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Education
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Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else

Updated 5 days ago

Education
Courses
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conversations with people who teach in higher education

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conversations with people who teach in higher education

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Podcastic!

By cardiosim - Jan 08 2019
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Great addition to my podcast library!

Longevity

By Editor B - Dec 10 2018
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I believe this may be the longest-running more-or-less continuously-produced faculty development podcast series in the universe!

iTunes Ratings

8 Ratings
Average Ratings
8
0
0
0
0

Podcastic!

By cardiosim - Jan 08 2019
Read more
Great addition to my podcast library!

Longevity

By Editor B - Dec 10 2018
Read more
I believe this may be the longest-running more-or-less continuously-produced faculty development podcast series in the universe!

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else

Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else

Latest release on Dec 08, 2020

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 5 days ago

Warning: This podcast data isn't working.

This means that the episode rankings aren't working properly. Please revisit us at a later time to get the best episodes of this podcast!

Rank #1: Conversation #101: Dan Fiscus on Regrounding Science

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A conversation between Dan Fiscus (Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and regrounding science in values.

Dr. Dan Fiscus is an ecologist, food system researcher and sustainability scientist with the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics. He has written and co-written scientific articles in soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, theoretical ecology, and regenerative economics. He has co-written two books in sustainability including Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life–Environment Relations (2018). From 2007 to 2012, he was assistant professor in the Biology Department at Frostburg State University (FSU) where he taught and did research in forest ecology and sustainability. From 2012 to 2016, he served as Sustainability Liaison with FSU, led the creation of the President’s Advisory Council for Sustainability, and advised students who created the Student Sustainability Fee. A co-founder and elected member of the Western Maryland Food Council (WMFC), he served as Council Coordinator 2019 to 2020. With WMFC, Dan helped convene annual regional food system conferences and enlist interdisciplinary partners collaborating for food system change in Western Maryland. For fun Dan likes playing ultimate and soccer, hiking, folk music, poetry, composting and time with family.

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

Dec 08 2020

36mins

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Rank #2: Conversation #100: Service Learning Omnibus

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A conversation between Lisa Schulte-Gipson (CAT+FD & Psychology), Kendra Warren (Student Affairs), and eight directors of local community partners.

Lisa received her BS from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). She attended SUNY Albany where she earned both her MA and PhD in Social/Personality Psychology.

Lisa has worked at Xavier University since 1993 and she is the Keller Family Foundation Professor of Arts and Sciences.

Throughout her tenure at Xavier she has served both the University and Department in many capacities, currently serving as Chair of the Psychology Department and as the Faculty in Residence for Service Learning at CAT+FD

Her current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and positive psychology (specifically as related to enhancing well-being among students).

Kendra C. Warren is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a product of the Archdiocese Catholic Schools. She attended St. Phillip the Apostle School and is an alumni of St. Mary’s Academy. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, she completed her undergraduate degree from Dillard University where she earned B. A. in Mass Communications.

Kendra is the Associate Director of Service-Learning and Coordinator of Student Support for the office of Inclusion and Social Justice. She works with faculty, staff, students and community to provide relevant service-learning projects. She also collaborates with agencies and groups to assess local needs and recruit students and faculty to provide volunteer assistance. She serves as a university liaison to the community.

Kendra also works with the Vincent’s Vault Food Pantry and Gumbo Garden where she does comprehensive scheduling each semester that details when they will host volunteers, direct volunteers to navigate appropriate times and sign up for shifts.

Kendra uses every opportunity she can to share her story of survival and how to over-come obstacles as she assists students. She encourages students to give back to their community by ensuring that they fulfill their service- learning requirements.

Kendra’s mantra is, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” She realizes that God does not make mistakes and everything that He allows is part of His perfect plan.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and prides herself in promoting and educating college students on the importance of learning to serve others. In her spare time, she enjoys dining out, shopping and working out. She is a member St. Peter Claver Church.

Links for this episode

  1. Operation Restoration
  2. Lift Louisiana
  3. Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana
  4. Broadmoor Improvement Association
  5. Hagar's House
  6. Trinity Community Center
  7. Fund 17
  8. Anna's Place

Transcript

Coming soon!

Nov 10 2020

23mins

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Rank #3: Conversation #99: Laura Spence on Ecological Thinking

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A conversation between Laura Spence (Sterling College) and Bart Everson (XULA) on teaching, learning, and ecological thinking.

Laura Spence, Ph.D., is originally from South Shropshire, England, a sheep-grazed land reminiscent of the Vermont of 150 years ago. Laura’s journey from Shropshire to the Northwoods, via New Zealand and Mongolia, has been one always in pursuit of the study of plant and fungal ecology. Her particular research interests lie in the interaction between plant communities and aspects of global change such as climate change and invasive species. Her Ph.D. research took her to the mountain beech forests of the Southern Alps, New Zealand, where she investigated the roles of forest dynamics, natural disturbances and mycorrhizal fungi on the invasive spread of an exotic understorey herbaceous weed. Following this, she joined the PIRE Mongolia project that investigated the ecological consequences of climate change and grazing pressures by nomadic pastoralism in northern Mongolia.

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

Oct 06 2020

35mins

Play

Rank #4: Conversation #98: Lisa Schulte on Resilience

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A conversation between Lisa Schulte-Gipson and Elizabeth Yost Hammer on teaching, learning, and resilience.

