CAT+FD: Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development

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Annual Report, May 2017

Our mission is the development of faculty across all career stages and areas of professional responsibility.

Embracing Our New Mission

CAT+FD adopted a new mission in January 2015. In the 2016-2017 academic year we had our first taste of putting it into practice.


A New Faculty in Residence

CAT+FD is pleased to welcome Dr. Florastina Payton-Stewart for a three-year term as our new Faculty in Residence.

[Photo of Florastina]

Dr. Payton-Stewart is an Associate Professor in Chemistry, and is very passionate about teaching, mentoring and advising students. She has served as Associate Director for Center of Undergraduate Research and is a member of the American Chemical Society and the National Organization for the Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. She is a 2017 Keystone Fellow and recipient of the HERS Institute Leadership Academy STEM scholarship.

She will work with our new faculty, planning and implementing support throughout their first year.

In addition to supporting CAT+FD activities and initiatives, the CAT+FD Faculty in Residence has primary responsibility for enhancing and leading programming for first year faculty. Duties include: assisting in the planning and implementation of new faculty orientation; facilitating new faculty mentoring; organizing and implementing the new faculty "brown bag" series; organizing and implementing a coherent set of workshop open to all faculty but focused on new faculty; assisting in grant writing for CAT+FD initiatives related to first year faculty development; and assisting in the assessment of CAT+FD's programs related to first year faculty development.

We are also glad to announce that Mr. Jeremy Tuman is renewing his role as Faculty in Residence for Service Learning for a two-year term.

Mid-Course Reviews

CAT+FD continued to offer Mid-Course Reviews to interested faculty members during both the Fall and Spring semesters. In all, 28 faulty members asked to have a total of 48 classes reviewed. Forty-percent of the requests were for online courses. Dr. Karen Nichols, Distance Education Coordinator, conducted special online reviews for these requests. For each of the in-class requests, one of 13 faculty volunteers conducted a review with the students, summarized the responses, and provided the faculty member with a report of the findings. Such anonymous feedback can help strengthen a course while it is still being taught.

Many thanks to our Mid-Course Reviewers:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer, CAT+FD
  • Jason Berntsen, Philosophy
  • Patrick Vernon, Mathematics
  • Florastina Payton-Stewart, Chemistry
  • Jeremy Tuman, English
  • Tiera Coston, CAT+FD
  • Oliver Hennessey, English
  • Jason Todd, CAT+FD
  • Elizabeth Rousselle, Languages
  • Elizabeth Manley, History
  • Stassi DiMaggio, Chemistry
  • Karen Nichols, Continuing Studies and Distance Education
  • Mark Gstohl, Theology

Book Club

For our ninth annual Fall Faculty Book Club, we read Small Teaching (2016) by Jame M. Lang. Dr. Jason Todd facilitated the book club.

Small Teaching

EdTech for Learning

Our theme for the year was "EdTech for Learning." Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, we offered workshops to help Xavier faculty to learn about educational technology. This also served as a focus for the Faculty Communities of Teaching and Scholarship fellowships (see more below).


In the 2016-2017 academic year, CAT+FD sponsored 39 events which attracted 715 (non-unique) attendees. This is more than double the number of attendees we logged last year; a major reason for this dramatic increase was the series of EAB/SSC training workshops conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer and attended by most of the faculty on campus. We also offered a diverse slate of workshops on topics including flipped classrooms, VoiceThread, service learning, contemplative pedagogy and many others. Throughout the year, CAT+FD hosted a number of guest speakers who shared their expertise on a wide array of topics, from diversity to engaging students in research.

In addition, CAT+FD hosted four Writing Lock-Ins, and nine faculty participated in our ongoing Course Portfolio Working Group (led by Dr. Jason Berntsen).

Dr. Hammer Addresses New Faculty
Dr. Hammer Addresses New Faculty

At New Faculty Orientation in August we welcomed 19 new faculty members to Xavier University. We hosted a day and a half orientation to introduce faculty to Xavier resources. Throughout the academic year, we hosted brown bags for this group, discussing topics such as teaching at an HBCU, getting grants, and creating effective assignments. This marked the final year for Dr. Stassi DiMaggio (Chemistry) to coordinate these efforts as faculty in residence. We thank her for her four years of service and wish her well!

Over the summer and throughout the school year, CAT+FD sponsored "A Quarter of Quiet," a series of silent meditations in the Meditation Room of the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. These sessions are intended to support the well-being of the university community.

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Tiera Coston (Educational Improvement Specialist) attended the NIH BUILD Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA in October 2016 where she gave a talk on Xavier's partnership with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and facilitated an affinity group on mentoring. She, along with CAT+ colleagues, also gave a talk at the HBCU Faculty Development Network Conference in New Orleans, LA in October 2016 on the development of Xavier's online mentor training program. In March 2017, she attended the Understanding Interventions Conference in San Antonio, TX, where she gave a poster presentation on Xavier's mentor training program. She also facilitated the 2016 iteration of the I-CUBED Summer Workshops as well as the second annual P-MAX (Preparing Mentors and Advisors as Xavier) Workshop. Dr. Coston served on the team that drafted and submitted a proposal to the National Cancer Institute for a grant whose objective is to focus cancer education and cancer research experiences at the high school level to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the cancer research workforce. Dr. Coston served as a moderator (for the fourth consecutive year) for the Honda Classic All-Star Challenge tournament at Xavier. Dr. Coston, along with CAT+ hosted a visit from the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC). CAT+ was one of only a handful of centers chosen to be studied as a model for the collaboration between STEM education centers and teaching and learning centers for the transformation of undergraduate STEM education.

