Student Testimonial

Sent by a Chattanooga Student:

To my esteemed instructors & staff at Belhaven,

I want to thank you for the significant impact you have had on my heart, my mind, and my spiritual growth over the past four years during my undergraduate studies.  You inspired me to take each subject into my heart, infusing each one with a biblical application that brought meaning and importance never before seen.  You helped me to assign words to my Christian worldview, and to embrace my biblical beliefs boldly.  You pointed the way for me to look back at my life, to identify how my worldview was formed and to appreciate the gifts I was given in my upbringing.  You were patient when life got tough and I needed Grace on a deadline here and there.  You directed me to the One who would provide exactly what I needed in every course, every day, and every week.  You helped to identify the talents God gave me and encouraged me to believe it is never too late to become the person He planned for me to be.  You gave me a safe place to be in community each week, in prayer, in vulnerability with one another, and in trusting friendships.

Because of you, I became a more effective employee, a more compassionate friend and a closer-walking disciple of Jesus.  The BSM diploma and the James W. Park award are humbling honors I will always cherish, but they hold more meaning because of the many ways my life was enriched by you.

Thank you, and God bless you,
Susan (Scarbeck) Anderson

APA – Preparing your Students for Success

Dr. Darrell Baughn, a Full-Time Instructor at Jackson/Lefleur shared with me a powerpoint presentation he uses during all his courses to introduce students to writing expectations. You can find the file here if you would like to use it: APA GUIDE.

A week ago I heard about a student complaining that the Instructor was grading too hard on the writing, instead of focusing on the content.  Obviously, the Instructor, in this case, has made the important connection that unless the writing is done right, the content likely won’t even be read in a real-world context.  We have to reinforce an emphasis upon writing across the curriculum and ALL of us have to hold this line.  To do less is to graduate students who simply won’t succeed in the workplace because they cannot write clearly and with appropriate grammar.

Whether you use Dr. Barnes material above or the other resources which have been shared through these blogs and webinars, please make sure in EVERY course you teach that you set the standard, and then hold the students to that standard. To do anything else is to let them down, and to fail in our mission.

If you have something that you use to reinforce the importance of writing with your students, please share that in reply to this post.

Test Review???

I posted this initially in April of 2017 but I thought I’d share it again since I believe it can be an exceptionally good way to review for tests, not to mention reinforcing information in a way that engages the students and creates a little fun along the way:

I know you are always on the lookout for an activity to use after 9:00 that will actively engage students and make that last hour meaningful.

Here is one activity that will do that. Kahoot.  Kahoot is a classroom engagement software that is free to instructors and provides an interesting way to engage students in content.  I’ve included some links to a couple of tutorials about how to use Kahoot below.

It will involve you setting up the activity in advance but on the plus side, it can be used over and over again as you teach the class.  This would make a great test-review session and could spark some interesting discussion as well.  Don’t be put off that the tutorials are based on secondary education models – this will work just as well for adults in that last hour of class.  I’ve been in a session when this was used and I can personally vouch for how effective it is.

Please post a reply to this if you use it and let me know how it went.

Kahoot! Demo for Teachers

How to Use Kahoot! in the Classroom

Grading in Speed Grader and Feedback Studio

This was a webinar which was just presented by Dr. Kim Priesmeyer, Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning.  The webinar was recorded and can be viewed at this LINK.

This was one of our best attended webinars and a LOT of great information was shared about using Speed Grader and Feedback Studio.  The conversation evolved into best practices related to grading overall and I know you will find something useful in this presentation.  I hope you will take the time to watch/listen to the presentation.

Dr. Priesmeyer, in her new role as Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning, is also interested in hearing from you about other webinars or faculty development experiences. You can contact her at: kpriesmeyer@belhaven.edu.

 

Results for Fall Student Survey

I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the results from the fall Continuing Student Survey which was conducted just before Thanksgiving. We’ve been doing this survey at least twice a year now for four years. While the information I will be sharing below is for all our regional campuses, the data is able to be filtered by campus and that report is provided to the Dean at each campus. If you would like to know more about the results relative to the campus where you teach, contact the Dean and set up a time to look at the data.

