Previous Faculty Fellows

Kris Acheson-Clair, Lecturer, Applied Linguistics


Dr. Acheson-Clair’s project will examine to what extent the GSU curriculum impacts   students’ intercultural competency. She will use BEVI (Beliefs, Events and Values Inventory) a quantitative instrument currently used as an assessment tool to measure the effectiveness of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Global Education Initiative. Dr. Acheson-Clair will use a large sample of GSU students to build a profile of the GSU student body in terms of global awareness and sociocultural openness, among other constructs. Although the ultimate goal is a longitudinal study, for this year she will compare freshman and seniors in a cross-sectional study to get some idea of how students’ attitudes shift during their tenure at GSU. Subgroup analyses will also shed light on the relationship between attitudes and various types of international programming, for example language study, study abroad programs, globalized coursework, etc. Dr. Acheson-Clair is currently working on an IRB proposal with Terry Ward in the Office of Institutional Research (who has agreed to sponsor the financial cost of the BEVI instrument) and Allison Calhoun-Brown in the Office of Undergraduate Studies (who has agreed to facilitate data collection through the Freshman Learning Communities), but as a lecturer this fellowship will allow her to accomplish this ambitious project. The committee found that Acheson-Clair’s project to have a significant impact across campus and fits in with several of the universities strategic initiatives.
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Richard Fendler, Clinical Associate, Finance

RFendlerThe CETL is excited to announce that Dr. Rich Fendler (Finance) has been named a USG SoTL Mentor for 2016-17. Rich will be working with 10 SoTL Fellows from various USG institutions to guide them as they begin conducting SoTL research.

Dr. Fendler investigates the relationship between math skills and performance in online finance classes. He proposes to study the relationship between s student’s perception of their own mathematics skills and performance in FI 3300. He will measure math skills in three ways: grade in college algebra, score achieved on a math quiz taken during the first week of class, and self-perceived math ability derived from a pre-course survey. His preliminary data shows that a student’s self-perceived math ability is the strongest determinant of performance in the online finance class; specifically, students who believe they are poor at math struggle in the class and students who believe they are good at math perform at a very high level in the class. He suggests that “math phobia” may be a more significant impediment to doing well in the online finance course than actual math ability. Accordingly, he will design a pre-course online learning module that would help students overcome any possible fear they have about math, and then like to investigate whether the module improves these students’ performance in the course.   Support as a faculty teaching fellow will allow Dr. Fendler to expand this project into a more thorough study. The committee found that the design of this study is one that can be used campus wide and other disciplines.
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Mike Metzler, Professor, Kinesiology and Health

michael-metzlerDr. Metzler proposes to investigate instructor “blind spots” such as instruction that is entirely focused on how content is present and not on how students are engaged to learn the content. “Blind spots” are a very typical perception in higher education, especially in lecture-based teaching. Dr. Metzler will recruit 8-10 faculty instructors in different types of courses from across GSU, to further explore this construct of instructor’s “blind spot” and to begin to help instructors become aware that teaching effectiveness depends much more on how students are engaged with content than how an instructor presents content to them. From this it will be possible to implement some strategies to promote better alignment between instructor’s behaviors and student engagement for learning.
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Christy Visaggi, Lecturer, Geosciences


Dr. Visaggi has proposed a project investigating place-based learning. Because an overwhelming majority of GSU students come from the 159 counties in Georgia, students have a strong sense of familiarity to regional landscapes that can be used to enhance their interest and learning in the sciences. Place-based education highlights real-world experiences, active and constructivist learning, and incorporates local settings as the basis for understanding concepts across disciplines. Dr. Visaggi co-instructs an Integrated Sciences (ISCI) class alongside the College of Education for pre-service elementary school teachers. She proposes to use place-based education as the context in which all ISCI subjects are addressed. A place-based foundation is more likely to enhance pre-service teacher comprehension and interest in science, as well as better prepare them to eventually create their own lesson plans for future work in K-12 classrooms here in Georgia by utilizing familiar habitats and resources. Preliminary work has suggested that students are receptive to this approach as evidenced by the following quotes from Dr. Visaggi’s former ISCI students: “I was able to understand this topic [Geology and Biology of GA] well because I had real points of reference to draw on” and “…it was easy to relate all the things I had learned to the place where I lived. I liked how we can step out into our own backyard and see some of these things and have a sort of hands-on experience.” Given the ongoing GSU-GPC consolidation, and Dr. Visaggi’s role leading the ISCI planning discussions, this project is well poised to create a new framework for this course that could become a statewide model.
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Jeffrey Young, Senior Lecturer, History


Dr. Young was GSU Governor’s Teaching Fellow at UGA in May 2015. He has been at the forefront of piloting a hybrid curriculum for GSU’s American history survey classes. He has pilot data from the digital elements of the course (such as quiz scores and evidence of student immersion in resources housed on iCollege) that have identified how some elements of the hybrid curriculum are working. In addition, using data analytics, he has found that he can identify students in who may be in jeopardy of failing or dropping the course as early as the third week of class and that early recognition and support can help these students succeed. He proposes to more though model of using a digital platform to deliver the material in History 2110. He will compare a model of Core course instruction using an LMS to present certain assignments to some of the 2110 students. The other students would be taught the same material through more traditional modes of classroom instruction. Common assessment instruments would be used to measure learning in the test and control groups. History 2110 is a core course and the committee finds that the project will be of high impact and has the potential to serve as a model for other core courses.

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