The Center for Faculty Excellence

Faculty Champions

2021 Faculty Champions for IS&T

In collaboration with Information Services & Technology (IS&T) and the Center for Instructional Technology & Distance Learning (CIT&DL), the Center for Faculty Excellence supports the following faculty who have been identified as peer educators for the following software/ technologies. These faculty members will present workshops on how they use these tools in the classroom, and will be available for one-on-one support. 

Name Department Specialty
Marnie Rodriguez CAS Classroom Response Technologies
Molly Buckley Marudas Teacher Education Active Learning Strategies
Shawn Ryan Mathematics Microsoft OneNote
Shelley Rose History Microsoft Teams
TBD -- Qualtrics


Faculty champions 2020

A call for Faculty Champions was made in Fall 2020 to recognize the excellent teaching practices adapted during the COVID-19 crisis, and highlight those going above and beyond to help their fellow faculty members adjust to remote teaching. Faculty Champions have made a commitment to share their expertise in remote and/or online teaching, using specific teaching practices and/or online teaching tools. The Faculty Champions listed below highlight a segment of the excellent adaptations made to continue Cleveland State University's promise of Engaged Learning.


Due to a large number of excellent applications, a second tier of "Faculty Innovators" was awarded. Our Faculty Innovators are included below, and their ideas/ practices will be presented as part of our Common Hour workshops in Spring 2021. 

Contact a Champion

Please email the faculty member directly if you would like further information about the innovations described below.

Faculty Name Department Champion Description
Sandra Chincholkar Mathematics & Statistics

I worked with e-Learning to learn the best teaching practices for online learning. One of the take away messages was to use varied modes of content delivery to reach students from “different angles”. This way you optimize student engagement with the course content, in a way that works for each individual student. Additionally, it should be intuitive for the students to navigate the course. Therefore, I use Blackboard as the introductory platform. In my course content folder, I have weekly folders with a written/video introduction to what we will be doing that week. Next, I provide handwritten “guided notes” for each assignment similar to what would be seen in an in-class lecture. These “guided notes” are a comfortable companion for the student who prefers in class lectures. My final mode for content delivery is MyLabsPlus, a Pearson product. For each homework assignment, I have embedded a pre-requisite Pearson lecture, to watch before beginning the homework. In many homework assignments I have also added my own pre-requisite videos to teach a tool in the TI-84 calculator or a particularly difficult concept. Once a student is in the homework for the beginning problems they can use a variety of Pearson pre-created tools, that I chose. “Help me solve it” walks the student step by step through a similar problem requiring answers at each step. “View an example” allows the student to see a similar problem done with minimal explanation. Towards the end of the assignment these tools are removed thereby challenging the student to see if they have retained and integrated the concepts.

Cyleste Collins Social Work Facilitating synchronous sessions can be challenging, and figuring out how to usefully incorporate (some of) the many tools the CFE has helped faculty learn about can be equally challenging. Strategizing about how to intentionally implement new methods for in-person classes and compared to online classes must be approached differently, and synchronous remote classes have offered unique challenges as we figure out how to shift in-person and online strategies to work for synchronous sessions or develop new strategies. Implementing "small teaching" strategies, for example, looks different in person and online. How can we best use the tools we have available at CSU? I will discuss how to efficiently administer entrance and exit "tickets"/one-minute papers in both synchronous and asynchronous online environments, how they can be used as process assessments for real-time class improvements, how to use flipped classroom techniques to scaffold assignments, and techniques for engaging students online with instructor presence.
Melanie Gagich English My workshop will discuss my decision to use synchronous and asynchronous learning in my fall 2020 ENG 101 and ENG 102 online classes. I contend that this combination provides differentiated learning opportunities for my students. It offers direct and immediate instruction during synchronous class sessions while also allowing students who prefer independent learning to write and learn during the once-weekly asynchronous session. I will also share how I utilized a flipped classroom approach and active learning practices to ensure engagement. I argue that crucial to my flipped classroom approach and utilization of active learning practices is the critical integration of technology. I will describe the use of a variety of tools to supplement my approach to online teaching. Zoom facilitates the weekly synchronous sessions and I rely heavily on the Breakout Sessions to maintain engagement during class. Google Docs and Blackboard are used to provide course content during asynchronous and synchronous sessions. In addition to these technologies, I also integrate Jamboard (an interactive whiteboard), Screencast-o-matic (screencasting software), and Flipgrid (a free video discussion tool) to create community and enhance active learning moments both inside and outside of class. My workshop will provide attendees with a brief review of my flipped classroom approach and active learning practices, interactive small-group discussions where participants can reflect on how their classrooms might embrace these practices, and opportunities to play with technologies such as Google Forms, Jamboard, Screencast-o-matic, and Flipgrid.
Jorge Gatica Chemical & Biomedical Engineering