 

Please rate your experience with the following campus offices relative to the support you receive.
 Fall 2018 survey of active students
Faculty Response
Dissatisfied 0.40%
Somewhat Dissatisfied 1.59%
Neutral 6.77%
Somewhat Satisfied 11.16%
Satisfied 80.08%

As you can see from the above, 91% of our students are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the support they receive from Faculty. This continues to support our faith in our faculty and their dedication to student learning and student success.  Thank You!

How much time do you spend outside of class on completing your homework?

Degree Program < 8 hrs. 8-12 hrs. 13-16 hrs. > 16 hrs.
Undergraduate 19.83% 45.45% 19.83% 14.88%
Graduate 14.81% 50.37% 20.74% 14.07%

As you can see, the majority of students indicate they spend at least 8 hours per week outside of class on their homework with many spending more than 12 hours per week.

Why are you pursuing completing your degree?

Degree Program Promotion Change Jobs Personal Goal Other
Undergraduate 16.34% 36.14% 42.57% 4.95%
Graduate 28.29% 26.22% 40% 4.89%

Factors, like getting a promotion or changing a job, comprise 52.48% (undergraduate), and 54.51% (graduate) of the primary motivation for pursuing a degree.  Nearly as important, however, is the desire to achieve a personal goal.

Blessings,

 

 

Using clips from 60 Minutes in your class

I attended a faculty workshop at Jackson where one of the librarians from Belhaven’s Library shared how to access their database of clips from 60 Minutes to use in class.  This is a great way to start a discussion and present different perspectives.  Here is the process:

  1. From the Belhaven homepage, click on Library under Academics
  2. Scroll down and click on Databases (in the gold box)
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of databases and click on 60 Minutes: 1997-2014.  It’s the last database listed.
  4. You will have to enter your Belhaven credentials to access the material

Here are some of the searchable categories:

Subjects

4 Square Instructor

At each of the faculty workshops I visited, or sent video to, for the Fall 2018 rotation for Belhaven University, I challenged the faculty to become a “4 Square Instructor.” When this idea first came my way from an article by Neil Haave, titled “Teaching Squares Bring Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives” I thought there might be something there which could be used to help overcome the chronic problem every teacher faces: becoming trapped in their own pedagogical ruts. After discussing this with the Deans at Belhaven’s Regional Campuses in our Summit in August, we decided on a model that provides an interesting option for improving or refreshing their practice of teaching.  The 4 Square Instructor model below is the result.

Instructors who have been through the approval process for Belhaven can become 4 Square Instructors by:

  1. Visit 3 other classes outside your normal course assignments or discipline for a couple of hours to find new teaching ideas (this is not for critique, but to find new ways to make the subject material come alive).
  2. Implement at least one new idea into a class you are teaching.
  3. Write up summary, at least 2 pages, including which classes you visited, what you learned, what you tried and how it worked. Don’t be afraid to describe failures as they can be an excellent source of learning.
  4. Present at an upcoming faculty workshop as called upon by the Dean at that Regional site.
  5. Receive a 4 Square Instructor Polo shirt for that year
  6. Repeat every year.

Not everyone will do this, or even be able to, but I see the possibility of some interesting cross-pollination of ideas which will definitely benefit our students.  Note, there may be some variation from one site to another so check with your Dean for specifics.

Give it some thought. If you want suggestions on which classes to visit, contact the Dean at your campus.

 

Grading APA in Canvas

By Dr. Kotina Hall, Dean – Belhaven Atlanta

The video below comes from a webinar conducted by Dr. Hall last week.  Great information with useful tips for being more efficient and effective in your grading for APA.

Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Hall (khall@belhaven.edu) if you have any questions.

Hopeful GRIT: The Path to Tenacious Retention

by Dr. Paul Criss, Dean of Belhaven – Memphis/DeSoto

This was presented as a live webinar. The recording can viewed HERE

Hopeful GRIT is an introduction to Angela Duckworth’s work on GRIT and Ray Johnston’s work on Hope Quotient with the intent of applying principles in the classroom to improve student retention and overall performance.