Lisa received her BS from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). She attended SUNY Albany where she earned both her MA and PhD in Social/Personality Psychology.

Lisa has worked at Xavier University since 1993 and she is the Keller Family Foundation Professor of Arts and Sciences.

Throughout her tenure at Xavier she has served both the University and Department in many capacities, currently serving as Chair of the Psychology Department and as the Faculty in Residence for Service Learning at CAT+FD

Her current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and positive psychology (specifically as related to enhancing well-being among students).

Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.


Links for this episode

Transcript

Elizabeth Hammer: Hello this is Elizabeth Yost Hammer the director for the Center for Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana.

My guest today is Dr. Lisa Schulte-Gipson. Lisa received her BS from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

She attended SUNY Albany, where she earned both her MA and PhD in social personality psychology.

Lisa has worked at Xavier University since 1993 and she is the Keller Family Foundation, professor of Arts and Sciences.

Throughout her tenure at Xavier, she has served both the university and the department in many capacities currently serving as chair of the psychology department and as the Faculty in Residence for Service Learning at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development.

Her current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning and positive psychology specifically as related to enhancing wellbeing among students.

And it's in her capacity as a positive psychology teacher that she's with us today. Welcome, Lisa. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Lisa Schulte: Thank you. It's very good to be here.

Elizabeth Hammer: When we, in the center, were preparing for fall semester 2020, we knew that faculty would have to be flexible in their teaching -- in their teaching methods with their students, with their own lives, with their own kids. We knew flexibility was going to be really important. So we knew that they would need to have a level of resilience in dealing with whatever fall 2020 is going to bring and so far, you know, it's brought a lot.

So we thought the idea of resilience would be a good underlying theme for us in the center, and that's what I would like to talk to you about today is resilience. So let's start with you. What is it, what is resilience?

Lisa Schulte: So resilience is really the ability to, in this environment, maintain your sanity, but really, more formally, maintain relatively normal levels of functioning. Note that -- relatively normal levels of functioning in the face of trauma, so resilience has really been researched in the context of how people respond to trauma.

This means that the individual is affected by the trauma, so you'll see blips in functioning. They're not 100% fine, but the trauma doesn't break them. Also keep in mind that even your most resilient person, depending upon the level of trauma, that trauma might overwhelm them. If we have relatively stable levels of resilience, we're able to handle that trauma. So for example, if we think about our students who are enrolled in a really challenging course load this semester, and again, keep in mind the COVID environment. Assume that the student experiences some deaths in the family and also challenges with respect to funding for the semester. This student will experience anxiety, will experience stress, and we'll see the behavioral repercussions. They may miss some classes, they may miss some assignments, but they're able to hold it together and pull out the performance at the end of the semester. So you get the idea that a person who is resilient will bend, they'll be stretched, but they don't break or snap.

Elizabeth Hammer: Thank you. That's a great definition, and just for listeners who might not be from New Orleans, we are dealing with our, you know, fall 2020 COVID semester like the rest of the country. We also have had a few tropical storms and hurricanes come our way, so we like that bending. We're still hanging in there. So, you kind of gave us an example with students, I wonder if you could talk about why it's also important for faculty or if you have more to say about why it's important for students.

Lisa Schulte: Oh yeah, as far as the importance of resilience, it allows a person to persist. It allows a person, with respect to resilience, the coping skills also tend to be healthier coping skills. So for instance, it's not avoidance of the problem. You might have some proactive coping on both the part of the students and the faculty and really the overall, and this is very simplistic to say this way, but with respect to resilience the person can get through that situation maintaining that again they're affected but relatively normal level of function and then move on to the next situation and succeed despite obstacles. And again, this applies to both faculty and students to anybody.

Elizabeth Hammer: Yeah, and I think that is so important, and I think about centers like ours.

Part of what we, maybe, implicitly were doing in training for different types of teaching scenarios that might come our way has probably provided some proactive coping in terms of faculty being prepared. You can do it, giving faculty skills to teach, and then the interpersonal coping is more on their own.

Lisa Schulte: Yeah, well the training as far as learning to utilize the tools at one’s fingertips; so for instance, on our campus, our course delivery system is brightspace. The idea of exposing faculty to the various features and providing practice and using these features enhances the ability to of course teach, but also in that context of other stressors in their lives.

Elizabeth Hammer: Yeah. It is all kind of coming together. What factors are either correlated with resilience or foster resilience? What are some factors that are related to it?

Lisa Schulte: So you can talk about factors related to the person, you can talk about factors related to personal relationships, you can talk about factors related to the community. Breaking some examples down, within the individual, an optimistic outlook is associated with resilience, and keep in mind an optimistic outlook. You can look at optimism as a personality trait, as somebody who is hopeful overall, or you can look at optimism as an explanatory style. The explanatory style is really key here. So an optimistic explanatory style in the instance of stressors would be “this too shall pass,” so that it's temporary.

The style would also be, as far as any negative repercussions, adverse events that it's not stable, and it's also not an internal cause with respect to these events. So, that's important to consider, the ability to regulate one's emotions.

I am basically telling several individuals/giving the advice of: before we send off that email, if the emotions are running high, take the address out of that, write that email, let it sit, read it over, and then decide if you want to put that address back in.

So, you know, emotional control, a positive “self-you,” so you can talk about not only global self-esteem, but really self-efficacy as being associated with resilience and also a good sense of humor. The ability, not to laugh in the face of stress because that's impossible to do all the time, but to be able to find the humor in the stressful situation is an individual factor.

