Student-Faculty Collaboration in Teaching and Learning: A Design Thinking Workshop

Typically faculty teach to students. What happens if we approach the task differently, aiming to teach with students? What would it look like for students and faculty to co-design classes and curricula?

We will explore these questions through a design thinking activity from Stanford’s Students and faculty will be tasked with collaboratively envisioning the future of student-faculty relationships at UVA. Participants will pair up to interview each other, come to a point-of-view of how classroom experiences might look differently if co-created and then generate ideas for a collaborative approach to education. The workshop will culminate in the development of practical strategies for creating and sustaining student-faculty partnerships in teaching and learning.

This session is co-created and co-sponsored by Student Voice and the Teaching Resource Center

Date: Monday March 23, 2015
Location:Open Grounds

To register please email Stephanie Doktor at


When Trauma Impacts Learning

Date: Monday February 16, 2015
Location:Newcomb Hall, South Meeting Room

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Join the waiting list by clicking on this link.


Claire Kaplan, Program Director, Gender Violence & Social Change
Hannah Trible, Counseling Intern
-Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center-

Dorothe Bach, Associate Director and Associate Professor
Itiya Aneece, Graduate Student Associate
-Teaching Resource Center-


In light of the recent events on grounds, many faculty and teaching assistants are asking how they can best support students affected by trauma. Question may include: How can I appropriately express my care and concern for my students’ safety? What do the recent policy changes mean for my interactions with students who confide in me? What accommodations can I make so that students in crisis feel supported in their learning? And finally, when tragic news shake up the community, how can I acknowledge or discuss difficult topics with sensitivity?

This workshop opens with an opportunity to learn how trauma affects social and cognitive functioning and academic learning and what recent policy changes mean for us as responsible teachers and caring adults. The majority of our time together will be spend discussing case studies to explore avenues for supporting individual students in crises and for creating spaces in our classrooms where difficult events can be acknowledged and discussed.

This workshops is co-sponsored by the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the Teaching Resource Center.

UVA Resource

Sexual Violence Education and Resources [UVA Dean of Students’ website that tells you: (1) What to do after an assault; (2) How to support a survivor; (3) What your reporting options are; (4) How to get involved; (5) and more]

Additional Resources for Responding to Trauma in the Classroom

Grappling With Trigger Warnings And Trauma On Campus [NPR Blog] 

Potentially Perilous Pedagogies: Teaching Trauma Is Not the Same as Trauma-Informed Teaching [research-based article]

Difficult Dialogues [this website from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching offers with basic information and resources for college instructors] 

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

Workshop: Developing Learner-Centered Syllabi (and Courses)

Date: February 26, 2015 – February 26, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: Ern Commons
Facilitator: Adriana Streifer

Please click here to Register.


A syllabus is one of the most significant documents of any course: it sets the tone and expectations for the entire semester, and expresses the instructor’s core pedagogical values and approaches to teaching and learning. At the TRC, we strive to help instructors create what Ken Bain calls a “promising syllabus”: a learning-focused document that communicates clearly and compellingly what students will gain from the course, what they will do to achieve the promise it lays out, how they will know whether they are getting there, and how to best go about studying. It can be challenging to know if a syllabus successfully reflects those values and approaches, so we have designed a rubric to assess the capacity of a syllabus to contribute to a meaningful learning environment.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to use a newly-developed syllabus rubric that assesses the degree to which a syllabus achieves a learning-centered orientation. After a brief introduction to key concepts such as backward design, and learning goals and objectives, participants will have a chance to test the rubric’s functionality by applying it to sample syllabi. In pair and group discussions, participants will compare their scores to those given by trained raters. At the conclusion of the session, the presenter will briefly describe the results of scoring over 50 “before” and “after” syllabus pairs collected from instructors that participated in the Teaching Resource Center’s week-long Course Design Institute.

Upon completion of the session, participants will be able to:

  • articulate the basic purposes, functions, and limitations of the syllabus rubric;
  • use the syllabus rubric to score a range of syllabi;
  • consider how they may use the rubric to create learner-focused syllabi for their own classes


Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Please click here to Register.

Making Your Presentations Count

Date: September 26, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: Newcomb Hall, the Gallery

Please click here for information on how to register.


Do you give lectures, deliver papers, conduct meetings, and/or present reports? Join us and participate in exercises geared to reduce stage fright, increase concentration, as well as center and strengthen your voice.

This workshop will be presented by Judith Reagan, Senior Associate Director, Teaching Resource Center, and Associate Professor, Drama.