Eighty Four percent of students want faculty who will be concerned about them as a person and their success. Hopeful GRIT is a model of how to help students build their perseverance muscles and improve their academic performance. Angela Duckworth conducted studies involving National Spelling Bee champions, elite military trained graduates, and top corporate sales people to determine if the secret to their success was talent or effort. The science showed that GRIT – the sustained application of effort towards a long-term goal, is the biggest predictor of lifelong achievement. GRIT can grow by helping students identify their interests, improve the quality of their practice, connect their work to their purpose, and finally create a sense of hope through the entire journey.

Hope liberates by releasing us from past mistakes. Hope motivates by helping us bounce back. Hope initiates by setting us free to dream. Hope actives by providing the fuel needed to make the world a better place. Hope is the greatest gift we can give and grow in our students. Ray Johnston says that hope is “a state of being God creates in you.” He encourages the building of seven hope-building factors in our life. I want to emphasize the third one: refocusing on the future by asking “what can this become?” Jesus did this when he called the disciples saying, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17 NASB). Jesus was not focused on what people were like; he was focused on what they could become. Are we seeing our students and their work through this same lens: what can they become?

Five years ago, the retention rate in our graduate business program at the Memphis campus was 67 percent. We changed the way we taught the program’s gateway course and attempted to be more intentional about motivation by incorporating mini-lectures on grit, hope, dreaming, and addressing thoughts that had the potential to sabotage a student’s success. We have seen some good results in that by 2016 the retention rate increased to 82 percent and in 2017 it was up to 90%.

Some points of reflection for you consider might be 1) how can we develop and strengthen GRIT in our students? 2) how can we become better purveyors of hope to inspire students? 3) how can this be accomplished in various teaching venues: on-ground or online? Hopefully, you can see the value of encouraging students, developing their perseverance muscles, and helping them persist until they reach the goal set before them in their academic studies. The  PDF at this LINK provides the entire presentation and may help spark some more ideas to this end.

Worldview and the U.S. Constitution, Part 1

By Dr. Paul T. Criss

In honor of Constitution Day, September 17, 2018, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the worldview from which the Constitution was written. There are a whole bunch of people out there that think the United States Constitution has nothing to do with God. There is even a book out there used in law schools called The Godless Constitution where a couple of professors from Cornell say that we have a secular government governed by a secular document. Modernism is at the root of the problem because it separates history from its context. What was the context of the writing of the Constitution? What did the founders intend by what they wrote? These are the questions we should be asking as we interpret and apply the Constitution. Those who penned the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights did so from a Christian Perspective. There are seven reasons why the Constitution is not a godless document, but rather stems from the Christian worldview.

The first reason the Constitution stems from a Christian worldview is found in Article 7. It is the clause that incorporates the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence acknowledges God four times, but opponents say that we are not under the Declaration, we are under the Constitution. Eleven years later, the framers left God completely out. Really? That makes the mistake that the two documents were meant to be separated. The Founders intended that the two documents were irrevocably intertwined; they go together. Samuel Adams said, “Before the formation of the Constitution, the Declaration of independence was received and ratified by all states in the union, and it has never been disannulled.” The Declaration has never gone out of force. It was completed before the Constitution and it is a key document. Even the early U.S. Supreme court said, “The Constitution is but the body and letter of which the Declaration is the thought and the spirit…it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.” They could not be separated.

The Constitution cannot be understood without the Declaration. John Quincy Adams said, “The Declaration of Independence was the platform from which the Constitution of the United States had been erected. The principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence were embodied in the Constitution of the United States.” The foundation cannot be pulled out from under the structure of the Constitution. Consider the Constitution and Declaration as you would the documents needed to call a corporation into existence. Two papers must be created and filed: the first is the Articles of Incorporation; the document that calls the corporation into existence – the reason the corporation is to exist. The second document that must be filed is the Bylaws – this is how the corporation will operate under the Articles of Incorporation. So the Articles of Incorporation provide the purpose and the Bylaws provide the practice; the “what/why” and then the “how.” The Bylaws are never allowed to violate the Articles of Incorporation. The way you operate the company cannot violate the reason it was called into existence. This is why the Declaration and Constitution cannot be separated. The Constitution cannot exist without the Declaration.