Elizabeth Hammer: Before you move from the individual factors, I wonder if you could just take a moment and distinguish between self-esteem and self-advocacy for our non-psych listeners.

Lisa Schulte: Sure so self-esteem, as far as the concept, I'm thinking back to the global sense of self-worth which is very universal. So overall, do you think you are worthy or the person that doesn't get into specifics, with respect to a worthy mother or where the friend you know roles and so forth. It's just that global self esteem.

The self efficacy is the idea that you think you are an effective individual, so you can get the task done. With self-efficacy, also keep in mind that you need to take into account the specific context of the task. So if you ask me, for instance, “can you repair your car nowadays?” Nope, but if you asked me, “can you get a Mac computer to work?” I've been working with them since 1988, yep that long, so yes, I can get that to work. I actually know it's easy to hack into a Mac, because I have experience with it. The bottom line, you know, the past experience with the realm affects your self advocacy, so it's much more specific.

Elizabeth Hammer: And one of the follow up questions, before we move on, from the personal, individual characteristics that are related to resilience is, you mentioned optimism and optimistic explanatory style, and I wonder if you have any you know from talking to students about this in your course over the semesters. I wonder if you have any advice you would give somebody who's not naturally optimistic because right now in 2020, there’s a lot to not be optimistic about, and yet it is so important for well-being, to maintain some of that. So I wonder, what would you say to somebody who's not naturally optimistic?

Lisa Schulte: Then it's very interesting because I could give you a kind of longer, in-depth activity that's not gonna work. So there's an a, b, c, d activity where you sit down and think “what's the adversity,” okay, “what's the effects?” “Let me dispute myself,” not going to happen right now.

What I would recommend, the number one thing that I would recommend, is very simplistic and it's a gratitude journal. Now the gratitude journal is basically, there's several ways that you can keep it, you can do one every night. So, one of my practices is three things for which I'm grateful for each day. I dictate it into my phone. Some people like to write it. I'm not a hand writer, I'm a taper, and when I could dictate, I do it that way. The form doesn’t matter. What matters is at the end of the day, you’re reviewing the day and you're looking for, in that mental summary, three things. You could do it once a week, and it could be one thing. The idea is consistency, and “stop and think this way,” but think of three things for which you're grateful. Now, here's some roles here. If you do it every day or every week or twice a week, try not to be repetitive. So you have to think of something new, and it doesn't have to be big. So the next time I, not that I can plan it out, but I love frozen coffee. So the next time I get a good cup of frozen coffee, I'll be just sitting down and relishing it. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, so switch it up. The other thing is avoid engaging in downwards social comparison when you are engaging in your gratitude journal. You don't want to think, “well, I'm better off than that poor S.O.B.” because that's not the way to do it. You want to think of in my life, in my perspective, “what am I thankful for, for a given day?” So, quick example, there was a day I was on the way home from the zoo with the kids, we got a flat tire. We were able to get it fixed, and this is rubbing off on my daughter Lorelei who is now 12.

So you could sit there and go, “I got a flat tire. That was awful. That was a lot of money.” However, I had run flat tires, so I was able to get to the station to patch the tire. They were able to patch the tire. It took them about an hour, and I had actually had time to play I-spy with my daughters, so we had some bonding time. So note how you could take “this was awful, it delayed me,” and switch it, and that's what a gratitude journal does. It basically trains your mind to not look at the negative, but to find the positive, hence the optimism.

Elizabeth Hammer: Thank you. Thank you so much for those concrete examples, and we can put some links, too, on this below your podcast. We’ll put some links to some gratitude journal ideas and websites for that. I love that. Did you want to go on with talking about relationships or community?

Lisa Schulte: Yeah, yeah relationships, and I like the self-piece and the relationship-piece. Those are the pieces that you can control.

The community is the idea of a close-knit and supporting community, and that really will stem from relationships. But with the relationships, it's the idea of authentic, warm, open, caring relationships. The relationships that provide that sincere sense of social support and that connection with others, they are key with respect to resilience. That idea that others truly have your back is key with respect to resilience. So another technique, as far as if I were to give advice on how to increase resilience, it would be to focus on those relationships. Those current relationships that you have, make sure that you're reaching out to those individuals that you're spending time with. We can get so lost in the stressors. Even if it is a zoom meeting, just that being able to sit down and talk to others. Also, keep in mind that you want to ensure (because we can so get into talking about the stressors) not to focus on that during the entire conversation, but active listening during the conversation is essential. Active listening is when you go into a conversation with a completely open mind. Usually when we have conversations we're concerned about that potential lull in the conversation, so we're thinking about what we're going to say next. If you go into a conversation with active listening, you’re just truly listening to that person, so you're just taking it in and might rephrase a little bit.

Then an interesting activity is to think of a question for that person that you truly do not know the answer for. That will deepen that conversation, so take that time and that will foster also random acts of kindness. Just doing something nice for a stranger, nothing in return. You never know what relationships could come out of there. I also made up one, somebody else probably did before me, random acts of connection. So the idea that you touch base with somebody who you haven't touched base with for a while and maybe it doesn't go anywhere.

You make that connection and you never know where that could go. So lots of recommendations in there.

