We offer multiple campus-wide professional development opportunities throughout the year. Our Spring 2023 line-up is available here. You can register for any of our events, where appropriate, by following the registration links in our calendar of event entries below. Follow us on Instagram: @furmanfdc!

Lunch & Learn Gatherings

Our popular Lunch & Learn series involves brief and interactive presentations from members of our campus community on a wide range of topics – from teaching tips, to career development, to support for co-curricular experiences. Come gather with us over lunch to hear from campus partners about promising practices, relevant campus processes and procedures, and novel ideas to support teaching, learning, and scholarship. Have you got an idea for a Lunch & Learn event? Please submit your proposal here and if you have any questions, contact us at fdc@furman.edu. Beginning in 2022, many Lunch &  Learn session recordings are available on the FDC Moodle Commons website

A virtual option is available for those who would like to join these sessions remotely. A zoom link will be provided to all those who have pre-registered prior to an event.

You can register for Spring 2023 Lunch & Learn Gatherings here.

Learning by Design Studios

Our Learning by Design studios are focused on-demand sessions that explore a specific skill, technique, tool, or strategy. Watch these videos at your convenience and participate in a linked asynchronous discussion board. Access studio videos here.

Interdisciplinary Reading Circles

The goal of our reading groups is to enable small but sustained communities of scholars at Furman to work together to explore particular problems or themes through established research/literature, with outcomes that might range from new or revised courses to published work inflected by the reading and discussions that have taken place. Are you looking to expand your intellectual horizons through discussion with peers across the University?

Spring 2023 Reading Circles 

Reading circle meetings will occur monthly Feb. – Apr. 

Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It  

Keeping students focused can be difficult in a world filled with distractions. But acclaimed educator James M. Lang argues that, instead of focusing on the items that cause distraction there is a deeper problem for us to consider: how we teach is often at odds with how students learn. Classrooms are designed to force students into long periods of intense focus, but emerging science reveals that the brain is wired for distraction. This reading circle will discuss Distracted, a book that asks us to rethink the practice of teaching, revealing how educators can structure their classrooms less as distraction-free zones and more as environments where they can actively cultivate their students’ attention. 

College Students Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success for All Students 

Belonging—with peers, in the classroom, or on campus—is a critical dimension of success at college. It can affect a student’s degree of academic adjustment, achievement, aspirations, or even whether a student stays in school. Terrell L. Strayhorn’s College Students’ Sense of Belonging explores student sub-populations and campus environments, offering readers updated information about sense of belonging, how it develops for students, and a conceptual model for helping students belong and thrive. Underpinned by theory and research and offering practical guidelines for improving educational environments and policies, this reading circle will discuss this important resource as we consider how best to actualize our institutional commitments to inclusion and equity as we work with students.

Have you got an idea about a future book we should read? Suggest a reading circle book here.

Annual Learning Exchange

Each year, during spring study day, the Faculty Development Center facilitates the Furman Learning Exchange, an annual gathering of faculty, instructional staff, and students to exchange teaching and learning strategies, professional development hacks, and research in support of high impact practice in and beyond the classroom. One recent event included an asynchronous Escape Room (with a timed mission, puzzles, and “promising practices” content curated from our community). You can register to access the escape room here.

Our 2023 event will take place on Wednesday, April 26 2023 from 9am-1pm. Please register for this event here

MayX Pro Series

This series of engaging professional development short courses is designed to provide space for important but time-consuming collaborative work that is often difficult to accomplish during the busy school year. During each MayX session, we sponsor several opportunities for concentrated professional development activity. Each hands-on, individualized course is designed to facilitate focused, guided activities that allow participants to meet individual goals and objectives. Course participation involves 3-4 concentrated sessions during the MayX term each year, with associated self-directed tasks.

MayX Pro 2023: Specs Grading

Weekly meetings on Thursdays from 2-3:30 p.m.: May 11, 18, 25, & June 1

If you’ve read Grading for Equity or been experimenting with (and perhaps frustrated by!) flexible deadlines and assignment alternatives in your classes, this series is for you!  Specs Grading offers practical guidelines for amplifying student agency while maintaining high standards in your courses. Participants will receive a copy of Specifications Grading and revise an existing course to incorporate specifications grading. We will weigh the pros and cons of the primary components of specs assessment:

  • The use of satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading of all assignments and tests;
  • a token system where students “buy” limited flexibility in course assignments;
  • and “bundles” of assessments associated with sets of learning outcomes and final letter grades.

By the end of the course, participants will be able adapt one or more of their courses using a specs grading format, including turning assignment directions into specs, bundling assessments, developing a token system, and revising your syllabus accordingly.

Summer Course Redesign Institute

Our institute is offered at least once a year for anyone interested in enhancing their course design and structure, typically during the summer months. Whether you are hoping to make minor tweaks or a major overhaul, join us for a multi-week redesign process. Our institute involves a series of self-guided planning tasks and interactive synchronous sessions as we work through a step-by-step process designed to build a thoughtful, pedagogically sound course informed by the transformative power of liberal learning. Participants can anticipate 6-8 hours of investment per week. Using principles from Dee Fink’s Designing Significant Learning Experiences backwards design process, universal design for learning, and inclusive pedagogy, participants will have the opportunity to apply research-based teaching and learning principles to course design by: 

  • Reflecting and refining learning outcomes; 
  • Incorporating active, learner-centered design principles into course activities 
  • Identifying assessment strategies to strengthen connections between student learning and course assignments 
  • Identifying and refining components of classes that can be made more inclusive 
  • Networking and collaborating with colleagues across campus. 

2023 Course Redesign for Inclusion, Equity, and Justice General Education Requirement (IEJ GER) Credit

June 2023; cohort meeting dates TBD by group

In this course redesign opportunity participants will use a backward design process popularized by Dee Fink to re-envision the goals, assessments, and activities of an existing course to satisfy IEJ GER credit. Courses redesigned and submitted to the proper approving committee for IEJ GER credit by August will be available to students for Spring 2024 registration.

Summer SoTL Scholars

6 cohort meetings between June 5- July 28th, 2023

If you are working with summer research students to learn qualitative coding analysis—especially for data related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)–and would like to join a cohort of faculty and student researchers learning the same methodology, the Summer SoTL Scholars program may be beneficial to you and your students.  For more intel email Diane Boyd.