Category: Personal Development

Setting the Table . . . Insights on Andragogy from IWU

There are a lot of resources available for Instructors to draw from to improve their ability to achieve student learning both in and out of the classroom.  At this LINK you will find an excellent resource from Indiana Wesleyan University Faculty Development Blog.  This particular session deals with group work within the classroom and how to organize and manage group work effectively.

In this series on “Setting the Table” from Indiana Wesleyan you will find other presentations which will hopefully inspire you to try something new and see your role in a fresh light.

Related Webinars

Grit “in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.” (Wikipedia) Angela Duckworth has made a career out of studying grit; how grit affects success, where it comes from, how to get it, and why we should seek it. She has presented a powerful TED talk on the subject that is worth the time to view. She has developed a Grit survey and scale for evaluating your own level of grit and compiled a lot of research around the subject of grit.

In Duckworth’s research she has been able to correlate an individual’s grit with their ability to meet and overcome challenges in life. For her, “Grit has two components: passion and perseverance.” (p.56) Hence the subtitle of her book. What this translates into is recognizing purpose in some activity, be it playing the piano, serving others, compiling research, finishing an education, etc., and then pursuing that goal in spite of challenges and set-backs over a long period of time. She writes, “…here’s what science has to say: passion for your work is a little bit of discovery followed by a lot of development and then a lifetime of deepening.” (p. 103) For Angela, how you see your work is more important than the job title (p.152).

Grit is a factor for students returning to school.  The more grittier the student, the more likely they are to complete their program of study.  Although you can complete the Grit survey and determine where you fall on the Grit Scale, that really is only a starting point. Grit can be developed. It develops from practiced and determined effort from the inside out as you find purpose and passion, and then begin to bring commitment into the picture. She states, “The point is that you can, in fact, modify your self-talk, and you can learn to not let it interfere with your moving toward your goals. With practice and guidance, you can change the way you think, feel, and most important, act when the going gets tough.” (p. 193)

Grit also develops from the outside in, which is just as important or even more so.  Here is the connecting point for the Instructor.  As the course Instructor you have the ability to influence and strengthen a student’s GRIT.  According to Duckworth, “…there’s a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity – the basic human drive to fit in – because if you’re around a lot of people who are gritty, you’re going to act grittier.” (p. 247) It really does matter whom we associate with; associate with gritty people and you become grittier yourself, associate with individuals who never seem to quite commit and are constantly bouncing from one thing to another and you will find yourself being influenced by that example. “If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it.” p. 245.  In the classroom this translates into building a gritty culture.  You might think this is impossible, especially in the five-week courses, but it can start with the choices you as the instructor make and the words you use from the first email you send the week before the class starts and the first words you speak on that first night of class.


I encourage you as you begin this new year that you take up the challenge of being more gritty yourself, and helping your students to develop this important trait.



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The Graduate of Belhaven Adult Studies

I have recently had the privilege of visiting all the campuses through video sharing my heart for what we are hoping to achieve through the Adult Studies programs in the lives of our students as they graduate and leave Belhaven.  Please watch the video below and join me as we look to have our students:

  • apply learning to experiences to professional and other situations
  • be able to articulate a Christian worldview and its implication for their home, work, and society
  • demonstrate habits of clear, constructive critical thought
  • demonstrate a command of standard oral and written English
  • evidence a lifestyle of moral and spiritual integrity
  • compete in the job market for positions in keeping with their major course of study
  • incorporate ongoing learning strategies toward the fulfillment of their life goals.

Webinars – planning for the future

Over the past year Adult Studies and Online has presented 8 webinars with another one coming up next week (Visual Thinking & Strategies for Adult Learners).  These have been directed at a variety of topics with a broad scope so that there would be something of interest for everyone.  Hopefully you have found the material in each of them to be relevant to the classroom and provide something useful that you could take away and use immediately to improve student learning and your own teaching, I know I have.

I’m planning the new schedule of webinars for 2017 and would love to hear

  • Your impression of the webinars from 2016
  • your ideas about the webinars I have planned, and
  • what others would be helpful.

If you would be interested in presenting a webinar, I’d love to hear about that as well.

I have a short survey located HERE that I would like to ask you to complete that will collect the information above and help guide me as I plan to support you in the coming year.



New Dean in Atlanta & Leadership

by Dr. Kotina Hall

As the new Dean of Faculty at Belhaven Atlanta, I have found it necessary to review critical leadership practices to not only provide a renewed sense of direction, but to excite critical directives that produce sound results to ignite extraordinary possibilities. I have found Kouzes and Posner’s (1995) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership to be the catalyst to do just that.

Kouzes and Posner introduce Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership which have proven life changing:  Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Encouraging the Heart, Enabling Others to Act, and Modeling the Way. Many have tried to choose the practice they deem most viable to the success of the organization.  Consequently, I believe one cannot survive without the other. Each practice is unique in that it serves as a connector to the other and further yields results of trust, integrity, moral aptitude, a “can do” attitude, and empowerment. However, none of which is more important than the other.  Rather, each compliments as a necessity to the other for effective leadership to occur.

Effective leadership is a buzz phrase that should not be taken lightly. While everyone has the ability to lead, not everyone approaches the responsibility with purposed commitment. That commitment is usually the difference between being a good leader and being a great leader. What is the differentiator between the two? The deciding factor is understanding that our positions often equip us with breaking lives or changing lives. It is my continued goal to exercise the latter both in and outside of the University.

