2015 Faculty Conference Presentations

2015 American Honors Faculty Conference Presentations

The following is a summary of the presentations offered at the 2015 American Honors Faculty Conference. Presentation materials have been posted below for sessions where available. For additional information about the faculty conference for 2015 or 2016 please send questions to We hope to see you at the 2016 conference!

You can also view the 2015 conference website for the complete program including additional information about the presenters. 


The H-Factor - 2.0, Dr. Gianna Durso-Finley

This session will be an opportunity for all attendees and panelists to share ideas about Honors pedagogy across the disciplines.

Holistic Admissions, Dr. Negar Farakish and Julia Delk

American Honors uses a holistic approach in evaluating students’ applications to determine whether the applicants are, or have the “academic potential” to be, honors students and benefit from the services and courses in the program. This approach requires the admissions committee members to form opinions about applicants based on competitive and compelling attributes, which at times can become subjective as the members have to “read between the lines” and make sound judgments and predictions about students’ future performance in the program. This workshop will provide the participants with the opportunity to review and discuss sample applications to further refine the criteria for a more accurate holistic evaluation of applicants’ eligibility for the American Honors program.

Teaching Mathematics in the Virtual Classroom, Janet Dalzell and Kissler

Techniques commonly used in the mathematics classroom present challenges when transferred to an online meeting space such as BlueJeans or Adobe Connect. Collaborative work, chalk talk, and mathematical discussion and troubleshooting are all more difficult when sharing a virtual space. This session will present a sample in-class experience with discussion of technological and pedagogical approaches to these challenges. Note: Laptops or tablets strongly suggested for attendees of this session.

Collaboration for Transformation: Using Faculty/Advisor Relations to Create Student Success,  Katie Suter, Nick Geremia, Heather Young

Click here to view materials from the presentation "Collaboration for Transformation."

This session will be a solutions-driven discussion seeking to answer four persistent questions: 1. What are the main challenges preventing our students from being successful? 2. What behaviors and habits help top students succeed? 3. What behaviors and habits should we reinforce for students? 4. How can we facilitate improved collaboration between academic advisors and faculty? This session will provide a short introduction with an overview of American Honors retention and engagement data, and a selection of planned intervention strategies for the coming year. It will then transition into a discussion aimed at providing feedback for network-wide best practices on student success.

Transitions: Confessions of a Doubter, Affirmations from an Advocate, Dr. Carol Denise Bork & Dr. Gianna Durso-Finley

When Mercer County Community College was recruited into American Honors, it had a young but vibrant honors program. The panelists will share its experiences transitioning into the new honors format. Dr. Carol Denise Bork is a faculty member who was involved with the Mercer Honors Program from its inception, and who had some doubts about participating in American Honors.

Dr. Gianna Durso-Finley is both a faculty member and an administrator who has fully embraced the new venture; she is also the Assistant Dean who made the transition successful. Some of the issues that will be addressed include faculty attitudes, shifts in student demographics, coordinating the existing academic program with a new advising component, and continuing questions as the transition develops. After presentations from each panelist, there will be discussion about strategies for shifting from existing honors programs to American Honors.

Applications of Web 2.0 Tools Roshan Khattry and Marianne Sheldon

Click here to view presentation materials for "Application of Web 2.0 Tools".

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to several Web 2.0 tools and shown examples of how to enhance student learning by presenting course content in new and engaging ways with the help of some of these tools. Several Web 2.0 tools will be showcased, including Prezi, Pixton, imgflip, and EDPuzzle. The presenters will also demonstrate how some of these tools were incorporated into a Principles of Economics classroom through creative product-based assignments. Note: Laptops or tablets strongly suggested for attendees of this session.

Introduction to American Honors & Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) - Welcome New Faculty! Ben Moritz and Donna Hay

Ben Moritz, DMA is Vice President of Academic Affairs for American Honors. Donna Hay, JD is Director of the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) of American Honors. 

Gifts Differing: Engaging, Understanding and Enjoying HFA and Asperger Students, Bradley Mitchell

Today, it is highly probable that you have had an HFA or Asperger’s student in your classroom. Today, individuals with high-functioning autism are just as likely to be successful in an honors based program as any other student; the only question is whether you have KSAs to help them get there. Bradley Mitchell is Associate Professor of Psychology at Ivy Tech Community College. 

Crime Scene in the Forest: Multi-Campus Multi-Disciplinary Activity, Beth Ritter-Guth

Click to view presentation materials for "Crime Scene in the Forest".

What happens when you gather a group of American Honors students from diverse colleges enrolled in a variety of classes and ask them to solve a crime? We don't know, either, but we want to find out. Using the virtual world, Second Life, students from participating schools will work with students to solve a not-so-simple crime. This presentation is an invitation for interested faculty members to join the project and to help develop the content. No Second Life experience is necessary.

Effective Use of Social Media, Krystyl Dumas

This session will focus on including educational technology and integrating social media into the classroom. This is an informal, hands-on session (no lecture) that will be discussion-based and that will cover tools like Kahoot, Instagram, Scratch, Twitter, and Facebook. A handout of other tools that can be used and created will be provided. Note: Laptops or tablets strongly suggested for attendees of this session

Assessment Practices: Evaluation/Norming of Artifacts Gianna Durso-Finley and Ben Moritz

Outcomes-based assessment is widely used to provide feedback on program effectiveness, especially in interdisciplinary, non-competency-based programs such as Honors. In this presentation, participants are encouraged to participate in a discussion about best practices for evaluating assessment artifacts.