Elizabeth Hammer: Thank you. I love the concrete recommendations, and I hope that, for those of you who are listening, one or two of them might be something that you can latch onto that might really help you as we continue to get through this uncertain semester. I wanted to use the random act of connection. One thing, I have a colleague and a friend whose parents work for the post office, and so he's feeling really passionate about supporting the post office during this time. One thing he did is for a bunch of friends, some of them who know each other some of them who don't, he put out this Google doc and said, “add your address, and let's all buy stamps, let’s all send postcards to each other. Let's use the post office.” It’s been interesting because I participated in that, and it did feel like okay, wow, I would never have gotten in touch with this person if I didn't see them at a conference, and then other people I’m like, “I don't know you, but hey, hope it's going well.”

Little things like that, so thank you for those concrete examples.

As we are getting close to our time here, I wonder, did you have anything else that you want to say about fostering it, you kind of mentioned fostering for ourselves and things we can do. What about fostering it for our students? Is there anything we can do, recognizing right now, that our students are going through a lot? We're going through a lot and we're adults who expect to be going through things. I wonder if you have anything to say about how we can help our students this semester?

Lisa Schulte: One thing pops into mind and I'll explain it. See them. To see them for the whole person that they are, and this is related to a piece of the active listening. Hear them. Meet them where they are. That idea of empathy and understanding that students, you know you're talking to somebody (I won't say my age) much older than students. They're really young adults. This is new for them. Envision all that's going on culturally with COVID, with trying to come to your own. Just take the time to listen. Hear them out, and also realize that they're going to stumble, a little bit. They are young adults, patience with them and more patience that recognizing that as faculty your patience is going to be stressed, so dig deep. Dig as deep as you can for the patience for those students because they're going through a lot too.

Elizabeth Hammer: They sure are, and I love that “dig deep.” The break is right around the corner, it’ll be here before you know it. Lisa, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you sharing your expertise with me and with others.

Lisa Schulte: Oh, you're very welcome. My pleasure.

Elizabeth Hammer: If you've liked what you've heard today and you want to keep up with our program, please subscribe to the series and by all means rate and review us on iTunes, Google Play, or the platform of your choice.

Transcribed by Maya Madise.

Sep 22 2020

20mins

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Rank #5: Conversation #97: Brannon Andersen on Earth Education

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A conversation between Brannon Andersen (Furman University) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, problems facing humanity, and the "rapidly emerging transdisciplinary endeavour" of Earth System Science.

Dr. Brannon Andersen came to Furman in 1994 after completing his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, where he also was a senior geochemist studying leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. He is trained in geology but has morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainability science. Dr. Andersen believes in the transformative impact of undergraduate research experiences and has co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students that were presented at regional and national professional meetings. He has also published over 28 journal articles/book chapters and has been awarded over $2 million in external grants.  Dr. Andersen was profiled in Science Trends in 2017.

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Bart Everson: I’m Bart Everson, and I’m super excited this week to be speaking with Dr. Brannon Andersen of Furman University. Good morning, Dr. Andersen.

Brannon Andersen: It’s good to be with you.

Bart Everson: Yes, fantastic. Let me introduce you to the folks who are listening. I know that looking on your faculty page that you came to Furman in 1994 after getting your PhD at Syracuse where you also were a senior geochemist studying something called leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island. Also, you are trained in geology, but apparently you’ve morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainable science, and you do a lot of undergraduate research which we also try to emphasize here at Xavier. I see that you’ve co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students presented at regional and national professional meetings. You’ve also published dozens of articles and book chapters and been awarded tons of grant money. It’s great to talk with you. Thanks for joining us.

Brannon Andersen: You’re welcome.

Bart Everson: One of the things I wanted to ask you about first is because our theme this year at our center is resilience. We’re trying to reach out to more earth educators because this is a very important term in your domain. You teach in the department of Earth and Environmental sciences there at Furman.

Brannon Andersen: We actually just changed the name of the department, so it is now Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences.

Bart Everson: Wow. Very neat. Well, you know, I was looking around and found an article, just very recently on Nature, that says “Earth system science is rapidly emerging and transdisciplinary.” And for those of us kind of just catching up, can you tell us what does this all encompass?