Previous participants have indicated that they left this session with specific techniques and useful exercises for improving articulation, volume and speed, as well as dealing with anxiety in relation to public speaking. In addition, participants have indicated that this session is also helpful in terms of helping them coach graduate students to improve public speaking skills.

Please note: the workshop will be from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Walk-ins are welcome, but we will also provide lunch (to stay or go) for participants who register in advance. Please email Sherri Barker ( if you would like to attend (and let her know if you have any food allergies).

For additional details please click here.

Demystifying New Faculty Success

Date: October 3, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00PM
Location: Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room


Join Dr. Peg Boyle Single as she offers practical advice on how to set yourself up for success in a new faculty position. In this workshop, Dr. Single draws on over 20 years of experience in directing new faculty mentoring programs, facilitating academic writing groups, facilitating pre- and postdoc training fellowships, and offering retention and tenure trainings to provide advice and direction on life as a new faculty member.

Sponsored by the Teaching Resource Center and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. Registration Requested.

Please click here to register online.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL): Workshop Review

Author: Rosemary Malfi, PhD candidate in Environmental Sciences and Tomorrow’s Professor Today Alumna

Rosemary Malfi

Guest Blogger: Rosemary Malfi

This seminar and its follow-up pedagogical workshop were both facilitated by Dr. Susan Shadle, the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Boise State University in Idaho. Susan is a chemist by training and continues to teach chemistry courses at her university. The purpose of this workshop was to expose us to a pedagogical method called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), an instructional methodology that originated in chemistry departments and that falls under the pedagogical umbrella of the “active learning” paradigm.

POGIL is a student-centered strategy in which students (even in large classroom settings) work in small groups with individual roles assigned to them with the purpose of keeping students actively engaged in the learning process. Although lecturing is not eliminated in a POGIL classroom, it is minimized; instead, students spend the majority of classroom time problem solving with each other (“peer instruction”). This general format is meant to facilitate the development of “process skills” like critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. This is accomplished in the small-group format by assigning and rotating specific roles that each individual must occupy: manager, recorder, spokesperson (presenter), and the strategy analyst (reflector). The last role is optional, depending on whether it is optimal to have groups of 3 or 4. In assuming and interacting with each other in these different roles, students are encouraged to develop different skill sets in addition to problem-solving, including how to listen, to synthesize information rapidly (“information processing”), to communicate that information in both short written form and aloud, and to work collaboratively.

One suggestion regarding the composition of the small groups is to have the groups change every class at the start of the course so that students interact with many different individuals. After the first exam, students are then assigned to groups based on performance in order to promote diversity within a group. Groups can then be changed after certain intervals of time (# weeks, after each exam, etc.) as the instructor sees fit.

POGIL classroom activities can vary in structure, but fall under two broad categories: learning cycle activities and application activities. The former guide the students to develop knowledge of content through a cycle of “exploration, concept invention/term introduction, and application.” The latter facilitate students in deepening or refining their “understanding of one or more previously developed/presented concepts through application of relevant process skills.” In both the short seminar presentation and in the longer workshop, we engaged in some of these activities. Generally, the activities take a worksheet format – students must work through the steps, which are designed and arranged strategically.

Typically, a learning cycle activity will start with a model or diagram that has select information available on it. Students then work through a series of questions that guide them in exploring components of and extracting relevant information from the model/diagram. The next questions then ask students to move beyond identifying aspects of the model to steps that encourage concept (or term) invention. Essentially, students, through their collective exploration of the model/diagram and identification of patterns will form a concept on their own, prior to vocabulary for or relevant to that concept being introduced. The idea behind this is that we often instruct in the opposite direction – we give a term and then define it for our students. In working “backwards,” students arrive at an understanding of the concept before it has a name. The next questions in the exercise are then application/critical thinking questions that ask students to apply the concept they have just learned to another example. These questions can also be more open-ended, asking students to think more broadly by connecting their framework of the central concept to the real world and their own lives (e.g., thinking about examples of things that do and don’t dissolve in water in the “Sweet and Salty” exercise).

Overall, POGIL seems an excellent way to overcome some of the major challenges faced in large classroom environments, the biggest being the disengagement of students from the material. Using this course design makes the classroom feel much smaller; of course, it’s not without costs. Implementing this design is not easy, and activities require continual evaluation to ensure that the exercises are accomplishing student learning goals. Every group of students is also different, so it is important to keep in mind that the pace of the class or the variety of strategies you may need to use will be dynamic. Most of the examples we saw in this workshop were from introductory Chemistry, but this model can clearly be applied to other STEM subjects (and even non-STEM subjects, the facilitator claims!). Certainly it would work for introductory Biology and even more “advanced” or focused classes on concepts like evolution. POGIL resources are plentiful and publicly available, and I look forward to tapping into this well of pedagogical information!

