Timeless Placeless – Then & Now

Opening note by Amanda Thomas, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs

Welcome back! I hope that each of you had a restful break and are looking forward to a productive spring semester. Rest from work is necessary to keep both energy and productivity high, so I encourage each of us to think of ways of scheduling such time in our calendars. Faculty Friday is not only a break from teaching and scholarly writing, it is a good opportunity for great conversation with colleagues. Dates for Faculty Friday (all 3-5pm in the Hug Lounge) are:

  • Friday, February 16
  • Friday, April 6
  • Tuesday, May 1 (Study Day)

Thanks to all those involved in our spring teaching workshop, a wonderful opening to the semester. Our focus was digital pedagogy and Bob Kenyon is here to give some highlights and resources. Whether you have taught online before or are just beginning to use technology in your face-to-face classes, there is something new for you that has the potential to enhance the learning of our students.

By Robert S. Kenyon Ed.D., Interim Director of Digital Teaching & Learning

It was with great pleasure that I was able to share my thoughts for the January Teaching Enhancement Workshop. The plenary talk was entitled “Timeless Placeless.” We discussed how in the past we were programmed to promptly position ourselves in front of the television to see Walter Cronkite on the NBC Nightly News at exactly 6:30 p.m.  Silence was required since the news was available only once, could not be recorded, paused or replayed at a later time. Shopping and banking could likewise only be done at a certain time and place. Today we deposit checks, watch Netflix and make purchases online anytime anywhere. We are flooded with twenty-four hour a day news.

Black and white photo of old American classroom
American classrooms a hundred years ago were not only segregated, they provided only one way for students to access course material. All that has changed with new digital tools.

We then reflected on the classroom of 100 years ago where students sat in rows with paper books – at the same place, same time. A view of today’s typical classroom looks strangely similar. How could we avail ourselves of today’s technology and make learning more effective? Using web conferencing software, students can learn from any location as demonstrated by the world map of our students who studied databases from several continents last summer. Recorded lectures allow students to learn from any time zone. Both obvious and profound, we discussed how student who were able to pause, play and review the recorded lecture actually received higher grades and enjoyed the experience.

The newly formed Office of Digital Teaching & Learning stands ready to assist faculty with implementing these new technologies to facilitate more effective learning, anywhere, anytime. Please visit the ODTL website for more information.

Keeping Christ in Christmas; Keeping “Break” in “Winter Break”

By Amanda Thomas, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs

Holiday Joy Snowman

Advent and Christmas are favorite times of the year for me, even though I am a Southerner and think 49 degrees is frigid. I enjoy the cards, the decorations, the music, the parties, and spending time with friends and family. As a Christian, I believe it is a very sacred time of year, full of anticipation and joy in the birth of Jesus. In other words, I try, in the midst of shopping and busyness, to keep Christ at the center of my Christmas celebrations.

On the other hand, the end of the semester has never been my favorite time of year. As Dr. Sue Abromaitis said to me years ago, “Amanda, we get paid to grade and the rest is fun.” When I repeated this to Dr. Tom Pegram and Dr. Kevin Hula this week, they begged to differ because in their view, Academic Senate meetings go on the same list as grading. They are probably right. In any case, the end of the semester vacillates between busy and, as some call it, “crazy busy.” Students and faculty members alike often say to me “I might not get it all done” to which I say “You will; you always do.” After the supreme effort of studying, writing, and grading, it is good to remember that the academic calendar includes breaks: breaks from preparing and going to classes, completing and grading assignments, and attending meetings. I encourage all of my colleagues, whatever your faith tradition may be, to take advantage of the winter break to make space for what is sacred and/or restorative to you, whether it be a particular seasonal family activity, lunch with friends, catching up on those back issues of the New Yorker, re-watching the entire Harry Potter movie series, or volunteering at your favorite service site. Some of my best scholarship ideas and teaching innovations have come to me during these times of prayer, renewed connections, rest, relaxation, and recharging. I wish you a wonderful break and look forward to the spring semester

What’s Your Superpower?

Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Interim Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Diversity, reflects on teaching and highlights the six university-wide awards that recognize faculty excellence at Loyola.

