Spring 2017


Co-sponsored Talking Teaching: What’s your approach to laptop use in the classroom?

Thursday, February 9th, 4:15-5:30 in Belk Pavilion 201 (snacks provided)

Join colleagues during this Talking Teaching to discuss approaches to student laptop use in the classroom and the implications of those for student learning and for our teaching. The debate about which approach to choose is complicated. Should we:

  • encourage students to use laptops in class to help them make connections, and incorporate new technologies into our teaching (Lang 2016),
  • ban laptops in the classroom because longhand note taking may be better for learning (Mueller and Oppenheimer, 2014),
  • allow them because some students require them for accommodations (Godden and Womack 2016),
  • figure out some other strategy, because, as James Lang argues, “the problem is not going away” anytime soon (Lang 2016)?

What approach do you take? How do you communicate it? How does it enable learning?

*Co-sponsored by CATL, Disabilities Services, and Teaching and Learning Technologies.

Workshop: Taking Stock and Planning Ahead, A workshop for mid-career faculty

Friday, February 10th, 3-4:30 in Belk Pavilion 208 (snacks provided)

Mid-career faculty: Are you feeling ready to take on your next professional challenges? Have you had time to reflect upon what those challenges and opportunities might be? Or considered how your goals or networks have changed? If you’d like to contemplate your strengths, values, and future career goals, both privately and with colleagues, join us at this workshop. There you will also have time to consider what steps you could take toward enacting the professional development you envision and hear about how to apply for a summer program focused on mid-career faculty growth. This workshop is open to full-time, mid-career faculty who are post-review (for tenure, promotion, or continuation), have worked at Elon for at least 8 years, and are planning to teach another decade or more.

Co-sponsored Speed Teaching: Low-Stakes Writing Assignments

Wednesday, February 22nd, 12:15-1:30 in Belk Pavilion 208 (lunch provided)

In “Speed Teaching” – a creative blend of pedagogy and “speed dating”– a handful of faculty from across the university will quickly introduce a low-stakes writing technique that has worked for them to foster student learning through writing.  Session participants will have the chance to briefly learn about at discuss three different techniques – without having to make a commitment to any one of them!

The featured “speed teachers” will be:

  • Kim Epting, Psychology – using reflection/response journals to connect with the course material
  • Mike Carignan,  History – using reading worksheets
  • Amanda Sturgill, Communications – using twitter to “cover class”
  • Chris Richardson, Physics – using white board exercises to respond to readings and in-class content

*Co-sponsored by CATL and the Center for Writing Excellence



Workshop: Encouraging Students to Take Intellectual Risks: The Role of Metacognition and Motivation

Wednesday, March 8th, 12:15-1:30 in Belk Pavilion 208 (lunch provided)

Students are often cautious about taking intellectual risks in the classroom and can sometimes seem more concerned about grades than learning. How can we encourage students to gain a broader perspective on learning? Research on metacognition and motivation has demonstrated that people are motivated to reach goals that they think they’ll be able to successfully achieve. In this workshop we will discuss ways to construct a course that rewards risk-taking and helps students better understand what learning is and the important role of self-assessment during the learning process.

Book Group: How We Learn – The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens

Wednesday, March 15th, 12:15-1:30 in Belk Pavilion 208 (lunch provided)

March 13-19 is Brain Awareness Week and what better way to celebrate than to read and discuss How We Learn! This engaging book discusses a range of topics such as the role of context in learning, how forgetting can be beneficial, why taking a break can improve problem-solving ability, and the powerful role of sleep in learning. No prior knowledge is required; the book will lead you on a fascinating journey that provides helpful information about the brain and learning that you can share with students and use in your own life.



Talking Teaching: Promoting (and Practicing) Self-Care for Teaching and Learning

Thursday, April 13th, 4:15-5:30 in Belk Pavilion 208 (snacks provided)

Research suggests that “psychological well-being is positively associated with student engagement, persistence, and performance.” (Moses et al, 2016). It’s not just students for whom this message matters. We know that self-care behaviors, such as healthy eating, sleeping, exercising, and socializing, help us as faculty maintain our own health, and can also promote our sense of professional vitality and effectiveness. At busy times, however, it can feel harder to act on this knowledge, such as, for example, when we are deciding how much sleep deprivation we should endure to prepare to help our students. (Skovholt & Trotter-Mathison, 2011, p. 7)

Join colleagues for a discussion on ways we do (and can) practice and promote self-care for ourselves as teachers and model it for our students, even at busy times of the semester.


