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The CTL offers instructors a chance to examine and enhance their teaching through systematic evidence-based analysis, reference to research on teaching and learning, and critical self-reflection.
Consultations are formative, intended to assist instructors in achieving their goals along their own developmental journeys. Consultations are also completely separate from the institution's formal summative processes for evaluating faculty for the purposes of promotion and tenure. All consultations are confidential and may be initiated only upon an instructor's request.
Common Focuses for Consultation
Instructors interested in consulting with the CTL may initiate conversations on a wide range of topics, such as:
- How can I tell whether students are learning what I want them to learn?
- What do I do when students don't do the reading?
- What does the research tell us about effective use of classroom technologies, and which one(s) might best meet my students' and my needs?
Teaching with Technology
- How can I use Blackboard (or another course management system) in order to free up class time for more interactive work?
- Who do I contact for technology consultation regarding course design and pedagogy uses of technology?
- How can I find out what is available in the CTL Studio?
- Who do I contact with teaching and technology questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- How might I enhance a course I'm currently teaching by restructuring it or shifting to use a different pedagogy?
- What sort of course design will make it more likely that students not only memorize but also apply the material and work with it meaningfully?
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Where can I learn more about how other faculty members in my discipline are encouraging critical thinking (or creativity, or good research skills, etc.)—and learn what they are finding?
- How can I make my findings about student learning in my class more public by developing a scholarship stream in the scholarship of teaching and learning?
- What should a good philosophy of teaching statement look like?
- How can I use the portfolio process of evidence-based critical self-reflection as a tool for my own development?
- How do I make sense of the "evidence" that will go into the portfolio's appendices and help a reader understand its meaning in relation to my professional work?
Formats for Individual Consultations
An experienced consultant will work with an instructor to choose the best approaches for meeting the instructor's goals and needs. Possible formats include:
- Formal or information conversation
Many consultations take place in brief, informal exchanges on campus, via email, or by phone, when an instructor has a pressing question or the need for a sounding board. Such informal conversations may be followed up with additional research on the part of the consultant and a number of brief exchanges to arrive at a satisfactory solution. Instructors are also welcomed to schedule a more formal conversation with a consultant for a single meeting or a series of meetings.
- Review of materials
An instructor may contact the CTL to request feedback on course-related documents, such as syllabi, web sites, or assignments. In conducting a longer-term consulting relationship, an instructor will typically share many such documents to provide a sense of context for the consultant.
- Midterm assessment of teaching (focus groups with students
In order to get feedback from students during a course, an instructor can request a "midterm assessment of teaching." Such feedback can be valuable in adjusting a course midstream and in signaling to students that their voices matter. During a 30-minute segment of a class session, a consultant interviews focus groups of students (in the faculty member's absence to provide anonymity for students). Students indicate what is helping them learn in the course, what is hindering their learning, and what suggestions they have for the instructor and for themselves. Finally, the consultant meets with the instructor to discuss the students' anonymous feedback and provide a sounding board or guidance for the faculty member's next steps with the course.
- Classroom observation
A consultant will arrange to observe a class of the instructor's choice to provide feedback related to the instructor's interests, goals, and needs for student learning. Such documentation can be useful for one's own development, as documentation of ongoing professional development work for the professional portfolio, and as a data point for work in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
- Support for work in the scholarship of teaching and learning
Instructors who would like to investigate student learning in their classes in more formal and systematic ways—and then make their findings public—may wish to present or publish in the scholarship of teaching and learning. The CTL will help instructors locate appropriate venues and, time-permitting, can provide guidance and feedback on proposals and manuscripts.