Annual Report, June 2011

Our mission is to advance the art and science of teaching and learning.


The 2010-2011 academic year was a banner year for CAT. With 32 events and 436 (non-unique) attendees, this was our biggest year ever by at least these two measures.

At New Faculty Orientation in August we welcomed 34 new faculty members to Xavier University. In addition, we hosted monthly brown bags for this group, discussing topics such as teaching at an HBCU, getting grants, and creating effective assignments.

In January, we hosted Dr. William Hill (Kennesaw State University) who spoke to both the College of Pharmacy and Arts & Sciences about ways to encourage academic honesty. Information about his talk and Xavier's academic integrity policies can be found on our website. We continued to support the Read Today, Lead Tomorrow initiative, by co-sponsoring a series of workshops related to active reading, and we were delighted to co-host Dr. Alice Horning, a national expert in reading across the curriculum.

Throughout the year we conducted workshops and seminars on such diverse topics as humor in the classroom, integrative learning, and "Death by PowerPoint." We also offered a series of workshops to assist faculty in their transition to Blackboard 9.1.

Book Club

Our Fourth Annual Fall Faculty Book Club centered on The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (2010) by Parker Palmer and Arthur Zajonc. Bart Everson led the discussions and a dozen faculty participated.


The Mellon Foundation renewed our Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative for another four years in the amount of $505,850. This grant, now in its third year, allows us to support innovative curricular projects around an institutionally relevant theme. This spring, we selected our third cohort of Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS). Ten faculty from across campus (two from sciences, four from humanities, and four from pharmacy) developed curricular projects related to the theme, "Promoting Critical Thinking and Self-Authorship in the First Two Years." They participated in the FaCTS Summer Seminar in May and will implement their projects next academic year.

Additionally, last year's FaCTS Fellows are completing their projects. Dr. Brenda Edgerton-Webster, a 2010 FaCTS participant, was selected as the First Place winner in the Scholastic Journalism Division's 2011 Innovative Outreach to Scholastic Journalism competition for her FaCTS project, "Current Events via the 'College-to-High School News Exchange' & Drill Session." She will present her program at an invited Innovative Outreach to Scholastic Journalism Panel at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention in St. Louis. Dr. Katheryn Laborde, also a 2010 FaCTS participant, presented "You Can Lead that Horse to Water, but... : When Freshmen Lit Meets Book Club" at the National Popular/American Culture Associations (PCA/ACA) Conference in San Antonio, Texas, as part of a panel on Academics and Collegiate Culture.


Finally, we should note that the renewal grant funds the establishment of a Mellon Seminar Room. Work is now underway to reconfigure one of CAT's labs to this purpose.

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer (Director, CAT) and Mr. Bart Everson (Media Artist, CAT) made a presention at the annual meeting of the Professional and Organizational Developers Network, the national organization for faculty developers. Their subject was "Investigating Our Blindspot: Lessons from Nonparticipating Faculty."

Dr. Hammer co-edited a volume entitled Empirical Research in Teaching and Learning (published by Wiley-Blackwell) that was released this spring. In February, CAT hosted the midwinter meeting of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Dr. Hammer also served as a session co-chair in planning the 2011 Professional and Organizational Developers conference that is meeting in conjunction with the HBCU Faculty Developers Network.

Mr. Everson has been researching contemplative pedagogy and integrative learning, and attended the second annual Contemplative Academy in Amherst in September. A number of presentations and sessions have stemmed from this work, including "A Moment of Silence," "Who Are You? Your Vocation & Our Shared Mission" and the first "Integrative Learning Spotlight." Mr. Everson was invited to co-present at the annual meeting of the Professional and Organizational Developers Network in a session titled "Uncovering the Heart in Higher Education: A New Vision of the Academy." Mr. Everson was also invited to present at the American Education Research Association on "The Role of Blogs in the Rebuilding of New Orleans."

Ms. Janice Florent (Technology Coordinator, CAT) attended two conferences: EduComm and Blackboard World. At the EduComm conference she was able to get insights on the latest trends in higher education and the AV world. She attended Blackboard pre-conference workshops and as well as conference sessions that focused on version 9.1 so that she could provide training to faculty as they transitioned to the new version of Blackboard.

Through a National Science Foundation I-Cubed grant, we were able to hire a new staff member. In June, Dr. Vaneshette Henderson (a Xavier alumni) will be joining our staff as an Educational Improvement Specialist with a STEM emphasis. We look forward to the expertise she will bring to CAT.



This is the last semester as Faculty-in-Residence for Dr. Elizabeth Smith Rousselle (Languages). We wish to express our gratitude to Dr. Rousselle for her service to CAT. She has been an important resource during her time in this position.

We welcome our new Faculty-in-Residence, Dr. Renee Akbar (Education). Dr. Akbar will serve a three-year term and will focus on improving our programming for first-year faculty.

Dr. Mark Gstohl (Associate Professor of Theology) continued his work as the Faculty in Residence for Service-Learning, serving as a resource for faculty incorporating the pedagogy of service-learning into the curriculum and promoting civic engagement through meaningful community participation.

Advisory Board

We convened a formal CAT Advisory Board by soliciting a member from each academic department. This will serve in an advisory capacity to the CAT staff, primarily on an as-needed basis. For instance, they will help prioritize major teaching and learning opportunities and needs at Xavier, suggest ways for CAT to address these issues, and assist is reviewing internal proposals. The Board members are as follows:

  • Art: Mora Beauchamp-Byrd
  • Biology: Peter Barrett
  • Business: Joe Ricks
  • Chemistry: Terry Watt
  • Communications Brenda Edgerton-Webster, Nancy Martino
  • Comp Science: Andrea Edwards
  • Education: Glenda Hembree
  • English: Olly Hennessey, Biljana Obradovic
  • History: Kelly Hamilton
  • Language: Elizabeth Rousselle
  • Math: Vlajko Kosic
  • Pharm (DCAS) Fatima Brakta
  • Pharm (DCAS) Kristi Rapp
  • Pharm (DBPS) Tom Wiese
  • Physics: Dean Richardson
  • Political Science Darren Hanson
  • Psychology: Lisa Schulte
  • Sociology: Claire Norris
  • Theology: Jerry Farmer