Author Archives: Jessie Moore

Screenshot of Facebook Post

What is sabbatical mode?

Since sharing a few “sabbatical days” posts on social media, several people have asked me if I’m “in sabbatical mode” or if I feel like I’m “on sabbatical.” I haven’t known how to answer, typically defaulting to say, “Well, I still have Center for Engaged Learning responsibilities, so I’m working on finding a balance.” Yet that response bothered me because 1) I opted to retain my Center responsibilities, and 2) I recognize that I am privileged to have a sabbatical. As a result, I’ve been reflecting on what “sabbatical mode” is and what I’m doing to make the most of my sabbatical semester.

Screenshot of Facebook Post: "Marked “sabbatical days” on my calendar for August-December to prioritize my sabbatical writing projects and my own health and wellness. (Colleagues among my friend list, thanks for understanding that my Center for Engaged Learning work will be condensed into a couple days each week to facilitate as much of a sabbatical experience as possible. 🙂)"First, a disclaimer/reminder: Sabbaticals still carry responsibilities. Not everyone opts to continue program administration responsibilities while on sabbatical (though I’ve interacted with many people who do), but even if I were to set aside my Center for Engaged Learning work, when I applied for my sabbatical, I made a commitment to complete a significant project. At Elon, the application process even asks faculty to outline a timeline and outcomes, as well as an indication of how we will assess the success of our projects if we are awarded a sabbatical.

My outcome:

“The planned outcome of this project is a single-author book, published by a press that focuses on higher education.”

My timeline:

August – December for a meta-analysis, writing, and revision.

Every now and then, I feel a bit stressed by that self-imposed and institutionally-endorsed expectation… I have 5 months to write a book. Gulp.

The first two weeks of “sabbatical days” have included substantial reflection on the processes, structures, and resources that will help me meet my sabbatical outcome. Much of that reflection actually has focused on my other continuing career responsibilities. I’ve confirmed, for instance, that my Center responsibilities do not fit neatly within two days (or 16 hours) a week, even though they represent only a fraction of my total job responsibilities during a regular semester. Recurring and one-time meetings easily fill 8+ hours before I turn my attention to managing our research seminars (with a call for proposals for a conference already open and a call for applications for the 2019-2021 research seminar launching soon); creating, curating, and editing web content; (co-)writing and/or editing scholarly publications related to the Center’s work; and researching and assessing our initiatives. As a result, my “CEL days” are an exercise in efficiency; yesterday I worked 9 hours on campus, focused on the Center, and they were extremely productive hours. I hope to carry lessons learned from that efficiency forward into future semesters when I layer teaching and other service commitments (e.g., committee work not directly related to my work with the Center) back into my weekly schedule.

To that end, I’m using my sabbatical as an opportunity to experiment with new email management strategies and to try out software that might help me track projects – to “download” more of my project management out of my head and out of my email system.

I also am challenging myself to…

  • Read more, broadly.
    I am a slow academic reader, so staying current with the scholarship directly related to my current projects is difficult enough. My sabbatical affords time to read carefully within my routine scholarship categories and to take time to read texts that might not even be tangential to my work. (Admittedly, though, most of what I’m reading still could be connected at least by a dotted line… For instance, I’m reading the texts assigned to Elon’s Masters of Higher Education students in their fall courses; I’ll be teaching in the program in January and would like to be more familiar with the other courses in the program.)
  • Eggplant, Tomato, and Squash TartReestablish exercise routines that I let slide during the Center’s busy* summer.
    *I use this term unapologetically. In June and July, we hosted 3 research seminar meetings, plus a planning forum for our next research seminar. We also represented the Center and presented at multiple conferences. I’m grateful for everyone who contributes to the Center’s summer work – research seminar leaders, the Center’s program coordinator, our student workers, and friends and allies of the Center – for making our intensive summer programming not only possible, but also successful.
  • Reengage my culinary creativity. I enjoy cooking, and it often provides time/space to process my day. For the last year, though, I have found myself defaulting to standby recipes or relying predominantly on meal kits like Home Chef. This fall, I’m returning to meal planning and to prioritizing visits to farmers markets so that I can find inspiration in seasonal produce.