Winter 2017

Communicating Your Teaching Philosophy

Thursday, January 5, 12:00-1:15 pm, Lindner Hall 206 (Lunch provided)

What does it mean to have a “teaching philosophy”? How does that philosophy inform our teaching? When do we share it, and with whom? We often find ourselves explaining aspects of our teaching beliefs, values and practices to others – whether to students, to colleagues in our departments or across campus, or even to the real and imagined audiences we have in mind when writing about our teaching. During this interactive session, we will consider how we might better describe the (sometimes tacit) beliefs and values that underlie our teaching choices, through a guided interview and reflection.

Reading Group – Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Tuesdays, January 10th & 24th, 11:45 am-1:00 pm, Lindner Hall 206 (Lunch provided)

This book draws on a longitudinal study of undergraduates to provide fresh insights into questions including: (1) what can we do to promote greater academic and intellectual engagement among students in courses, departments/programs, and across campus? (2) what can we do to encourage sustained student interaction across difference? and (3) how do students actually become liberally educated during college? Please register by December 19th to receive a copy of the book before the holiday break.

Presenting Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness

Wednesday, January 18, 12:00-1:15 pm, McBride Gathering Space (Lunch provided)

What kinds of evidence beyond the Student Perceptions of Teaching can you use to evaluate and improve your teaching? This interactive session will explore a framework for gathering, analyzing, and using evidence to inform your teaching and to demonstrate your teaching effectiveness to others.

Your Best Year Ever: Managing Your Mission, Yourself, and Your Time
Guest Workshop by Susan Robison, Ph. D.

Thursday, January 26, 2017, 2-4 pm, NEW LOCATION: Now in Belk Pavilion 208 (Snacks provided)

Susan RobisonThe transition from the end of one year to the start of another is a good time to pause to evaluate how the previous year has gone and how make the coming year even better. This time management workshop goes beyond a series of tips to give you principles and strategies for making this your best year ever. You will learn how to: Anchor a Best Year Theme to your overarching mission and purpose; Review the successes and frustrations of the previous year and forecast the successes and frustrations of the coming year; Align all of your tasks and activities with a vision about your career and your life that will give you more work-life balance and productivity. As a result, you will: Power your work with energy; Decide more easily what tasks are worthy of your time; Procrastinate creatively; Construct better to-do lists; and, Create accountability strategies to keep you on track in all spheres, professional and personal, all in one place.

Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and faculty development consultant. Susan’s Professor Destressor workshops and coaching help faculty improve their time and stress management, leadership, work-life balance, productivity and communication skills. Her book,A former academic department chair and professor of psychology at Notre Dame of Maryland University, Susan is the author of The Peak Performing Professor: A Practical Guide to Productivity and Happiness, published by Jossey-Bass in October, 2013, two leadership books (Discovering Our Gifts and Sharing Our Gifts), a co-author with Barbara Walvoord et al. of a faculty development book, Thinking and Writing in College, as well as numerous articles on leadership and work-life balance.

In addition to her academic work, Susan has provided leadership consultation work with non-profits and maintained a clinical practice at the Center for Extraordinary Marriages where she is co-director with her husband of over 40 years. Her awards include an early career NSF award and several business awards including the 2004 Mandy Goetze award from the Executive Women’s Network for service and leadership to business women in the Baltimore area and, in 2008, one of the Top 100 Minority Business Entrepreneurs in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas.


Fall 2016


Engaging teachers as readers: Responding to student writing
Guest Workshop by Deb Reisinger & Jennifer Ahern-Dodson

Thursday, September 22nd, 12:30-1:45pm, Lindner Hall 206 (lunch provided)

Responding to student writing is often one of the most time consuming parts of teaching a writing course. Yet, when students don’t seem to read our comments or revise their essays in a substantive way, we wonder if all the work is worth it. This lunch workshop will be led by Duke University’s Deb Reisinger, Assistant Professor of the Practice in Romance Studies and an affiliate faculty member in the Duke Global Health Institute and in Markets and Management Studies, along with Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, also from Duke, who serves as Director of Outreach for the Thompson Writing Program and directs the Language, Arts + Media Program Lab. They will explore how to engage teachers as readers. When teachers examine their preferred responding style and structure assignments around it, they can bring renewed energy to teaching writing. Participants will learn strategies for reflecting critically on their own feedback on student writing and draft a plan for aligning their preferred responding style with course assignments and practices. Co-sponsored with the Center for Writing Excellence.