Brannon Andersen: Yeah, so that’s a really great question. You know, the transdisciplinary idea is pretty new, but I think where it’s coming from is the problems that we’re facing today as humanity are extraordinarily complex. They’re systemic, so they’re large systems-level questions like climate change. Once you get into it, and this is sort of how I’ve evolved over time. Once you start as a geologist, and then I did my masters degree in the Bahamas. Then in the Bahamas I got very interested in environmental science because of the issues with the reefs (although I didn’t study reefs) I worked with people who did, and so reefs and overfishing, biodiversity laws, things like that. Then as an environmental scientist, you learn all about the hills, I guess — what humans are doing to change the planet, how fast, and so on. Then you start to look for “what are the drivers? Why are we doing this?” Then you eventually start thinking about solutions and the solutions initially, as a trained scientist, you’re thinking small scale. So, how do we solve the biodiversity problem in a certain location? As you begin to look at larger scale issues like climate change, consumption, and microplastics in the ocean, one thing that has become very apparent to me is all of these problems are interrelated. The only way we can solve them is to get towards changes in societal values, but then that opens a can of worms, right? Because then it is not about science anymore, it’s about philosophy, ethics, religion, policy, economics, and english. How do we envision a future? You know, most science-fiction is apocalyptic, but why not have science-fiction that envisions a sustainable future and what that might be like? There are a few out there that do that. Stanley Robinson is a great example — he questions systemic-level problems in his novels. Art is another one, and music, it’s just amazing once you start delving into this. The short answer is that the answer to these problems don’t come from any one discipline. It’s not interdisciplinary because it has everybody bringing their expertise to a little problem and then solving it; it’s truly transdisciplinary because solving these large-scale, systemic problems requires everybody at the table. I think that is, to me intellectually as a scholar, extraordinarily exciting because I get to work with people. Initially I thought “oh cool, I get to work with biologists and chemists,” and now I work with english professors, sociologists, anthropologists, and economists, and I’m always learning something new. The breath of my reading has increased pretty dramatically, as well. That transdisciplinary, unfortunately, is not something universities are set up to do very well. We can barely do interdisciplinary. We’re still pretty siloed, and here is the siloed thing. In our department, we’ve worked very hard to hire people who’ve realized that the cross-department in interdisciplinarity is very difficult to do because of tenure requirements and promotions and all that. So, we just decided to be our own interdisciplinary department. We’ve hired an anthropologist with an integrated ecology program, and her specialty is ecological economics. We have a guy who is a watershed management specialist with both a policy and science background. Then we have a person who has a PhD in sustainability science, she comes out of a planning background. We’ve diversified our department even where we’ve hired a structural geologist, but she had a double major at the undergraduate level and the other major was anthropology. We were intentionally hiring people with a breath of interest and comfort of working with people outside their own discipline. That starts building that transdisciplinary model which I think is pretty critical for humanity today.

Bart Everson: Wow. That does sound really interesting, really exciting. I tell people that I don’t really have a well-formed background. Technically I got a degree in communications, but I’ve always felt like I’m all over the place.

Brannon Andersen: Yeah, I’m with you.

Bart Everson: It’s great to hear about that maybe being an asset in some ways.

Brannon Andersen: It’s intellectual wandering, so that’s good.

Bart Everson: Yes, it is good. With such breadth, I think we might feel a little bit lost. I’m wondering, what are some classes that you actually teach?

Brannon Andersen: Well, again, I teach pretty traditional classes. My spin on them is not necessarily traditional, but I teach an introductory level environmental science class. We don’t use a textbook because I don’t feel that any of them are any good at the college level, so we use a planetary boundaries framework. I work with some people at the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, and they do what’s called “social metabolism” — so the flow of material and energy through society. I use that as a framework to understand why we’re surpassing planetary boundaries. It’s a freshman-level class, it’s really challenging. I have to facilitate a lot of learning and get a [unclear] because it can be intimidating. I just remind them that I’m their guide, that I’m there for help. Then I teach, in sustainability science, I teach dynamic systems modeling, which uses a program software called “Stella” which is a dynamic modeling software, so it’s really cool. It’s truly object-oriented. I did object-oriented modeling way back when, but that was like writing little algorithms and you put them together in sequence. This is literally putting a box for a stock onto your screen and then a pipe for a flow, and then building these really complex models with feedback loops. Then the differential equations all run in the back, so you can open up the program itself and see it. The students don’t need that kind of background, but it’s really more for exploring how systems behave and how changes in policy can affect system behavior. So how can you stop exponential growth of extraction of a particular mineral, for example, through policy change?

I teach an environmental systems course which I teach with a biologist, and we look at intergenetic biomes and how human transformational landscape has affected biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and so on. I teach a pretty standard geochemistry class, so that’s my geology background. Every once in a while I teach a stratigraphy class, but less and less because I’m not really a geologist anymore. So, I’ve taught a class called environmental society which looks at policy and social opportunities for change in light of environmental change. Now I’m doing more and more reading and teaching on economic systems from a larger macroscale. Is capitalism viable anymore? What is degrowth, and how does degrowth fit into this [unclear]? What would a steady state of economy look like? Do we have enough mineral resources to actually have everybody live like Americans? Which we don’t, but we explore those kinds of issues. That class used to be team-taught, which was a lot of fun, so I team-taught that class with a religion professor (once a philosophy professor), an English professor, a sociologist, and a philosopher. That was a lot of fun, I learned an awful lot. I probably learned more than the students did in those classes. Every time I taught that course, it gave me a viewpoint or tools, but then gave back to my teaching — particularly environmental science. We talk about worldviews, and I can talk about ethical frameworks in a much more collegiate manner than I could prior to teaching with these people. I’ll be teaching this spring, of course, on degrowth. I work with a bunch of people in Europe who study degrowth and we have a research project going. I’ll be using a book on climate change and degrowth, and it’ll be more of a seminar type thing.

Bart Everson: That sounds interesting. I’m sure we could do a whole podcast and series on degrowth and the implications of that. I’m sure there are a lot of our listeners who aren’t familiar with that term, but rather than getting into that, I did want to ask about some of the things that you do kind of in your teaching with your students. I was going to say in the classroom, but I think all bets are off about how much time anyone is spending in the classroom with their students this year given the pandemic and so forth. You had mentioned something in our previous conversation that actually really intrigued me. You said that you had drawn some ideas from a couple books — Patterning Instinct by Jeremy Lent as well as Capra and Luisi’s Systems View of Life. Some of the ideas in there can get students thinking differently about some things.

