign up to receive your own copy, you can do so here .
Today: Career Fair
TODAY - Tuesday, October 1
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
ADUC Ballrooms (Third floor)
A college degree provides such a broad skill-set to students that students may want to explore opportunities related to social services, non-profits and general business, so please encourage students to check out the complete list of organizations attending. See the full list of organizations attending at https://app.careerfairplus.com/mhead_ky/fair/2120.
At the career fair, students have the opportunity to network with employers and graduate schools, learn about shadowing and experiential education opportunities, practice introducing themselves and interacting in a professional setting, and may even be given an on-the-spot interview to secure a job.
Five reasons to attend:
  1. Find out about full-time and part-time jobs
  2. Land an internship that will put you ahead of the competition
  3. Get insider tips from graduate school admissions
  4. Build a network by chatting with MSU alumni and other recruiters
  5. Take advantage of free professional headshots

Have a resume, know a bit about the organizations attending and dress professionally to make the best possible impression. Find a complete list of organizations attending, and Career Fair 101 tips on how to be successful in the free Career Fair Plus app (Get it at www.moreheadstate.edu/career/app). Questions: Contact Career Services at 606-783-2233.

Want to excuse your classes or offer extra credit to your students for attending?
Simply send your class rosters with MSU ID# to careerservices@moreheadstate.edu and we will let you know who checked in!

The greater our student attendance, the more likely we are to get these organizations and others like them to recruit from Morehead State University in the future, so please encourage your students to attend.

Employers and graduate programs want the opportunity to speak with faculty and staff, so they can gain a personal understanding of the solid education MSU students receive and find out what MSU students can do for them as employees.  Faculty and staff are welcome to attend the Career Fair to network with the visiting employers & graduate programs.

Latest updates can always be found on our twitter at https://twitter.com/MSU_CareerCtr. We hope to see you and your students at the career fair!
Trust: Gather & Share Event
The FCTL is offering "  Gather & Share  " events on the 1st Monday of each month, from 3:45pm - 4:45pm in ADUC 310. The objective is to have a "topic" area and share a couple of ideas and then have folks gather and share about the topic.

The Next Gather & Share Event:
Topic: Trust
When: Monday, October 14, 2019; 3:45pm – 4:45pm
Where: ADUC 310
Educator: FCTL
Synopsis: Join FCTL in exploring “Student Engagement” at this “Gather & Share” event. Come ready to “chat it up” with your colleagues on this important topic. Refreshments will be served.
Trying Something New: Book Reads
Instead of offering traditional educator developments, the Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCTL) is offering something new this semester: Book Reads. Faculty, staff, and students may participate in these book reads. As of now, these are planned:

Fall 2019 Book Reads:
  • Carol Dweck - Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - Led by Michael Dobranski
  • Dr. Michael Merzenich PhD, - Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life - Led by Kent Price
  • Joshua Eyler - How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) - Led by Daryl Privott
  •  Mary-Ann Winkelmes (Editor), Allison Boye (Editor), Suzanne Tapp (Editor), Peter Felten (Foreword), Ashley Finley (Foreword) -Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership: A Guide to Implementing the Transparency Framework Institution-Wide to Improve ... Practices for Teaching in Higher Education) - Led by Kim Nettleton

Blackboard Buzz
How to Set Your Notification Options
It is important to remind students to complete their tasks on time. It is a good idea to give them a proper reminder. Check Blackboard’s Notification Options, So that you know how to customize the reminder.

Always know what is happening in your courses by setting Blackboard's notification system to alert you when events occur. You can receive alerts for events such as when new content is posted, when new discussion board postings are submitted, when a test is available and much more. Alerts can be sent to your course homepage, your email address, and to your mobile device.

This YouTube video demonstrates you how to set your notification Options. Email msuonline@moreheadstate.edu for additional information and on-campus support.
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators!

We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

Click the link below to share your response:
KOSS (Kentucky Organization for Student Success)
KOSS Conference, October 24-25, 2019, at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea. For more information, checkout their FaceBook page:
Leadership in Higher Education Conference
October 3-5, St. Louis

A Leadership Conference that Gives You More!
Seven Unique Conference Tracks:
  • Academic Leadership and Professional Development
  • Administrative Leadership and Professional Development
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Program and Department Evaluation and Assessment
  • Faculty Hiring, Development, and Assessment
  • Institutional Culture and Climate
  • Special Topics in Academic Leadership

Scaled for networking and reflection, this conference provides multiple opportunities to meet with other like-minded peers. 

The Leadership in Higher Education Conference limits registrations to a manageable size to support a collaborative gathering of higher education professionals. We’ll examine trends, strategies, and best practices over two and a half impactful days.

Budgets are scarce. That’s why this year, we’ve reduced our registration fee by $200. Still the same great conference—at an even better value!

For more information, click here .
19th Annual  Posters-at-the-Capitol
March 5th, Frankfort
Submission Due: Friday, October 11 by 3pm

(Click the “Submit to Posters-at-the Capitol" link on the left - You must create an account to register)
The Deadline for online registration/submission is Friday, October 11, 2019 by 3:00 PM CST/4:00 PM EST
(No registrations/submissions will be considered after this date)
Participants click  Poster Presentations: Conceptualizing, Construction and Critiquing  for general advice on preparing a research poster.
Posters-at-the-Capitol  an event hosted collaboratively by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University, is intended to help members of Kentucky’s legislature and the Governor better understand the importance of involving undergraduates in research, scholarly, and creative work. It provides undergraduates with the opportunity to engage in scholarship, research, and creative work that is important to their educational experience and professional development. We encourage faculty to have their students participate in  Posters-at-the-Capitol to help those in Kentucky who fund higher education understand why these experiences are so important. 
For further info and questions concerning registration and submission DO NOT REPLY to this email. Contact:
Mr. A.J. Boston
Posters-at-the Capitol Coordinator
Please copy:

Mr. Evan Prellberg
Coordinator of Undergraduate Research
Morehead State University
Dr. Michael Henson
Associate Provost for Research & Dean of the Graduate School
Morehead State University
12th Annual Conference on

Higher Education Pedagogy

 February 5-7, 2020  

Virginia Tech /   Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Registration will open in October. For information about conference registration and associated fees, visit the conference website:  https://chep.teaching.vt.edu/
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University