So am I in “sabbatical mode”? Yes, I probably am. After all, I’m focusing on a substantial project while re-evaluating work practices that I can carry forward beyond the sabbatical for continued productivity and reprioritizing daily activities that contribute to my well-being. For both accountability and reflection purposes, I’ll post updates as the semester progresses.


Call for Proposals: Stylus Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching, in Partnership with the Center for Engaged Learning

I’m excited to partner with Peter Felten and Stylus Publishing on a new book series on engaged learning and teaching. Here are the details…

Series Editors:

  • Jessie L. Moore (, Director, Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University
  • Peter Felten (, Executive Director, Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University

Primary Contact: Jessie L. Moore,

About the Series

The Stylus/Center for Engaged Learning Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching features concise books (both single author and edited collections) for a multi-disciplinary, higher education audience interested in research-informed engaged learning practices. Series books are published by Stylus Publishing and supplemented by open-access resources hosted on the Center for Engaged Learning’s website.

Book authors/editors who publish in the series will join a community of scholars focused on engaged learning and teaching, with series books collectively marketed to faculty, staff, and administrators across higher education institution types. The Series Editors

  • collaborate with book authors/editors on promoting their books to a broad audience of stakeholders in higher education,
  • offer strategies for showcasing books in conference presentations, and
  • support the development of robust supplemental resources that extend readers’ use and discussion of the books.

Series Audience

Although individual books in the series might most appeal to those interested in a specific topic, authors/editors should “translate” their research/theories for broad audiences in higher education, including faculty, staff, faculty developers, administrators, and policy makers. Therefore, authors/editors should speak to the scholarship’s implications for higher education, including effective practices for teaching, curriculum design, and/or educational policies.

Expectations for Promoting Series Books

The Series Editors will collaborate with authors/editors to promote each book on the Center for Engaged Learning’s website, through social media, and by targeting conference sessions near publication dates. Proposals for books in this series should include a preliminary list of open-access resources (e.g., discussion questions for reading groups, videos and other multimedia resources related to the book topics, sample research materials that might otherwise appear in an appendix, etc.) that could be hosted on the Center for Engaged Learning’s website (pending final review by the Center). Submitted manuscripts must include these supplemental materials. The Series Editors will share strategies for developing and curating these materials.

Guidelines for Brief Proposal

Authors/editors should submit a brief proposal for feedback from the Series Editors before developing a full proposal. The brief proposal should include a one- to two-page summary of:

  • the book concept,
  • its potential contribution to practice and literature,
  • its appropriateness for the Stylus Publishing/Center for Engaged Learning Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching,
  • an indication of the anticipated format (e.g., authored book or edited collection, estimated number of chapters, and organizational structure),
  • brief information about the relevant qualifications of the authors/editors, and
  • a preliminary plan to promote the book at conferences, etc.


Please direct questions to Jessie L. Moore (

New Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Resources

A significant portion of my inquiry projects fall under the umbrella of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and the Center for Engaged Learning’s research seminars often serve as entry points into SoTL for faculty and staff from across the disciplines. Although Ernest Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate advocated for SoTL in 1990, SoTL remains a new inquiry path for many faculty/academic staff. We host a growing number of web resources, including videos, on the Center’s website to help newcomers find their footing in this important category of scholarship.

We also link to or reference other helpful SoTL resources, and I’m thrilled to see two new SoTL texts available in the coming months.

First, Katie Linder has created an online course, SoTL by Design, available June 1st. SoTL by Design walks participants through designing SoTL projects, from framing a question to data collection and analysis to sharing the project. The course includes a print workbook and pricing packages for 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, and 26 licenses, supporting individual professional development or a SoTL community of practice.

