Faculty Conversations

Opportunities to Network and Share

Faculty Conversations about Teaching are designed as space for faculty to share and discuss teaching and learning experiences with peers, collaboratively exploring new ways to address common challenges and opportunities. These hour-long sessions will be facilitated by Mason faculty and will provide participants with expert suggestions as well as time to share their own experiences with colleagues. All members of the Mason community interested in teaching (i.e., faculty, students, administrators, staff) are welcome to participate.

Previous Events

Building Your Teaching Portfolio

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Has your department started collecting more teaching-related information as part of its annual review or promotion? Are you curious about strategies for building a teaching portfolio to share your professional accomplishments? Even a small portfolio can help improve your reflective practice as a teacher. Join our facilitators—Brian Fitzpatrick and Shannyn Snyder— to share steps and strategies for identifying your achievements, selecting supporting documents, and writing statements to more fully represent your teaching accomplishments. Term and adjunct faculty are especially welcome.


Resource Links:

Supporting Multilingual Learners in Your Classroom

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Join our facilitators, in thinking about some key strategies for supporting all facets of learning support for our multilingual students. In addition to considering strategies for responding to student writing, we’ll discuss options for supporting students as they improve their in-class speaking and listening skills as well as broader strategies to support cross-cultural learning.


Resource Links:

Doing Your Own Classroom Research

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
In our November faculty conversation, we will follow up on the momentum of the ITL Conference, the ongoing Curriculum Innovation Grants, and our Scholarship in Teaching and Learning Faculty Learning communities and bring faculty into opportunities for becoming teacher-researchers. As always, we hope to spark faculty thinking in ways that can immediately impact their teaching and provoke longer-term considerations.


  • Jill K. Nelson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Volgenau School of Engineering
  • Jessica L. Rosenberg, Ph.D. Director, STEM Accelerator & Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science


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Creating Inclusive Spaces for Mason Students

Thursday, October 11, 2018
At the October Faculty Conversation, we addressed strategies Mason faculty can use both in designing their course curricula and building classroom communities.


  • Christy Pichichero, Ph.D., Tenure-Track Assistant Professor, French and History, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, in College of Humanities and Social Science


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Small Changes: Quick Tips for Better Teaching

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
At the September Faculty Conversation, facilitators shared their strategies for implementing and sustaining change. Participants were asked to share and recommit to small changes they have made and want to make.


  • Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron, Ph.D., Term Assistant Professor, Head of Social Entrepreneurship Concentration (MAIS), and Head of Social Justice & Human Rights Concentration (MAIS) in School of Integrative Studies
  • Katherine Rosenbusch, Ed.D., Term Assistant Professor of Management, George Mason University School of Business


Resource Links:

Transforming Your Teaching Through Course Redesign

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
In our final Faculty Conversation of the semester, we discussed tips for making revisions to classes, assignments, materials and teaching. Faculty shared ideas and experiences about strategies for course redesign and teaching transformation, and learned more about the Stearns Center Course (Re)Design Academy.


  • Mary Shumann, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Sport Management, School of Recreation, Health & Tourism, College of Education & Human Development
  • Robert Pierce, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Term Faculty, Business Foundations, School of Business


Mason Impact: Creating Engaged Citizens and Well-Rounded Scholars Prepared to Act

Thursday, March 8, 2018
How can we can deepen students’ learning and development to create engaged citizens and well-rounded scholars prepared to act? Discussion in our March Faculty Conversation focused on strategies to give Mason students opportunities to participate in Mason Impact activities, with emphasis on undergraduate research, civic engagement, global learning, and entrepreneurship. Faculty shared ideas and experiences about how to implement Mason Impact into courses and programs.


  • Jesse Guessford, Ph.D., Associate Director of Undergraduate Education, Associate Professor of Music, Director of Music Technology, School of Music, College for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Laurence Bray, Ph.D., Assistant Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Bioengineering, Volgenau School of Engineering
  • Laura Wheeler Poms, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Global and Community Health, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, College of Health and Human Services


Small Changes, Big Learning… It’s A Teaching Share-A-Thon!

Thursday, February 8, 2018
February’s Faculty Conversation focused on re-energizing our teaching strategies and practices. We discussed how small changes in our teaching can result in big learning for students. Mason faculty shared their assignments and activities related to creating active learning classes, working with teams and groups, and improving critical thinking.


Teaching Without Textbooks: Collaborating and Developing OER for Your Course

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
In our Faculty Conversation, we discussed strategies for “teaching without a textbook”, i.e., creating and adapting course materials from a wide variety of sources, to better address course learning outcomes. Mason faculty shared how they’ve created, adapted, and incorporated open educational resources (OER) and non-traditional textbooks in their courses.


  • Catherine Saunders, Term Associate Professor, Department of English, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Joyce Johnston, Adjunct Faculty, Department of English, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Sean Dunaway, Term Instructor, Language Education, INTO George Mason University, Provost Office


How to Increase Quality Feedback and Save Time

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
In our October Faculty Conversation, we addressed strategies for using feedback to achieve greater learning. How can we provide our students with feedback that is goal-directed, tangible, actionable, timely and ongoing? What are some workload and time management tips (e.g., use of technology, rubrics, etc.) to allow for richer and timely feedback?


