Program Overview

The Lucas Center for Faculty Development promotes excellence and innovation in teaching and learning at FGCU.  We offer programs for new faculty and their seasoned colleagues that aim to transform classrooms and careers. While most of our initiatives are targeted to faculty, we offer a robust selection of programming that supports, facilitates, promotes and advances best practices within our diverse learner-centered campus community.



The Course Design Academy (CDA) will meet for three full days in Summer A to explore learner-centered design principles, discuss ideas in small learning teams, and apply principles/concepts to courses and syllabi. You will exit with a new and improved fall course and tools to implement strategies and activities. Over the three days, we will continue to explore ways to “backward” design from what we want our students to know, identify effective ways to assess what our students know, explore ways to support significant long-term learning, and plug these ideas into your course.

Dates: 2025 Dates TBD
Time: 9:00a-3:30p
Location: LIB 221 (Lucas Center)

Assignment DEsign Academy

Assignments are powerful teaching tools, and their design is one of the most consequential intellectual tasks that faculty undertake in their work as educators. Yet that work is often private and unavailable for collegial exchange and knowledge building. This Academy will be an opportunity to talk with other faculty interested in trading ideas about the design and use of the various tasks, projects, papers, and performances we set for our students. Thoughtfully designed assignments can support learning-centered curricular and pedagogical reform and create clearer, more powerful pathways for  students. And for faculty, working together on the design and peer review of assignments has turned out to be a powerful professional development experience. This Academy makes use of resources developed by the Transparency in Learning and Teaching project, and you can find additional information here that may help you decide if this Academy is right for you.

Dates & Times: 2025 Dates/Times TBD
Location: LIB 221 (Lucas Center)


The Academic Portfolio Workshop is a week-long, mentored experience for faculty who intend to submit a promotion portfolio within the next two years. Adapted from a model designed by Peter Seldin, co-author of The Academic Portfolio:  A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research, and Service, participants are assigned to a faculty coach who provides advice, editing, and feedback on the narrative portions of the promotion portfolio. The workshop will 1) aid you in developing an organizational framework to showcase your strengths and accomplishments as a faculty member and 2) offer guidance on how to organize your promotion portfolio to meet university standards. Full-time faculty members are eligible to participate.

Dates & Times: 2025 Dates/Times TBD

Location: LIB 221 (Lucas Center)


Peer observation of teaching is a supportive and developmental process to encourage dialogue about teaching among collaborative peers. Research suggests that the peer observation process can benefit the teaching of both observer and observed (Hendry & Oliver, 2012). Therefore, by participating in this workshop you will 1) increase your capacity to provide a valuable service to your peers and the university, and 2) engage in professional development to enhance your own teaching. Full-time faculty members are eligible to participate.

Dates: TBD
LIB 221 (Lucas Center)

Adjunct Academy

The Adjunct Academy is a professional development opportunity for adjunct instructors who are in good standing with their department and have taught for two consecutive years at FGCU. The purpose of the Adjunct Academy is to provide evidence-based pedagogy training to adjunct instructors who wish to enhance their skills and knowledge in teaching and learning best practices. Upon completion of all components of the Adjunct Academy compensation will be increased by $700 per three credit hour course. Note: this academy will be available twice per academic year, depending on demand.

Over a 12 month timeframe, the following components must be completed:

  • Four two-hour, in-person pedagogy workshops, (including preparation for each session and a post-session assignment to be submitted on Canvas).
  • Completion of Canvas online workshop
  • Participation in one additional Lucas Center or Digital Learning academy or program OR three single session pedagogy workshops/presentations.
  • One peer observation of teaching, documented by an observation report written by the peer observer.

Please contact for additional information.

Intermittent Academies

These academies are available according to faculty/staff interest.


Climbing the Ladder to Successful Teaching, Scholarship and Service

Since the inception of the New Faculty Academy, we have had requests to develop similar experiences for faculty members who have been at FGCU for some time. The Lucas Center for Faculty Development has developed an annual academy to support faculty at early career (Instructor I, Assistant Professor, Assistant Librarian). The topics we cover and the tools we will provide will prepare, lead, guide, and challenge you to define your goals for the next 3-5 years, to support the attainment of your goals and identify how to integrate the three areas of faculty work with your personal and professional life. Imagining what your career can look like will prepare you to be an agent for your own growth and development. We hope you join fellow faculty members as they explore and plan their future career path.