Teaching plaque

A dear friend gave me the plaque pictured above. I proudly display the plaque in my office because it reminds me of the powerful gift of teaching. After graduating from Loyola’s outstanding program in elementary education and beginning my career as a teacher, I quickly learned that teaching is a superpower, indeed. When done well teaching opens doors, transforms lives, and moves society forward.

We have many excellent teachers at Loyola. Every day, through transformative teaching methods, our colleagues share their expertise with students and help our students consider new possibilities for their areas of study and themselves. We have colleagues who perform similar feats of superpower in the areas of scholarship and mentoring. You know them. You see the excellence of their work. You have been amazed as you have spent time in their classrooms, labs, or creative spaces. You have considered new connections and applications in your own work as you listened to our colleagues skillfully and powerfully present at professional conferences. You have witnessed the ways they have deeply enhanced our community through partnership and engaged scholarship.

Each year, the office of academic affairs sponsors a celebration to gather faculty and recognize the scope of faculty excellence at Loyola in teaching, scholarship, mentoring, and engaged scholarship. The celebration includes conferring six university-wide faculty awards, a brief scholarly presentation from the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar of the Year award, and highlights of the past year of grant recipients and grant activity, teaching and advising activity, and faculty scholarship and creative activity.

Help us celebrate the super talent and super power among us. Submit your nominations for the Faculty Excellence Awards on our website.

All nominations must be submitted by January 17, 2018.

I teach. What is your superpower? Let us know. Submit your nomination today.


Gratitude in the midst of Busyness

Amanda Thomas, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, reflects on the season of Thanksgiving.

It is that time in the semester when the students look as if the entire term’s worth of assignments is due tomorrow, faculty members seem to be mentally calculating and recalculating when grading will be finished, and then the Thanksgiving holiday hits, with hours of travel and/or food preparation. All this busyness can be a strain on the nerves. It is good to basically be required to find a way to be thankful, even if one of our children drops our grandmother’s cherished dish, our partner manages to go on an errand right when people start arriving, or an uncle starts spouting political views that put the rest of the family on edge.

I used to spend my time working with families with young children who managed to strain the nerves of all in their environments—parents, teachers, peers, even themselves. I would always begin with a parental challenge: find 20 things to praise their child for before school. Many told me they could not find that many things in a week(!), but after a review of possibilities (Did he finally get his feet on the floor to get out of bed? Was the toothbrush picked up? Did at least one bite of breakfast make it into the tummy? Did she remember her backpack? Is the homework off of the floor? Did she crack a half smile at least once?), we were able to come up with a plan, and mornings in that family started to change. Perceptions of the “wild” child started to change. The child started to change. Families are one example of a system, and a significant change to any part of a system changes the entire system.

At Loyola, we are in a time of challenge. During times of challenge, it’s tempting to focus on the emotional stress and anxiety and forget to look around and see all the things for which we are grateful. I just received an email from Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communication Mark Lindenmeyer. In it, he cites an article highlighting a Harvard Business School professor who says that half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. Mark goes on to note the author’s conclusion: “Fortunately, in his [Christensen’s] research, he found that most of the successful alumni who gave generous donations to their alma maters did so because a specific professor or coach inspired them. Among all of these donors, ‘Their connection wasn’t their discipline, it wasn’t even the college,’ says Christensen. ‘It was an individual member of the faculty who had changed their lives.’”

So what am I particularly grateful for this Thanksgiving? The members of our faculty who, each and every day, connect with our students. The staff and administrators who encourage and cajole our students to persevere in their studies and in their development. Does every connection result in life change? No. Do we know which ones will? Not always at the time. This constant effort to connect with our students and encourage them in their intellectual pursuits, career goals, and life plans is what matters. Each of you matters. Thank you.

Business Leader of the Year 2017

Kathleen Getz, Dean of the Sellinger School of Business and Management, highlights this year’s Business Leader of the Year event. Sellinger senior Blythe Cassidy shares her reflections on the event and her Loyola experience.