Rosemary Malfi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Sciences and a graduate of the TRC’s TPT program at the University of Virginia. Her dissertation research explores how flowering plant (i.e. food) availability and parasitism affect bumblebee population dynamics. Broadly, her research interests are in population and behavioral ecology, pollination biology, and pollinator conservation.

Teaching with Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom

Author: Itiya Aneece, PhD student in Environmental Sciences and Tomorrow’s Professor Today Alumna

Itiya AneeceWith the increase in the use of technology for entertainment, personal correspondence, and academics, it’s important to reflect on how this technology influences student learning. In this age of fast-paced delivery of poorly-filtered information, there is potential for digital media to inhibit learning by reducing attention spans, distracting learners, and presenting misinformation at the same level of trustworthiness as well-founded information. Therefore, it is important to think about how this technology can be used to facilitate learning inside and outside the classroom while avoiding pitfalls.

When laptops are allowed in class, students can be tempted to use them for things other than academics such as social media, email, and videos. These are temptations that not only distract learning in the moment but also develop a habit of short attention spans and unproductive multitasking. Such distracted multitasking is often encouraged with the demand to be ever-present online and respond to emails instantaneously, a problem for professors and teaching assistants as well as for students. These distractions are accessible now more than ever through the prevalence of smartphones, with the additional distraction of texting. Not only can these devices distract the student using them but they can also distract surrounding students who can see the screens. They can also be used to aid cheating in the classroom. To minimize misuse of computers and cellphones in class, the professor/ teacher can walk around the classroom a few times throughout the class; this is acceptable for small classes but impossible in lecture halls where the best way might be a no-tolerance policy. They can add cellphone and laptop use expectations in the policies document and have students sign them either under an honor code or an agreed list of repercussions.

Outside the classroom, distractions while using technology can make studying and doing homework more challenging and time-consuming. This is something students should realize when developing study habits, which can be encouraged by professors and teaching assistants by sharing the implications of these behaviors on students’ time-management and work quality.

Yet another potential danger of using technology is that it allows greater access to misinformation. Students are bombarded by good and bad sources of information presented on equal levels and are not always given the skills to differentiate between the two. With this prevalence of vast amounts of information and misinformation available to students, it is increasingly more important to teach students information retrieval and quality assessment. Professors/ teaching assistants can hand out a list of recommended sources of information or list of ways to determine whether a source is reliable or not.

Within the classroom, a good way to deal with shortened attention spans may be to take breaks or change the pace of the class frequently. Professor Perry Samson from the University of Michigan keeps the attention of the students by periodically posting questions that students have to answer by phone or laptop (Pappano 2014). Although professors and teaching assistants can’t control what students do in their spare time, they can make students aware of the difficulty of productive multitasking and the consequences of constant distraction.

There are also ways to encourage appropriate use of technology, which can then be used to supplement learning in several ways. In my class, I use the Collab site to post assignments, to lead forums in which students answer each other’s questions and do pre-lab assignments, and to post resources for students to review before class and to use for homework. I also encourage electronic submissions of homework to save paper and facilitate students receiving and paying attention to feedback. Additionally, students are allowed to have laptops open in class so they can follow along in the lecture/ discussion without having lab manuals printed and they can take notes and collect data electronically.

In the future I plan to continue increasing my use of technology in the classroom. Interactive syllabi are a great way to organize and refer to massive amounts of information and encourage students to refer back to the document throughout the course. I am also contemplating completely flipping the classroom so that students can review as much material outside of class as possible and come to class with questions to discuss and work on exercises that make abstract concepts from the lecture more concrete. In this way, students can directly ask the teaching assistant for help when they have a question. Students have in the past reviewed lecture material before class by reading lab manuals. However, the students become overwhelmed by the length and density of these manuals and so are not prepared for class. The material may be more accessible in video or module form. I’m exploring the use of Panopto or VoiceThread to record lectures and put together interactive tutorials. This would be especially important to some students learning how to use Excel for the first time because they will be able to follow along with the tutorial at their own pace and revisit the tutorial whenever necessary throughout the semester.

Although technology can be misused and become detrimental to learning, there are many ways in which it can greatly facilitate learning. As it is inevitable that students are going to use computers, smartphones, and tablets, they might as well be used for learning as well as entertainment. Through the use and explanation of policy and through example set by the professor or teaching assistant, students can learn how to use technology to aid learning both inside and outside the classroom; this skill will not only help students while in college but will also in their personal and professional lives.