Brannon Andersen: I’ll start with the environmental systems class. Trying to get students out of their own head is sort of really shifting their framework in a really radical way to get them to say “Oh wait, there’s other ways of looking at things.” So we, Greg and I who teach this course, have this little stick we do every year. It’s about “are you really you?” So we start off like “you’re walking across campus and you’re a reduced carbon-being walking around in a 21% oxygen atmosphere. Why doesn’t your nose fall off on the way to class and start decaying? Or your fingers or whatever. That always gives them pause, and then we talk about energy and how you’re a system so you have to have energy coming in and energy going out. As long as energy is coming in, you can keep yourself going, but the moment you stop taking in energy, you’re dead. This idea of “you’re an energy processor that basically transforms,” you’re an entropy machine really. Then we start talking a little bit about you being alive but your skin cells die, why don’t you drown in your own skin cells? We of course think about this. Then we start saying it’s because you’re not really you — you’re a walking colonial organism. You have bacteria in you, fungi, mites, and all kinds of things crawling on your skin and in your gut. Everything that largely keeps you pretty healthy. You think you’re an individual, but you’re really this walking colonial organism. Then we use a biogeochemical framework. Which atom lasts the longest in your body? It turns out it is phosphorus. Even in your bones, an atom of phosphorus hangs about for maybe 7-10 years, and then it is gone — it gets replaced. Your whole body is turning over every 7-10 years, or less for carbon and stuff. Then the question is “are you really you?” because your whole system replaces itself 7,8,9 times through your lifetime or more depending upon the element. That comes to Capra’s idea that you’re a stable pattern moving through time and space. You’re deeply interconnected to all these other organisms both on you and around you. That is where we start talking about the interdependent web of being and thinking about the systems dynamics modeling. I take this off in terms of the idea of radical individualism and what that means. You’re not even really an individual, and you’re wholly connected to other people, the planetary system, energy from the sun, you can just go on and on. You’re part of this deep interdependent web of being — that’s Jeremy Lent’s idea. Both of these guys would argue that radical individualism is one of the bigger problems we face because we’re not individuals at all. We can never really rely on ourselves alone for anything. Like Jeremy Lent would say, much of the environmental and social problems that we’re facing are to a large degree because of this radical individualism and our lack of awareness that we are part of this larger, interdependent web of being. We’re sort of an artifact of western thinking, and he goes through the whole history of that which I find really fascinating. It does tend to get my students to rethink positions on things because they’re sort of locked into this certain culture that we have today. My goal is to get them to question that. If you really want to have solutions — in large part to sustainability — you have to think way outside the box. It’s very interesting also, Patrick Denene wrote a book about why individualism failed. He comes from a very different perspective but then stops at the very same conclusion with the radical individualism being a large problem we’re facing. He doesn’t go as far to say we should rethink in terms of an interdependent web of being or Jeremy Lent’s (not sure what he said), so taking an Eastern philosophical bent towards understanding that we are all connected. Also, holism versus dualism, which is really interesting. In my 112 class and my 242 class, environmental science and social systems modeling, we spent a fair amount of time just kind of contemplating what that would mean in terms of sustainability solutions. Largely, I point out, to achieve a sustainable world, it depends upon what our societal growth goals are. Our goal is to be radically individualistic and be growth oriented. There's nothing else we can possibly do to solve these problems. The system that causes the problems is not likely to solve it. So, having that shift in framework to understanding that you are part of this larger web of being, I think, is really the first step for our students to begin to think of systems in a very different way.

Bart Everson: Thank you for that. Thank you for making some of those connections. That sounds like a class I would love to take, by the way. It is consonant with a number of spiritual teachings that I've encountered. The political and philosophical ramifications seem staggering and very interesting. One theme that you've mentioned several times now is kind of addressing problems/looking at problems and the crises that we're facing — not just as individuals, but as humanity as a whole, we might say. In connection with that, one thing I keep hearing about in certain activist circles and so forth, is this idea of a just transition. I understood from you that you actually had connected this with black liberation struggles, and so forth. Again, this may be a term that is not widely familiar to our listeners. So can you tell us what does this just transition refer to and how do you teach it?

