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January 2021
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Dr. Parker's Corner

A New Year, New Term, New You!

I always find the beginning of each new year to be exciting and full of potential. As we begin a new year, goals and professional development come to mind. Whether our goals are academic or relate to other important areas of our lives, working toward a goal often helps us grow and gain new experiences.

Professional development goals are motivating, but they usually also require a well-planned strategy to make them attainable. The Office of Teaching & Learning Strategies (OTLS) provides relevant andragogical and technological support and professional development for faculty through instructional resources including live virtual tutorials and a curated collection of videos, interactive media, as well as job aids.

Our teams are dedicated to helping you achieve your professional development goals by offering effective teaching techniques and interactive learning environments for faculty. We look forward to working with you and supporting your professional success in the coming year.

Dr. Durrel Parker

Director, Adjunct Faculty Services

Featured Topic: Looking Forward to 2021

Every January brings with it a symbolic opportunity to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and look toward the upcoming year with anticipation. As we transition to 2021, the Academy Insights team would like to share a few highlights that we hope will inspire confidence and optimism for all of the adventures the year ahead may bring! This issue features opportunities to learn a few new strategies that we hope will enhance your instructional presence and, in turn, increase student engagement in your online classes.

We thank you for your commitment to your students and to the University and we wish you all the best in this new year!

From Your Teaching and Learning Team

One of the most impactful ways we interact with our students and help guide their growth and academic success is through feedback on assignments. Ideally, feedback is offered promptly, is aligned to the assignment rubric and instructions, and provides meaningful, actionable suggestions for student success. Learn more about providing effective feedback to students by downloading our best practices handout and registering for our free professional development opportunity here:

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Connecting in a meaningful way with students in your online class may seem impossible, especially when you have dozens of students enrolled in your class. The Community of Inquiry framework offers insight into the positive impact that intentional instructor presence can have on the student experience. Visit the Office of Teaching and Learning Strategies’ COI website to find resources and academic articles about the COI framework as well as best practices for increasing instructor presence in your online courses.

Adjunct Faculty Perk: LinkedIn Learning
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LinkedIn Learning offers online courses for professionals spanning a wide range of fields including project management, graphic design and illustration, marketing, data science, and education. There are even courses designed to support career development and personal growth. Learn from experts, earn certificates, and add them to your LinkedIn profile to share your accomplishments.

Not sure where to start? NU has curated a handful of collections covering a variety of education-themed topics including:

You can access all LinkedIn Learning courses at no cost to you by logging in to SSO and clicking on the LinkedIn Learning chiclet.

Faculty Spotlight: Nicholas M. Tzakis

Veteran National University Adjunct Professor, Nicholas M. Tzakis, who teaches in the Criminal Justice Administration and Homeland Security Department(s), recently completed a 2020 symposium exploring the merits of historical diversity constructs in education at Stanford University’s Graduate Center to Support Excellence in Teaching. He continues his involvement as an active ongoing participant examining improvement in teaching strategies in the "Teaching to Meet the Moment" practitioner-based 2021 symposium offered at Stanford. Professor Tzakis has also been accepted to the Stanford University Business School’s LEAD Program, the Bovard Graduate School of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern California, and the Georgetown Graduate School in Applied Intelligence.

In addition to his law enforcement experience, Professor Tzakis, before retiring, served twenty-one years of combined service with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army, as an intelligence officer. During his military career, Professor Tzakis served as the Commander of the California National Guard Immigration Support Team tasked with helping the Federal Law Enforcement Community provide support to various homeland security initiatives to include Operation Gatekeeper. Professor Tzakis also served honorably on active duty during Operation Enduring Freedom following the September 11, 2001 attacks, also supporting ongoing operations in Iraq, and Afghanistan, as a reservist, until his retirement in 2016.


Professor Tzakis possesses a Master’s Degree in Education, a Master’s Degree in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice, along with Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security, and Adult Education.  Professor Tzakis also has completed all his Ph.D. coursework, and Dissertation Proposal in the Field of Public Safety, with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Capella University. 

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Want to be featured in an upcoming Faculty Spotlight?

Share your accomplishments by visiting the Academy Insights webpage and filling out the faculty spotlight form today!

From Our VP

As I wrapped up 2020 and looked forward to 2021, I found myself feeling hopeful and inspired.  Hopeful that we will continue to work towards being a united Nation.  Hopeful that we will continue to make a positive impact in our student’s lives.  I feel inspired by the passionate and dedicated individuals I work with every day. I feel inspired by National University students who overcome adversity and continue to show up in our courses every day.  I hope the New Year brings you opportunities to feel both hopeful and inspired. 

"What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet." — Anne Frank

We are continuing to make plans and progress towards our Brightspace adoption.  We have begun migrating courses from our current LMS to the new platform.  The migration process will happen behind the scenes and will be a collaborative effort with NU Academic Program Directors and Course Leads.  We anticipate launching the first graduate programs in July 2021 on the new platform.  Please know we will continue to send updates and opportunities for training as we get close the launch date.  You can also review updates and migration information on our website: Brightspace webpage.

Thank you for all you do!  We look forward to continuing to support you.

Dr. Shannon McCarty

Vice President, Teaching and Learning