Monthly Archives: September 2019

Undergraduate Education News for HHD Faculty, Sept 2019


  • Next week all faculty will be reminded to complete Starfish Early Progress Reports. Please take time to log into Starfish and update advisers on any students showing early struggles—not attending, failing to turn in assignments, etc. Your early reporting can help us identify, support, and refer students quickly! REMEMBER—you can also send kudos and flags to advisers and students at any time of the semester. An update after major exams or assignments is VERY HELPFUL.
  • Invitation to Join/Participate in New TLT Faculty Learning Community:Focus on International Student Engagement and Success in the Classroom:  A new faculty learning community sponsored by Teaching and Learning with Technology is forming at University Park for the 2019-20 academic year.  The focus of this community will be finding better ways to engage international students and improving their success in the classroom.  The use of technology to enhance this goal will also be explored.  If you work with international students and would like to engage with other faculty and staff to improve their success in the classroom and their Penn State experience, we invite you to join us!
    • Kick-off meeting: Statler Room of Café Laura, Mateer Building, from noon to 1pm on Friday, Sept. 13. The plan is to meet about every three weeks on Fridays at noon throughout Fall and Spring semester.We encourage those interested in the community to make a commitment to participate as much as possible for the entire academic year.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Beth Egan ( by Monday, Sept. 9 to reserve your lunch, which will be provided by Café Laura and community funds.
  • Save the date! The Penn State TLT Symposium 2020 is Saturday, March 21: The annual event is free and open to the entire Penn State community. Bookmark the Symposium websiteto keep up with up-to-date information.
  • Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology group has added a podcast to the ways they connect faculty with resources and ideas at Penn State:
  • CANVAS GRADEBOOK UPDATE: Over the summer, Canvas made some feature updates to the gradebook. A new feature in the gradebook, the grade posting policyreplaced the previously known mute and unmute assignments as well as introduced some visual changes to these icons. It is important to review this article outlining the visual changes to the gradebook to better understand how the grade posting policy feature sets grades and comments to be released to students. Below are additional links to training opportunities and support available for the new gradebook features:
  • Three new resources integrated into Canvas:
    • Fully customizable, Barnes & Noble Education LoudCloud Coursewareis another Open Education Resource (OER) tool available for Penn State faculty. LoudCloud Courseware uses a combination of OER and original content to provide interactive e-text, auto-graded assignments, discussions, activities, and a full range of instructional materials to support every learner. LoudCloud uses predictive analytics to enable both students and instructors to monitor performance and improve learning. Penn State faculty can contact the LoudCloud team at for information. For more about this service, see Courseware Powered by LoudCloud Frequently Asked Questions.
    • Zoom learning tool added to Canvas: The Zoom learning tool is now available within Canvas, allowing users to create, schedule, record, and participate in meetings directly within Canvas courses. Instructions on how to enable the Zoom LTI in Canvas are on the Resource tab on the Canvas Dashboard.
    • Microsoft Office 365 learning tool available: The O365 Learning Tool is now available in Canvas and allows users to integrate Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneDrive into courses. Instructions on how to use the O365 Learning Tool are included on the O365 Integrations page on the Canvas Advanced Learning Path.
  • Our Outreach Instruction Design team has set up a University Policies Google Doc so that anyone with the link can view it. The University Policies has been designed for World Campus offerings through the College, but could also be utilized for residential courses. The link to the current Google Doc should be open and available for anyone in the College to utilize and link to in Canvas as a part of their course:
  • HUB-Robeson Art Galleries have recently started a student led tour program and student led gallery discussions tailored group needs. If you would like to bring your class for a tour, discussion, or another type of programing please feel free to contact Dani Spewak,, Visual Arts Production Specialist, HUB-Robeson Galleries. They are interested in what would best bridge their programing with courses.Art has the ability to connect complex social and ecological issues, and they are looking to facilitate these conversations with students and our Penn State Community. See their current and upcoming exhibitions for ideas:
  • PSU has updated their policy regarding weather delays. The two key points for faculty are:
    • Faculty who teach classes that run across multiple periods may begin their class at the end of the announced delaytime and continue through the end of the scheduled period (e.g., if a 2 hour delay until 10 a.m. is announced, a class that normally runs from 9 a.m. to noon could hold class from 10 a.m. to noon). Faculty need to inform their students of their decision in advance. It can be added proactively to the class syllabus and communicated to the students via Canvas.
    • Students should be informed of the plan for making up any work owing to delays or closures.  However, attendance at evening or other make-ups outside of scheduled class time cannot be made mandatory nor can students be held responsible for the materials covered in such sessions. Alternative methods, such as online assignments and access to digital course materials or recorded lectures, should be considered.

Five Things I’m Reading

Have a reading suggestion?  Let me know!