Why Josh is more likely to speak for his group than Jessica:  Breaking the bias habit
Guest Workshop by Therese Huston

Tuesday, October 11th, 12:30-1:45pm, NEW LOCATION: McBride Gathering Space (lunch provided)

Therese HustonThe next time you have students work in small groups, notice who speaks for each group when you ask them to report out.  Chances are you’ll hear from more men than women, even if women participated heavily in the discussion and offered thoughtful contributions up until that moment. Why does this happen?  When do women contribute as often as men?  And do similar patterns emerge in, say, department meetings?  We’ll look at some of the ways popular culture treats men as having more intellectual heft and more valuable decision-making skills.  How might these all-too-common assumptions about gender and judgment encourage students to participate at some times and not others?  How do these habits also unconsciously play out in how we, as faculty, behave?Led by Therese Huston, a cognitive scientist at Seattle University,  in this workshop, we’ll develop strategies for curbing gender bias in our classrooms and our professional lives.  We’ll share approaches for bringing everyone’s best ideas to the table. 

In addition to her work at Seattle University, Huston has written two books on the topic. The New York Times calls her new book, How Women Decide:  What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Sparks the Best Choices (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), “required reading on Wall Street.” Therese received her BA from Carleton College and her MS and PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.  Her first book, Teaching What You Don’t Know, was published by Harvard University Press.  She’s also written for the New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

Teaching and learning through the lens of photography
Guest Workshop by Martin Springborg

Friday, October 28th, 12:15-1:25pm, Belk 201 (lunch provided)

Martin Springborg

These days, multi-media resources are integrated into many facets of teaching and learning in higher education. Making photographs that capture the essence of our work can be an accessible and effective way to communicate what we do—to one another, as well as to funding agencies and the public. In this luncheon forum, photographer and educator Martin Springborg will present and discuss images from an ongoing, national photo-documentary project on teaching and learning in higher education. Participants will also begin to learn ways in which they can use photographs to document and communicate about their own academic work. 

Springborg is a faculty member in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. His Teaching and Learning project brings to light the vital necessity of collaboration among people from different institutional sectors, especially in support of student success. Stylistically inspired by photographers like Robert Frank and Lisette Model, his Teaching and Learning photos convey a knowledge of and sensitivity to interactions between teachers, learners, and technology in the classroom. Ultimately, Springborg’s work captures the nuance, spark, challenge, and joy of teaching and learning in settings as diverse as research universities, culinary institutes, liberal arts colleges, and more. You can see his photographs and learn more about the Teaching Learning Project at https://www.springborgphoto.com.


Just Breathe: Managing Stress (your own and your students) during a stressful time – Workshop

NEW DATE – Now, Wednesday, November 30th, 4-5:15pm, Belk 208

We’ve planned this session intentionally during that time in the semester when you and your students are beginning to feel the pressure of deadlines and other end-of-semester stressors. Led by Julie Lellis, Associate Professor of Communications, this session will focus on exploring common stressors that come up at the end of the semester for both professors and students and solutions to implement in the office and/or classroom. The group will do a short practice including chair yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques that can help you and your students center and focus.

Getting Ready for Winter Term – Workshop

Thursday, November 17th, 4:10-5:20pm, Belk 208 (snacks provided)

Your course meets 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for about 3 weeks. Class meetings are very long and yet the term is over in the blink of an eye. How do you take advantage of the opportunities offered by this unique format while also surviving the grueling schedule? How do you insure that your students learn really important things (deeply?). How do you take advantage of the Winter Term theme of “The Difference that Difference Makes”?

Workshop Materials: If you were unable to attend, but are still interested in learning about preparing to each a Winter Term course, please view the workshop materials.


