FUN Final Fridays

FUN Final Fridays 

For those that were not able to join last year, or who might be new to FUN, these Final Friday meetups are intended to be informal gatherings to learn about, or remind ourselves of, strong pedagogical tools and to provide fun collegial support.

We welcome you to all or as many as you can attend. 

Schedule 2023-2024
All meetings will take place on Friday, be one hour in length, and will begin at 4 pm (EST). Here is our schedule for the Fall:

We heard your request to have more informal time to chat with FUN friends, so we will plan to open each session at 3:45 (EDT) and place participants in a breakout room just to visit until the presenters are ready to go at 4 pm – so, please, come early and chat with friends.  Thanks for this feedback received at the FUN conference at WWU last month, and thanks again to the hosts and Ed committee for a great meeting!  In addition, as a FUN member you can find all of last year’s recordings by clicking the link at the bottom of this FUN webpage and, after logging in, you will see the video links.


August 25: We will consider ways to implement storytelling strategies within undergraduate STEM curricula.  Hosts David Donley (Harding) and Barbara Lom (Davidson) will share elements of storytelling that can be applied to class sessions, storytelling assignments, and resources for instructors seeking to use storytelling tactics to enhance their teaching and/or help students tell their own stories.  We hope that you will be able to join us on Friday 08.25.23 at 4:00 pm EDT (3:00 CDT, 2:00 MDT, 1:00 PDT) for the first FFF of the fall!

Register here for the August conversation. 

September 29: Are you feeling overwhelmed? Can you already see burnout on the horizon this semester? 
Though we really hope not, for this session FFF welcomes two facilitators to help support our wellness by discussing skills and tools to mitigate feelings of overwhelm.
You’ll be presented with ideas on meal prep, meditation and exercise, finding creative outlets, and getting unstuck, among other things. Bring your tried and true strategies for success as well!
Please register for the session at 4 pm (ET) and feel free to share with your colleagues.

Register here for the September conversation.

October 27: Developing an open access textbook resource for behavioral neuroscience: Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience 1e
Description: Textbooks support and guide learning in numerous college-level science courses. Though faculty typically create the content of science textbooks, the books are primarily produced and sold by for-profit publishers. The high costs of commercial textbooks are gaining increased attention as a major barrier to academic success and equity. The emergence of open educational resources offers a way to reduce financial barriers to academic success by providing educational materials free of charge, to anyone who wishes to learn from them. In this talk, I will discuss the ongoing creation of an open-access, online textbook to accompany a typical Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience course for entry-level college students. The primary goal of this project is to create a viable replacement for costly textbooks in a foundational course in neuroscience. A secondary goal is to prioritize increasing representation of diversity in neuroscience educational materials, including in the authors who contribute chapters and in the images of humans accompanying the text. I will discuss our community-based model of textbook creation, funding, publishing/production and plans for launch in 2024. Access to faculty-created (and faculty-assigned) scientific knowledge should not require surmounting a pay-wall. It is our expectation that easier access to better neuroscience resources, like the one I will describe, will contribute to lowering the costs for students who are pursuing education in neuroscience, as well as greater student enthusiasm for neuroscience.

Register here for the October conversation.

December 8:  FFF session invites attendees at all career stages to share informally a specific professional sticking point or challenge they are currently experiencing that would benefit from the help of colleagues.
As scientists, we recognize that research requires iteration, feedback, and benefits tremendously when in-progress results are shared with other scientists.  We expect bumps in our research journeys and have built a variety of informal and formal mechanisms, from lab meetings to conference presentations, to invite helpful feedback, advice, and questions from other scientists that can point us to helpful resources, connect us with colleagues, and help us get unstuck and/or propel us onward to the next experiment.  Yet, we can often find ourselves without similar opportunities or mechanisms to share other aspects of our professional work in-progress with our peers, particularly with regard to getting unstuck in our teaching, service, professional development, and/or work-life balance.
On December 8, challenges posed might relate to teaching (e.g., how do I grade more efficiently?), research (e.g., how do I prioritize writing time?), service (e.g., how do I generate consensus on a committee?), or another dimension (e.g., how do I repair a relationship with a colleague?). 
Attendees are encouraged to bring a professional challenge that they can introduce in a minute or two to a small group.  In break-out rooms, small groups will respond using a simple guided conversation structure that helps normalize and humanize challenges, welcomes questions, encourages careful listening, and offers useful considerations from a variety of viewpoints.  Not all attendees are expected to bring or share a challenge, although all will participate in a small group conversation to gain first-hand experience with a discussion format that useful for structuring conversations with students in courses and/or colleagues in professional development settings.

Register here for the December conversation.

January 26 (4 pm ET), Jen Schaefer (College of St Benedict St Johns University) and Audrey Chen Lew (IC Irvine) will join us to continue a discussion on the Core Concepts in Neuroscience

Core concepts are unifying ideas that build a framework of understanding across subdisciplines of a field. AAAS identified core concepts as a tool to promote student learning; under this approach, students think more deeply about key unifying ideas that aid in scaffolding their learning (AAAS, 2011). We recently published neuroscience core concepts using a community-derived approach (;
This FUN Final Friday session will present ongoing work by faculty at various institutions toward implementing core concepts in courses and programs. The session will also provide attendees with time to discuss how the neuroscience core concepts may be a helpful tool in their own courses and programs.

Register here for the January conversation

February 23 (4 pm ET), Jane Lubischer (NC State) will join us to discuss Solving the Rigor Equation.
Academic rigor has long been an aspiration of programs and a hallmark of excellence.  We must, however, reconsider the stock story of rigor.  Join us as Dr. Lubischer encourages us to challenge the traditional narratives on rigor and help students develop positive records of achievement. Here is her recent Inside HigherEd piece on the topic

Register here for the February conversation

APRIL 5 (4 pm ET) - Come talk with an NIH and NSF program director
Acquiring funding for projects can be a daunting task. On April 5th, Marguerite Matthews (National Institutes of Health) and Anna Allen (National Science Foundation) will join a FUN First Friday on April 5th to discuss various funding opportunities and strategies. If you are planning for grants with summer deadlines or interested in hearing about various opportunities or somewhere in between, this is a conversation you won't want to miss! Both guests will have a short presentation followed by a Q&A. Both Marguerite and Anna came highly recommended to the FFF organizing team!
Marguerite is a Program Director for the Office for Programs to Enhance Neuroscience Workforce Diversity at NIH. Anna is a Program Director for the Division of Integrative and Organismal Systems at NSF. Both Program Directors will be able to discuss traditional research grants as well as those that support education and outreach projects. Please join us April 5th for this fantastic conversation.
Register here, for the April 5th conversation 


April 26 (4 pm ET) – Hear about successful manuscript preparation with undergrads
Many of us do research with undergraduates. We value the process, recognize the constraints, and would like to turn those data into a publication both for our CV and for the student’s advancement.  But this can be an arduous task given the constraints on everyone’s time. On Friday, April 26, Nestor Matthews (Denison University) and Grit Herzmann (College of Wooster) will join us to discuss How to Work Effectively with Students to Prepare Publication Worthy Manuscripts. Learn about each of their strategies and discuss ways to implement improvements to your own practice.

Register here for the April 26th conversation

Past Schedules and Resources
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Information and resources from previous FUN Final Fridays

Questions? - Contact