The Discover Series

In accordance with the University Strategic Plan, Faculty Commons is committed to supporting faculty as they Discover, Engage and Reach their fullest potential in the classroom. Faculty Commons presenters will explore pedagogical concepts and strategic goals designed to help our students succeed. Topics will include highlighting “diverse, meaningful, and accessible learning opportunities for all students;” providing “experiences that connect learners with real-world knowledge, skills, and opportunities;” creating technologically advanced “active learning” opportunities; and “promoting and assessing critical thinking” in the classroom.  

This series supports the commitment of JSU’s Strategic Plan including the following strategic goal(s) and objectives:  

  1. Commitment 3, Discover: As educators, we do not provide the answers. We provide the experiences, environments, and expectations that allow learners to discover the answers. 

    • Goal 1, Experiences: Provide learning experiences that connect learners with real-world knowledge skills, and opportunities. 

      • Objective 2: Strategy/Action Item 1: Provide professional development and training opportunities for faculty 


  • To explore strategies for effective teaching and student learning 

  • To create inclusive learning environments that foster academic safety and success  

  • To develop meaningful class assignments and effective methods for assessment and grading 

  • To explore various ways to create real-world learning experiences for students 

  • To develop teaching methods that support diverse learning styles 

Wendy Stephens

February 1, 2023

Presenter:  Wendy Stephens, Associate Professor, Counseling & Instructional Support, and 2022-2023 Faculty Senate President 

Title: The Ungrading Movement

Description: We’re way past pass/fail. Ungrading, a practice which eliminates or minimizes the use of assigned points or letter grades in a course, and contract grading are evolving as ways to negotiate the learning process without A-F traditional metrics. Contract grading – where students specify the relative amount of work they plan to conduct for an allocated grade – and other approaches involving frequent, detailed and personalized feedback for students on their work, might be ways for you to challenge grade inflation while securing desired learning outcomes. Learn more about these alternative grading philosophies.    

Delivery Mode: Virtual  

Location: Teams 

Time 2:00-3:00 

Round Table

February 15, 2023

Presenter:  Faculty Led

Title: Peer Review of Teaching Roundtable

Description: Peer observation is the process of observing others in their teaching to identify strengths and/or weaknesses with the aim of improving teaching practices. It can be a beneficial learning experience for both the observer and the individual teaching by providing both participants a place to reflect on and share good teaching practices. Additionally, peer observation will allow faculty to write more detailed letters of support in the area of teaching efficacy for colleagues. Our group will discuss possible interest in establishing a voluntary peer observation teaching group for the faculty at JSU.  

Delivery Mode:  In-person Roundtable Discussion

Location:  Self Hall Room 208

Time:  2:00 - 2:45 PM CST

Kelly Paynter

March 9, 2023

Presenter:  Kelly Paynter, Associate Professor, Counseling & Instructional Support  

Title: What I Learned at the Future of Education Technology Conference, and a Few Things I Didn't 

Description: Join 2021 Campus Technology Leadership Grant Award winner Kelly Paynter as she discusses and demonstrates interesting tidbits and tools that she learned about at the 2022 Future of Education Technology Conference. 

Delivery Mode:  Virtual through TEAMS

Time:  2:30 - 3:30 PM CST

Dr. Shah

March 30, 2023

Presenter:  Sayyed Shah, Associate Professor, Communication  

Title: Looking at the other side of the picture: Understanding the mental health needs of our students for improved learning outcomes 

Description: College campuses across the U.S. are dealing with a mental health crisis among students. The Healthy Minds Study, which collected data from 373 colleges nationwide, found that more than 60% of college students had at least one mental health problem during the 2020-2021 school year. In this session, we explore creative ways to meet our students' mental health needs.    

Delivery Mode:  In-person

Location:  Self Hall Room 208

Time:  3:00 - 4:00 PM CST


After registering for one of the meetings, be on the lookout for a calendar invite in your JSU Gem account.