Northern RCTE Offerings for Spring 2015

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Northern Regional Center for Teaching Excellence Offerings:

  • OER workshop, February 6, at NOVA’s ELI. Cheryl Huff and Preston Davis to facilitate
  • Pedagogy Book Club, How Learning Works, February 13, online 11-12
  • Communication and Social Support, Feb 20, 11-12 online. Kevin Wright, GMU Professor of Communication, to facilitate
  • Copyright in the Classroom, March 13 or 20, Claudia Holland, GMU Office of Copyright, to facilitate
  • Social Media and Students, April 10, 11-12 online. Andree Betancourt, NOVA Professor of Film Studies, to facilitate (

Nan Peck
Faculty Coordinator
VCCS Northern Regional Center for Teaching Excellence


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Northern Regional Center for Teaching Excellence

The 2014-2015 advisory members to the Northern RCTE include:

Germanna Community College
Camille Mustachio, PDC representative
Cheryl Huff (Coordinator CETL)
Maury Brown (International Exchange Coordinator)
Yanyan Yong, ELET (ex-officio)

Lord Fairfax Community College
Jose Nieves, PDC representative
Nicole Martin (Teaching Faculty, History and Humanities)
Jen Schaefer (Teaching Faculty, English)
Karen Kellison, ELET (ex-officio)

Northern Virginia Community College
Marleen McCabe, PDC representative
Cindy Miller (Coordinator CETL)
Bob Loser (Instructional Designer ELI)
Jennifer Lerner, ELET (ex-officio)

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Memorial Service for NOVA Prof Joe Windham

To honor the memory of our dear friend and colleague Dr. Joseph Windham, there will be a community Celebration of Life on Monday, January 5, 2015, at 7 pm at the Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College,
4915 East Campus Lane, Alexandria, VA.

Dr. Windham touched and influenced the lives of many of our students during his 22 years as a dedicated faculty member. He will be missed greatly by his colleagues and friends here at NOVA.

A Joseph Windham Memorial Scholarship has been set up, and anybody who desires can contribute by going to the NVCC Foundation website and clicking the drop-down menu:

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2015 SCHEV Award Recipient Callan Bentley

The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) has announced that Callan Bentley, Assistant Professor of Geology at the Annandale Campus, has been selected to receive the 2015 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. This annual award recognizes the accomplishments of 12 outstanding educators of Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities. Recipients are selected based upon nominees’ contributions to their students, academic disciplines, institutions and communities.

Callan will be recognized by Governor Terry McAuliffe during a February 19 ceremony at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. He will receive an engraved award and $5,000 underwritten by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. Since the first awards in 1987, there have been only 341 Virginia faculty members from all of Virginia’s colleges and universities who have received this high honor. Callan is the tenth NOVA faculty member to receive this award in the last twelve years, a record held by few other colleges or universities in Virginia.

Since his arrival at NOVA eight years ago, Professor Bentley has developed multiple new courses that examine geologic ideas, including advanced field courses and research, several in collaboration with faculty at George Mason University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Michigan, and Thomas Nelson Community College. Callan has received numerous awards for his ground-breaking research on topics such as climate change, earth quakes, education and technology. He has authored scholarly papers and presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on geological topics. His recognition reflects a national reputation as an innovator in community college-level field geology instruction. Callan is a pioneer in macro gigapanning (creating enormously precise images of exceptionally small things) and three-dimensional scanning, for which he received a NOVA President’s Sabbatical. Also, he has received the student-choice “Golden Apple” award and the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the highest award in the VCCS.

NOVA students who have completed Callan Bentley’s courses have described him as a “teacher who completely changed my perception of the world…taught me…to be a better student…a greater person”; “He goes out of his way to engage students of all interests…an energetic force and an asset to the State’s educational system”; “He never lets an opportunity to teach slip by”.

He now joins the company of eleven other NOVA colleagues who have been past recipients of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award.

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Register for VCCS New Horizons Conference

The VCCS New Horizons Conference 2015 is April 1-3 at the Hotel Roanoke, Roanoke, VA.

It’s time to register,

Apply for an Excellence in Education Award. Deadline is January 19, 2015. These awards recognize the VCCS colleges’ “best-of-the-best” work to advance teaching and learning, and enhance student success by leveraging collaborative and innovative strategies. Such strategies, their demonstrated impact, and their measurable instructional, disciplinary, and student outcomes are the nucleus of these awards.