Summer 2016


Reading Group – Critical Reading in Higher Education

Wednesday, June 15th, 10-11:30 a.m., Belk Library 102 (Snacks provided)

Written by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, Critical Reading in Higher Education is intended “for undergraduate instructors from various disciplines who are frustrated that their students don’t read, or more accurately, don’t read the way they are expected to in undergraduate courses” (xi). This book explains the findings from a collaborative research project focused on “how students read in first-year courses.” And what they offer, as Pat Hutchings describes in the forward is “good news, not-so-good news, and bad news,” about student reading habits. Though the study focuses on first-year courses, it offers findings and strategies that can be adapted or applied in other course contexts to foster and help develop students’ critical reading skills (as well as a nice model for a well-designed cross-disciplinary collaborative scholarship of teaching and learning project).

The first half of the book will be discussed on June 15th. Participants will select a second date for discussing the remainder of the book. Please register by June 1st to receive a copy of the book.

Reading Group – Practical Strategies to Enhance STEM Teaching & Learning

Tuesdays, June 28th (first part of the book) and July 12th (second part of the book), 10:00-11:30 a.m., Belk Pavilion 201 (Snacks provided)

In this book group we will read Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide by Richard Felder & Rebecca Brent. Whether you are an experienced teacher or just starting out, there is something for you in this book. The strategies described by the authors are research-based and can be easily implemented in an existing course or incorporated into a new course you are designing for next year. Already have your own research-based strategies? Come share them in the discussion! Please register by June 14th to receive a copy of the book.

Reading Group – Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

Thursdays, July 7th (first part of the book) and July 14th (second part of the book), 12:00-1:15 p.m., Belk Pavilion 201 (Lunch provided)

“Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary academic life,” observe Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber, two teaching-award-winning professors of English at Canadian universities. They see this as an unfortunate trend, since academia is an area that should be cultivating deep thought. In chapters like “Pedagogy and Pleasure” and “Collegiality and Community,” they propose that faculty slow down, act with purpose, and cultivate emotional and intellectual resilience to the effects of corporatization of higher education. Berg and Seeber argue that time for reflection is not a luxury for already privileged professors (as some see it), but crucial for faculty in order to effectively teach and undertake good scholarship, which in turn benefits students, the university community, and liberal education, as well as the faculty themselves. Please register by June 23rd to receive a copy of the book.

CATL Co-Sponsored Workshop – Kicking the Expensive Textbook Habit: Building your course using high-quality, low-cost alternatives

Monday, July 18th, 12:00-1:15 p.m., Belk Library 113 (lunch provided)

Please join colleagues from Belk Library, Teaching & Learning Technologies, and CATL to learn how the high cost of textbooks is impacting student choices about textbook purchasing, and to consider alternatives to textbooks at no cost or low cost to your students. We’ll include time during the session for you to explore possible sources of high-quality alternative course materials, so bring your specific ideas and questions.

CATL Course Design Working Groups

Whether you are planning a new course for next year or spending part of the summer re-thinking a course you have taught before, you can sign up to be part of a course design working group. Groups meet 4 times during the summer, often over lunch, based on group members’ schedules. During each meeting, we’ll discuss each course — with group members responding to the questions/topics that most interest you as you design it. In particular, if you’re interested in discussing how you might adapt your Winter Term course to take advantage of the theme or consider ways to plan an effective short-term course, please let us know.


13th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference

Thursday, August 18th, 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Koury Business Center (KOBC)

Elon University welcomes area university and college educators to the 13th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference on August 18, 2016. The conference is jointly sponsored by Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).

This year’s conference theme, Evidence of Learning, will be reflected in sessions that explore various strategies for creating engaged learning experiences—experiences and pedagogies that produce significant learning and make a lasting impact.

We are pleased to announce that our opening plenary speaker  will be Dr. David B. Daniel, Professor of Psychology at James Madison University. Dr. Daniel has been teaching for over 25 years and his scholarship bridges research and practice. Dr. Daniel’s work focuses on “evidence demonstrated” knowledge that can be used to inform individual teaching practices and educational policy. He has been given the Society for Teaching of Psychology’s Teaching Excellence Award and he is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

To view the conference program and to register, please visit the conference website.