Center for Teaching Excellence

2023 Celebration of Teaching

Event pictures

Abstracts: Celebration of Teaching – Nov. 1, 2023

1:00-2:30 pm Stinson Lounge


Sharee Allen/ Dept. of Art: 
Digital and Tactile Art as Therapy: Creative Use of Screen Time in Self-

The research serves to investigate the role of art-making in self-soothing for issues such as academic stress, performance anxiety, depression and isolation. Specifically, the Principal Investigator is interested in solo art-making as catharsis, or students’ use of art-making as a way to soothe individually without the guidance of a therapist or professor present. This type of art-making can be broken down into digital and tactile creation; the PI is interested in both. The portion on digital art-making will delineate between passive time spent on a digital device and creative expression which the subjects identify as beneficial for their mental health.


Brent Blair / Biology:
Does Environmental Justice Coursework Change Student Perception of What Constitutes the "environment"?

Environmental attitudes play a vital role in shaping individuals' perceptions of their natural environment and their subsequent environmentally conscious decisions. However, research has shown variations in environmental attitudes among social groups, such as political affiliations, and along racial and socioeconomic lines. This project examines students’ perception of what constitutes an environmental issue by exploring the impact of an introductory environmental science class that incorporates content on environmental justice. By including coursework that examines issues of race, poverty, and the environment, this study aims to not only see if the course increases environmental awareness among participants, but if the additional content related to environmental justice issues expands how students define the "environment".


Bryan Buechner / Marketing:
Creating an Experiential and Values-Based Classroom

In my project, I will present strategies to create an engaging and experiential environment where students are co-creators of value in the course. I will share how to incorporate Xavier’s Mission into the student learning and the classroom environment by discussing how to create pedagogy that links Bloom’s Taxonomy to Xavier’s Jesuit Values. Additionally, I will discuss strategies to facilitate experiential learning and solicit student feedback. These include tactics related to formal and informal feedback, ungraded assignments, team-based projects, and classroom discussions. Collectively, this project highlights the importance of creating a comfortable learning environment in which students increase their knowledge through the process of “learn-do-teach”; students learn through lecture and discussion, do through in-class assignments, assessments, and activities, and teach by sharing their knowledge—with their peers and professional partners—on team-based experiential learning projects.


Tina Davlin-Pater/ Sport Science & Medicine:
Professional Behaviors: Perspective of Exercise Science & Kinesiology Faculty

Purpose: Professional behaviors are important for success and many employers expect students to learn these behaviors in their academic programs. This study identified faculty perceptions related to the value of professional behaviors, teaching practices, negative student behaviors, and perceived barriers to teaching professional behaviors.

Method: 100 institutions with exercise science/kinesiology undergraduate programs were identified. An electronic survey request was sent to 1567 faculty in exercise science/kinesiology programs. The survey included: 1) the importance of 13 professional behavior themes, 2) faculty attitudes, beliefs, and opinions on fostering professional behaviors; 3) the frequency of negative behaviors observed in students, 4) identification of professional behaviors taught through direct instruction, 5) methods used in direct instruction, and 6) perceptions of barriers to teaching professional behaviors.

Results: All professional behavior themes were viewed as important to faculty. Faculty were concerned about negative student behaviors such as failure to meet deadlines, poor verbal and non-verbal communication, and tardiness. The majority of respondents indicated that they provide direct instruction in critical thinking (85%), communication (75%), and teamwork (75%). Common barriers included professional behaviors not being listed in the learning objectives (54%), class size (52%), and course


Patrick Filanowski & Tina Davlin-Pater / Sport Science & Management:
Examining Professional Behaviors Assessment in Exercise Science Practicums: Student and Supervisor Perceptions

Background: Exercise Science education traditionally emphasizes both technical ("hard skills") and professional behaviors ("soft skills"), but assessing the latter consistently remains challenging. This project explored the implementation of a novel professional behaviors assessment process and examined how students and their practicum supervisors assessed students' professional behaviors.

Methods: Data were collected from both students (n=22) and their site supervisors (n=22) using surveys consisting of 54 questions each, covering 12 professional behavior categories. Surveys were administered at mid-term and the end of the semester in Spring 2023, employing a 5-point Likert scale. Wilcoxon Signed Ranked tests were used to compare scores from students mid-term and final surveys and supervisors mid-term and final surveys, respectively.

Results: Students received consistently high ratings across all 12 professional behavior categories from both self-assessment and supervisor assessments, with no significant differences between mid-term and final survey results. All mean scores for each professional behavior category were between 1 (always exhibits the behavior) and 2 (mostly exhibits the behavior) for each category.