Brannon Andersen: The just transition would say/says that the current extractivist economy, which I first learned about when I was at a Green Academy conference in coma Zagreb, Croatia talking with people (primarily other scholars from South America). South America is getting extracted quite heavily for gold, oil, and soybeans. They kept talking about extractivist economies and they explained that to me. So, the just transition basically says capitalism is an extractivist economy. The goal is growth at all costs, both social and environmental. If you have to trample people, if you have to travel the environment, anything to win. It becomes very militaristic because you have to defend your resources or defend the access to resources. They would say that we need to transition to a regenerative economy that focuses on both the well being of people and the planet. Again, this comes back to recognizing that as humans we are wholly dependent on the planet to survive. It's not dualistic, we're part of this larger interconnected web of being. There’s a spiritual dimension to that. It forces you to grapple with the issue of racism and inequality on both small and large scales because you can't have a sustainable world that has massive inequity. That's just not possible. So to say, “Oh, well, I'm more sustainable because I live in a 7000 square foot house but it's powered by solar panels” is not really sustainability. This is part of the issue — it’s like, how do you equal things out? You're never going to have perfect equality, but people should have some basic human rights. You should have access to clean water and sanitation, access to electricity, access to food security, and access to safe and fair housing. There’s certain things that many of us take for granted that the ‘just transition’ would say, “look at the rest of the world, and try and figure out why it's not like that.” Then they would come back and say “well it's because people on the planet are exploited by the current political and economic system,” which is neoliberal. It’s capitalism, which focuses on extractivism and the idea is growth at all costs, so that all has to change. It has to change justly. It’s about access to power — who has a say in these decisions at both the local and the global scale. It's a difficult read. It's a little tiny pamphlet. It’s not more than about 20 pages. Particularly if you're an old, white dude like I am, it really makes you look in the mirror and say, “I'm part of the problem.” How do you break free of that? What do you need to do? I'm still working through that. I like the ‘just transition’ because when I have my students read it, they're mostly well off white kids from the suburbs, and it makes them feel really uncomfortable when they read it. I tell them that's the point. You should be uncomfortable when you read this. You should understand that your ability to sit in an air conditioned classroom with a nice LED projector, your laptop, your nice clothing, and your cars come at the expense of other people. It’s not to make you feel guilty because then you just wallow in guilt. The idea to look for solutions to bring more equity to the world and being aware of it, I think, is the first step. How you dismantle the current system and build a new system that's a big question, but I think being aware of it, is the first step. I think the protests we're seeing right now are phenomenal. You see people of all creeds and races getting together and protesting together. I’m a child of the 60s and early 70s, that just didn't happen in the past as much. That gives me hope because I think, particularly the people I'm teaching, I've seen a big shift in my students over the years. If I would’ve taught the ‘just transition’ 15 years ago, I would’ve been dropped out of the university, probably. Now, the students feel uncomfortable, but we kind of spend the whole term coming back to that idea, addressing those, and thinking about what can be done. It’s also helpful that my colleagues are really good at this kind of stuff because we hired interdisciplinary people from different backgrounds, so I can always go to them. If I came to the point where I was like, “I'm not really sure how to address a question that a student has raised,” I can go to them for help. It is a really interesting idea of what a regenerative economy would look like. That dovetails very well with my degrowth research and so on. It’s like you have to live smaller. What does that mean? Does that mean back to the stone age? No, not at all. It does question the scale and the idea of sufficiency rather than excess. The current system pushes you to have more always, but more what and why? Does it really make you feel better? What really makes you happy? Mostly, it’s your social connections or your friendships or going to a concert together, which we can’t do anymore right now, but eventually we will get to go back, but hang out. It's not that new toy you got that's nice for a little while, but that loses its luster pretty quickly. So, an idea of ‘just transitions’ also, a lot of people have a lot of stuff, but they're also drowning in debt. Is that fair? That’s part of that equity issue. Then if you have people trying to get to that level and they can't, then they feel blocked. That’s not right either. This whole idea of shifting the whole social-societal goal for wellbeing and justice, I think, that's the ‘just transition.’ It's a challenging read, but I really keep coming back to it because it's enlightening. It fits very well with the idea of sustainability and environmental and social justice because they're two sides of the same coin.

Bart Everson: Great. I should mention that we’ll include links in the show notes to some of the sources that we’ve mentioned in our discussion. I wanted to thank you for your time. In this discussion/conversation, we've touched on a lot of different things, and our listeners, of course, teach in a wide variety of disciplines. The topics that you've kind of touched on here today, I think almost anybody coming from almost any discipline, teaching almost any class might find something here to connect with. The stakes are high, so if we're not educating our students about these things, these crises this world, then what are we doing? I have to wonder.

Brannon Andersen: I would agree with that very much.

Bart Everson: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with our listeners. I did want to mention anybody listening to this, if you found this conversation interesting, please do subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform. Give us a rating or review, that's always helpful to help people find the time to contact. Dr Brandon Anderson, thank you so much.

Brannon Andersen: You're welcome. It was a pleasure.

Transcribed by Maya Madise

Aug 25 2020

32mins

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Rank #6: Conversation #96: #KeepTeachingXULA (Part 3)

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A conversation between Xavier's very own KiTani Parker Lemieux (Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences), Raven Jackson and Thomas J. Maestri (Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences), hosted by CAT+FD's Jay Todd and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on how College of Pharmacy is adapting to remote teaching during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Jackson teaches in several courses within the PharmD curriculum including Neurology Therapeutics, Interprofessional Education, Medication Therapy Management, Self Care Therapeutics, Point of Care Testing, as well as a lecture on the Pharmacogenomics of Diabetes. Dr. Jackson also teaches an Infectious Disease Point of Care Testing Lab. As a component of her clinical position, Dr. Jackson provides Diabetes Medication Management at the Family Doctor’s Clinic at West Jefferson Medical Center where she serves as a preceptor for both Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience and Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience.

After graduating from Xavier’s College of Pharmacy in 2014, Dr. Jackson went on to complete her Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY-1) training at Purdue University, in partnership with Walgreens where she obtained skills in Medication Therapy Management, Point of Care Testing, Diabetes Care, Precepting, and Pharmacy Management. During this time, she also successfully completed the Indiana Pharmacy Teaching Certificate Program (IPTeC). After completion of her residency, Dr. Jackson obtained a position as Pharmacy Manager of a Walgreens location in Texas where she remained for one year prior to accepting her current role at Xavier University.

Dr. Maestri is currently a board certified psychiatric clinical pharmacy specialist (BCPP) serving as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy. His area of expertise is the pharmacologic treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. In his role, he provides both experiential and didactic learning opportunities to Xavier Pharmacy students in psychopharmacology, substance use, and ethical principles of pharmacy.