I have been using Bb as LMS since the time we had trial accounts via OLN. Aiming to move some of my classes to hybrid or fully on-line delivery, I have participated in a number of professional development activities. I am currently developing a pilot experience for team-based and flipped learning in a small (online) class, in preparation to replicate and expand these practices in a larger core junior (WAC) class in the Spring 2021. I am collecting (curating) materials to assist moving to online teaching, and will be preparing short (mini-lectures) demonstrating different features in Bb Collaborate and zoom. My main goal for the AY 2020-21 is to distribute resources and provide troubleshooting and suggestions to solve online teaching issues. I am part of the Faculty Senate Electronic Learning Committee.

Sathish Kumar Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Since 2007, I have taught about 34 distinct courses, with a total offering of 65 courses (35 undergraduate and 30 graduate courses). Except for the few team-taught courses, I have developed most of the courses that I taught. I have experience teaching classes in both traditional classroom setting as well as through online and hybrid teaching. I have used several methods for instruction and activities to aid student learning including visual lectures with images and drawings, flipped classroom techniques, micro-lectures, case study-based discussions, in-class or online quizzes, problem and project-based instruction, service-based learning, pair-share problem solving activities, and reflective activities-based instruction such as 3-2-1, minute paper, and focused listing. Based on my industry experience, I try to implement experiential-learning practices and case-study based teaching methods in the courses that I teach. I also try community or industry- based projects to ensure that I have unstructured problems for my students to practice and apply the concepts they have learned. That way students can build portfolios necessary for their job placement. I have used a variety of methods to assess the students. For the lower level learning skills with respect to Bloom’s taxonomy, I have used online quizzes, focused listing, and minute-paper activities. For higher-order learning skills, I have used critical-thinking methods, such as open-ended questions in the exam, reflective online-threaded discussion assignments, and case-study based assignments. Additionally, I have students present their term project or write a term paper, in which they critically evaluate or implement and analyze the concepts learned.
Anne O'Connor Chemistry

I obtained Quality Matters certification for two online courses, College Chemistry 1 and 2, in the 2017 fall term. I am experienced in using Blackboard Collaborate for lectures, office hours, and help sessions. I have tips on creating exams for remote courses as well as using Learning Catalytics (similar to clickers) in my online lectures to keep students engaged. Discussions are also used in my online courses to promote interaction between my students. Students presented their research projects online in the spring semester, and will do so again at the end of this semester. I create welcome videos as well as videos on how to access and navigate the online course and have shared them with other faculty.

Toni Paoletta Marketing

I love teaching and enjoying learning about and using effective teacher practices. I strive to be a very engaging and entertaining teacher; whether I'm teaching synchronously or asynchronously. I could conduct a live zoom session and demonstrate: Facilitating synchronous sessions (Zoom or Teams); Facilitating small group work online; Engaging students in an online course; and Establishing and maintaining instructor presence.

Emily Rauschert Biological, Geological & Environmental Sciences (BGES)

With online learning, students seem more anxious about whether they understand class material and policies. They need more check-in points to help them keep up with the material and check their understanding. I also think it’s important to incentivize the study behaviors we would like them to engage in. One thing I am doing is using embedded questions in Panopto videos, in a similar way to how I normally have clicker questions embedded in face to face lectures. The grades on these questions show up automatically in the Blackboard gradebook, giving students credit for engaging with the lecture material. Students can go back and fix their answers if they answered incorrectly the first time, since they are still learning the material. These questions are due the day after the lectures were schedules, so students need to keep up with the lecture schedule to earn points. This helps students not wait until the last minute to start working with the material. Students also still need opportunities to connect and work with each other. In my online teaching, I have students engage in breakout room discussions, even in large lectures. The use of breakout rooms is also important in class discussions. It encourages students to get started talking about the material in a smaller setting, and this seems to be translating into more discussion participation with the larger class group as well.

Marnie Rodriguez Criminology, Anthropology & Sociology

I am honored to share some of my experiences with teaching asynchronous online courses based on what I have learned from various CFE and E-Learning seminars at CSU. To engage students in online courses, I assign frequent low-stakes assignments, communicate regularly with students via announcements, and provide timely feedback. I assign weekly quizzes to help students self-evaluate their learning, individual homework assignments for students to apply course concepts, and discussion board assignments to develop a community of learning. I communicate regularly with students via text and video announcements to contextualize the material, remind students of deadlines, and provide general feedback on student progress. I also use these announcements to post short surveys to get feedback from students. I use several strategies to make giving feedback more manageable including creating rubrics in Blackboard Learn, explaining commonly missed quiz questions to the whole class, breaking down assignments into smaller segments, among others. I am looking forward to engaging with faculty on best practices in online teaching and learning as a Faculty Champion.