Mr. Bart Everson (Media Artist) was invited to Loyola University to guest lecture on "Concepts of Gaia" and "Ecology & Religion: A Naturalistic Pagan Perspective." Mr. Everson also presented on "Transformational Strategies for a Digital World" for the HBCU Faculty Development Network and on "Resistance Against the Technocratic Paradigm" at the annual meeting of the International Digital Media Arts Association in Winona, Minnesota.

Ms. Janice Florent (Technology Coordinator) was a co-presenter on "Transmediation of a Mentor Training Program to Transform Mentoring" at the HBCU Faculty Development Network Symposium in October 2016. She attended the Bb World conference in July 2016 and the Online Learning Consortium Innovate conference in April 2017.

Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer (Director), attended the 2016 Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network Conference in Louisville KY. The mission of the POD is "to provide a community for scholars and practitioners who advance teaching and learning through faculty and organizational development." She also served as a consultant at the invitation of the Provost at Heidelberg University for the the teaching effectiveness component of their strategic plan. While at Heidelberg, she conducted a workshop on active learning. At her home campus, she led the charge for training faculty and staff advisors on EAB/SSC (Xavier's new advising platform). She also co-convened (with Dr. Tony Moore, ITC) the committee to review the learning management system (i.e., Blackboard). She had a paper published (along with colleagues from the Psychology Department) in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. She is currently working on a project with Worth Publishers to author the Teacher's Edition of an AP Psychology textbook (by Myers & DeWall). Finally, she was proud when six of her Freshman Seminar students presented on Food Justice at the 2017 Festival of Scholars.

Dr. Jason Todd (Associate Director) attended the POD Network Conference in Louisville in November and the POD Network Institute for New Faculty Developers in Saratoga Springs in June. Throughout the year, he continued to serve on the College of Arts and Sciences' Core Curriculum Working Group, which developed the new core curriculum for the college. In addition, he served on the LMS Review Committee convened by Mr. Tony Moore, Vice President for Technology Administration. In February, he served as the Lead QEP Evaluator on a SACS/COC accreditation committee. For much of the year, he worked with staff from the New Orleans Public Library, the Independent Police Monitor, Tulane University, and local organizers to bring cartoonist and activist Keith Knight to a three-day residency in the city. One of Mr. Knight's events was held at Xavier and attended by students, as well as members of the local community. In May, he participated in a week-long seminar on the Digital Humanities as a part of the Core Curriculum Enhancement program at Xavier. Dr. Todd also successfully completed Xavier's QEP Impact Report, which was submitted as a part of its five-year interim report for SACS/COC.


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) serves as faculty-in-residence for service-learning. During 2016-2017 he continued to work with Freshman Seminar instructors to design and facilitate service-learning projects. He also worked with faculty from Communication Studies, Philosophy, and Theology on their service-learning courses. He promoted several service-learning courses through the CAT+FD blog, and conducted two engaged workshops designed to encourage faculty development in service-learning. He is also chronicling Xavier's faculty-led service-learning initiatives on the CAT+FD wiki,


We were honored to receive a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. The grant, entitled CAT Turns XX: Sustainability for Teachers-Scholars, provided continued support for our Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars initiative, now in its ninth cohort. The grant also established the formation of the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team. (See below for more information on both of these initiatives.)

The Mellon grant also supported three first-time grant-writers through a course release in Spring 2017. This initiative provided release time for faculty to work on and submit their first external grant proposal. This support is intended to help faculty members sustain their research and scholarship even in the face of a heavy teaching load.

  • Jeremy Cohen, Psychology
  • Samrat Dutta, Chemistry
  • Morewell Gasseller, Physics

Finally, through this grant CAT+FD awarded 13 faculty travel funds in support of scholarship. This program provided travel money in support of teacher-scholars through a competitive application process. Up to $1750 in travel funds was awarded to the following for travel related to their scholarship during 2017.

  • Ralph Adamo, English
  • Cary Caro, Business
  • Ashwith Chilvery, Physics
  • Olly Hennessey, English
  • Elizabeth Smith Rousselle, Languages
  • Katheryn Laborde, English
  • Ross Louis, Communication Studies
  • Elizabeth Manley, History
  • Biljana Obradovic, English
  • Megan Osterbur, Political Science
  • Richard Peters, Business
  • Shearon Roberts, Mass Communications
  • Robin Runia, English


The Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team (XCIT) provides support for each member's personal practice, contemplative pedagogy, and related research. This year's team convened in the fall of 2016 and continued to work through the spring 2017 semester. This year's team included:

  • Bart Everson, CAT+FD (facilitator)
  • Sunil Sirohi (Pharmacy)
  • Johanna White (Library)
  • David Robinson-Morris (Institutional Advancement)


We continue to recognize the Mellon Foundation for generously funding our Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative, now in its ninth year. For the 2017 cohort, eight faculty from across campus, as well as a faculty two member from Grambling, were selected based on projects related to the theme, "Making Knowledge Public Using Educational Technology." Dr. Megan Osterbur served as the FaCTS Coordinator. The 2017 Mellon FaCTS Fellows are:

  • Tia Smith
  • Robin Runia
  • Ogbonnaya Nwoha
  • Elizabeth S Manley
  • Wyndolyn Ludwikowski
  • Ross M. Louis
  • Sheryl Kennedy-Haydel
  • Raven Jackson
  • Giti Farudi
Photo by Irving Johnson III
Photo by Irving Johnson III

Our 2017 FaCTS Summer Seminar was held in our Mellon Seminar Room and our guest consultants were Ms. Jami Mathewson and Ms. Samantha Weald of the Wiki Education Foundation.

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