The Supreme Court pointed out that you cannot understand the Constitution without the Declaration. They said that if you want to understand the intent of something in the Constitution, then “determine the evil which was intended to be remedied.” If you want to understand why the Second Amendment was added, then determine the evil or abuse they meant to prevent.  They wrote this material down to ensure that these abuses never happen in America. Within that framework, look at the articles in the Constitution. If you go to Article 1, Section 5, Paragraph 4: “neither house during the session of Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days to any other place in which the two houses shall be sitting.” Why? Go back to the Declaration and look in the 27 grievances, where they pointed out 27 abuses that Great Britain enforced upon the thirteen colonies. Grievance four in the Declaration discusses how the King would adjourn one body of Congress for months or move their meeting location away from needed resources to frustrate their progress when they were proposing something against his will. This was designed to prevent a specific problem going on at the time. Article 1, Section 4, Paragraph 2: “Congress shall assemble at least once a year and such a meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by law appoint a different day.” Why? It is the solution to grievance five in the Declaration. Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 4 says “the purpose is to establish as uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the United States.” Why? This is the solution to grievance seven in the Declaration. The grievances stated in the Declaration directly correlate to what is stated in the Constitution; therefore, the two documents cannot be separated. It is the only way to understand the two documents.

For the same reason Article Seven, the last line of the Constitution, says, “done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the Year of Our Lord, one-thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.” But then there is another clause: “and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.” Why did they date the Constitution back to the Declaration? They did not believe they had created a new document, they were expressing that it was an extension of the Declaration from 1776. To this day, Constitutional Acts signed by the President do not date back to 1787, rather they date back to the Declaration and 1776. That is why it cannot be separated and the first reason we can know it stems from a Christian worldview. Article Seven connects the Constitution to the Declaration; the Declaration acknowledges God four times and sets forth the value system under which America is to operate which is “the law of nature and of nature’s God” – natural law and the Scriptures.

The second reason the Constitution stems from a Christian worldview is the source of its ideas. The Constitution contains ideas that had never before been set forth in a previous government’s documents. A full republic with checks and balances – a marvel among humankind. Where did they get these ideas? Political science professors at the University of Houston collected representative writings out of the founding era (1760-1805) and analyzed who they quoted to find out where they got their ideas. They collected fifteen thousand writings and identified 3,154 direct quotes of the founders; it took them ten years, but they took every quote back to its original source and discovered the top one hundred sources. They published their findings in a book called The Origins of American Constitutionalism. Out of all the writings that were out there – Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume, Hobbes – the one that was quoted more than any other was Baron Charles Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws at 8.3% of the quotations. The next quoted source was Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law at 7.9%. The third most cited individual is John Locke’s Two Treatise’s of Government at 2.9%. These are the top three cited individuals, but the number one source cited was the Bible at 34%. That is a good indication that they did not think this was a secular document because this was their primary source. Article 1, Section 8 about immigration compares with Leviticus 19:34. Article 2, Section 1 says the President has to be a natural-born citizen from Deuteronomy 17:15 which says the head of your nation has to be born from among you. Article 3, Section 3 deals with witness for capital punishment for treason, but two people must testify to it in open court; this compares with Deuteronomy 17:6 says you cannot be put to death unless it is established in the mouth of two to three witnesses. Article 3, Section 3 prohibits bills of attainder; Ezekiel 18:20 prohibits these in the Scripture. You can see the Bible throughout the Constitution, but because secularists never read the Bible, they are blind to these connections.

More reasons to come…

Recommended Resources used in this blog: GOD and the Constitution and Original Intent by David Barton. www.wallbuilders.com