Managing your Career as Running a Marathon: Reflection & Transformation

Since the inception of the New Faculty Academy, we have had requests to develop similar experiences for faculty members who have been at FGCU for some time. The Lucas Center for Faculty Development has developed an annual academy to support faculty at established career (Instructor II & III, Associate Professor/Associate Librarian, Professor/University Librarian). The goal of this academy is to maintain instructional vitality, explore the role of advocacy and leadership, and to develop ways to engage in the reciprocal nature of mentoring. You will participate in a community of scholars and collaborate with a colleague across disciplines.

Book Clubs

Book Clubs are scheduled for fall and spring terms. Faculty and staff members can sign up for one club and must commit to reading assigned pages and participating in every discussion. The Lucas Center provides a copy of the book for participants to keep.

The Right Call

By: Sally Jenkins

Sportswriter Sally Jenkins has spent her entire adult life observing and writing about great coaches and athletes. With her engaging and expert prose, she has helped shape the way we view these talented sports icons. But somewhere along the line, she realized, they had begun to shape her. Now, she presents the astonishing inner qualities in these same people that pushed them to overcome pressure, elevate their performances, and discover champion identities. Based on years of observing, interviewing, and analyzing elite coaches and playmakers, such as Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, and more, Jenkins reveals the seven principles behind success: Conditioning, Practice, Discipline, Candor, Culture, Resilience, and Intention.  Discover how you can apply these same principles to your life and become your own champion. Colorful, inspirational, and accessible, The Right Call is the one stop shop for anyone wanting to learn how to effectively elevate themselves to greatness.


Facilitated By: Sari Paikoff
Dates: Tuesday, 8/27, 9/17 & 10/8
Time: 11:30a-12:30p
Location: Lucas Center (LIB 221)
Modality: In-Person

*Registration for fall 2024 book clubs will open in late-July*

Teaching to Transgress

By: bell hooks

In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks--writer, teacher, and insurgent black intellectual--writes about a new kind of education, education as the practice of freedom. Teaching students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher's most important goal. bell hooks speaks to the heart of education today: how can we rethink teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism? What do we do about teachers who do not want to teach, and students who do not want to learn? How should we deal with racism and sexism in the classroom? Full of passion and politics, Teaching to Transgress combines a practical knowledge of the classroom with a deeply felt connection to the world of emotions and feelings. This is the rare book about teachers and students that dares to raise questions about eros and rage, grief and reconciliation, and the future of teaching itself.


Facilitated By: Bill Reynolds
Dates: Monday, 8/26, 9/16, 10/7 & 10/28
Time: 10:30a-11:30a
Location: Lucas Center (LIB 221)

*Registration for fall 2024 book clubs will open in late-July*

The Mindful Body

By: Ellen J. Langer

In The Mindful Body, Dr. Langer unpacks her assumption-busting findings and outlines her bold new theory of mind-body unity, along the way clearly demonstrating how our thoughts and perspectives have the potential to profoundly shape our well-being. Whether it is hotel chambermaids who lost weight when they simply came to see that their work constituted exercise, or patients whose wounds healed faster in rooms with accelerated clocks, she shows how influential our thoughts are to the state of our bodies. Her work has likewise proven that discouraging health news can have negative effects. Learning you are prediabetic, for example—even if your blood sugar reading is only a fraction away from “normal”—may actually play a part in the development of the disease. A paradigm-shifting book by one of the great psychologists of the twenty-first century, The Mindful Body returns the control over our bodies back to us and reveals that a true understanding of health begins with our minds.