Conclusions: Exercise Science students consistently demonstrated exceptional proficiency across all 12 assessed professional behavior categories. There were no discernible improvements in these already high scores between the mid-term and final assessments, highlighting their impressive performance in these behaviors. This project yields valuable insights into exercise science students' perceptions of an innovative assessment process for professional behaviors, as well as the feedback received from their supervisors. It significantly enriches the ongoing pedagogical endeavors aimed at students’ development of essential professional behaviors, often referred to as “soft skills”.


Rose Ann Fleming, Ph.D and J.D./ Athletics and EMSS:
Assimilation of Life Values through Sport.

In 2016, the Vatican hosted the First Global Conference on Faith and Sport which proclaimed six principles representing Faith and Sport: compassion, respect, love, enlightenment, balance, and joy. These six principles are supported by three pillars: Inspiration, Inspiration, and Involvement. Hence a movement was created by the First Global Conference.  Can the classroom seminar form of teaching and learning successfully promote students’ growth in values and change in behavior?

The research methodology to answer to this question is the administration of a pre-test and post-test, each of which consists of two parts: Part I is a quantitative measure using SPSS based on five-factored questions, the answers to  which range  from “not at all” (1) to ”always” (5).    Part 2 is a qualitative measure using NVivo, based on open-ended questions requiring students to describe their understanding and practice of the six principles and three pillars at the beginning  and end the seminar.

The results from the Fall 2023 Pre-test and Post Test will be available at the end of December, 2023.

The significance of this study fills a gap in the global movement of Faith and Sport by using the classroom seminar teaching/learning format to promote student assimilation of these values.

This seminar presentation is a trifold poster showing the origin and movement of “Sport at the Service of Humanity” from 2016 through the present. Teaching as Research is trusted vehicle to provide learning, growth and social change in students’ behavior.


Renea Frey with Danielle Needham/ English:
Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn: TA Training in First-Year Writing

First-year writing is an integral course for student success and retention, and at the same time is notoriously time-intensive and challenging to teach, with students needing more one-on-one coaching than any single instructor can provide. Students also come into English 101 with very different levels of experience, enthusiasm, interest, or focus and yet they are all expected to end the course having met the Student Learning Outcomes that will set them up for success in their other classes.

Co-presented by the undergraduate teaching assistant and the mentoring professor, this presentation will explore the benefits of embedding an undergraduate Teaching Assistant in English 101 as a way to support first-year writers, as well as to further the education, training, and experience of more advanced undergraduates who plan to teach after graduation. This practice offers additional aid to students who may be struggling with first-year writing, who are adjusting to college life more generally, and who may develop a meaningful rapport with a fellow student that is more difficult to achieve with an instructor. Additionally, assisting in a first-year writing course offers valuable, hands-on experience for qualified students to hone their teaching skills and prepare for their future careers. Working in the spirit of the Jesuit focus on experiential learning, this teaching collaboration creates a mutually beneficial learning environment for both first-year and experienced students alike.


Richie L. Liu/ Marketing:
So Many Choices: Experiential Learning Project Traits – A Causal Approach for More Effective Student Engagement

Prior pedagogical research has examined the overall influence of experiential learning projects on the classroom environment such as satisfaction, motivation, communication frequency, and engagement. Despite the attention placed on the broad effects of experiential projects, extant pedagogy work has not addressed the specific traits associated with the experiential learning projects that could lead to higher affect and engagement amongst higher education students. In this exploratory research, I focus on the most common characteristics found in experiential learning projects in a business school, namely type of firm (i.e., non- vs. for-profit) and research design (i.e., qualitative vs. quantitative). In Study 1, I find that undergraduate business students prefer that their experiential learning projects partner with a for- compared to a non-profit firm and that a quantitative (vs. qualitative) research design is preferred. In Study 2, a causal approach is taken to examine such attributes, and this study first revealed that research design preference did not emerge when working with a non-profit firm. In contrast, the research design did matter when working with a for-profit firm. More specifically, experiential learning projects partnering with a for-profit firm led to higher feelings of excitement and more engagement within the course when a qualitative (vs. quantitative) research method was incorporated into the project.


Sheena Steckl/ English:
Engaging Students in Community

Vincent Tinto’s Schema for Dropout From College, posits “it is the individual's integration into the academic and social systems of the college that most directly relates to his continuance in that college” (96). I have sought to improve student integration through group-centric, community-engaged learning classes, where we spend nearly half our class time serving in the community.