Itiya Aneece is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. She has taught the Fundamentals of Ecology lab since the Fall of 2011, has recently completed the Tomorrow’s Professor Today program, and enjoys exploring new ways to encourage learning.

Looking for more on this topic?  May we suggest a 3-post series on face-to-face education in the digital age by TRC Assistant Director Matthew Trevett-Smith.

Innovation in Pedagogy Summit

Date: May 6, 2014

Location: Newcomb Hall Ballroom

Registration is currently full, please add your name to the waiting list by filling out this online waiting list form.  We expect that some spaces will open up.


A collaboration between the 4-VA Collaborative, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Online Learning Environment, and the Teaching Resource Center.

Date: May 6, 2014
Location: Newcomb Hall Ballroom

Check-in: (coffee, tea, and light refreshments available) (8:30 AM – 9:00 AM)

Innovative Teaching at U.Va. (9:00 AM – 11:30 AM)

  • Session I: Engaging Students in Deeper Learning: Teaching with Innovative Technology
  • Session II: Engaging Students Face-to-Face

Lunch and Conversation with Innovation Partners (11:45 – 1:15 PM)

Flipping & Wrapping: Easy Tech for Better Prep and Rethinking Class Time (1:30 – 4:30 PM)
Keynote & Guest Workshop by José Bowen, author of Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning

For additional event details, please follow this link.

Inclusivity, Identity-Safety and Maximum Performance: Notes on Contemplative Approaches to Classrooms that Work for All

Date: Friday February 7, 2014
Location:Nau Hall Auditorium Room 101

For additional workshop details, please click here.


RhondaMageeWhen:  Friday, February 7, 2014 – 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Where:  Nau Hall Auditorium Room 101

Rhonda V. Magee (B.A., M.A., J.D., University of Virginia) is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, where she has been a full-time member of the faculty since 1998, and Full Professor since 2004.

She presently serves as Co-director the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, and, in service to the broader academic community, she is President of the Executive Board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, which sponsors the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.

Before joining the faculty at USF, Professor Magee practiced litigation as an associate at a Chicago-based international law firm, primarily representing insurance industry clients in complex insurance coverage litigation. Professor Magee presently teaches Torts; Race, Law and Policy; and Contemplative Lawyering. She has published law review articles and essays in the Virginia Law Review, the Alabama Law Review, the N.Y.U. Rev. of Law and Social Change, and in New Directions in Teaching and Learning (Jossey Bass, 2013), as well as the San Francisco Chronicle. Her writing and teaching is inspired by her commitments to teaching and learning effective practices for presence-based collaboration in a diverse and ever-changing world.

The author of the article, Educating Lawyers to Meditate, she is a thought and innovative practice leader in the fields of Inclusive and Identity-Safe Pedagogy and Facilitation; Contemplative Pedagogy and Facilitation; and, Contemplative Lawyering.

Sponsored by the Contemplative Sciences Center and the Teaching Resource Center.

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

Habits of Highly Productive Writers

Date: Friday May 3, 2013

For additional workshop details, please click here.



Helen Sword, Associate Professor, Center for Learning and Research in Higher Education, The University of Auckland, New Zealand“Publish or perish” is the mantra of the successful faculty member. Yet few academics have been explicitly trained as writers, and fewer still have been schooled in the intricate art of maintaining research productivity without sacrificing work-life balance. Helen Sword, author of Stylish Academic Writing, has interviewed nearly 100 successful academics from across the disciplines to find out about their professional formation as writers, their daily work habits, and their habits of mind. In this interactive workshop, she will present a smorgasbord of evidence-based strategies for colleagues who aspire to write more confidently, stylishly, engagingly, daringly, or simply more prolifically.

Sponsored by the Teaching Resource Center’s Professors as Writers Program

Helen Sword is a scholar, poet, and award-winning teacher who has published widely on modernist literature, higher education pedagogy, digital poetics, and academic writing. Her books includeEngendering Inspiration (1995), Ghostwriting Modernism (2002),The Writer’s Diet (2007), Pacific Rim Modernisms (co-edited 2009), and Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard University Press 2012). She currently teaches in the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland and has run presentations, workshops, and master classes on scholarly writing at universities in North America, Europe, Asia, Australasia, and Africa. See her website ( for links to her books, her digital poetry, and the Writer’s Diet, a free diagnostic tool for writers. Read her recent article in Times Higher Education, “Narrative Trust.”


Helen Sword

Stylish Academic Writing


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