  • Penn State Learning is the free tutoring resource for all Penn State students. Are students already struggling in your class? Penn State Learningoffers the following opportunities:
    • To introduce their students to Penn State Learning, faculty may invite a Penn State Learning representative to provide a 10 to 15-minute overview of our services to their classes.  Please complete this class visit request formto request a visit.
    • Faculty teaching writing-intensive courses may request a writing workshop on any writing topic, presented by Penn State Learning writing tutors.  Please fill out this writing workshop request formto schedule a workshop.
    • First-year seminar instructors may be interested in our cognitive strategies workshop, “Study Smarter,” a tutor-led presentation and discussion on how to develop effective study skills. If you would like to send students to one of our Study Smarter programs or attend one yourself, please email Penn State Learning’s Teresa Burkhart at She will then share the program’s schedule and sign-up link with you Also, if you would like to participate and think a different fall date/time would work better, we will work with you to plan something. Please also feel free to pass along the information about our program to any interested faculty or advisors.
    • Penn State Learning offers free face-to-face tutoring for undergraduate students enrolled in courses here at University Park campus and free online tutoring for undergraduate students enrolled in courses through World Campus.  Our trained peer tutors offer assistance in math, science, and language courses as well as writing for any course.  Please see our websitefor more information about the courses we tutor and our hours and locations.



Penn State Events and Resources


  • Open Education Resources: Opportunity for university presses publishing Penn State faculty books to get funding to make them open access. Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME)is a collaborative effort between the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of University Presses. Penn State’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost has committed to funding $45,000 to be split among up to three subvention grants to support publishing open access monographs each year for five years (2018-2023). Each grant will be contributed directly to a press participating in the program for an open access publication of an eligible Penn State faculty-authored work.
  • Global Programs Faculty Travel Grants: Global Programs maintains a fund to support faculty travel related to developing global awareness, global literacy and global competency among our undergraduate population. The Faculty Travel Grant (up to a maximum of $3,000 per project) supports faculty members traveling abroad for a short-term stay (1-4 weeks). Transformational Travel Grants are awarded twice annually, with applications due on the following dates: September 30 by 5:00 P.M. (EDT) for travel to take place on or after January 1 of the next year and February 20 by 5:00 P.M. (EST) for travel to take place on or after Dec. 1 of that year. More info and applications:·
  • Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence: Teaching Transformation & Innovation grants: The Teaching Project Grants program is designed to provide support for Penn State faculty, departments, and degree-granting programs to engage in projects that support teaching and learning endeavors in undergraduate education. Consultation with SITE staff is required before proposal submission and is available NOW. Proposals are due each Spring semester with funding provided during the following fiscal year.
  • The Office for General Education offers Microgrants for General Education Courses. Do you have an innovative idea to engage students in your General Education course? Share your idea. Request must be for a senate approved General Education course and the maximum request is $500 per class. Apply Here!Requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis and responses can be expected approximately 2 weeks after submission.
  • Honors Course Development/Enhancement Awards: The Schreyer Honors College offers Course Development/Enhancement Awards to support the design, development and improvement of honors courses for our Schreyer Scholars. Awards may be used to develop or enhance a course, secure course materials, support the involvement of special guest speakers, to fund related travel or research costs, to assist students, or some combination thereof. Open submission dates. More information:


General Sources

  • The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) – Postsecondary Education Program – This Department of Education research program contributes to “improving access to, persistence in, and completion of postsecondary education,” particularly for at-risk students.
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation – Higher Education Initiatives – This foundation helps universities to “become more entrepreneurial—not only in what they teach and how they teach it, but in how they operate.”
  • Henry Luce Foundation – Higher Education Grants – “The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.”
  • The Spencer Foundation – This foundation’s mission is to “investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world.” It funds grants focusing on several different aspects of higher education.
  • Ford Foundation – Educational initiatives that align with Ford Foundation goals “to reduce poverty and injustice and to promote democratic values, international cooperation and human achievement” might apply for grants or fellowships.
  • Lumina Foundation – This foundation provides funding for initiatives designed to “to increase awareness of the benefits of higher education, improve student access to and preparedness for college, improve student success in college and increase productivity across the higher education system.”
  • The Teagle Foundation – This foundation is “committed to promoting and strengthening liberal education.” Their programs “generally encourage collaboration among institutions, seeking to generate new knowledge on issues of importance to higher education.”
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – Digital Media & Learning Initiative – “The digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to education and other social institutions that must meet the needs of this and future generations.”


Funding for Humanities Education


Funding for Social Science Education

  • Social Science Research Council – Part of the SSRC’s mission is to “educate and train the next generation of social science researchers.” The SSRC sometimes offers fellowships and grants to that end.


Funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Education


  • Online Learning Consortium: OLC is a great organization for anyone interested in online or hybrid education. Penn State is an OLC Member and may enable us to help you get a lower cost registration for their programs. Contact Dennis Shea or Susan LeWay if you are interested in something. September Workshops List for OLC
  • OLC has both a fall and spring conference, as well as face-to-face workshops throughout the year. Learn more:
  • Interested in Engaged Scholarship and Learning? The deadline for registration for the Engaged Scholarship Conference is this week. The goals of community-engaged scholarship are the generation, exchange and application of mutually beneficial and socially useful knowledge and practices developed through active partnerships between the academy and the community:
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities conferences and meetings: AACU focuses on connections to liberal arts, general education, and diversity, equity and inclusion, and Penn State faculty have access to their many programs and resources through our institutional membership.  See upcoming programs below. Contact Dennis Shea if interested in any of their activities:
  • The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) invites session proposals for the 2020 General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment Conference. Proposals are due on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Colleagues from all areas of the higher education landscape are encouraged to share their efforts to create intentional and integrated general education programs, to assess current practices, and to generate evidence of high-quality learning for all students. Please review the conference overviewand full call for proposals for detailed instructions.