“The empirical literature in leadership has shown that transformational leadership is where leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (Burns, 1978, p. 20).  As leaders, we know it is not always an easy task to exercise each practice. Some days we just will not feel like it. It is during these times that it becomes necessary to do so anyway. Such days prove to be our discipleship test. In doing so, let us model the way of Paul and Silas, and pray anyway. Even in prison, they praised. It is necessary to understand that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are cyclic in that they are transferable to academic, personal and professional lives. Therefore, we are afforded countless opportunities to master the practices in order to effortlessly and purposely execute them. I implore each of us to continue to focus on the totality of these practices in efforts to foster life changing growth as leaders and to gain a “level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow.” It will not always be easy, but our walk is not designed to be.

Beware of Becoming Stale

Stale when applied to food means: “no longer fresh and pleasant to eat; hard, musty, or dry.”(Source)  When applied to Instructors it might mean “no longer current in subject content, pedagogy outdated or out-of-sync with audience, boring, irrelevant, etc.”  This is an ever present possibility for all of us in an age when everything seems to be moving at high speed.  We all know of the need to stay relevant, both in our subject and in our delivery, the question is, “Do you have a strategy to make sure you aren’t (or haven’t become) STALE?”

Let me recommend one piece of my strategy which I use that help you in this regard.  It can apply to your teaching subject but also may cross apply to any area of your life, even your spiritual life.  I set up a free account at Bloglovin‘.   Once my account was set up I added several blogs (from the icon of a person in the top right corner select Edit Blogs You Follow) from sources which align with my interests, such as:

Bloglovin’ additionally makes it easy to search for other blogs which may interest you.  Once you have set it up, you will simply get an email each day with the posts that have been made to the blogs on your list.  Typically my email only includes two or at most three links since most bloggers don’t post daily.  Then I can choose to click on the link and read the post, or ignore it.  Easy as that.

Of course, this shouldn’t be the only way your are developing yourself, but hopefully you will find this a useful addition to your development strategy.

Additional Resources

We have had some amazing webinars over the past year and in some cases those webinars have had accompanying handouts.  I was thinking about this when I was setting up the last webinar and thought about the fact that there are many of you who haven’t been able to attend a weblog1binar or taken the opportunity to view a webinar, and thus are missing out on these great resources.  With that in mind, I asked to have the Faculty Resources page of the Blog re-designed to make those handouts available to you.  To get to them, you simply click on the Faculty Resources box at the top of the Blog page.  This will take you to the Resources page.  In the right navigation pannel you will find the full listing of all the webinar recordings that have been made so far.  Below the blog2webinar list is a short list of White Papers and now below that is a list of Other Resources which is essentially the handouts from the webinars.  I think you will find there are some extremely useful tools there and encourage you to take a look.

I am continually looking for ways to get useful information into your hands.  If you have an idea for a webinar either that you would like to see, or perhaps one that you feel would benefit a majority of our faculty, I encourage you to contact me at  This is also true for a White Paper.  I will be happy to evaluate it for inclusion on this site.


CWV: Practical Applications for the Classroom

by Paul Criss,
Dean of Faculty, Memphis and Desoto

This is a summary of the Webinar by the same title presented by Dr. Criss on May 17, 2016.  You can view the webinar at this link.  There are handouts that can be downloaded from within the webinar.

This webinar is an overview of worldview principles and how to apply them in the adult learner classroom. The presenter is Dr. Paul Criss who possesses sixteen years of experience teaching higher education worldview courses. The presentation begins with an overview of worldview discovery, the Christian Theistic worldview, and criteria for a well-defined personal worldview. Some questions answered in the first half are:

  • How is a worldview like a belly button, a cerebellum, or breathing?
  • What are the essential aspects of a worldview and why is it important?
  • How does an adult learner decide which worldview is best?
  • What is the faculty member’s role in worldview instruction?

The second half of the webinar includes a process to analyze ideas and concepts, as well as practical tools to use in the classroom, such as: CWV Integrated Lesson Plan, Cultural Analysis, Immunization Technique, Reflective Action, KWAT discussion, and Integrative Questioning. The presentation closes with an overview of resources (including discipline specific resources) and websites that have assisted the presenter in the past.

I encourage you to watch the recorded webinar and download the attached documents.

Dean’s Panel Discussion on Faculty

Last week the distance campus Dean’s met for their annual Summit.  This is an important meeting which allows for sharing of information and formulation of strategy for the coming year.  One of the highlights of the Summit this year was the inclusion of a live webinar broadcast from the Summit in which the Deans all participated in a discussion focused around their role in working with faculty.  The questions asked included:

  1. What would you describe as the central characteristics of the Ideal Instructor?
  2. What are the top challenges you face in working with or scheduling faculty?
  3. When you visit a classroom for a faculty observation what are some of the best and worst things you have seen? (no names, please)
  4. With our emphasis on holding students the full scheduled class period, what are some specific activities faculty can use other than lecturing or group discussion during that final hour?
  5. What are some ways that you could recommend to generate student engagement both within the classroom and outside of it?

There were some other questions asked, as well as some audience participation.   The bottom line: Our faculty are AMAZING!!!   Great things are happening in the classroom and in the lives of our students because of your service and dedication.  We can’t thank you enough for all you do.

Overall it was a great discussion and I hope you will take the time to view it at this LINK.