CRLT Players

This year we are delighted to welcome the University of Michigan’s CRLT Players as our keynote presentation. Through theatrical performance as well as critical and imaginative dialogue the CRLT Players invite us to consider the necessity and the challenge of creating inclusive learning environments, as well as develop plans for moving toward better practices. Theatre is a powerful medium for making visible the complex and subtle interactions inside and outside the classroom that shape students’ academic experiences.

7into15 image for website

Putting familiar scenes and challenges on stage produces several effects that are harder to achieve in a simple workshop setting:

  • Theatre enables us to present multiple perspectives on complex issues. The inclusion of multiple perspectives allows us to honor diverse points of view and to consider the ways that these diverse viewpoints can collide and create tension.
  • By putting familiar dynamics onstage, we make visible behaviors and patterns of interaction (often those that contribute to a negative work or learning environment) that can otherwise be easy to overlook. Because theatre heightens and directs attention, audiences readily notice behaviors and interpersonal dynamics that they may not perceive in their own classroom or departmental settings.
  • The use of theatre allows audiences to engage emotionally with a situation while maintaining a critical perspective. Audience members can respond to the “case studies” represented by actors without feeling themselves directly implicated in the sometimes sensitive topics the sketches explore.

For the Innovations in Pedagogy Summit, the CRLT Players will perform “7 into 15,” a high-energy, interactive performance that addresses a range of topics. Consisting of short plays presented in rapid succession, this provocative and often humorous performance format uses a variety of innovative staging techniques to place the challenges of university teaching and learning center stage.

James Lang visits UVA

Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty

Thursday, February 22nd, 10-11:30 AM, Harrison Small Special Collections Library

When students engage in academically dishonest behaviors, they may be responding to subtle pressures in the learning environment that interfere with deep learning and nudge them toward cheating. Hence if we can gain a better understanding of the reasons for academically dishonest behavior, we can use that knowledge to improve our course design, teaching practices, and communication with students.  This interactive lecture will provide an overview of the various pressures that push student toward academic dishonesty, consider some pathways that will help alleviate those pressures, and invite discussion about how to build a campus culture of academic integrity.

 Small Teaching: From Minor Changes to Major Learning

Thursday, February 22nd, 2-4 PM, Harrison Small Special Collections Library

Research from the learning sciences and from a variety of educational settings suggests that a small number of key principles can improve learning in almost any type of college or university course, from traditional lectures to flipped classrooms.  This workshop will introduce some of those principles, offer practical suggestions for how they might foster positive change in higher education teaching and learning, and guide faculty participants to consider how these principles might manifest themselves in their current and upcoming courses.

 Register here for both sessions

Head Shot


James M. Lang is a Professor of English and the Director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.  He is the author of five books, the most recent of which are Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016) Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (Harvard University Press, 2013), and On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching (Harvard UP, 2008).  Lang writes a monthly column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education; his work has been appearing in the Chronicle since 1999.  His book reviews and public scholarship on higher education have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Time.  He edits a new series of books on teaching and learning in higher education for West Virginia University Press; the first title in the series appeared in fall 2016.  He has conducted workshops on teaching for faculty at more than a hundred colleges or universities in the US and abroad.  In September of 2016 he received a Fulbright Specialist grant to work with three universities in Colombia on the creation of a MOOC on teaching and learning in STEM education.  He has a BA in English and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in English from St. Louis University, and a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University. 

Lang flyer

Controversial Topics and Difficult Dialogues


Effectively Engaging Students in Critical Conversations in the Classroom

A workshop with Libby Roderick, Director, Difficult Dialogues Initiative, University of Alaska, Anchorage

Session 1: Wednesday, February 14, 12:30-2pm, Rouss Robertson Hall 256
Session 2: Thursday, February 15, 11:30am-1pm, McLeod Hall 5060

Register here for one of these sessions.


Colleges and universities strive to be civil venues for learning and the robust exchange of ideas on controversial issues. However, while many classrooms increasingly suffer from the combative attitudes, racial and gender tensions, and intellectual dogmatism that characterize discourse in 21st century America, numerous faculty report a tendency to avoid controversial topics or to be unsure how to proceed when charged topics surface because they lack the skills and strategies to ensure productive discussions.

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn a wide range of strategies to effectively engage students on controversial topics in the classroom, strategies that have successfully been applied to such issues as gun control, climate change, race relations, sexual harassment/assault, gay marriage, immigration policy, and more. Specifically, participants will 1) explore and practice strategies for effectively introducing controversial topics into the classroom; 2) become aware of  the broader context of the national Difficult Dialogues initiative, 3) briefly examine the rights and responsibilities of academic freedom, and 4) discuss how to effectively respond to unexpected controversy and/or disruptive students in the classroom. The workshop is based upon Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education, a field manual for educators who wish to strengthen their teaching and engage students more effectively in conversations about the most important issues of our time.  Participants will receive a complementary hard copy of the book.

Libby Roderick is Director of the Difficult Dialogues Initiative and Associate Director of the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) and Vice Chair of the Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center. She conducts faculty workshops across the U.S. and in South Africa on difficult dialogues, indigenous ways of teaching and learning, and creating collegial departments in academe. She is the editor of Alaska Native Cultures and Issues; Associate Editor of Start Talking:  A Handbook of Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education;  co-author of Stop Talking:  Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education, and editor of Toxic Friday:  Resources for Addressing Faculty Bullying in Higher Education. A Yale University summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Libby is also an internationally recognized, award-winning singer/songwriter and recording artist.

Cosponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence, the McIntire School of Commerce, the School of Nursing, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity

Exploring CATME: An Online Tool to Support Effective Group Work

Date: Friday August 11, 2017
Location:Hotel D, 24 East Range

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Integration of group work both in and outside of the classroom helps create an engaging learning environment for students. But forming groups and assessing how students engage in these groups can be challenging.  CATME is a research-based online tool developed for instructors to support effective group formation and assessment of student participation in groups. The goals of this workshop are to introduce instructors to the features of CATME and help instructors become comfortable using CATME in their courses.  Instructors will have opportunities to create activities in CATME for their own courses and consider new ways to integrate group work in their courses. Faculty who already use CATME will share their experiences and be available for questions.

Participants who attend the session need to set up a CATME account prior to the workshop ( and should bring their laptop to the workshop.

The audience targeted are instructors who teach courses of 20+ students who do not currently use CATME but are interested in exploring how it can be integrated into a curriculum that uses group work.  

Presented by:
Lindsay Wheeler, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of STEM Education Initiatives, Center for Teaching Excellence
Assistant Professor

Brian Helmke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Virginia

For additional details, and to Register, please click here.

2017 Teaching as a Graduate Student (TAGS) Workshop Registration

Date: Thursday August 17, 2017
Location:Nau/Gibson Hall 1st Floor Lobby

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Each August, hundreds of graduate students are introduced to learning-centered teaching at the University of Virginia through our day-long workshop series, Teaching as a Graduate Student (formerly known as the August Teaching Workshop). This day-long event engages graduate student instructors and postdoctoral fellows from around the University in a variety of interactive workshops designed to kick-start their teaching careers at UVA.

For additional details, and to Register, please click here.