These community-engaged learning courses entail a fair amount of group work. Students are assigned in groups that serve together, do in-class group assignments together, and work on multifaceted group projects. Their time spent outside the classroom serving together, be it driving to a school to read with elementary school kids, or pulling carrots from the campus farm, allows students to opportunity to form deep and meaningful connections with their peers, many of which may have very different beliefs and experiences.

It feels radical to “give up” half our class time traditionally used for covering course content, but the things they are learning as they serve are equally as important as the things we learn when we talk about literature, linguistics, or composition.  When I transitioned my ENGL205 Literature and the Moral Imagination class to a community-engaged learning course, we went from simply talking about inequity—particularly in regards to racial inequality—to doing work to improve outcomes for our community members by ensuring they have access to healthy foods. Service learning brings to life our student learning outcomes and allows us to fulfil Xavier’s mission of practicing service rooted in justice and love.


Jeremy A. Steeves/ Sport Science & Management:
Student Preferences and Experiences with The Persistence Projects’ 4-Pedagogical Practices

Background: The CTE Persistence Project has faculty commit to integrating 4 activities: 1) Communicate their belief that all students can succeed in their class, 2) Learn and use students' names and have students learn each other's names 3) Give formative, success-oriented feedback on an assignment or quiz, and 4) Get to know students during the first 4 weeks of the semester. This project describes which Persistence Project activities EXSC students feel best support their learning and belonging, and the activities EXSC students see used by most faculty (³75%).

Methods: Data were collected from (n=22) junior and senior EXSC students during the Fall 2023 semester. The percentage of students who preferred each activity, and prevalence of use of each activity by faculty were reported.

Results: The activities students preferred from professors were get to know their students (54.5%), give formative, success-oriented feedback (31.8%), learn and use students' names (9.1%), and communicate their belief that all students can succeed (4.5%). The most preferred activities were used less by ³75% of faculty, 27.3%, 54.5%, 54.6%, and 68.2% respectively. The majority of EXSC students (81.8%) believe their Program faculty use the 4 activities more than faculty teaching core or elective classes, while 18.2% said Program, core, and elective faculty use the 4 activities equivalently.

Conclusions: Students preferred activities for supporting their learning and belonging maybe underused by many faculty. All Xavier faculty should be intentional about integrating the 4 activities in all classes.


Andrea Weickgenannt & Kaitlin Newkirk/ Accountancy:                                                                           
A Curricular “Home Run” in an Introductory Accounting Project

We present a strategy for using a course project to address four important curricular objectives: ethics and social responsibility, critical thinking, experiential learning, and effective written and oral communication. Leveraging our department’s alumni base and board of executive advisors, we connect students with a local practitioner for a face-to-face interview. Conversation during the interviews is planned to extend beyond an accountants’ responsibilities for procedural recordkeeping practices that are emphasized in the classroom. Students gain insights into accountants’ involvement in monitoring and measuring environmental and social programs, the many “gray areas” that exist in their day-to-day work, and the expectation for adhering to a code of ethical conduct. Moreover, students hear firsthand stories about the purpose and impact of accounting work. This experience leaves students with a deeper understanding of who accountants serve and what they can do to change businesses for good.

This project is especially meaningful in a course where an abundance of technical content needs to be covered; yet the profession is increasingly emphasizing the importance of soft skills. Key aspects of the project include a pre-interview brainstorming task and post-interview reporting in both oral and written form. Students reflect on the many links to the Jesuit Values including opportunities to serve others and benefits of practicing reflection and discernment in the profession. Student feedback also provides an unintended result.


Tammy Zilliox & Teresa Young/ Education:
The Benefits of An Innovative Literacy Assessment Field Experience

In many fields of study, an internship or experiential practice is an essential part of learning the discipline. In education, those experiences are often clinical field placements in methods courses or student teaching. The combination of field work while learning the content has many benefits, which we sought to determine. This research study explores the benefits of an embedded field experience in a university literacy assessment course for preparing pre- and in-service teachers as they implement effective literacy assessments and instruction. Based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (1984), pre- and in-service teachers interacted with elementary students over a ten-week span to administer an informal literacy assessment, analyze the data, and apply instructional strategies to support the literacy strengths and needs of the students. This mixed-methods research was conducted using the triangulation of four data points – an online survey and three course assignments – and findings are conclusive with previous research. 


Key words: field experience, literacy assessment, teacher preparation