Spotlight On: Integrative Faculty Training Focuses on Student Success

Galloway, N.J. – Thirteen faculty members under the leadership of Amee Shah, associate professor of Health Science, completed a two-day summer institute intensive on Student Resilience, Aug. 13-14. This training, made possible by a 2020 learning grant, will allow the participants to implement the “Empowerment Zone” Curriculum in their classes this semester. This unique set of curriculum, conceptual framework and pedagogical materials that Shah developed and applied successfully in her own classes integrates mindfulness through iterative reflections, experimental learning, metacognition and communication using deliberate methods aligned with core professional Thirteen faculty members under the leadership of Amee Shah, associate professor of Health Science, completed a two-day summer institute intensive values.

“This summer institute was able to provide a unique alignment of faculty, staff, administration, and university leadership on this important issue of student success. This is what shared governance looks like in action,” Shah said. “Students from a variety of majors (criminal justice, physical therapy, business), and several freshman seminars will now be trained in their core classes to develop and apply essential skills to develop emotional intelligence in managing their own thoughts, internal dialog, fears, values, needs, and habits in navigating daily academic and personal challenges.”

Faculty and staff were selected from a highly-competitive application process and reported strong enthusiasm and appreciation of the training. All of the participants voluntarily signed up for this university-wide pilot program to implement this curriculum in their own classes and assess the impact with the support and guidance from Shah throughout the course of this year. Participants who completed the training are: Judith Copeland, associate professor of Writing; Laurie Dutton, director of the Women's Gender and Sexuality Center; Emari DiGiorgio, professor of Writing and First-Year Studies; Amy L. Jones, director of Care and Community Standards; Mary Lou Galantino, distinguished professor of Physical Therapy; Deeanna Button, associate professor of Criminal Justice; Kimberly Furphy, associate professor of Occupational Therapy; Amy Yingyi Situ-Liu, associate professor of Criminal Justice; Naz Onel, assistant professor of Business Studies, Marketing; Siobahn Suppa, assistant professor of Mathematics and First-Year Studies; Zornitsa Kalibatseva, assistant professor of Psychology; Christine Snyder, adjunct instructor of Chemistry; and Patricia McConville, coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. Provost Lori Vermeulen has also received the training and will be implementing the material in her class this Fall. 

“The information presented was grounded in research and rooted in practical application. I’m grateful for the presenter’s preparation and the course materials and assessment plans to implement mindfulness practices,” said DiGiorgio.

Another participant commented that they learned strategies for helping students cope with anxiety, depression, fear, and failure—which are all very prevalent in today’s high stakes, pressure, and stressful society. 

Reported by Mandee McCullough