Rachel Wlodarsky Counseling, Educational Leadership & Adult Learning My teaching philosophy is grounded in constructivism. Adult learners are purposeful, knowledge seeking individuals with an ability to organize information and construct knowledge. They have life experiences and knowledge that is relevant, thus are able to contribute significantly to teaching and learning experiences. I work collaboratively, with adult learners, to understand content, think critically, question what already exists and consider alternative ways of understanding and problem solving. This collaborative process is characteristically developmental; growth (and mastery) over time. My goal is to prepare adult learners to be reflective individuals, continually gaining the knowledge and skills, along with the attitude needed to overcome the varied challenges facing individuals/organizations today and to help shape our society in the future. My teaching and learning practices along with the tools I use are guided by my described philosophy. 

I plan to pre-record videos sharing with other faculty how I use specific tools to enhance the teaching and learning process: I will show faculty a) how/where/why I embedded pre-recorded Panopto videos in my online classes and b) various features of the videos; I will show faculty how/why I create groups; I will show faculty how to create/embed Panopto videos (sharing my screen) to introduce assignments; I will show faculty how to create online office hours; and I will show faculty how to create online quizzes.

Faculty Innovators

A second tier of "Faculty Innovators" was created to highlight the excellent teaching efforts of Cleveland State faculty in adapting to remote teaching during the COVID-19 crisis. The following Faculty Innovators will provide CFE webinars in the Spring 2021 semester on their innovations.

Faculty Name Department Description
Elena Andrei Teacher Education

Title: Use of Remind, Loom, and Flipgrid for student engagement

Description: In this workshop I will share how to use Remind to text your whole class or individual students, how to make videos that share your screen with Loom, and how to have students have video discussion boards using Flipgrid.

Erin Avram Chemistry

Title: Design Your Own Digital Escape Room

Description: Looking for a new and innovative way to engage your students? Digital escape rooms integrate gameplay and problem solving into any unit. These are fun and interactive activities that challenge students to look for clues and analyze ciphers based on course content in order to “escape.” In this webinar you will learn how to design your own digital escape room which involves creating web activities, crafting a digital scene with hyperlinks, and assembling a website to organize the activities. A Google account is recommended.

Reinhild Boehme Social Work

Title: Increasing Connection in Remote F2F and Online Courses: Lessons and Strategies

Description: This webinar will explore the use of various strategies for increasing engagement in both online and remote F2@ courses. We will explore the importance of student engagement with each other and the instructor in the process of increasing engagement with course content.

Katie Clonan-Roy Curriculum & Foundations

Title: Using innovative technology to center students in flipped learning experiences

Description: In this webinar, Katie Clonan-Roy discusses how she recently re-designed courses to align with principles of flipped learning. As she discusses course design, she will emphasize the use of innovative technology (Panopto, Flipgrid, Google Jamboard) and how it can center students and help to support the development of a collaborative learning community.

Mary Gergis Nursing

Title: Quality Matters-Informed Online Course Design for Promoting Students’ Engagement

Description: As many instructors without an instructional design or online education background now need to conduct online classes, Quality Matters provides structure and guidance to assist with creating high-quality, engaging learning environments. The presentation aims to provide the audience with guidance for implementing Quality Matters-informed online course design with a focus on strategies for promoting students’ engagement.

Maria Gigante Film & Media Studies

Title: Using Discussion Forums to Build Class Community and Connection

Description: The college classroom is not only a place to grow academically, but it’s equally a place to grow socially and emotionally. One of the biggest struggles students (and instructors!) have with online and remote learning is the lack of the social element. Through trial and error, I’ve found that strategic and creative use of BB Learn’s Discussion Forums can deeply engage a class, help them connect to one another, express themselves, and serve as an communication tool for those who might not typically speak up in class. Helping our students build connections to one another is essential during this time of remote learning, and especially now in the semester as we’re seeing a surge in student mental health issue.

Monica Gordon Pershey Health Sciences

Title: Developing a Course Blueprint for an Online Course

Description: A course blueprint is an organizational tool that goes beyond the syllabus or course calendar to provide students with a one-stop blueprint of the instructor’s plans for an online course. The blueprint provides an initial preview of the course content and the course objectives and, in applicable disciplines, the professional preparation standards covered each week. The course blueprint is an organic document that is then updated throughout the semester to provide students with an ongoing tracking document. The course blueprint notes the weekly instructional topics and tracks how these topics are organized around readings, lectures (live or asynchronous), synchronous online tasks (some of which are flipped, meaning preparatory work done before readings or lectures, and others that are reflective, meaning done post-reading or lecture), and assignments used for grading purposes. This webinar will show examples of the development and ongoing use of course blueprints and demonstrate how following the blueprint keeps students organized and on track during remote learning experiences.