Michael Hankin photo

On November 16, Loyola will honor Michael Hankin, President and CEO of Brown Advisory as the 2017 Business Leader of the Year. Each year, Loyola recognizes one individual as the Business Leader of the Year. Mr. Hankin was nominated by a committee of the Board of Sponsors of the Sellinger School of Business and Management and selected by Fr. Brian Linnane, S.J. Annually, the award recognizes those whose vision, dedicated effort and commitment to the highest ideals of business have distinguished them and their organizations as among the best in the nations, and have marked them as exemplars of the principles and values Loyola endeavors to instill in its students.

Mr. Hankin has led employee-owned Brown Advisory since 1998. He also serves in several leadership roles for non-profit organizations focusing on the environment and land conservation, education, and health care. As chair of the Baltimore Waterfront Partnership and Management Authority, he has challenged the city to achieve a goal of making Baltimore’s Inner Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. In addition, Mr. Hankin serves as a trustee of The Johns Hopkins University, trustee and vice chairman of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and chair of the board of managers of the Applied Physics lab at Hopkins. He is president of Land Preservation Trust, a trustee of the Chesapeake Conservancy and the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, as well as a director for the National Steeplechase Association. He also serves on the boards of directors of Stanley Black & Decker, Tate Engineering Services and The Wills Group.

Mr. Hankin will deliver an address at the annual Business Leader of the Year Award Dinner. Proceeds from the Award Dinner will be used to create the Brown Advisory scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a Sellinger student. Blythe Cassidy, Sellinger senior and this year’s featured student speaker, reflects on the event and her Loyola experience:

blytheAs a student, the Business Leader of the Year award dinner gives me something tangible to look towards. I can see how hard work and dedication can catapult someone in many directions and truly shape who they are. I am grateful that Loyola chooses successful and innovative businesspeople for students to emulate. I get to see why I am studying business and the kinds of people that I can meet and eventually impact. It is a great time as well, because the food is delicious and students get to chat with potential employers.

The dinner also is a space where students can sit with and get to know local businesses. Many of these businesses are smaller and students might not know about them before attending. Last year, I sat with a local architecture firm with an engaging staff. It helped me learn that my business degree doesn’t limit me to a cubicle, but I can truly go anywhere and do anything. I spent the evening chatting and laughing with the staff and got to listen to an amazing honoree and student speaker.

I am grateful for the honor of speaking on behalf of students at the dinner. I get to share my own experience, but hopefully the experience of many of my peers in the process. I can show the attendees that their devotion to Loyola matters and has tangible results. I would not be where I am without their support, and neither would many other students. Everyone there has one common goal in mind, to make Loyola the best school it can be.

Isn’t that what we are all really here for? We want to make Loyola the best because then students like me can go out and do even better things. I get to meet people, learn by example, and see how this can all impact me so I can in turn impact the world. I know other students like me get a lot out of this dinner, so if you want to register, don’t forget to sign up!



Grand Seminar: Green Chemistry – The Missing Elements

The Natural and Applied Sciences division highlights the relevant topic of green chemistry and the groundbreaking keynote speaker for Loyola’s Grand Seminar.

Loyola University’s natural and applied sciences division is excited to present the fall 2017 Grand Seminar featuring keynote speaker John Warner, Ph.D., one of the founders of Green Chemistry.  This annual lecture has brought world-renowned scientists to campus to speak about matters effecting the global community since 2011.


What is green chemistry and why is it important? A new generation of scientists is researching and developing better, safer ways to design and manufacture chemicals.  Rather than cleaning up toxic waste sites and pollution from chemical manufacturing, what if there was a way to avoid creating that pollution in the first place? If the next generation of materials designers are given the knowledge and tools to create products with negligible impact on the environment and human health, we can begin making strides toward a safer, more sustainable future.

Dr. Warner received the 2014 Perkin Medal, considered the highest honor in American Industrial Chemistry, along with other prestigious awards. He is the president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC, a research organization dedicated to creating environmentally-benign technologies and processes for industry that are functional and cost-effective. Warner is also the founder of Beyond Benign, a non-profit organization committed to providing educators, scientists and the greater community with the tools and knowledge to teach and practice green chemistry.