Facilitated By: Mark Erickson
Dates: Wedensday, 9/4, 9/25 & 10/16
Time: 1:00p-2:00p
Location: Lucas Center (LIB 221)
Modality: In-Person

*Registration for fall 2024 book clubs will open in late-July*

The Anxious Generation

By: Jonathan Haidt

In The Anxious Generation, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt lays out the facts about the epidemic of teen mental illness that hit many countries at the same time. He then investigates the nature of childhood, including why children need play and independent exploration to mature into competent, thriving adults. Haidt shows how the “play-based childhood” began to decline in the 1980s, and how it was finally wiped out by the arrival of the “phone-based childhood” in the early 2010s. He presents more than a dozen mechanisms by which this “great rewiring of childhood” has interfered with children’s social and neurological development, covering everything from sleep deprivation to attention fragmentation, addiction, loneliness, social contagion, social comparison, and perfectionism. He explains why social media damages girls more than boys and why boys have been withdrawing from the real world into the virtual world, with disastrous consequences for themselves, their families, and their societies.


Facilitated By: Maria Roca
Dates: Friday, 8/30, 9/20, 10/11 & 11/1
Time: 2:00p-3:00p
Location: Lucas Center (LIB 221)

*Registration for fall 2024 book clubs will open in late-July*

The New College Classroom

By: Cathy Davidson & Christina Katopodis

College instruction is stuck in the past. If a time traveler from a century ago arrived on today’s campuses, they would recognize only too well the listlessness of the lecture hall and the awkward silence of the seminar room. Yet we know how to do better. Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, two of the world’s foremost innovators in higher education, turn to the latest research and methods to show how teachers at every kind of institution can help students become independent, creative, and active learners. The New College Classroom helps instructors in all disciplines create an environment that is truly conducive to learning. Davidson and Katopodis translate cutting-edge research in learning science and pedagogy into ready-to-use strategies to incorporate into any course. These empirically driven, classroom-tested techniques of active learning―from the participatory syllabus and ungrading to grab-and-go activities for every day of the term―have achieved impressive results at community colleges and research universities, on campus, online, and in hybrid settings.


Facilitated By: Alli Barbosa & Laura O'Connell
Dates: Thursday, 9/5, 10/3 & 10/31
Time: 12:00p-1:00p
Location: Lucas Center (LIB 221)

*Registration for fall 2024 book clubs will open in late-July*

Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are informal groups of faculty members who meet on a regular basis to explore topics of common interest. Groups may discuss relevant articles and classroom examples. Some groups may pose questions for the group to answer or seek problem solving help. Other groups may develop research projects or begin scholarly writing groups.

Lucas Faculty Fellows 2024-2025


Jason Elek
Instructor III/Co-Director, Sanibel Island Writer's Conference
Language & Literature
Focus of Fellowship: Empowering faculty across the university to level up their writing instruction via workshops, interdisciplinary partnerships, research, and publishing. | 239-590-1105


Dr. Katie Johnson
Associate Professor & LA Program Lead
Focus of Fellowship: I will be running a workshop series and accompanying Faculty Learning Community on "Building Strong Teamwork Skills in Active Learning Classes." This series is designed to support educators in fostering students' essential teamwork abilities, enabling them to thrive in collaborative learning environments. We'll dive into the dynamics of effective teams, explore strategies for creating diverse and cohesive groups, and discuss how to cultivate a supportive team culture. Additionally, we'll share valuable techniques for team-based assessment and constructive feedback, which empowers students with crucial communication and accountability skills. Let's work together to help our students become collaborative problem-solvers and critical thinkers, unlocking the full potential of active learning through the development of strong teamwork skills. | 239-590-7235


Elizabeth Weatherford, M.A.
Instructor II
Language & Literature
Focus of Fellowship: Researching and demonstrating how Universal Design for Learning can be used to increase student engagement, performance, and instructor satisfaction. | 239-590-7773

Previous fellows' resources

New Faculty Mentoring

What is a Mentor?

Mentors are full-time faculty members at FGCU who have been with the university for at least three years. Faculty members who have successfully completed the Course Design Academy will be given preference as mentors because of their work in best practice pedagogy. Mentors have skills in many areas but do not profess to be a “guru” about all things but rather are a “coach” who can support early career faculty members and help a new faculty member find the resources either on-campus or in the wider academic community to be a successful faculty member. Although these mentors will be expected to primarily support the new faculty members with classroom pedagogy, they may be called upon for advice and support in other areas.  A mentor may not be from the same discipline or department as the mentee; however, the mentor will help the mentee find the advice and resources they need.

