For the Record - Week of May 24, 2024

Publication Date

Last week, Union College faculty and staff recently participated in a walk/run as part of a CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge event. One group of employees was shuttled down to Albany to participate in-person, one group met on campus to complete the challenge, and others completed the walk/run on their own and in virtual groups. In total, Union had 60 people participate, winning us the 2nd place award for Educational Organization Largest Participation.

Union employees on campus for CDPHP team challenge
Union employees in Albany for CDPHP team challenge
2nd place award for largest educational institution participation

Eight faculty members recently shared their experiences with a new program designed to improve teaching and student success at Union College. This initiative, called Faculty Interest Groups for Student Success (FIGs²), is part of the college's commitment to Inclusive Excellence.

FIGs² brought together ten faculty members (eight participants and two facilitators) from biology, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, mathematics, and physics in a small group setting to learn about inclusive teaching practices throughout the academic year. In the fall, participants explored a curated version of the EdX Inclusive Stem Teaching Project and discussed these topics in bi-weekly group meetings. They also worked with instructional designers from the Learning Design and Digital Innovation team to incorporate these practices into their upcoming courses. During the winter term, faculty members implemented these new strategies in their classrooms and then met weekly with their FIGs² colleagues to share experiences and discuss challenges and successes. Faculty took turns facilitating the meetings and bringing their own topics on inclusive teaching to the table. Finally, in the spring, the groups met bi-weekly to reflect on their learning and make plans for further improvement.

On May 21st, these faculty members presented their year-long journey at an event called "8 Branches of Growth on the Inaugural FIGs² Tree." They discussed their goals, the specific strategies they implemented, and the positive impacts they observed on their students. The event also offered opportunities for all faculty members to ask questions and share their own ideas about inclusive teaching.

The FIGs² program is generously sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence 3 grant at Union College. It is a great example of how Union College is fostering a community of educators who are dedicated to student success. Due to its success, the FIGs² program will be offered annually for the duration of the grant, expanding engagement with faculty across divisions and departments. If you are interested in learning more about FIGs² and participating next year, be sure to stay tuned for an announcement from the grant’s program director, Professor Nicole Theodosiou or send an email to

Faculty presents at FIGs event
Panel at FIGs event
Table discussion at FIGs event

Bradford A. Bruno, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Ann M. Anderson, the Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Anna Hoffmann '23, and Mary K. Carroll '86, the Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, have published a paper titled "Comparative Catalytic Performance of PGM-Nanoparticle-Doped Alumina Xerogels and Aerogels for Potential Application in Automotive Pollution Mitigation" in the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.

Bunkong Tuon, associate professor of English, recently won a Pushcart Prize for his poem “What Is Left,” originally published in Copper Nickel, a national literary journal housed at the University of Colorado, in Denver.

Catherine Walker recently published an article with two alumnae coauthors, Jessica Keigan 21’ and Bonelyn de los Santos 21’. The article is entitled "The Relationship Between Racial/Ethnic Identification and Body Ideal Internalization, Hair Satisfaction, and Skin Tone Satisfaction in Black and Black/White Biracial Women."

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