Stephen F. Austin State University is a dynamic learning-centered university dedicated to enhancing student success. Teaching is one of the primary emphases of our job at SFA, and in this high calling we all strive for excellence. Today, teaching may be different due to technological advancements and the ever-growing volumes of information. Modern instructional methods which include technology can enhance teaching and learning processes and better prepare graduates for success. This section of the survival guide describes the resources available at SFA to help you reach your instructional goals.
The Steen Library
The Ralph W. Steen Library is committed to offering an array of services to help faculty with both teaching and research needs. Your key to research assistance is your liaison librarian who can provide specific information on the many services offered as well as referrals to other library staff for specific needs. Steen Library is home to the LINC Lab (Library Information and Networking Center), a 135-seat, open-access, computer laboratory featuring both PC and Mac platforms. Steen Library also is home to the East Texas Research Center (ETRC), an archive featuring cultural materials indigenous to East Texas, and is a designated Federal and State Document Depository. Steen Library now features the Digital Projects Department, which develops and coordinates digital project initiatives within the Library, and assists with digital project requests from the SFA community and beyond.
The Steen Library is home to several centers and departments. The Academic Assistance and Resource Center is located on the first floor of the library. Effective Fall of 2007, the second floor of the Steen Library will house several offices that are not officially part of the library administration: the Office of Instructional Technology, the Teaching Excellence Center, the Advising Center, and the SFA 101 Offices. Similarly, the Web Development Office is located on the first floor.
Materials Reserve and Student Assignments
You may place both library materials and your own personal materials on reserve for your students. Extra security may be requested for personal materials. Your reserve requests can be entered online. Both conventional and electronic reserve services are available.
Instruction involving library research should go well beyond simply assigning students a topic and sending them to the library. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has identified six intellectual competencies to be addressed in all state core curricula. Included within these competencies are such phrases as “analyze and interpret a variety of printed materials”, “how to discover a topic and how to develop and organize it”, “critical thinking”, “use computer-based technology in…acquiring information”, “analyzing the subject matter of individual disciplines.” Each of these is highly relevant to library research.
Research and Instructional Services (RIS) librarians and the Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC) are committed to developing skill-building tools that will facilitate compliance with the Board’s guidelines. These tools focus on critical thinking skills as applied to the research process and to information itself. While the library has an official information literacy program, in collaboration with the English department’s composition program, your RIS librarian can help you reinforce that learning by working with you to effectively incorporate library assignments into your courses. The AARC writing tutors can help your students understand how to integrate library materials into their writing.
To the extent funds are available, your liaison librarian will order books, journals, videos, and other library materials you would like added to the library collection. Please submit your requests for new purchases to your liaison library. A web form is also available for placing requests for Materials for Purchase. The Library currently has available around 200 databases for use by our academic community. Log in through My SFA for access from anywhere. Steen Library also offers a comprehensive document delivery service. Through ILLiad, the automated Interlibrary Loan ordering system, faculty can submit requests for materials that may or may not be available in Steen Library. The ILL staff will find the items and deliver them to faculty on campus, as well as deliver journal articles electronically to the faculty members’ desktops via email.
Other Library Services
The library has two classrooms with Smartboards, in addition to the LINC classroom. These three wired rooms can be reserved for specific class sessions. To reserve these rooms call 1459.
Audiovisual viewing and listening services are available in an area adjacent to the Circulation Desk. An extensive collection of videos, DVDs, and sound recordings is maintained on closed shelves and listed in the catalog.
Faculty and students can request a TexShare library card, which gives them borrowing privileges when they visit other Texas state college and university libraries.
The Digital Projects Department develops and coordinates digital project initiatives within the Library, and assists with digital project requests from the SFA community and beyond.
A lounge complete with an Einstein Bagels franchise offers gourmet coffee, bagels, omelets, salads, and other snacks in the area adjacent to the library entrance. This can be a convenient place to grab a quick lunch or take a break without leaving campus.
For more information about the library or the campus, you can call the Information Desk, located at the Steen Library Entrance, at 468-INFO (4636)
The Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC)
The Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC), located on the library’s first floor, is dedicated to faculty support through offering peer-tutoring services and supplemental instruction for your students in most core curriculum and high risk courses. The AARC’s mission is to improve individual student academic performance and retention by offering a supportive environment for intellectual development, providing educational support services including one-on-one peer tutoring and student-led study groups, and facilitating access to research support for students with disabilities.
The AARC is a multi-disciplinary, peer-facilitated learning center comprised of four programs: Math, Content Studies, Writing, and Supplemental Instruction. It has the unique distinction of being the most accredited learning center in the country, as the only tutoring center in the nation to be awarded Distinguished Certification by the National Association of Developmental Educators (NADE) the only body that certifies Academic Assistance Departments. Several professional staff contribute to the AARC’s mission and the success of the four tutoring programs: The AARC employs over 100 student tutors in the four programs.