Second, Nancy Chick edited SoTL in Action: Illuminating Critical Moments of Practice, available from Stylus Publishing in September 2018. The collection includes chapters on asking meaningful questions, reviewing the relevant extant literature, aligning research questions and methods (with multiple chapters on specific types of methods), and going public with SoTL. Full disclosure, I wrote one of the chapters, “Writing SoTL: Going Public for an Extended Audience,” but I can’t wait for the book’s release so that I can read the other chapters.

Image source: Stylus Publishing

SoTL’s traction in higher education is growing, and these new resources will help scholars find their own path within this category of scholarship. Of course, if you’re new to SoTL, I also recommend attending a SoTL conference; the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) annual conferences and the SoTL Symposium sponsored by Mount Royal University are two friendly conference communities.


Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Understanding Writing Transfer

Understanding Writing Transfer: Implications for Transformative Student Learning in Higher Education, featuring work from the Center for Engaged Learning’s 2011-13 research seminar on Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, is now available from Stylus Publishing.

In addition to co-editing the volume with Randy Bass, I wrote the opening chapter, “Five Essential Principles About Writing Transfer.” The book examines what we know about transfer of writing knowledge and practices across the university and is written for a broad audience of higher education stakeholders. I will continue to add resources to the companion website to support discussion of the book, so please check back often.

The book reflects the culmination of research conducted by forty-five researchers from twenty-eight institutions in five countries.

Call for Submissions: Academic Development Towards High-Impact Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (Due January 16, 2017) | Special Issue (early 2018) |International Journal for Academic Development

Academic Development Towards High-Impact Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

Co-edited by Jessie L. Moore and Peter Felten, Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University

Scholars around the globe have demonstrated that undergraduate research and inquiry (UR) significantly improve student learning (e.g., Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014; Brew, 2013; Healey & Jenkins, 2009; Osborne & Karukstis, 2009; Turner, Wuetherick, & Healey, 2008; Huggins, Jenkins, & Scurry, 2007). Like any research in academic disciplines, UR may embody diverse practices and be named differently across both disciplinary and international contexts (Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014). It may take the form of supervised undergraduate theses embedded in degree programs, inquiry projects within individual courses, or stand-alone mentored inquiry experiences.



Nevertheless, UR – in all its forms – contributes to student learning, retention, and engagement (Kuh, 2008), and ethnic minority, first-generation, and low-income students are significantly more likely to graduate if they participate in mentored UR (Brownell & Swaner, 2010; Gregerman, 1999; Locks & Gregerman, 2008). UR also fosters deep learning of critical thinking, effective communication, and complex problem-solving, which are among the most valuable skills undergraduates develop during university studies (Hart Research Associates, 2015). Yet in many university contexts UR disproportionately serves students from advantaged backgrounds, those with high grades, and those with the confidence to pursue selective opportunities (Osborn & Karukstis, 2009).

Kuh and O’Donnell (2013) contend that the deepest engagement in UR occurs when students participate in all aspects of the research process in close working relationships with academic staff. Scholars also have examined academic staff mentors’ roles in supporting student learning in course-embedded UR models (e.g., Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014) and undergraduate theses (e.g., Rowley & Slack, 2004), faculty perceptions about supervising undergraduate theses (e.g., Todd, Smith, & Bannister, 2006), and gendered relationships in undergraduate thesis supervision (Hammick & Acker, 1998). Despite merits of close student-staff collaboration throughout the inquiry process, university practices often distance students from full involvement in university research (Brew, 2006). Perhaps because of this distance, few investigations have focused on the academic staff mentor’s or supervisor’s role in supporting student learning across UR models, what constitutes a productive student-mentor dynamic in UR, or how institutions and academic developers can most effectively cultivate mentored UR. In order to deepen student engagement and expand access to mentored UR, whether as course-embedded inquiry or as a co-curricular activity, the staff mentor/supervisor role must be better understood – and mentoring capacities must be supported and developed in staff across the disciplines, institution types, and national and international contexts.

