Photo of student using computer
Westcliff University

LITE Center News – Summer 2019

LITE Center News

LITE Newsletter
Summer 2019 Issue

The Westcliff University Learning, Innovation and Teaching Excellence (LITE) Center aims to educate, inspire and empower faculty and students through the pursuit of innovative teaching excellence.


Webinar: First Saturday of the month 8 to 9.30 am PST
Recorded Sessions: Available 1st day of the month. 30 min recording


Professor Highlight

Professor John Murphy
Professor John Murphy

Question: What is your name and what program do you usually teach in?
Answer: I’m John L. Murphy and I teach Humanities in the GenEd sequence.

Question: What course do you enjoy teaching most?
Answer:After 4 times straight teaching HUM180 World Religions, I admit I am biased. But for July-Aug., I’m tackling another favorite subject, ART100 Art History. So you’ll have to check back in September!

Question: List 5 adjectives that describe yourself as a professional / as a person.
Answer: a) allusive  b) autodidactic   c) encyclopedic 
d) eclectic  e) quirky

Question: What are your hobbies?
Answer:a) reading   b) listening to music and wishing I could play it   c) book and music reviewing and criticism   d) my dogs and cats    e) (armchair, alas, more than not) travel

Question: If you could give one piece of advice to a new professor at WU, what would it be and why?
Answer: Expect attention to diligent, responsible, and accountable standards. WU in my experience pays close attention to monitoring, mentoring, and guiding faculty. The same rigor we undergo inspires our set of higher standards for our students–and for us.

Question: If I walked into your classroom / VCS on a typical session, what would I see going on?
Answer: Often an image or video might spark onsite discussion, for humanities courses demand an immersion in global environments and historical contexts that come alive by virtual field trips. As we cannot go to museums or places of worship, I try to bring in via online material and my own insights and travels a personal touch to enrich static slides or texts. This is an essential exposure to what students need to build on for their assignments.

Question: How do you connect your lessons to the “real world”?
Answer: I design content covered at course meetings and if possible in assignments and DQs to orient students towards integrating business and practical applications to the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our wide range of younger athletes and slightly older international students, who teach us all in turn. I encourage students to share their opinions and challenge the “same old” narratives. My courses to many seem arcane or detached from mercantile and monetary pursuits, so both as a respite and a response to the rush of getting and spending, humanities brings wisdom, critique, attention to the intangible, and a look at ephemeral aspects which also surround us daily.

Question: What do you think educators need to do to be part of the future of this profession?
Answer: They need to understand the mind of the millennials.  Educators need to be curious about this new generation and understand why they do the things that they do. In this way, they can motivate them to do their work and inspire them to exceed their own expectations.Updating the templates for a uniform presentation style and implementing a flipped classroom (we can dream, can’t we?) energized my onsite planning and delivery. It’s a challenge for those of us in GenEd to jumpstart students who come in wary or weary of non-major required courses. Given we’re all now the hapless in Plato’s cave staring at screens, I try to make mine inviting, and perhaps to turn students towards perspectives they would not have seen left to their own devices. I like the “start your computers” activity and as I regularly have two chapters/subjects of disparate nature assigned weekly, I replicate the pattern after the break, making congenial halves for a lesson pattern which orients us to times and places. Also, embedding images and videos (and some fun cartoons or memes) breaks up textual blocks with appealing and, I hope, humorous instances of how highfalutin’ religious and artistic concepts influence pop culture, and our everyday media, in ways students may or may not recognize, but which may bridge the gaps between what goes on in the VCS/ classroom and the other 164.5 hours, all these frenetic eight weeks.

Writing Center Updates

This year the Writing Center has been revamped to increase its efficiency in providing support to the Westcliff student body. The Writing Center has offered one-on-one feedback support to 401 students throughout 2018, which is 390 more than were offered last year. In fact, just after the beginning of July, the center reached over 1,000 submissions! This was only possible thanks to the support of Westcliff’s faculty body and the incredible initiative of our students. The center has also hosted numerous writing support workshops, article revision support for WIJAR,  in-class APA support presentations and has curated over 72 online tutorials which serve to aid students in areas of struggle within the scope of academic writing. 

Due to the increase in submissions, the Writing Center has recently expanded, taking on three new Writing Center Specialists. The Writing Center is proud to welcome Professor Christopher Viner, Professor Sulaiman Jenkins, and Michael Smit to our team!

Please check the Writing Center page in GAP to see the newest tutorial additions that can be used to help your students with their individual needs. 

If you have any tutorial requests or would like to contact the Writing Center concerning one-on-one support with a particular student, feel free to send an email to

Support Workshops for Westcliff Students

Students participating in a workshop
TESOL Workshop: Putting Theory into Practice: Tips and Tricks!

On July 12th, a workshop was curated and conducted specifically for the TESOL student body. The workshop focused on the practical implementation of ideas and theories gained throughout the MA TESOL program. Students engaged in activities practiced essential teaching techniques and were able to walk away with ideas for immediate implementation into their teaching contexts.

Classroom looking at presentation while instructor is teaching
Doctoral Qualifying Examination Weekend Workshop

On July 13th, the business department of Westcliff hosted workshop options for doctoral students compiling their first year qualifying examination. This workshop offered insight into the structure, format, and tips for how to compile the information required. The Writing Center, as well as a handful of Business Faculty, were available to individually answer questions and guide students in the process of compiling and revising for success on this examination.

Westcliff International Journal of Applied Research (WIJAR)

Are you interested in serving as a subject matter expert (SME) for Westcliff International Journal of Applied Research (WIJAR)? The university journal is seeking SMEs in a variety of subject areas to help review the content of journal articles. By participating with the WIJAR SME program, you can also enhance your career with acknowledgment in journal publications.

If you meet the qualifications below and would like to be considered as an SME, please complete the online application. WIJAR will try to match your area of expertise with an upcoming article.

*Master’s Degree in the subject area preferred
*Evidence of expertise in a subject, i.e. certification(s), years of practice experience, previous SME experience, publications, oral and/or poster presentations on the subject, development of online modules, print study guides, book chapters, etc.
*Ready access to a computer and e-mail, and experience with the latest MS Word; Windows-based preferred
*Relevant writing/publication presentation experience preferred

An applicant’s SME application will be active for one (1) year. Applicants will be sent an e-mail reminder to update their application for another year prior to the deactivation date.


A call for WIJAR submissions will be in September! Time to start writing!

Here are some videos (from the Writing Center) to get you on track!
Standards for a WIJAR Article
Turning a Paper into an Article for WIJAR

LITE Center Professional Development Call for Content

The LITE Center is currently planning the Professional Development topics for 2020. If you have a topic you would like to see OR if you would like to present on a best practice for teaching, please email us at

Faculty Model Information

In August, we will hold a mandatory information session to introduce Paychex, provide training on the new faculty pay model, and the rules and regulations for tracking time. We will hold the training at different times and days to (hopefully) accommodate all.

Rubin Education Meets Westcliff University’s Career Services Center

Photo of book cover Wait, How Do I Write This Email?

We are excited to start offering Rubin Educational content in our career services center as of Fall 1. All content will be free of charge to anyone at WU! The self-paced curriculum consists of business writing templates, hands-on activities, and instructional videos. If you are interested in learning more about the curriculum, trying it out with your students, or sampling it before you recommend students, email the LITE Center for the login code.

Symposium On Business and Education Research (SyBER)

Group photo of SyBER members

This year, there were quite a few excellent submissions to SyBER, including student, faculty, and staff submissions! Congratulations to our winners in all the different categories!

Image with headshots of each Syber 2019 Winner