For Interested Faculty


NOTE: The KNIT program was discontinued in May 2014. This document remains for archival purposes.

Colleagues!

As you may know, the Knowledge Integrated (KNIT) pilot is underway and early feedback has been very positive. We want KNIT to spread quickly to help make the Augusta University core curriculum more cohesive and engaging for all students. In planning for this Spring, we’ve made it our priority to eliminate any barriers that may have discouraged faculty or student participation.

In other words, participating in KNIT is now a lot easier!

This time around, there will be no block scheduling, no reserved seats, and no restrictions on which students can participate. KNIT’s new approach is simpler: We will encourage all Augusta University students to “KNIT your courses” by choosing their own combinations of KNIT-participating courses when they register. (KNIT-participating sections will be labeled in the Schedule of Classes, but will remain open to all.) This means absolutely no conflicts with any other role or student population your course typically serves.

Teaching a “KNIT” section simply means that you’ll incorporate materials and ideas that integrate productively with other KNIT sections. Students who sign up for multiple KNIT courses will reap the benefits of better integrated studies, while students who take only one or none will get the ordinary course experience—everything except the “KNIT synergy” with other courses.

Who can apply?

All Augusta University faculty are welcome to participate; however, up to 15 may be eligible for a $1,000 stipend!
To qualify for a stipend, you must:

  • apply by e-mail no later than October 18 (see “How to apply” below)
  • be a first-time participant in KNIT (past stipend recipients cannot receive another stipend)
  • teach a core-level course (Areas A-E)
  • incorporate at least two KNIT readings (see “KNIT’s shared focus” below)
  • discuss the KNT readings at least once, and periodically relate them to other course materials
  • ask students to analyze and apply KNIT’s focus to your other course materials
  • attend approximately 10 hours of faculty development discussions in Spring 2014
  • write a brief, final report about your experience with KNIT

Why participate? A better question is why not?

The only complaints we received this Fall pertained to logistical problems. Now that those issues have been resolved, we expect interest in the program will grow exponentially!

From now on, students face only one question with regard to joining KNIT: “Would I rather take ‘regular’ courses that rarely connect, or take the same courses with professors who have actively committed to knit some of their lessons together?” As a faculty member, you face a related question: “Do I want a simple, effective way to prove I’m deeply committed to helping my students get a better education?”

Joining KNIT is a great way to show that you care about ensuring that your teaching fits coherently and productively with the other disciplines, approaches, and ideas students encounter at Augusta University and beyond. Believe me, students love the idea of taking classes with professors who strive to form strong connections with one another. To them, KNIT means you care about making your lessons matter beyond the classroom.

The benefits of participating in KNIT include:

  • opportunities to discuss what we teach with colleagues from many fields—as well as a $1,000 stipend for eligible participants (see “Who can participate?” above)
  • advertising for your course (we advertise and promote KNIT sections via flyers and social media)
  • higher student motivation (KNIT may take time to build momentum, but research shows that students engage and learn better when their studies are better integrated)
  • strong evidence of teaching effort (participating in KNIT is an excellent way to show a commitment to teaching and curricular development under the Faculty Role Model)
  • assistance with assessment (KNIT has a robust assessment strategy that may help you determine how well your teaching efforts are working)
  • opportunities for collaboration and scholarship (KNIT’s design naturally fosters interdisciplinary collaboration; we plan to channel some of those energies to create a peer-reviewed eJournal featuring faculty scholarship that aligns productively with what we teach in the Augusta University core)

KNIT’s shared focus

For Spring 2014, the featured KNIT focus will be “The American Experiment: 1776-1865.” Participating faculty will be asked to incorporate two short primary readings from a list of texts written in that period, integrating them with their other course materials however they deem most appropriate.

Since students encounter that shared focus in all KNIT-participating sections, not only do they have more opportunities to develop their knowledge about the period, but far more importantly, they get to see how different experts from different disciplines think differently about some of the same materials. KNIT’s goal is not to “teach history” per se, but to show students how each discipline contributes uniquely to their development as a “well rounded” critical and creative thinker.

You do not need to be an expert in the historical period to participate in KNIT! In fact, KNIT challenges all of us to move outside our comfortable zone and experiment with ways to collaborate with one another by incorporating a few materials in common with our colleagues. By doing so, we establish much stronger connective tissue throughout the entire curriculum, providing a more cohesive and engaging experience to our students.

How to Apply

To express interest or apply to join the pilot faculty in Spring 2014, please e-mail Wes Kisting (wkisting@augusta.edu) no later than October 18.

Please type “KNIT faculty application” in the subject line of your e-mail, then answer the following:

  1. Which core course (Areas A-E) will you teach in Spring 2014?
  2. How many sections of that course will you teach?
  3. Are there any prerequisites that students must complete prior to taking your course? If so, please identify them.
  4. Can you commit to all of the criteria listed under “Who can participate?” (see above), including 6 hours of faculty development before the start of the semester in January?
  5. Would you be willing to assign a short writing assignment (to be designed in the faculty development sessions) that asks students to analyze or apply KNIT’s materials?
  6. Have you notified your department chair of your interest in KNIT? (Although KNIT should pose no conflict with departmental needs or course scheduling, we’d like you to talk with your chair to verify that your Spring teaching assignments are set and unlikely to change.)

Answering in the negative to any of these questions does not necessarily preclude you from participating in KNIT; however, priority for receiving a stipend will be given to applicants who meet most or all of these needs.