Expanding the NEST

black and gold nest graphic


Expanding the NEST is an initiative designed and supported by the CETL team for all Kennesaw State University Educators. NEST stands for Nurturing Environments through Scholarly Teaching. Environments include, but are not limited to, physical classrooms, online spaces, office suites, and events. 


More information on engagement indicators can be found on the NSSE website

The resource document offered here was created by CETL to support faculty as they cultivate student success at KSU. We developed this resource to connect with data from KSU Student Responses to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). With this data, CETL identified practices to support in the three highlighted areas extracted from our NSSE report: Student-Faculty Interaction, Effective Teaching Practices, and Supportive Environments.

Using the Resource

CETL acknowledges this is not an all-inclusive list. The suggested practices are intended as a menu, and we do not expect faculty to implement all 25 practices. On the other hand, many of us already use some of these practices. This document may serve to validate beneficial practices around cultivating student success that you are already using, while also offering new suggestions. You can further explore inclusive teaching through conversations with colleagues, consultations with CETL, or relevant teaching and learning scholarship (e.g., CETL's Inclusive Teaching Practices).

You are welcome to print this resource out, but it is most beneficial in the electronic format to access the links embedded throughout. 

screenshot of the Expanding the NEST pdf document


In addition to providing one-on-one consulting services in any of this work, CETL is offering workshops and events throughout the semester focused on different practices found within the menu of options to cultivate student success. 

  • seedling sprouting from dirt

    January 29 - Grading for Growth

    CETL Faculty Fellow Laura Howard is hosting a book chat to discuss David Clark and Robert Talbert's book Grading for Growth: Alternative Grading Practices that Promote Authentic Learning and Student Engagement in Higher Education. 

    This book chat connects with the following practices:

    • #10 Review your course to align learning outcomes, assessments, and instructional strategies.
    • #23 Cultivate students' sense of agency by promoting a growth mindset and metacognition. For instance, allow for productive trial and error (e.g., through low-stakes practice quizzes or drafts).
    Register in OwlTrain
    • headshot of Peter Felten

      February 13 - Peter Felten

      CETL is bringing Dr. Peter Felten to KSU. Dr. Felten is Assistant Provost, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Professor of History at Elon University. Dr. Felten has written 6 books on undergraduate education, including the wildly successful Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College. He will be giving a keynote address to campus on February 13, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. with a book signing to follow until 11:30 a.m. His topic dovetails perfectly with KSU’s Student Success goals.

      This event connects with multiple aspects of Expanding the NEST with particular focus on the Student-Faculty Interactions and Supportive Environments sections.

      Register in OwlTrain
      • light bulb filled with fairy lights being held in hands

        February 27 - Building Rapport

        As a follow up to the Peter Felten Event, CETL Faculty Fellow Laura Howard will be hosting a workshop called Building Rapport: Faculty-Student Interations that Foster Growth and Development. This workshop is a deep dive into Student-Faculty Interactions as one aspect of our Expanding the NEST intiative. In this workshop, faculty will learn how they can positively influence the cognitive growth, development, and persistance of college students through interactions. Specifically, we will explore strategies for building rapport in the classroom. 

        This workshop will touch a number of practices that fall within the Student-Faculty Interaction section in Expanding the NEST.

        Register in OwlTrain
        • three stones stacked and balanced

          March 7 - Equity Minded Teaching

          CETL Faculty Fellow Rudy Aguilar is hosting a book chat with the Norton Guide to Equity Minded Teaching to explore best practices for curating inclusive learning spaces across various modalities in institutions of higher learning. As colleges and universities embrace face-to-face, online, and hybrid approaches to teaching, the authors of The Norton Guide to Equity-minded Teaching equip faculty with real-life scenarios and day-to-day tools to implement in your courses to better ensure diverse student populations feel appreciated, and their needs met.

          This book chat connects with the following practices:

          • #5 Avoid generalizations that may exclude students (e.g., "when you go home for break," "if you have a child someday," "just walk over to my office," "it only costs $xxx"). These phrases make implicit assumptions about students' physical ability, family structure, social identities, linguistic preferences, citizenship status, or economic means.
          • #22 Give students opportunities for reflection on how their own cultural identities relate to the content. 
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          •  A ball of energy with electricity beaming all over the place.

            March - Making it Stick

            We will be releasing a recording of the keynote presentation from the 2023 SoTL Summit titled Making it Stick: Improving Learning with Spacing and Retrieval Practice.  In this keynote address, Dr. Megan Sumeracki, co-founder of the popular website The Learning Scientists and co-author of Understanding How We Learn: A Visual Guide, will describe two strategies--spacing and retrieval practice--that have robust evidence to support their use during learning. After providing a brief overview of the strategies and evidence to support their effectiveness, she will draw on The Learning Scientists' resources to share applications of the strategies that can be used in a variety of instructional settings, followed by a discussion of how instructors can leverage scholarship of teaching and learning methods to investigate these strategies.

            Link to recording will appear here in March

            • stack of colorful books

              March 28 - Crafting your SoTL Conference Proposal

              Hillary Steiner, Associate Director for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, will be hosting Crafting your SoTL Conference Proposal. This can be a great opportunity to get a conference proposal on the research and work you are completing connected to Expanding the NEST and more!

              This workshop connects with the following practice:

              • #23 Cultivate students’ sense of agency by promoting a growth mindset and metacognition. For instance, allow for productive trial and error (e.g., through low-stakes practice quizzes or drafts). 
              Register in OwlTrain
              • friends hands piled togethger

                April 10 - Team-Based Learning

                We invite you to join Tris Utschig's, Director for Scholarly Teaching, workshop to experience what it might be like to work in a Team-Based Learning classroom. In Team-Based Learning, the use of activities drives much of the instruction through extensive use of cooperative teams to enhance learning. During the workshop, participants will experience a number of important elements in the Team-Based Learning approach. This includes the Readiness Assurance Process, completing team-activity worksheets, and peer review of team members. In addition, the Tris will share anecdotal and other evidence of how the course setup positively impacts student performance.

                This workshop connects with the following practice:

                • #20 Be intentional about all aspects of collaborative learning, from group formation and composition to duration, roles, process vs. deliverables, cohesiveness, individual vs. group accountability, providing feedback, and opportunities for reflection.
                Register in OwlTrain