For application information, contact the Lucas Center at

New Faculty Academy


New Faculty Academy (NFA) is for new (and relatively new) faculty members at FGCU, who are referred to NFA by their department chair upon being hired. During the fall semester, we will focus on best practices for teaching effectiveness. In the spring we introduce an intentional, holistic approach to shaping your career. All new resident faculty hires at FGCU with less than two years of university teaching experience (not including graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships or adjunct teaching) are required to enroll. Other new faculty may enroll, if there is space available.

Teaching Effectiveness: The first half of NFA is built upon the belief that while no one can make you be a better teacher, you can be given the tools to develop your own “teacher persona” through reading, discussing, reflecting, and practicing.  Along the way you’ll have opportunities for feedback from your NFA facilitators, other faculty members and your peers.  The goal is to equip you with skills that will set you on the path of teaching effectiveness.

Shaping your Career: The second half of NFA recognizes that there are multiple demands on faculty members and that preparation to work in the academy does not always a) address the full range of professional responsibilities faculty engage in, b) clearly outline expectations for success, or c) acknowledge the challenge of finding a healthy balance between professional and personal responsibilities.  The goal is to equip you with skills that set you on the path to overall success as a faculty member at FGCU. 

NFA is offered bi-weekly during the fall term on Friday mornings from 9:00a-11:00a and monthly on Fridays during the spring term in LIB 221.

For more information, please contact us at or 239-590-1282.

Peer Observation of Teaching


Formative Feedback


At the Lucas Center we view peer observation of teaching (POT) as an effective mechanism for assisting faculty to achieve their professional goals related to the art and science of teaching. Research strongly suggests that POT (being observed and observing others) can provide an opportunity for collegial conversations about teaching, while also enabling reflective practice and providing opportunities for the provision of developmental advice (Drew et al., 2016; Hammersley-Fletcher & Orsmond, 2005; Hendry & Oliver, 2012; Pressick-Kilborn & te Riele, 2008).

In order to most closely align POT with the mission, vision, and goals of the Lucas Center, we employ a coaching model that conceptualizes POT as a formative, collaborative, and developmental series of activities conducted between a Lucas Center representative and a faculty member who wishes to engage in a dialogue about her/his teaching (in contrast to a summative, more formally evaluative approach used by some institutions). In this spirit of mutuality, all observers commit to opening their classrooms to observation by those they observe.

Despite our intention to enact a process that is useful and fulfilling for both the faculty member being observed and the observer, we acknowledge that vulnerability and concerns about judgment are inherent in the process. Therefore, we ensure that confidentiality is built into the POT procedure, and written reports are provided directly and only to the observed faculty members when requested. Peer observers are encouraged to share their experiences of and feelings about being observed in their own classes in order to foster trust and mutuality in the observation process.

The Lucas Center will not provide letters or reports attesting to the quality or effectiveness of one’s teaching based on a single observation. However, when faculty members provide a clear set of learning objectives for a given lesson during the pre-observation meeting, observers can comment on the extent to which those objectives have been achieved.


Faculty wishing to schedule an observation should follow these steps.

  1. Contact your chosen observer to request an observation at least three weeks before the date of the class session you would like observed and arrange a pre-observation consultation.
  2. Email your observer the course syllabus and any materials you believe would help her/him better understand your goals for the class and how you intend to accomplish them.
  3. Attend a brief (typically 15 – 30 minutes) pre-observation meeting, during which you will a) discuss your general approach to teaching and any specific elements of your lesson (e.g., teaching methods, style, student engagement) about which you would like feedback and b) learn about the observer’s approach to conducting an observation.
  4. Within a week of the observed class, participate in a post-observation meeting, during which you and the observer will discuss your respective perceptions of the class, and the observer will provide feedback and suggestions (often including detailed descriptive notes) typically in direct response to the areas of focus discussed in the pre-observation meeting. 

We strongly believe that peer observation of teaching can play a valuable role for all faculty who engage in a reflective process of professional improvement. We hope to visit many of your classrooms and encourage you to observe the teaching of Lucas Center personnel at your convenience.