Using a Simulation of a Middle East Crisis to Promote Student Engagement, John Lucas 

Click here to view materials from this presentation.

This session will explore the presenter’s experience using a simulation of a Middle East crisis to promote student engagement and critical thinking in an Introduction to International Relations course. The simulation was a lengthy one, requiring one day a week for most of the quarter. The presentation will describe how the simulation was set up, what elements were successful, and what elements needed to be adjusted.

Professional Development for Faculty, Administrators and Staff, Britney Sauer

For more than three decades, NISOD has been dedicated to the continued improvement of teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal being to increase student success. To achieve this mission, NISOD provides a wide range of professional development opportunities and experiences for faculty, administrators, and staff members at community and technical colleges from across the U.S. and Canada. NISOD’s programs and services include its annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence, the definitive gathering of community and technical college educators seeking best and promising practices designed to improve student achievement; Innovation Abstracts, NISOD's flagship teaching and learning publication written by and for community and technical college practitioners; the Webinar Series, a free benefit for NISOD-member colleges that helps faculty members improve their teaching techniques; and more! Participants in this session discuss how NISOD’s program and services can provide them with skills and knowledge they can use in their daily work to help learners at all levels of preparedness realize their full academic potential.

Adapting Your STEM Course with Transfer Reference Letters in Mind, Richard Porter and Barbara Hamilton

Click here to view the presentation materials.

Liberal Arts faculty have been using their strong writing skills, “soft skill” course components, and interesting subject matter to get their students into the finest institutions. But how can we sell our STEM students when all we can say is that they got good grades on tests? After all, good memorizers and test takers are a dime a dozen in STEM fields, so what will make our students stand out from the pack? With some Honors-worthy tweaks to our STEM pedagogy, we can gather some persuasive facts about collaboration, critical thinking, audience awareness, creativity, technology use, and independent research to help get our students into those really great schools. 

Leveling Up: Facilitating Forward-Thinking Academic Skill Development, Dr. Mary Russell

Click here to view the presentation handout for "Leveling Up".
Click here to view the presentation PowerPoint for "Leveling Up".

By completing a series of assigned activities, students learn to identify skills that they can practice while completing lower-division coursework. This presentation describes a multi-part assignment (a work-in-progress) that is guided by the following outcomes: (1) students learn how to identify, practice, and assess their own skill development; (2) while completing lower-division coursework, they orient themselves to the expectations of upper-division coursework in their major area of study; and, most importantly, (3) they develop more awareness of – and confidence in – their own academic abilities as they prepare to transfer to a four-year institution.

Pearson MyLab and Student Success, Leon Khalsa

How can we use textbook-based digital learning platforms (MyLab, Launchpad) and similar tools to increase student engagement, track and reward student preparation, and facilitate student meta-cognition in the accomplishment of their learning tasks? For instructors using the flipped classroom model, student preparation and engagement PRIOR to class time is critical. Low student preparation means that the instructor has to repeat material that was supposed to have been already accessed, or risk leaving unprepared students behind. This presentation will review correlational research findings about the impact of MySocLab and discuss implications for instructional adoption of this or similar tools. Publisher furnished student success data are often overly optimistic and not carefully vetted. Faculty interested in encouraging and assessing student material engagement and mastery prior to class attendance will benefit from this presentation. 

Innovation and Creativity: Teaching Students to Think Without a Box, Cynthia Rickert and Carmon Hicks

This session’s presenters will show educators how to introduce innovation and creativity into the classroom. They posit that our educational system is designed so that students cannot think outside a structured environment in order to grasp concepts, ideas, and/or theories; that our lives are full such that there is never time to simply be or ponder thoughts; and that, to understand our wisdom, we must practice sitting in silence. They conclude that with silence comes patience, tolerance, ideas, and deviations from our banal existence. In this session, they will demonstrate how to celebrate calmness in classrooms in order to create, mold, and discover students’ minds. Sit in silence and listen. 

Building a Best-in-Class Global Honors Program,  David Finegold

One of the core learning outcomes for the American Honors programs is to enhance our students' global understanding and capabilities to better prepare them to succeed in a global economy and society. We have a growing number of talented students from countries around the world enrolling in American Honors, which offers great opportunities to increase cross-cultural understanding, but can also pose challenges for honors pedagogy. This panel will initiate a discussion to identify leading practices that AH faculty have been using to raise global understanding, issues that we have encountered in helping international students to be successful, and what ideas participants across the network have to further enhance the global experience going forward.

Echo360, Perry Samson

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation titled "The Next Big Thing in Education is Data".

Echo360 is an innovative platform that can facilitate enhanced student engagement both inside and outside of class time through next generation lecture capture techniques. In this session, attendees can see a demonstration of this tool and learn more about how it might be utilized at an institution.

Pecha Kucha Festival - Multiple Presenters

Pecha Kucha is a simple presentation format in which 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and presenters talk along with the images. The format was designed to prevent “over-talking” PowerPoint presentations and creates a constantly moving, engaging experience for the listener. During the festival, several faculty and staff from the American Honors community will be presenting Pecha Kuchas on a wide variety of topics. Come learn about the approach, have some fun, and gain a new tool for your pedagogical toolbox! Hosted by Marianne Sheldon, Lead Instructional Technologist of the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at American Honors.

View some examples of Pecha Kucha Slides below:

Have more questions? Submit a request


Powered by Zendesk