Igniting Curiosity

Cognitive science and instructor observations indicate that a strong sense of curiosity is the key to student engagement and developing a lifelong passion for learning. Curiosity is invaluable in igniting our enthusiasm for the work we do. It is the driving force behind all creativity – the desire to do something better, experiment, tinker, and create. How can educators encourage students to cultivate their curiosity to ultimately assume responsibility for their education? This Faculty Development Day, we invite you to share your best ideas. Explore, share, and collaborate to ignite your curiosity and try new teaching and learning approaches.

Event Date: January 5, 2023 
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

FDD calendar


  • Make sure you update your Zoom client software to the latest version.

  • Sign in to Okta/Zoom using the new passwordless security (Saint Leo username and an authentication option).

  • Only users with authenticated Saint Leo accounts will be granted entrance into the presentations.

  • For assistance with technical issues (Zoom, computer audio, camera, etc.), call DoIT at (352) 588-8888.
  • The Survey — Faculty Development Day – Spring 2023 (open from Thursday, January 6th through Monday, January 9th at 7:00 p.m.)

Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.

Session 1

Presentation TitlePresenter(s)DescriptionTrack 
Breaking Disciplinary Boundaries: What We’ve Learned from HON 499Kathryn Duncan & Carol Ann MoonOur education system teaches students to think within disciplines, a trend trickling down into high schools and even middle schools. Teaching HON 499 has taught us the value of moving outside the restrictions of disciplines. Working from the ideas of social psychologist Ellen Langer, we will argue for the value of breaking down disciplinary walls and discuss ways that we can accomplish this through practical classroom tips and the research process.Strategies to promote curiosity in learning 
Guided by Curiosity: Reimagining your Learner-Centered ActivitiesNataliya Glover & Iona SarievaIn this panel, the presenters will discuss the nature of curiosity and the role it plays in learning within the context of the sociocognitive theoretical framework. They will offer several types of class activities that promote learning through curiosity and offer specific application examples. Participants will gain: 1. a better understanding of how curiosity promotes learning, 2. a framework for revising their learner-centered activities, and 3. ideas for tasks that use the power of curiosity.Strategies to promote curiosity in learning 
Igniting student engagement through open inquiry and viewpoint diversityDaniel Lloyd & Randall WoodardThis presentation will allow participants to critically self-assess their approach to open inquiry and viewpoint diversity through a reflection on our current cultural limitations on speech and constructive disagreement. Many students are unpracticed at listening to diverse viewpoints as a means of growth and tend to voices that affirm existing ideas. Participants will consider factors that inhibit classroom space from being open to free inquiry and diverse opinions and consider practices that truly allow for creative, curious, and free expression.Strategies to promote curiosity in learning 
Lectio Divina as a pattern for secular learningThomas HumphriesThis presentation applies the medieval definition of Lectio Divina to the art of designing and leading a classroom session.Active learning strategies 
Teaching and Learning: Engaging Stakeholders in Sustaining a Positive Culture through Humor and PlayFern AefskyThere are many research-based studies regarding the importance of leading with humor and the importance of play for adults that assist with burnout and resilience of all stakeholders from business, education, and medical fields (Beard, 2014; Ready, 2016; Henry Ford Health Staff, 2020; Born & Fenster, 2022). Using various comic strips and cartoons, and fun activities, consideration of how to utilize humor in teaching to engage students in the learning process will be presented. The activities in this workshop will provide opportunities for participants to discuss contextual ways to embed humor and play into their environment that will address all components of establishing a positive culture of support for stakeholders.Active learning strategies 
Toward An Active Learning Partnership: Adjunct Faculty and Embedded LibrariansAlbert Vogt & Christine WoodsOur presentation seeks to explore the relationship between adjunct professors and embedded librarians in an online environment.  We plan to underscore the advantages of having an embedded librarian by elucidating the kinds of support provided.  Participants will be encouraged to discuss active learning strategies for improving not only the cooperation between faculty and librarians but also with students.Active learning strategies 

