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Two IU Northwest faculty members tapped for membership in elite IU teaching organization FACET

Psychology professor Karl Nelson, history professor Jerry Pierce to join 15 other inductees at annual retreat in May

There is no such thing as a nine-to-five college professor.

Teachers in higher education do not just teach their disciplines; they live them. They read about them in the morning, lecture on them in class, and write or research them in the evenings or on weekends. Professors continually seek new methods of imparting to students the knowledge they have discovered about topics that have fascinated and engaged them for years.

At Indiana University, there is an organization that brings together the university’s finest teachers so that they may share their ideas, strategies and successes with colleagues who are as dedicated to excellence in teaching as they are. The Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) includes approximately 500 IU educators out of more than 5,000 faculty system-wide, and each year a select few are added to its ranks.

Induction into FACET is indeed an honor, but its members agree that the true benefit of FACET membership lies in the opportunities it provides for the sharing of knowledge about teaching between colleagues from various campuses and disciplines.

“It’s not about the prestige,” said IU Northwest Assistant Professor of Psychology Karl Nelson, Ph.D., who is one of two IU Northwest educators to receive the 2009 Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching Award. Nelson has taught at IU Northwest since 2003. “Nobody in academia needs another line on the vitae. The vitae are long enough already. It’s about being part of a group of people who are dedicated to teaching, and who say, ‘OK, this is what we’re doing in the classroom, and it seems to be working. Now, how can we make it better?’”

Nelson will join IU Northwest Assistant Professor of History Jerry Pierce, Ph.D., and 15 other educators from different IU campuses, at the 21st Annual FACET Retreat, which will take place from May 15 – 17 at Potawatomi Inn in Pokagon State Park in Angola, Ind. This year’s induction will raise the total number of FACET members to 516.

“I feel quite honored to be inducted into an organization that places such a high value on educational excellence,” said Pierce, who has taught ancient and medieval history at IU Northwest since 2004. “I devote a considerable amount of time to my teaching, both in and out of the classroom, and it's great to receive FACET's support and recognition.”

Pierce agreed with Nelson’s assessment of FACET as an invaluable networking resource.

“I'm looking forward to working with FACET's resources to explore new approaches to teaching, especially innovative ways to incorporate new technologies in the teaching of ancient topics,” he said.

Nelson said this was his second time applying for FACET membership, and he credited IU Northwest’s local FACET committee with providing guidance on the application process. Nelson said he’d like to be appointed to the editorial review board of the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL), which is sponsored by the Mack Center at Indiana University for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning in association with FACET. Nelson said he wants to have the opportunity to review articles that are submitted to JoSoTL so that he can learn more about other educators’ successful classroom practices.

“I’m sure that many of those ideas do make it into the online journal, but there are probably other submissions that don’t get in, but that still have really good ideas,” he said. “When you review the submissions, you get to see all of those ideas.”

FACET Director David J. Malik, who is also the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at IU Northwest, congratulated Pierce, Nelson and all of this year’s FACET inductees on joining a group of IU faculty who are passionately dedicated to teaching and learning.

“The big winners are the students in these faculty classes,” Malik said.

FACET, an IU Presidential initiative, is designed to recognize and enhance outstanding teaching throughout the IU system and to promote continued development of teaching excellence among colleagues at IU and beyond. In recent years, FACET’s efforts have expanded both at the campus level and statewide. Its activities include the Leadership Institute, Associate Faculty and Lecturers Conference, and Future Faculty Teaching Fellows Conference in partnership with IU Graduate School.

For more information about FACET, please visit the Web at or email the FACET Office at IUPUI at



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer

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File photo
IU Northwest Assistant Professor of History Jerry Pierce, Ph.D.

Photo by Christopher Sheid/IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications
IU Northwest Assistant Professor of Psychology Karl Nelson, Ph.D., teaches his students during an outdoors class session in October 2008.
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