As part of his practice, he works in collaboration with the LSUHSC psychiatry department at University Medical Center (UMC) to provide optimized care to patients with acute episodes of psychotic, mood, and substance use disorders. This work is performed in the settings of the inpatient psychiatry units, the behavioral health emergency department, and the psychiatry consult liaison service.

Dr. KiTani Parker Lemieux is an Associate Professor in the Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, where she also serves as the Director of the Center of Excellence (COE ) Scholars Program. She received her B.A. degree in Biology from Fisk University, her M.S. degree in Biology, from Tennessee State University, and her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Clark Atlanta University.

Dr. Lemieux completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center at LSU Health Sciences Center. She has served as faculty at Dillard University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Since joining the faculty at Xavier in 2007, Dr. Lemieux has focused her research to better understand the role of the noncancerous microenvironment in breast cancer metastasis, especially in triple negative breast cancer, which disproportionately impacts African American women. She has published in the field and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.

Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He teaches English and serves as Associate Director of CAT+FD.

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Apr 14 2020

29mins

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Rank #7: Conversation #95: Tia Smith on Media and COVID-19

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A conversation between Xavier's very own Tia Smith (Mass Communications) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, media, and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Tia L. Smith joined the Mass Communication Department at Xavier University in 2015 as Department Head. Dr. Smith received her Bachelors in Mass Communication, Speech and Theater from Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. She earned a Masters of Arts in International Telecommunications with a Concentration in Women’s Studies, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mass Communication from the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.

Dr. Smith has worked as a corporate communications consultant, focusing on communication campaigns, media relations and international communication education. She has trained journalists and media professionals throughout the Caribbean and Latin American on covering taboo topics such as Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking. She has lived and worked in diverse cultural and learning environments in the United States, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago.

And, in addition to chapters and journal articles, her first book is Contradictions in a Hip-Hop World: An Auto-ethnography of Black Women’s Lived Experiences.


Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

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Apr 07 2020

22mins

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Rank #8: Conversation #94: #KeepTeachingXULA (Part 2)

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A conversation between Xavier's very own Asem I. Abdulahad (Chemistry), Lisa J. Schulte-Gipson (Psychology), and Steven J. Salm (History), hosted by CAT+FD's Jay Todd and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on how we're adapting to remote teaching and life in general during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Abdulahad earned his B.S. in chemistry from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA in 2006. He then received his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY working under the guidance of Professor Chang Ryu. Subsequently, Dr. Abdulahad worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Integrated Science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Here, he helped to develop laboratory curricula for the Integrated Sciences Curriculum at Virginia Tech and performed research on synthetic polymer materials for high performance and biomedical applications. Dr. Abdulahad spent three years as an instructor of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at Jefferson College of Health Sciences prior to joining the Department of Chemistry at Xavier in the Fall of 2017.

Dr. Schulte received her BS from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). She attended SUNY Albany where she earned both her MA and PhD in Social/Personality Psychology.

Dr. Schulte has worked at Xavier University since 1993. Throughout her tenure at Xavier she has served both the University and Department in many capacities. Her current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and positive psychology (specifically as related to enhancing well-being among students).

Dr. Salm teaches courses in African history and popular culture, the Black Atlantic World, modern colonialism, and research methods. He has conducted fieldwork in several West African countries, including Ghana and Sierra Leone, and has received a number of awards and fellowships for his work, including a William S. Livingston Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He has published six books, as well as chapters and articles on topics as diverse as gender, youth, music, literature, religion, urbanization, and popular culture. He currently holds the Alumni Class of 1958 Endowed Professorship in the Humanities and serves as the Department Chair of History and the Division Chair of Fine Arts and Humanities.

Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.

Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He teaches English and serves as Associate Director of CAT+FD.

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Mar 31 2020

32mins

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Rank #9: Conversation #93: #KeepTeachingXULA (Part 1)

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A conversation between Xavier's very own Robin Vander (English), Terry Watt (Chemistry), and Sloane Signal (Education), hosted by CAT+FD's Jay Todd and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on teaching and learning after our quick pivot online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sloane M. Signal holds a BA in Spanish and an MBA in both Marketing and Management from Tulane University, and completed her PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Administration at Jackson State University


Robin Vander holds an M.A. and  Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Terry Watt holds an M.S. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology


Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.


Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He teaches English and serves as Associate Director of CAT+FD.

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Mar 24 2020

25mins

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Rank #10: Conversation #92: Roxane Chan and Emily McIntire on Simulating Poverty

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A conversation between Emily McIntire, Roxane Chan, and Bart Everson on teaching, learning, and simulating poverty to stimulate compassion.

Emily McIntire has a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on nursing education and is the director of the simulation laboratory at Michigan State University. She is working toward her PhD in Nursing Science to research best educational practices in nursing education design and delivery.

Roxane Raffin Chan received her PhD from the University of Michigan and is a board-certified advanced holistic nurse. She researches using mindfulness interventions for persons with chronic disease.

Both Roxane and Emily are recipients of the Billie Diane Gamble Undergraduate Faculty Teaching Excellence/Enrichment Award.

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

  • The Community Action Poverty Simulation was created by Missouri Community Action Network
  • Check out the original research that started Roxane and Emily on the contemplative pathway in the college of nursing:
    Participatory action inquiry using baccalaureate nursing students: The inclusion of integrative health care modalities in nursing core curriculum. Nurse Educ Pract. 2017 Jan;22:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2016.12.003. Epub 2016 Dec [link]

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Feb 25 2020

28mins

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