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NOVA ELI to Offer EDU 285 and EDU 287 in Spring 2015

As you wrap up your semester and prepare to leave for the holidays, I want to call to your attention that we have two for-credit courses available for spring that you might want to register for before the holiday break. Most faculty are eligible for free tuition for these courses.

We are excited to be offering both our EDU 285 and EDU 287 courses to you this Spring.  You’ll find descriptions, dates, and registration information for both courses below.

ELI will be offering a section of this 3-credit hour 8-week online course during our 3rd 8-week session which runs from February 23 – April 19.

The purpose of this course is to prepare experienced college faculty to teach existing online courses using new teaching strategies and new tools grounded in current research and best practices in online teaching and learning. Experienced college faculty will develop an enhanced understanding of essential online teaching and learning concepts and practices while experiencing an online course from the perspective of the learner.  Upon successful completion of the course participants will receive a VCCS certificate of completion signed by the Chancellor of the VCCS.

For information on the general course purpose, course prerequisites, course-level objectives, and a list of major course content topics, as well as for information on how to register for this course, please reference ELI’s Course Information Page for EDU 285.

ELI will also be offering a section of this 3-credit hour 12-week online course during our second 12-week session which runs from January 26 – April 19.

IDOL is a twelve-week online course designed for faculty who are interested in developing online or hybrid courses.  IDOL teaches you the ASSURE process for developing an online course that follows the national Quality Matters™ standards.   Upon successful completion of the course participants will receive a VCCS certificate of completion signed by the Chancellor of the VCCS.

For information on the general course purpose, course prerequisites, course-level objectives, and a list of major course content topics, as well as for information on how to register for this course, please reference ELI’s Course Information Page for EDU 287.

Please be on the lookout in January for an announcement of our full slate of Spring professional development offerings, including Blackboard training, hybrid certification workshops, training in technology tools like Blackboard Collaborate and Panopto lecture capture, and pedagogy workshops.

Dr. Jennifer E. Lerner
Associate Vice President for e-Learning
Northern Virginia Community College
Extended Learning Institute (ELI)
8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003
Office: (703) 323-3807



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Educators’ Book Club

Would you like to join a book club to read and to discuss books about teaching and learning? Northern RCTE invites faculty from GCC, LFCC, and NOVA to join. Our first book will be How Learning Works. 

Here’s what you do:
1. Read the book

Susan Ambrose, Michael Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha Lovett, Marie Norman’s How Learning Works (2010),

2. Join the online discussion, Friday, February 13, 11-12 noon.  To register, email Nan Peck (

Future Titles Include:


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Upcoming Spring 2015 Peer Group Conferences

Accounting, Business and Economics, February 19-20, 2015, Omni Richmond

American Sign Language and Interpreters, February 28, Richmond area

for more information, go to

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Having Trouble Signing into Magna Commons?

The VCCS log in for Magna Commons has been tempermental. You may access the Magna Commons professional development library for 14 days for free:

Go to

Enter your email address and password where prompted.
(If you do not know your password, select “Forget your password?” to reset it.)

Contact Customer Service at
1-800-433-0499 ext. 2 or if you have any questions.

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Cruel Student Evaluations

Let’s face it; sometimes students are cruel with their comments about our teaching. Much as we’d like to ignore these comments, they sting. Isis Artze-Vega writes a helpful piece in this week’s Faculty Focus newsletter (December 8, 2014), Cruel Student Comments: Seven Way to Soothe the Sting.

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Grading that Motivates

Grading That Motivates and Retains Students

How we grade students says a lot about our teaching philosophy and our classroom priorities. During this webinar, participants investigate how the grading process affects student motivation and retention. Characteristics of effective and ineffective grading are considered, as are student feedback and lessons learned from a system the webinar facilitator has piloted for several semesters. Finally, participants discuss some of the challenges faced when grading students’ works and some possible solutions. By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to distinguish between ineffective and effective grading practices, identify grading practices found to increase student motivation and retention, and discuss challenges and solutions to grading issues.

Angela Breckenridge, Instructor, Psychology, Delgado Community College

NISOD webinar offered Thursday, December 11, 2-3 p.m., free

To register, go to

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