Nicholls Professors Speak on Student Success & Faculty Development

Contributed Photo

THIBODAUX, La. — Assistant Professor of Art History Dr. Ashley Busby and Professor of Art Trisha Rabalais provided a conference presentation entitled “Building a Community of Table People: Creating Internal and External Connections for Students” at the fifth annual Sparking Success Faculty Development Conference sponsored by the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching at Tulane University on Dec. 10, 2022. 

At the conference, they noted their work, “has included the development of a department-specific freshman orientation program, Fresh Start, designed and led by upper-level students; the creation of a freshman mentor program, known as Co-Arts; and the creation of a digital tool, the Life RAFT, which helps students navigate university and departmental policies and requirements and creates a space for virtual community building.”  

Dr. Busby and Ms. Rabalais delivered a related talk titled “Life Rafts: Building a Resource for Student Success” on December 11 at Great Ideas for Teaching Students sponsored by the Nicholls Center for Teaching Excellence.  

Of the experiences, they commented that they enjoyed the opportunities, “to share art department initiatives and strategies with various campus and regional audiences and discuss ways that we can better meet the needs of our students and create a sense of inclusive, departmental community.”

The Nicholls Center for Teaching Excellence was designated to facilitate faculty and staff development and maintain inclusive pedagogical practices that promote quality teaching and learning that result in increased student retention and success. 

The CTE provides workshops that meet the current needs of faculty as well as plans for the creation of learning communities, pedagogical journal clubs and the promotion of scholarship and pedagogical research. Additionally, the CTE will provide faculty consultations for improved teaching and assessment developments for student learning, contributing to initiatives directed at organizational development and institutional effectiveness.

To learn more about Nicholls CTE, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 13, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT: Jerad David, Director of Communications, 985.448.4303 or