This special issue examines what higher education knows about high-impact mentoring of UR and how academic developers can help staff prepare for and engage in these mentoring or supervising roles – for undergraduate theses, course-embedded inquiry, and other forms of undergraduate research and inquiry.

This special issue is intended to serve as a central resource for academic developers seeking to support new and continuing staff mentors and supervisors of UR by examining:

  • Key characteristics of mentored/supervised UR that make the experience high-impact for students and/or high-impact for mentors/supervisors
  • Ways that students’ and academic staff mentors’ and supervisors’ identity differences affect the UR mentoring relationship
  • Academic development practices that most effectively foster high-quality mentoring/supervision of UR


  • Manuscripts due January 16, 2017
  • Notification of decisions following IJAD’s peer review process by April 2017
  • Revisions of accepted manuscripts due June 2017
  • Print publication in early 2018 (Volume 23, Issue 1)

IJAD articles are 6,000 words or fewer including the abstract, figures, tables and references. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere.  A guide for authors, Word template, and other relevant information can be found on IJAD’s homepage:

Manuscripts must be submitted online via IJAD’s ScholarOne site by January 16, 2017:

For further information or for queries about this Special Issue, please contact:

bELONg rainbow

Transgender Inclusion in the Classroom

Stacy Jane Grover has a helpful post on Inside Higher Ed today about “Fostering Trans Inclusion in the Classroom.” One tip that’s easy to implement: Add gender pronouns to your email signature to help normalize the practice. I’ve started including a question about them on the student information cards I ask students to submit at the start of each semester, and I state mine (she/her) when I introduce myself to students on the first day of class.

A second tip Grover offers that’s as – if not more – important but perhaps harder to implement: Correct yourself when you make a mistake. The Q Center has an important post by Nash Jones, highlighting that when you misgender someone, you should focus on the needs of the person you misgendered, avoid being defensive, and acknowledge the mistake and move on.

Collie Fulford (North Carolina Central University) and I recently offered a workshop on Affirming LGBTQIA Campus Members. Collie created a resource document that has several helpful links to other recent essays, relevant policies, and campus strategies.

Classroom Pedagogies and Prep Time

In a recent conversation, a friend/colleague made a passing comment about Reacting to the Past appealing to me because the class sessions are somewhat scripted. Indeed, I do like to map things out and anticipate future steps, when possible. Reflecting on his comment, though, I realize that the pedagogy may be deceptive to teachers who haven’t used it before; at it’s core, Reacting might be described as role play of past events, so it’s easy to understand why colleagues might think that Reacting teachers can predict how the lessons will unfold.

In reality, when I teach with Reacting pedagogy, the games never take the same path from semester to semester. Students’ unique dispositions lead them to research different cultural-historical factors, in turn changing how they prepare for specific sessions. One semester a metic might take an active – and unchallenged – role in shaping Athen’s government; another semester, the metic may be too apprehensive about pushing boundaries or more hesitant about public speaking – or may be challenged about the legitimacy of his participation.  One semester the labor faction might quickly establish its centrality in Greenwich Village, while in another semester, the suffragists might organize more quickly to sway the indeterminate villagers.

As a result, Reacting is the most time-intensive pedagogy I use in the classroom. Students email to ask about implementing new strategies that aren’t covered in game books and role sheets; they stop by office hours to request feedback on speeches and writing assignments; and they often extend the game beyond class spaces and hours. As a result, my teaching prep time also expands, sometimes exponentially.

My students’ learning outcomes make the time and energy investment worthwhile, but I do limit myself to only one or two reacting games a semester in order to balance teaching activities with other career responsibilities. My colleague’s comment reminds me, though, that as academic developers work with faculty to identify appropriate pedagogies to support desired learning outcomes, we must be transparent and upfront about the hidden time commitments of high-impact pedagogies. Helping faculty anticipate the “costs” associated with using these teaching techniques may lead to implementing them in more sustainable ways.