Sparking Joy in Teaching

Through Faculty Day, Jefferson educators collaborate, share and innovate.

Shortly after Commencement, the University continued its tradition of celebrating Jefferson educators with Faculty Day. Sponsored by the Office for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development, the Center for Faculty Development and Nexus Learning (CFDNL) and the Institutional Faculty Development Team, this annual event has cultivated a community of faculty who collaborate, share and innovate with other educators across the University.

Each year, the planning committee selects a theme. Previous topics have included diversity, wellness and cross-campus collaboration. Last year’s program served as an opportunity to unveil the CFDNL’s conceptual framework of the Jefferson Educator and the attributes of faculty educators at the University.

This year’s virtual program continued the conversation and focused on “Sparking Joy in Teaching.” The theme and call for proposals asked participants to consider where and how they experienced joy in their teaching practices while sustaining high teaching standards.

The theme resonated with educators. Faculty Day 2022 drew the largest crowd in its 14-year history and saw participation from 11 University colleges and schools and over 200 faculty members.

The challenges prompted attendees to express how and where they find joy in teaching through words, images and even dashboards.

The event included a collaborative creativity exercise, podium presentations, micro-talks, experiential workshops and a panel of educators recognized by their peers for their passion for teaching. The program highlighted practical educational strategies that exemplify innovation and professional vitality—two domains of the Jefferson Educator.

This year, the CFDNL reached out to design faculty from the Creativity Core Curriculum, including Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, Dana Scott and Renee Walker, to design seven collaborative challenges. In lieu of a keynote presentation, these exercises encouraged participants to engage with each other in virtual breakout rooms.

The challenges prompted attendees to express how and where they find joy in teaching through words, images and even dashboards. Participants used the virtual platform Miro to capture their collaborations. Working with this interactive whiteboard also allowed faculty to experiment with a new technology.

Conference planners challenged two breakout rooms to capture teaching in verse. Miro Boards presented participants with archetypal images of teaching and learning, including study carrels, library stacks, classrooms, and computers as well as a pre-populated word bank. Using the photos as inspiration and words from the word bank or new contributions, participants worked to create free-form poetry related to teaching and learning.
Using photos of library stacks, classrooms and computers as inspiration and words from the word bank or new contributions, Faculty Day participants created free-form poetry related to teaching and learning.

The remainder of the day showcased faculty presentations. Given their reception, most sessions and workshops will be offered again by the CFDNL over the 2022-2023 academic year as standalone faculty development sessions.

The CFDNL has shared this Articulate Rise module, created with assistance from instructional designers in the Academic Commons, to capture and convey elements of this inspirational program. Here, individuals can see faculty recognized by their peers, the creativity exercises created and collective expressions of joy in teaching across Jefferson faculty.

The CFDNL is led by Jefferson’s four provosts for faculty development. Dimitri Papanagnou is the associate provost for faculty development (health professions education and scholarship) and works with assistant provosts Juan Leon (online education and assessment); Christopher Pastore (Nexus Learning and classroom pedagogy); and Julie Phillips (curricular and instructional design), as well as Samantha Bruno, program manager in the Office for Faculty Affairs.

[Main photo credit:]

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