Trained Peer observers

  • Menaka Navaratna

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  • Alayde Barbosa

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  • Angel Taylor

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  • Tatiana Schuss

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  •  Brenda Thomas

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  •  Tanya Huffman

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  • Jackie Greene

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  • Dan Bacalzo

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  • Reid Lennertz

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  • Jason Zhang

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  • Jan-Martijn Meij

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  • Jeffrey Kleeger

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  • Amanda Parke

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  • Matt Palmtag

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  • Daniel Lambrecht

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  • Cara Brooks

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  • Shelby Gilbert

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Small Group Instructional Diagnosis of Teaching (SGID)

Between weeks four and seven of the semester is a terrific time to seek feedback from your students about how they are experiencing your class. The Small-Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) is a focus group led by a trained facilitator who speaks directly with your students to provide formative feedback concerning ways learning can be enhanced. A post-SGID consultation between facilitator and instructor is part of the procedure. The SGID session takes about 30 minutes of class time. 

Information SheetMID-TERM FEEDBACK

Student-Faculty Partnership Program


The Student-Faculty Partnership Program is featured by FGCU's news source FGCU360 in the April 28, 2023 edition. Please read the article and watch the video HERE.


The model for the SFPP is the Bryn Mawr Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) program (Cook-Sather, 2014), a student-faculty partnership program that has proven effective for over a decade. Like the SaLT program the SFPP pairs faculty members with students positioned as pedagogical consultants to those faculty. The program has been running successfully at FGCU since Fall 2018. Student-faculty pairs work in semester-long partnerships to analyze, affirm, and revise the pedagogical approaches employed in a particular course, with participants meeting regularly one-on-one and in larger groups to discuss their work. 

Students apply for the position of consultant; the application process includes writing a statement about why they want to be a consultant and what would make them good at the role. Student applicants also secure two letters of recommendation: one from a faculty or staff member, and one from a student peer. This application process is not designed to exclude but rather to prompt students to reflect on their experiences and recognize the ways in which they have expertise and insights to bring to conversations about teaching and learning. Each student consultant is paid approximately $1248 for the semester to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Consultants will participate in an orientation and all participants will be given detailed guidelines for participating in the program.
  • Consultants will meet with their faculty partners to establish why each is involved, what hopes both have for the collaboration, and to plan the semester’s focus and meetings.
  • Consultants will visit one class session of their faculty partner’s course each week and take detailed observation notes on the pedagogical challenge(s) the faculty member identifies.
  • Consultants will survey or interview students in the class (if the faculty member wishes), either for mid-course feedback or at another point in the semester.
  • Consultants will meet weekly with their faculty partners to discuss observation notes and other feedback and implications.
  • Consultants also participate in weekly meetings with other student consultants and with the coordinator of the program for support and debriefing.

Additional details of the SFPP are as follows:

  • Consultants are not enrolled in the courses for which they consult.
  • The student-faculty partnerships are formed largely based on participants’ schedules and, where possible, taking into consideration personality and academic experience.

By bringing faculty out of pedagogical solitude and into partnership with students, the program will invite faculty to reflect critically on their pedagogical practice in dialogue with those who spend their days in classrooms, and it positions students as co-producers rather than consumers of educational approaches and knowledge.

Application PROCESS

  • Mid-way through each semester, the Lucas Center holds an Info Panel with current partners who share information about their experience in the SFPP.
  • After the panel concludes, applications open for both student and faculty partners.
  • Once applications are reviewed, applicants are notified by the end of the semester if they are accepted into the following semester's group of partners.
  • At this time, partnerships are limited to 18 pairs, so applications are competitive.


Cook-Sather, A. (2011). Layered learning: student consultants deepening classroom and life lessons. Educational Action Research, 19(1), 41–57.

Cook-Sather, A. (2014). Student-faculty partnership in explorations of pedagogical practice: a threshold concept in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(3), 186–198.

Cook-Sather, A. (2015). Dialogue Across Differences of Position, Perspective, and Identity: Reflective Practice in/on a Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Program. Teachers College Record, 117(2), 1–42.

Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty. San Francisco, CA:  John Wiley & Sons.

Southwest Florida Symposium on Teaching and Learning:

Two-day event for faculty, staff, and students

Keynote Address, Sessions & Date TBD

2020 program2021 Program2022 PROGRAM 2023 Program
Questions? Contact or