Skip to content

Understanding the Mindset of the Modern Student: Sonic Foundry Webinar

September 24, 2013

Have you had a “Mindset Moment”? For the past 15 years, the Mindset List, published by the Beloit College duo Ron Nief and Tom McBride, has successfully evoked many ah-ha moments.  The beauty of the Mindset List is in the moment the reader has an awareness that demonstrates even the slightest difference of personal reference compared to generational reference.

Nief and McBride encourage instructors to use the list to create an awareness of the generational gap that often skews an instructor’s reference point when introducing new information.  McBride states, “If we (educators) make assumptions about what they (students) already know, and make analogies and references based on that, we will be leaving them in the dust… It is for commonsensical reasons … that we use the Mindset list.”

The list usually reminds readers of historical people, modern processes, and evolving technology that has always been a part of the target generation’s repertoire.  The 2002 list states, “The expression ‘you sound like a broken record’ means nothing to them.” The 2017 list also has a musical association, “Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend.”  I’m not sure about you, but I am envisioning Arsenio Hall saying, “Things that make you go Hmmmm…”

Link to the Mindset list:

Link to a guide for using the Mindset list:

Breathe and Observe

August 21, 2013

Breathe and observe is my advice for any Instructor (regardless of career experience) during these first days of school. The beginning of the year is an extremely hectic time for many of us, and you will find little validation and understanding from the business world regarding how important the first days of school are to sustaining a successful semester. Typically, the moment a teacher succumbs to the pressures of trying to get a business professional to understand, the business professional immediately makes a comment about vacation time as if it was the panacea of all things education.

Instead of looking out for validation and support, challenge yourself to breathe and observe your own transition into the new semester. One of the most amazing benefits of being in education is the change of the semester. It is our phoenix.  Self-evaluating our own behaviors during transition periods is an excellent way to make life easier down the road.

Take a minute to evaluate the craziness of the first days of school instead of continuing to function in firefighter mode. It is so powerful.  Assess the amount of work you have magically completed in an extremely short period of time. Take note of what you did well, and celebrate those successes. Take note of what you would do differently and resist being a victim by thoughtfully identifying what you could control and could not control.  Finally, use this process of discovery to create an action plan to help avoid collisions later.  Relish in your new fortune, self-awareness, because you deserve it.

Beth Wyatt Governor’s Professor of the Year Semifinalist – News Release

March 21, 2013

News Release: Contact Michael McAllister
March 12, 2013

          York Tech’s Wyatt Recognized as Governor’s Professor of the Year Semifinalist

COLUMBIA—York Technical College Biology Instructor Beth Wyatt was recognized as a semifinalist for the 2013 Governor’s Professor of the Year Award at a luncheon hosted by the SC Higher Education Foundation at the University of South Carolina last week. She was one of only eight university and college faculty members to be recognized as semifinalists.

Wyatt has been described   by her peers as “student focused in the best possible way.” She is straightforward with her students about the demands of the programs they are in and the careers for which they are preparing. She demonstrates care and concern for her students, but also sets high expectations.

For 25 years, the South Carolina Governor’s Professor of the Year program   has honored professors from public and private 2-year and 4-year institutions who have demonstrated exceptional teaching performance, scholarship, and service. Individual honorees represent the best at their respective institutions—individuals who transform the lives and careers of their students. By recognizing and applauding the exemplary accomplishments of faculty throughout the state, the SC Higher Education Foundation encourages their continual pursuit of excellence. In addition, the SC Governor’s Professors of the Year program helps ensure that South Carolina retains its most talented and respected faculty members.

DO IT for Your Students – Special resources

January 25, 2013

The following post was written by Sally Herlong, Department Manager, Special Resources/Disability Services.

The Special Resources Office which provides services to students with disabilities would like to share an outstanding web resource with faculty:  The “Faculty Room” on the DO-IT Center website.  All faculty will find helpful information on this website, but particularly those who have students with disabilities in their classrooms.  Often faculty are unknowingly teaching students with learning difficulties and much of the information is considered “Universal Design,” advantageous to ALL persons.  As you will see, DO-IT’s mission fits perfectly with ours focusing on maximizing the learning and success of students.

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) began as a grant-funded initiative out of the University of Washington.  It was so successful that the University chose to continue supporting the Center after the grant funding dissipated, much to the delight of disability service providers!

DO-IT Center’s mission is to promote the success of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers, using technology as an empowering tool.

DO-IT serves to

  • increase the success of people with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers.
  • promote the application of universal design to physical spaces, information technology, instruction, and services.
  • freely distribute publications and videos for use in presentations, exhibits, and the classroom.
  • provide resources for students with disabilities, K-12 educators, postsecondary faculty and administrators, librarians, employers, parents, and mentors.