  • Jered Borup, Graduate School of Education, College of Education and Human Development
  • Michelle LaFrance, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, English Department, College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Promoting Critical Thinking and Critical Reading

Thursday, September 14, 2017
How can we help our students “dig deeper” in what they are reading or viewing or hearing? How may we guide students in processing information, communicating information, and in crafting arguments?


  • Julie Miner, Department of Global and Community Health, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Psyche Ready, Department of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Using Portfolios as a Tool to Synthesize Student Learning

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Explore strategies for using student portfolios as a tool to synthesize and integrate student learning at the individual course level as well as implemented across a program.

Presenters: Dr. Scott Bauer (Education Leadership) & Instructional Designer Terri Ann Guingab (CHHS)

How Social Media Builds Community

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Explore strategies for using social media to engage students, promote collaboration, and build community in the classroom.

Presenters: Dr. Perry Threlfall (Sociology and Anthropology) and Dr. Tom Wood (Conservation Studies)

Strategies for Keeping Students On-Task

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Explore strategies for how to reframe objective testing and incorporate project-based learning.

Presenters: Dr. Richard Craig (Communication) and Dr. Angela Miller (Research Methods, Educational Psychology)

Designing and Teaching for All Learners

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Design and deliver content in multiple, accessible formats to reach any student audience with diverse learning preferences.

Presenters: Kara Zirkle (Assistive Technology Initiative) and Dr. Anya Evmenova (Special Education)

Promoting Active Learning in Classes of All Sizes

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Build active communities of learners in your course, whether big lecture classes or small seminars, online or face-to-face.

Presenters: Prof. Joanna Boyette (Mathematical Sciences) and Dr. Keith Renshaw (Psychology)

Get Students to Think Critically through Undergraduate Research

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Explore opportunities to foster critical thinking in your course through undergraduate research projects.

Presenters: Prof. Susan Bond (Religious Studies) and Dr. David Luther (Biology)

How Student Feedback Improves Course Experiences

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Discuss approaches for collecting and using student feedback in your course, identifying opportunities to improve teaching and learning experiences.

Presenters: Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano (Education Leadership) and Prof. Greg Grimsby (Computer Game Design)

Managing the Workload in a Student-Centered Course

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Discuss examples of student-centered teaching methods and tips for managing the course workload.

Presenters: Dr. Laura Poms (Global and Community Health) and Prof. Luanne Norden (Health and Physical Education)

Designing Your Course with Academic Integrity in Mind

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Discover quick tips and best practices for academic integrity, strategies for designing online exams, and ways to promote source integration for student writing.

Presenters: Dr. LaShonda Anthony (Office of Academic Integrity), Dr. Jennifer Brielmaier (Psychology), and Dr. Karyn Mallett (Linguistics; INTO Mason)

Student Collaboration That Drives Engagement

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Try unique approaches for incorporating group work and collaborative projects to engage students.

Presenters: Prof. Boris Willis (Computer Game Design) and Dr. Stephanie Dodman (Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning)

Thinking Outside of the Box to Assess Learning

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Explore strategies for how to reframe objective testing and incorporate project-based learning.

Presenters: Dr. Ted Hoch (Special Education) and Prof. David Miller (Communication)

Reflective Practice

Monday, May 18, 2015

An opportunity for faculty to reflect on teaching and course experiences from the semester, this event was led by Dr. Constance Harris (Manager of Instructional Design) and Dr. Laura Lukes (Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence).

Knowing What Your Students Are Learning

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This event featured faculty presentations by Dr. Ioulia Rytikova (Information Sciences and Technology) and Dr. Rob Ericson (Conflict Analysis and Resolution). Resources from this session include:

Providing Effective Feedback

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This event featured faculty presentations by Dr. Becky Ericson (Physics and Astronomy) and Dr. Caitlin Holmes (Composition). Resources from this session include:

Re-Engaging/Re-Energizing Your Students

Thursday, March 9, 2017
12:00-1:30 pm
Fenwick Library 1014B

The March “Faculty Conversation” corresponds to the mid-semester time point, when students may be experiencing a “midterm slump”. How can we support our students (to want) to learn and understand, rather than just focusing on grades? In our faculty conversation about “re-engaging” students, we hope to address strategies to design assignments to make learning personally meaningful to students; to establish positive teacher-student relationships; and to enhance collaborative learning. Faculty members Ioulia Rytikova (VSE) & Seth Parsons (CEHD) will facilitate the conversation.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-2017-faculty-conversations-about-teaching-re-engaging-your-students-tickets-31068464614

Partnering with Mason Librarians for Student Success

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
12:00-1:30 pm
Fenwick Library 1014B

In our faculty conversation, we will discuss the value added of partnering with Mason librarians for your teaching and for student success in your courses. Mason Librarians can partner with faculty to design assignments, to locate digital resources, and to provide students with library research strategies and support, and much more!

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/april-2017-faculty-conversations-about-teaching-partnering-with-mason-librarians-for-student-success-tickets-31068262008