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CAT News: January 2015

CAT XX 1994-2014 Sustainability

Celebrating Twenty Years

This spring, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) continues to mark its 20th anniversary year. Since its inception in 1994, CAT has existed to fulfill its mission “to advance the art and science of teaching and learning” and has enjoyed broad faculty participation in its services and activities. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, CAT staff have planned a series of special events, including a gala on February 3rd, at which we will recognize faculty who have served over the years, and announce our new plans and initiatives for the future.

CAT has been able to sustain its initiatives and offerings over two decades by evolving with the times to meet faculty needs. In celebration of this success, CAT staff have organized their offerings around the theme of Sustainability — exploring issues related to sustainability in the curriculum as well as sustaining the whole faculty member across all areas of responsibility.

Over the past several months, CAT has explored ways to expand its services (and ultimately its mission) in supporting the faculty member in all areas of responsibility – Teaching, Scholarship, and Service – utilizing a teacher-scholar model based on comprehensive faculty development. To this end, CAT put together a team with a representative from each Division to explore an expansion of its mission/values/programs that takes a holistic approach to developing the faculty member. The report from this group proposes some bold changes for CAT and is currently under consideration by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.


In the fall we organized our Eighth Annual Fall Faculty Book Club. In keeping with our Sustainability theme, members discussed Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect by David W. Orr.

CAT has a full calendar of activities scheduled for the spring semester that can be viewed on our website. We are offering a slate of workshops this semester on topics including mentoring, teaching with technology, developing a personal vision and many others.

As part of our continuing series, "Contemplation & Conversation," CAT is sponsoring a series of meetings in the Meditation Room of the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. These sessions are intended to support faculty well-being and open up a dialog about contemplative pedagogy.

Programs for New Faculty

In the fall, we welcomed twelve new faculty members to Xavier University. Throughout the academic year, we host monthly brown bags for this group, discussing topics such as teaching at an HBCU, getting grants, and creating effective assignments. The New Faculty mentoring program is also underway. Dr. Stassi DiMaggio (Chemistry) continues to serve as faculty in residence, working closely with new faculty in their transition to Xavier's culture of excellence in teaching, scholarship, service and collegiality.


The Center for the Advancement of Teaching is honored to receive a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. The grant, entitled CAT Turns XX: Sustainability for Teachers-Scholars, will provide continued support for our Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars initiative as well as establish a Contemplative Pedagogy Working Group. The grant will also support new scholarship-related initiatives offered through CAT.

In early January, CAT submitted a proposal for a $944,000 Cyberlearning and Future Technologies grant to the National Science Foundation.

Staff News

Mr. Bart Everson (Media Artist, CAT) attended the annual conference of the International Digital Media and Arts Association at Utah Valley University in November.

Ms. Janice Florent (Technology Coordinator, CAT) attended the Bb World, UB Tech, and InfoComm conferences this past summer.

Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer (Director, CAT) led a workshop on Active Learning and participated in a panel on Trends in Higher Education at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Columbia.

Dr. Karen Nichols (Distance Education Coordinator) attended for the first time the annual POD (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education) conference in Dallas in October.

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