The professional staff is committed to fostering a dynamic, effective learning atmosphere with a tutor training program that is based on solid research. To this end, we participate in the College Reading and Learning Association’s (CRLA) tutor training program, which specifies goals, methods, and experiences that will best prepare peer tutors. The AARC is one of only two universities in the country with Master Level CRLA certification in FOUR tutor training programs.
AARC tutors are trained to help students learn how to prepare for classes and exams, identify learning styles, improve note-taking skills, develop learning strategies, create stronger study habits, learn to manage their time, and master both skills and material. Tutoring is available for more than 140 core and high-risk courses. Students can register for AARC services through their website at http://libweb.sfasu.edu/proser/aarc/. For more information, check out the AARC website or call ext. 4108.
The Office of Instructional Technology
The role of the Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) is to coordinate SFA's distance education initiatives and to support faculty as they integrate technology into the teaching and learning experience both online and in classrooms. OIT can assist through the following means:
The Faculty Development Center. The center includes an interactive video classroom and a computer lab where faculty attend hands-on workshops.
Consultation and guidance in planning, developing and delivering distance education programs, with an associated faculty development program leading to the Certified Online Instructor designation.
Support relating to development, design, and maintenance of Internet-based courses using myCourses (Blackboard Learning Systems).
Support relating to Web-enhancements for campus-based courses using myCourses (Blackboard Learning Systems).
Training and assistance in the use of instructional software such as PowerPoint, Acrobat, Respondus test creator, StudyMate interactives, Turnitin, Dreamweaver, and streaming audio and video software for delivery of lectures or instruction over the Internet.
Training and assistance in the use of the mySFA portal.
Support for faculty teaching from an interactive video classroom on campus to one or more remote locations.
Support for students taking distance education courses.
Information Technology Services
Everyone reaches a point where the computer just does not do what we want. Information Technology Services’ faculty/staff Help Desk will assist with technology issues. The number to call for support is 468-1212 or go to their web site.
The Help Desk offers immediate phone support, referral to the appropriate departmental technician, or creating of a work order to be assigned to a technician for issues with items such as
MySFA access and operation
Hardware and software problems
Telecommunications and voicemail
For best service when you call, be prepared with appropriate information, which might include any or all of the following:
Personal contact information (name, phone number, office number)
Model of computer or printer (Dell, HP, Apple, etc.)
SFA Inventory tag number (red foil tag on machine)
Whether you are at home or on campus, using dial-up connection or Ethernet connection
Error messages you are getting on the screen
Browser URL causing problems (Web address you are trying to access)
What you were trying to do when the problem occurred
Student Technology Support
As faculty, you will be asked to solve technology problems for students. You can refer them to the SHACK (Student Help Assisting Computer Knowledge) at 119 Feazell St. or by phone at 468-4357. The SHACK serves registered students only, providing assistance with their personal computers (SFA-owned computers are serviced through the Help Desk.) Services include
Phone support and trouble-shooting
Cleaning of virus and spyware infections
Installing and updating SFA’s free virus-protection software
Installing and removing software programs (purchased on CD)
Minor hardware repairs (as work-flow permits)
For support in using mySFA, students may call 468-4357 or 468-1919.
For support in using myCourses (Blackboard Learning Systems), students may call 468-4357, 468-1919 or 468-1452.
The Teaching Excellence Center (TEC)
The Teaching Excellence Center (TEC) supports the faculty, teaching assistants and instructional units in their efforts to enhance teaching effectiveness and student learning. Through its services and programs, the Teaching Excellence Center works collaboratively to create a campus community that values and recognizes teaching excellence and innovation.
The Teaching Excellence Center coordinates a variety of services that aid in the improvement and enhancement of university teaching:
Workshops led by faculty and staff experts on campus
Teaching Circles (faculty from across campus meet once a month to discuss teaching-related topics)
Peer observations and recording of classroom presentations
Special topic gatherings and social events to promote faculty interactions
The New Faculty Program of events (fall and spring semesters, starting Fall 2007)
Beginning in the fall 2007 semester, the Teaching Excellence Center will have a fully equipped teaching classroom available so that interested faculty can train and practice using different forms of technology prior to their use with a real class.
The goal of the TEC has always been to strengthen the academic experience of both our faculty and our students by providing resources for instructors interested in improving their classroom teaching with innovative practices. For more information about these services, please visit the web site, or call 468-1831.
Human Resources Technology Support
The Office of Human Resources provides the New Employee Orientation workshops and the mandated EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) trainings. If faculty or staff forget or misplace their mySFA PIN (personal identification number), HR can create a new one when the user comes to the HR office with a valid photo ID.
HR also provides staff and faculty with the opportunity to update or learn Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, and Access) by offering annual workshops on the programs at no cost to the participants. To attend a scheduled workshop or training session, register online at http://www2.sfasu.edu/personnel/index.html. The HR webpage is also home to all personnel and benefits forms for faculty and staff. For more information, call 468-4075.