The Faculty Room is a “space for faculty and administrators at postsecondary institutions to learn about how to create classroom environments and academic activities that maximize the learning of all students, including those with disabilities.”  Particularly note the Faculty Resources tab.

Ladybugs and Students

January 14, 2013

You may have noticed the invasion of Ladybugs recently. It is that time of year when they seem to be everywhere. They have a seemingly non-confrontational presence and illicit smiles and associations of pleasant things. However, the sheer number of them brings the realization they have a real purpose. The significance of the beetle is a rich folklore and they are indeed a very unique species.

Ladybugs have been used as medicine, the Swiss believed them to deliver babies, and they have been associated with good luck. In the middle ages, they saved crops by feasting on the enemy. Comedians enjoy writing material regarding the masculinity of male ladybug. Male ladybugs are actually smaller than the females, and the spots of either gender vary like snowflakes. And, according to National Geographic, there are about 5,000 species of ladybugs.

Then the realization hit. It is also that time of year when our own ladybugs arrive. The same ones that are invading campus today! They bring the halls to life and have an association of unity and purpose. It is important to resist seeing the pack as one swarm and work to see our students as unique and individual.

Although they come in as one, filling the room in seconds, they represent diversity, individuality, strength and tenacity. Our students will create a significance of their own, possibly following the folklore of the ladybug, working in medicine, delivering babies, or providing a service to others.  Our role is to contribute to the students’ mission as they forge on, soldiers of society, to one day reach their purpose.

Help in Writing a Syllabus Addendum

January 9, 2013

This post was submitted by Dr. Janie Sigmon.

I was moved to post Dr. Sigmon’s experiences as she is a seasoned and well respected instructor at our college, yet she does not sit on her laurels. Instead, Dr. Sigmon models performance improvement by reviewing and evaluating her own processes.

Thank you, Janie!

Dr. Sigmon writes:

During this time of year when students aren’t back on campus yet, I try to catch up on professional development webinars that I didn’t have time for during the fall semester. One topic that caught my eye in one of the Cengage Learning eNewsletters was preparing a well-written syllabus. In fact, the day before, we had had a discussion in our Science Department meeting about how we can get adjunct faculty members to write good syllabi addenda. This particular topic was “Elements of a Well-Written Syllabus” written by Dr. Jennifer Hurd. Dr. Hurd provided a list of elements to include in a syllabus, which are listed below:

Essential parts of a syllabus should include:

  • Title of the course/course number
  • Location/time of the course
  • Name of the instructor/Office location/Office hours/Office phone/School e-mail
  • Required text/materials
  • Catalog description of course/prerequisites (if any)
  • Course objectives/learning outcomes
  • Attendance policy
  • Late work policy
  • Students with disability statement
  • Grading scale
  • Assignments with points possible or % grade weight
  • Calendar of assignments with due dates
  • Message from instructor
  • Disclaimer stating that this is a plan for the semester that might change as class needs develop
  • Special concerns according to the course1

I took these elements back to my BIO 225 syllabus and checked to see what needed to be modified. There were a few items that I decided to add or change, such as the addition of location and times of the course classes and labs. Since I allow students to make up labs during other lab times, this is a good place to include this information for all the sections of a particular course. Also, I had never considered putting the course prerequisites on my syllabus addendum but decided this is a good place to reemphasize this information. Because a biology class has lecture and lab assignments, I decided to keep the calendar separate from the addendum as this would make the document cumbersome.

This was a good exercise for me to refresh my BIO 225 syllabus addendum. It gave me guidance about what I needed to include in the document and how to use it in class. The article was a good resource for me as a “seasoned” instructor, but would also be good for adjunct and new faculty members.

“Elements of a Well-Written Syllabus,” Jennifer Hurd, Ed.D., Dec. 3, 2012, Cengage Learning eNewsletter,

CEOs of Amazon and Evernote Value the Art of Writing

December 14, 2012

Imagine a study group at work or a written exam during an interview? This is what two successful CEO’s have implemented in their organizations. The wonderful wisdom of the written word.

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, implemented a discussion group  with his executive staff.  After a quiet group analysis reading the provided articles, the staff is expected to use the writing process to enhance clarity while writing memos with a focus on complete sentences.  I can hear Nathaniel Hawthorne saying, “Easy reading is ‘darn’ hard writing.”

Evernote CEO, Phil Libin, uses the writing process in his interviewing methods.  He believes writing is the window into an individual’s true personality suggesting a verbal answer may not represent the actions of the individual.  This is the essence of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wit, “Your actions are so loud I cannot hear your words.”

I agree with both of these successful men. Critical reading and analytical writing push individuals to enhance clarity while developing communication skills. I’ve always joked, everything you need to know about being successful in business and leadership… you learned in English class!

Enjoy the full article written by Jessica Stillman by following this link: