Category Archives: For Staff Archive

‘Famous Last Words’ faculty retirement celebration

Due to an email editing error, those who are looking for All Staff Council election information were directed to this page. Information about the election is available at this link.

On Thursday, April 15, we will honor six of our faculty colleagues retiring from Drake at the end of this academic year.

Professors Sally Beisser (Education), Ed Bell (Pharmacy), Ramesh Dhussa (Geography), Dorothy Pisarski (Advertising), Nancy Reincke (English), Michael Rieck (Computer Science), and John Rozycki (Finance) have amassed nearly 200 years of collective experience and wisdom about Drake and higher education. On Thursday, April 15, we’ll honor their service to Drake and mark their retirement at an online event co-hosted by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching Excellence.

“Famous Last Words” will air from 3–5 p.m. and will allow us to spend some time with Sally, Ed, Ramesh, Dorothy, Nancy, Michael, and John. Drawing on their experience and observations over the years, they will briefly share their insights about how Drake, as an institution, can continue to thrive in the midst of new and pressing challenges to higher education in the U.S. Following their remarks, we’ll open the (virtual) floor for Q&A.

Too often, we have allowed our departing colleagues to take their wisdom with them. Please take advantage of this opportunity to hear this year’s retirees’ “Famous Last Words,” to learn from them one last time, and to wish them well.  Click here to register for this free event using your Drake email address.

Log-in information will be sent by email prior to the event.

— Sandra Harris, Provost’s Office

Drake faculty/staff golf league

Drake Faculty/Staff Golf League will be a doubles league held at Grandview  Golf Course/A.H. Blank Golf Course in Des Moines. Nine holes will be played each week.

League play is scheduled on Wednesdays with tee times starting at 4pm for Grandview and 4:30pm for A.H. Blank. The first day of play will be May 19th and will continue through July 28th (10 weeks). League play may be extended depending on the number of rain-outs.

The league will be administered on a handicap basis, with 80% of the difference between a person’s average and scratch used as the handicap.

Spouses and/or significant others are welcome to play in the league. Sport will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register email Ryan Parriott at

— Emily Madsen, Rec Services

Blackboard Learn Ultra instructor orientation course module 6 now available 

About Module 6: This newly released self-paced module is expected to take about 2–3 hours and is focused on the most widely used Ultra Course View features. This Module will start a new layout where you will see our suggested route of learning features, but you can still choose your own learning path if there are features you don’t plan to use. You can always return to this course and review features you don’t need for the Fall 2021 switch to Ultra Course View for all courses.  

Activities included in the training encourage you to practice using the newly learned features in your sandbox courses. As you learn your way around the Ultra Course View, the sandboxes provide you with a student-free working space where you can begin developing and designing courses in the new look and feel. If you build things you want to use in the fall, remember that you can copy items from course to course, or copy entire courses for future semester offerings (reusing content was covered in Module 5). 

Need assistance with your Ultra sandbox courses? 
If the sandbox courses in Ultra course view are not showing in your Courses list, please request assistance by submitting a Blackboard Site Creation request in the IT Service Portal. 

What’s Next? 
Next week, Module 7 will be released, and it will introduce attendance, grading and feedback, and touch on analytics for instructors in the Ultra Course View.   

— Karly Good, ITS

This month’s digital faculty member: Lindsay Woodward

Each month, a faculty member, nominated by their dean, is recognized for their efforts to integrate innovative technology into their teaching. March’s digital faculty member of the month is Lindsay Woodward, assistant professor, School of Education. Read an interview with Lindsay:

What type of technology do you use? Flipgrid

What course do you use this technology in? Multiple courses for undergraduates seeking initial teacher licensure, as well as graduate students returning to Drake for their Master’s degrees.

In what context do you use this technology? Flipgrid is a great tool for multiple instructional approaches. It can be used for formative or summative assessments, small group work, or larger group conversations.

How does this type of technology align with your teaching pedagogy? Flipgrid aligns well with what research has shown us about integrating digital tools into our instruction. By starting with a specific instructional goal and purpose, Flipgrid can be used for multiple pedagogical purposes. This increases its effectiveness, as students can become accustomed to the environment for a small group conversation, and then return to engage in a formative assessment, without having to learn the ins and outs of a new or different digital tool.

Where did you get the inspiration to make a change? While I have used Flipgrid previously, there are two major changes that increase my use of this tool in my courses. First, when Flipgrid was purchased by Microsoft and no longer required a subscription, there was a surge in K-12 educators using this tool. For Drake students, this means that undergraduates are coming from high school already familiar with this tool and then they can log in with their Drake credentials* which increases the security and control over the Flipgrid content. Second, in October, Flipgrid began to allow text comments to students’ videos. This expanded the possible instructional uses beyond those that would require only video responses.

* Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft and uses a Microsoft login. Use of Flipgrid is allowed but not supported by Drake ITS.

How long did it take for you to implement this technology? Not long at all. I have used it occasionally previously, but use it much more frequently as part of both asynchronous instruction and synchronous small group work since teaching virtually.

Since transitioning to remote teaching, how has your use of this technology changed? It has increased. Because Flipgrid can be used for so many specific pedagogical approaches, I will ask students to create videos outside of class, and then we can analyze them in small groups in class. Or, I can ask students to capture their knowledge about a topic from synchronous instruction in a video and share that with other students asynchronously.

Since transitioning to remote teaching, have you started using any new technology in your teaching? If so, what tools and how are you using them? Many of the new tools I am integrating are grounded in technologies used in K-12 education so that our students are prepared to enter the teaching force.

Overall, what lessons do you think you have learned while transitioning to remote teaching?

As an educational technology researcher, this has been a chance to really test the effectiveness of some of what has been known about technology integration in face-to-face instruction and how it can translate to synchronous virtual instruction. In terms of lessons, I think that one of the key ideas when using a new technology with students is to be clear in your modeling of how to use the technology to complete the assigned task. If students do not need the screenshots and step by step directions, then they won’t use them, but students who need them need ready access to supportive materials in order to complete instructional goals. This aids them in spending time building the knowledge they should be, rather than figuring out where to click on a new piece of technology.

Both before and during this transition, did Drake ITS assist you in implementing any of these technologies? Drake’s integration with Flipgrid is seamless, which I learned by simply logging in one day. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that ITS does to make these products work for faculty.

Are you interested in trying out new technology in your classroom? Want help from ITS? Schedule a technology adoption consultation.

—Jon Hurdelbrink, CPHS, and Carla Herling, ITS

Module 5 now available in Learn Ultra Instructor Orientation course

In Blackboard Learn, as a part of the Courses list in the Assorted Dates area, you will find the Blackboard Learn Ultra Instructor Orientation course. This course was created to help you prepare to use Blackboard Learn Ultra before its Fall 2021 launch. If you have several active courses, you may need to search for the course by title or expand your course listing to see more than 25 courses per page.  

Each week, for the next four weeks, you will be notified of a new module to complete. This series of modules will be the final self-paced portion of the Blackboard Learn Ultra user training to prepare for the transition to Learn Ultra Courses. Modules 1–4 were released last fall and are still available if you haven’t yet completed them. This spring we are releasing Modules 5–9 (9 is optional) to prepare you for creating and using Ultra Courses. By completing this orientation course, you will gain insight into the experience your students will have when we switch to the Ultra Course View in Fall 2021. These Orientation course activities won’t be graded or reviewed.  

In addition, on November 3, 2020, you should have been provided access to Ultra Course View sandboxes in your Courses list in the Assorted Dates area or under the Sandboxes group of courses. These sandboxes provide a space for you to experiment with new features while you complete modules in the Orientation course. If you don’t have sandboxes available, please request them by submitting a Blackboard Site Creation request and asking for “Ultra Sandboxes”. 

In next week’s OnCampus we will share more information about Module 6.  

— Karly Good, ITS 

Microsoft Defender Antivirus launched on campus Mac computers

Drake ITS is switching from Sophos Antivirus software to Microsoft Defender Antivirus. As a result, if you are using a Drake-owned Mac you may see a pop up asking to Allow network filtering. Please click Allow if you see the message as shown below. If you’ve already clicked Don’t Allow, the software will install at a later point on your computer and will not interrupt your work.

This will move antivirus protection from individual computers to the network which is more effective. Please note that ITS cannot view or monitor website activity.

If you have further questions on this change, please contact the support center at 515-271-3001 or visit

— Carla Herling, ITS

Nominate staff for a Called to be True Blue award

Staff Appreciation Month is a great time to nominate a Drake staff member or team for a Called to be True Blue award. Those that are “True Blue” go above and beyond expectations to serve students, colleagues, and the Drake Community and possess these characteristics:

  • Epitomizes the values of leadership, teamwork, and integrity, and exhibits their commitment to the Drake community.
  • Has shown others what it takes to get a task or project done, and accomplishes that by working well with others.
  • Is able to be honest and fair in the situations they face.
  • Does all of these things for the betterment of Drake and its values and goals.

The All Staff Council Recognition Committee is accepting nominations using their online form.  True Blue honorees will be presented with a certificate, and those who receive a True Blue award prior to April 1 will be entered into this year’s Sapphire Award nomination and recognized at the annual Sapphire Awards event.

— Linda Feiden, Human Resources

Automatic captioning in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Panopto

With the recent addition of automatic captioning by Zoom, we now have access to two platforms (Zoom and Microsoft Teams) that provide automatic transcriptions as well the ability as enable automatic transcripts to recorded content using Panopto. Recordings made with Zoom or Microsoft Teams can be uploaded to Panopto to include captioning in the recording.

To assist faculty and staff with using these features, ITS staff has created a new knowledge base article with instructions and information. Learn more by reading Using Automatic Transcription Services (How-to).

— Clayton Mitchell, ITS

Global Citizenship Award winner: Sally Haack

Congratulations to Sally Haack, professor of pharmacy practice in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, on winning the 2021 Global Citizenship Award!

The Principal Global Citizenship Award is awarded annually to a Drake University faculty or staff member, recognizing outstanding contributions to global engagement and internationalization of the campus and curriculum. This award is sponsored by the Principal Center for Global Citizenship.

This award was presented to Professor Haack by Provost Sue Mattison March 4 at the Global Citizen Forum. This presentation is available on YouTube to watch on-demand.

— Hannah Sappenfield, Global Partnerships Coordinator

Online Design Dialogues begins March 11

Drake Online Design Dialogues will recommence March 11 at 11:30 a.m. and continue every other Thursday. The sessions have been added to the University calendar. The sessions will be led by the instructional designers and technologists from Drake Online and Continuing Education and will focus on Blackboard Learn Ultra.

Visit the links below to learn more about each session and to register. All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the Drake Online and Continuing Education Faculty Resources website. Here is the schedule of topics:

March 11:  Ultra Base Navigation (UBN) and Transition Preparation
March 25: Copying Courses in Ultra
April 8: Build and Organize Content in Ultra
April 22: Assignments and Rubrics in Ultra
May 6: Communicating with Students in Ultra
May 20: Groups in Ultra
June 3: Assessments in Ultra
June 17: The Ultra Gradebook

— Christina Trombley, Drake Online and Continuing Education