Session 2

Presentation TitlePresenter(s)DescriptionTrack 
Feed Your Curiosity: Visit Your LibraryRenee GouldThis session is about various resources that are available to help satisfy your curiosity and all your research needs. We’ll take a look at 3 topics. The 1st is the new collections found at the library. Taking a look at our digital resources and a reminder on where to go when you or your students are overwhelmed. We’ll save the last 15 minutes or so for a short q&a session for anything left on your mind. So bring your questions, and we’ll feed your curiosity.Active learning strategies 
Firing Up Students’ Curiosity with Authentic AssessmentKeya Mukherjee, Iona Sarieva & Victoria AnyikwaThis session provides the premise of authentic versus traditional assessment. The presenters will share examples of authentic assessment from their disciplines in graduate and undergraduate courses in face-to-face and online contexts. The participants will engage in group-based discussions on how they use authentic assessment and/or examine different ways in which they could implement authentic assessment for igniting students’ curiosity.Assessing student learning 
Mentoring Undergraduates in IRB-Approved Research ProjectsEileen O’Brien & Tonya LindseyIn a 2-course sequence, all Sociology majors at Saint Leo design and carry out a research project on a topic of their choosing. They gain many transferable skills they can put on their resume. As the two instructors in this sequence, we share how we work together to guide students through this process.Teaching Research Courses and Mentoring Students’ Research Studies or Dissertations (Sponsored by the SLU Center for Research) 
Supporting Students with D2L DataKate Colello & Christine PicotLearn how to act on your D2L data to help students succeed efficiently and effectively. Find out where students spend their time and identify misconceptions quickly.Assessing student learning 
The Value of a strong rubric: How a well-designed rubric can impact student learning & assessmentRaymond GonzalezThis presentation will cover the impact of strong rubrics on student learning and assessment planning. The presentation will also cover the key elements and best practices for designing and developing a good rubric.Assessing student learning 
Quizizz – A FREE Alternative to Kahoot!Cheryl KozinaMany of us have used Kahoot! in our classrooms to boost student participation in formative assessment by encouraging a bit of friendly participation. You may have tried to use it recently and seen that Kahoot! is no longer free if you have more than 10 participants. Quizizz is an alternative to Kahoot! that is free for larger class sizes and allows instructors access to student performance information.Active learning strategies 

Session 3

Presentation TitlePresenter(s)DescriptionTrack 
Cultivating Student Attention by Understanding DistractionAustin Trantham, Cheryl Berry, Charlotte Braziel & Christine PicotIn Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It., the author discusses strategies to cultivate student attention amidst a sea of distractions.   We will share our thoughts on the book while providing practical advice for cultivating attention in the classroom by building community, developing innovative course design, and structuring individual class periods.  Participants will practice maintaining attention by engaging in exercises from Distracted which can be implemented in classes during the spring semester to further ignite curiosity in our students.Classroom Communities that ignite curiosity 
Curiosity about DisengagementAbigail SchegOne population of student that can be challenging to work with is the missing or completely disengaged student. After all, if a student is unresponsive, not attending, and not submitting work, it is easy to see them fall by the wayside as the course moves on with the actively engaged students. In this session, the presenter will discuss tactics for faculty members to get curious about disengaged students and tactics to re-engage them in the course. This session will focus on active engagement and dialogue with the attendees and aim to provide practical suggestions that participants can take from the session and apply to their courses.Active learning strategies 
Ten Interesting Findings in Saint Leo Data, Revisited and UpdatedDaniel DuerrThe Institutional Research (IR) team at Saint Leo collects a great deal of interesting data about our students, our courses, and the correlates of student success. This presentation will highlight ten interesting findings from data collected by the IR team over the course of the year. Data will be presented on retention rates, student course performance, about observed student enrollment preferences, and highlighting the overall growth trends at the university. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Saint Leo by the numbers, then this presentation will seek to answer those questions!Assessing student learning 
The Lion Classroom (Learning Interactive Organized w/Narrative)June HallWant more involved students? One word. Collaboration. While students are being taught, faculty can be learners too by allowing students to participate in the pedagogical process. Bringing real-life situations that also involve narratives from the students makes the classroom more interesting and engaging. Not to mention an interactive activity or two that incorporates movement, questions, and digital investigation. Keep them guessing and in class to see what’s next.Active learning strategies 
Tips for the First Day of ClassGreg Kunzweiler & Candace RobertsIn this session, we will discuss different tips, and strategies instructors can use to engage their students on the first days of class. Some of the topics include course organization, icebreakers, active learning strategies, communication with students, and building classroom community. Classroom Communities that ignite curiosity 
Zoom v. NearpodChristine WoodsZoom has tools for engaging students during meetings, such as polls, quizzes, and annotations.  Nearpod is an educational technology tool that can be used during Zoom meetings instead of using Zoom tools.  There are advantages and disadvantages to using both systems.  Participants in this session will learn through hands-on activities during a demonstration lesson.  As a passionate proponent of active learning strategies, Christine will present a thorough investigation of tools available with Zoom and Nearpod, with lots of suggestions for incorporating them into your teaching practice!Strategies and trends teaching via Zoom