Steven Karaiskos Psychology

Title: Being an Emotion Scientist: The Critical Need of Balancing the Social/ Emotional Needs with the Academics in a Virtual Online Classroom

Description: Our emotions can drive our attention, our memory, and our learning. Our emotions can impact how we integrate and process information. They also influence our relationships such as with our peers, colleagues, friends, family, and the teacher-student connection. Becoming an emotion scientist rather than an emotion judge is a skill to develop as an educator. We can then model this for our students. Through this pandemic we are all processing the grief and loss of many things including loss of in-person school, relationships, connectedness, and more. By proactively developing the skills of an emotion scientist, we can best support all our learners, during this challenging time, toward their personal and academic success. Join Steven Karaiskos, PhD, CSU professor, educator, writer, emotion scientist, and flaneur for this interactive webinar to build skills to become an emotion scientist - for you and for your students.

Selma Koc Curriculum & Foundations

Title: E-Learning Tools & Techniques

Description: This webinar will provide e-learning tools and techniques you can use in your online, remote, blended or face-to-face courses to create and support an engaging and active student learning. After this webinar, you will learn to how to develop formative assessment strategies and engaging course content to encourage and reinforce student learning. Small tips for an engaging and active teaching and learning will be included.

Xiongyi Liu Curriculum & Foundations

Title: Web-based Assessment Strategies for Student Engagement in Higher Education

Description:This lecture examines the role of assessment in promoting cognitive and social engagement among college and graduate students in online and blended learning environments. Theoretical model of web-based assessment for learning will be presented and a variety of web-based assessment strategies will be introduced and illustrated with examples. Specifically, the lecture covers formative online quizzes with instant feedback, rubric-based grading of asynchronous discussion and recorded presentations, self and peer assessment, audio and video-based instructor feedback, assessment of individual and group projects, Wiki and Blog entries, etc.

Christopher Mallett Social Work

Title: Building Student Cooperative Learning and maximizing Instructor Presence in the online Classroom.

Description: This workshop reviews a number of ways to approach and motivate cooperative student learning. First, by using an "open" testing environment built to get students to work together on discussion boards with the instructor. Second, by designing the course with maximizing instructor presence through thematic humor across the curriculum, tests, and student contact (Zoom, in-person, as able). While online learning may bore some students, it provides a forum for increased contact and presence across the students and instructor.

Shawn Ryan Mathematics & Statistics

Title: Using OneNote to Build a Community in Your Remote Classroom

Description: I will describe how to use the OneNote Classroom Notebook feature to build a welcoming environment for students in remote classrooms. Within this framework you can increase your connection to the students, greatly enhance course structure/organization and provide timely feedback on all assignments keeping them engaged continually.

Marcus Schultz-Bergin Philosophy & Comparative Religion

Title : Creating an Engaged Learning Community with Microsoft Teams

Description: This presentation will focus on the use of the Microsoft Teams platform to create a engaged learning community for remote (or hybrid) courses. This will include its value as a small group collaboration system, its assignment submission process, and the more natural and friendly method of text-based engagement.

Cigdem Slankard Film & Media Studies

Title: Adapting face-to-face project based film production courses into hybrid modality

Description: I have adapted two film and media production courses from face to face to hybrid modality. These project-based courses typically require close collaboration among students. My approach to hybrid modality can be summarized as minimizing face to face contact by relying on remote delivery of content and activities as much as possible, while observing all safety requirements during face to face interactions.

Michael Suglio Film & Media Studies

Title: Acting and Auditioning during a Pandemic: How to Perform on Zoom

Description: Just because theaters are closed and filming opportunities are limited does not mean your craft must come to a halt. This seminar will show how many actors are continuing to work online and are auditioning for roles to be performed post-pandemic.

Beth Thomas Communication Title: T is for Tweeting & Teaching: How teachers can use Twitter to engage students in the online classroom, keep them updated on trends in their industry and help students to start building a professional presence on the web.
Candice Vander Weerdt Management

Title: Discussion Board Reboot

Description: Online discussions can be meaningfully updated to include student presentations. These presentations allow students autonomy is the course and pride in their skills. This presentation will provide clear explanations of all the Blackboard tools needed as well as the student instructions for completing the assignment.

Jessica Yox Management

Title: Know Your Why

Description: In this session, we will work on determining the "why" behind your course learning objectives. If you are clear about the reasons "why" a student would learn a particular skill or topic in your course, you can design learning activities that will appeal to and meaningfully engage students. In an online or blended environment, so much student learning is compliance-based. Student-centered, timely, and personalized assessments increase engagement, learning, student satisfaction and deepen student learning of the material in the process.