Check out “John Warner and Green Chemistry” by assistant professor of chemistry Courtney Hastings on The Art of STEM blog to learn more about Dr. Warner’s research and the evolving field of green chemistry.  And join the natural and applied sciences in welcoming Dr. Warner for his talk “Green Chemistry: The Missing Elements” at Grand Seminar, Tuesday, November 7 at 6:30 pm in McGuire Hall. There will be a meet and greet prior to the seminar beginning at 5:00 pm.  This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.  Visit www.loyola.edu/grandseminar for more information.

HIP Hauber Summer Research Program & Fellows

The coolest place at Loyola in the summer is wherever the Hauber scholars are. Hear about the amazing work of these budding scientists from Dr. Bahram Roughani, Associate Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences.

It is obvious that summer is here when having a seat at Starbucks or finding a parking spot does not require planning and perfect timing. Also, the usual buzz and the flurry of activities involving students comes to a halt during the summer break.  However, the exception might be the buzz at Donnelly Science Center and the bustle of research activities by the Hauber Fellows deeply engaged in their research work with their faculty mentors.

Hauber Fellows and Mentors 2017
2017 Hauber Fellows and Mentors

Hauber Summer Research Program is an annual summer initiative that started in 1988 to provide the opportunity for mathematics, sciences, and engineering undergraduates to work one-on-one with faculty mentors. This program is named in honor of Father Edward S. Hauber, S.J., professor of chemistry at Loyola from 1942 to 1966. Initially Fr. Hauber raised funds for chemistry majors to conduct summer research with faculty mentors. After his death in 1985, additional funds were raised through philanthropic supports and external grants that resulted in the introduction of the Hauber Summer Research program in its new form in 1988 and expanded support for summer research projects to all disciplines in the natural and applied sciences.

Wednesdays are special, because Hauber Fellows present their research work during lunch in front of a packed room. The audience is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and sometimes industrial sponsors who have provided research funding support. The 2017 Hauber Summer Research presentations were the outcome of the research work done by fifteen Hauber Fellows, twelve faculty mentors from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics, one Philosophy Department faculty member, and a Kolvenbach Fellow. A recent article by Loyola Magazine provides an insight about the diversity of research topics that were investigated and presented by 2017 Hauber Fellows.

Hauber 2017 Local Air Quality
L-R: Hauber Fellows Thomas Howard and Nicole D’Andrea, with Hauber Faculty Mentor Dr. Elizabeth Dahl and Kolvenbach Fellow Michael Comer. They presented a talk on “Local Air Quality: The Green & Gray” as a joint effort between Hauber and Kolvenbach Programs.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has identified undergraduate research as one of the High Impact Practices (HIPs), as well as learning communities, community-based projects and service-learning, co-ops and internships, field experiences, student teaching and clinical experiences, study abroad, culminating senior experiences (capstone courses, senior project or theses, comprehensive exams, portfolios, etc.). Loyola University has institutionalized many of the so called HIPs, with Hauber Summer Research Program being a prime example.  One may ponder about the common factors among various High Impact Practices (HIPs) that make them so effective.  In my opinion there are three important common factors among the variety of HIPs: Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery.

In the end, not only is Hauber Summer Research Program “HIP,” so are our Hauber Fellows. First, they are engaged in their research project with a sense of Purpose defined by their motivation and determination to find an answer to a research question. They are fueled by the passion for having a positive impact through scientific discoveries.  Second, they work with fair amount of Autonomy, because faculty mentors are there to foster the intellectual growth of the Hauber Fellows as independent thinkers. Finally, they achieve Mastery of knowledge through scientific exploration, making observations, asking the right questions, conducting background research, forming hypotheses, testing the hypotheses through reproducible and verifiable experiments, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and finally accepting or rejecting the hypotheses and modifying the hypotheses if necessary.  Furthermore, Hauber Fellows prove their communication skills when presenting complex scientific ideas to an audience with diverse backgrounds in a masterful display of “eloquentia perfecta.” This makes both the Hauber Summer Research Program and the Hauber Fellows HIP!