Annual Report, August 2014

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

Book Club

Our seventh annual Fall Faculty Book Club centered on Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation (2008) by Laura I. Rendón. Bart Everson led the discussions and ten faculty participated.

Sentipensante Pedagogy

In conjunction with the office of the QEP, we also sponsored our first springtime book club, in which we read Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (2007) by Maryanne Wolfe. J. Todd led the discussions and twelve faculty participated. We later brought Dr. Wolfe to campus to speak to faculty about her research on the "reading brain."

Dr. Maryanne Wolfe


In the 2013-2014 academic year, CAT sponsored 36 events which attracted 394 (non-unique) attendees. That's double the number of events we sponsored last year. The average attendance was 10.9 per event.

At New Faculty Orientation in August we welcomed 11 new faculty members to Xavier University. Our Faculty-in-Residence, Dr. Stassi DiMaggio (Chemistry) hosted monthly brown bags for this group, discussing topics such as teaching at an HBCU, getting grants, and creating effective assignments.

Our podcast series, Teaching, Learning & Everything Else, continued, with six new episodes interviewing Eric Bain-Selbo, Kenneth Crews, Stuart Rojstaczer, Art Goldsmith, Julie Thompson Klein, and Noam Chomsky. Many thanks to Ray Lang who has completed his term as host, as well as the various CAT staff who also conducted interviews.

In September CAT co-sponsored Rising Tide, a conference on the future of New Orleans, which convened in Xavier's University Center.

Charter School Access & Accountability

In October, we were delighted to host Dr. Sue Frantz (Highline College), a well-known expert on the subject of technology for academics.

Contemplative Practices in Diverse Traditions, Pt. 2

In November, we continued our series of "Contemplative Practices in Diverse Traditions" with Rev. Michaela O'Connor Bono (Mid City Zen), who introduced faculty to the practice of Zen meditation. Another installment in April brought Fr. Marty Gleeson, O.P., who spoke from a Dominican perspective.

Also in April, we welcomed Dr. Stuart Rojstaczer, the nationally recognized expert on grade inflation, who discussed the topic with faculty in the College of Pharmacy.

Throughout the year we conducted workshops and seminars on such diverse topics as online teaching, content curation, mobile apps, word problems and contemplative pedagogy.


Dr. Stassi DiMaggio (Chemistry) served as faculty in residence. She continued to work closely with new faculty in their transition to Xavier's culture of excellence in teaching, scholarship, service and collegiality. She concluded the new faculty brown bag series this semester, and we appreciate the VPAA's support of this initiative.

Mr. Jeremy Tuman (English) served as faculty in residence for service-learning, working closely with our Freshmen Seminar instructors.

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer (Director, CAT) published two chapters in the 2014 Oxford Handbook of Psychology Education. In addition, she presented a workshop on using technology in active learning at the annual meeting of Improving University Teaching, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Hammer continues to serve as Chief Reader for AP Psychology and in this capacity she presented at the Advanced Placement Annual Conference in July. Finally, Dr. Hammer conducted the Annual College Board Workshop at the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology in St. Petersburg, Florida, and gave the keynote address at the Utah Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools Fall Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Elizabeth Yost Hammer

Mr. Bart Everson (Media Artist, CAT) attended the HBCU Faculty Development Network Annual Conference in New Orleans and presented on "Mindfulness for Professors & Students" Mr. Everson also attended the Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and presented on "Contemplative Faculty Development: From Spiritual Emergency to Visions of Wholeness." In September, 2013, Mr. Everson won the Cox Conserves Louisiana Hero Award, resulting in a $10,000 prize for the nonprofit group which he helped to found, Friends of Lafitte Corridor.


Ms. Janice Florent (Technology Coordinator, CAT) attended several professional development conferences, including UB Tech, InfoComm, Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (ET4Online), and Blackboard World.

Finally, we welcomed two new staff members who started last summer and have just completed their first full year with CAT.

Dr. Tiera Coston Dr. Karen Nichols

Dr. Tiera Coston is our new Educational Improvement Specialist with a STEM emphasis. During her tenure, she has participated in a number of professional development conferences, including an AAC&U Conference in San Diego, CA on transforming STEM education and a virtual conference on emerging technologies for online learning offered by the Sloan Consortium. She has provided relevant information to faculty regarding teaching and learning in STEM disciplines through workshop and seminar presentations, blog posts and podcasts. She serves as a member of the Xavier Online Advisory Board and has moderated a Honda Campus All-Star Challenge competition. She served as a member of the team which drafted multi-year, multi-million dollar grant proposals to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education. She is the co-author on a publication and a poster presentation describing the National Science Foundation-funded I-Cubed program at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Dr. Karen Nichols is our new Distance Education Coordinator. In her first year, Dr. Nichols attended the Quality Matters conference in Nashville in October as Xavier's Institutional Representative. She co-presented at the LaCUE conference in New Orleans in December on the topic of using mobile apps in online classes. Working throughout the year one-to-one with faculty to develop their online and hybrid courses as well as preparing workshops and resources to help faculty interested in infusing technology in their classes, were richly rewarding. The CAT Staff was welcoming and supportive of her and her activities. A busy summer included attending the Distance Learning Administration conference in Jekyll Island in June and in July, participating in the American Association of Teachers of French conference hosted by New Orleans and teaching an online French course.

Sustaining the Dialog

Staff member Mr. Bart Everson secured grant funding from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. This grant funded three faculty, Drs. Kate Eskine, Ross Louis, and Lisa Schulte, to attend the Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy at Smith College in August. Drs. Eskine, Louis, Schulte met bi-weekly throughout the fall semester with Bart Everson as a learning community focused on contemplative pedagogy. In January they presented their work to their colleagues in a session titled, "The Contemplative Classroom." Throughout the spring semester a morning meditation series, open to all faculty, was held weekly.

Wonder Women


We continue to recognize the Mellon Foundation for generously funding our Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative, now in its sixth year. For the 2014 cohort, 10 faculty from across campus and two from Dillard were selected based on projects related to the theme, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning. The 2014 Mellon FaCTS Fellows include:

  • Dr. Cleo Allen, Dillard
  • Dr. Sarah Amering, Pharmacy
  • Dr. Cary Caro, Business
  • Dr. Jerry Farmer, Theology
  • Dr. Nia Haydel, Dillard
  • Dr. Elizabeth Manley, History
  • Dr. Peter Martinet, Biology
  • Dr. Richard Peters, Business
  • Dr. Robin Runia, English
  • Dr. Steve Salm, History
  • Dr. Jason Todd, English/QEP
  • Dr. Pamela Waldron-Moore, Political Science
FaCTS 2014

Our 2014 FaCTS Summer Seminar was held May 12-15 in our Mellon Seminar Room and our guest consultant was Dr. Julie Thompson Klein (Wayne State University).

Facilities Update

Camtasia Studio Studio

We've rearranged a few rooms to better meet faculty needs. Over the course of the past year, CAT's Camtasia Studio Studio has moved down the hall and is now equipped with lights and an optional green screen.

Day of Service


In May, CAT staff participated in our first day of service, painting a fence for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), an affiliate ministry of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Advisory Board

The CAT Advisory Board, composed of a member from each academic department, continued to serve in an advisory capacity to the CAT staff on an as-needed basis. 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