audience:
Graduate Student, Faculty

Teaching Consultation Program

ABOUT

The Center for Teaching Excellence offers a variety of confidential consultations about teaching. These allow you to reflect on your work in the classroom with the support of a trained teaching consultant. If you would like…

  • to find out your students’ perceptions on how the course is affecting their learning, try an Engaging Students’ Perspectives (ESP) survey.

  • feedback from an outside, nonjudgmental observer on some aspect of the course or your teaching strategies, try an in-class observation.

  • to discuss a teaching issue, such as designing courses and assignments, difficult classroom situations, teaching with technology, engaging learners, and making sense of end-of-semester evaluations, try a one-on-one consultation.

Here is a short video describing these services.

CONSULTATION SIGN-UP

For Spring 2019, Faculty consultants are no longer available. If you would like to consult with a graduate or undergraduate, please fill out the request form. To sign up for a teaching consultation, fill out this form.

Questions? Contact the CTE at 982-2815 or cte-uva@virginia.edu

Engaging Students' Perspectives (ESP)

Do you wish you could read your students’ minds?  While not exactly a mind-reading tool, ESP focus groups will tell you what your students are thinking about your course and how to make it better. Conducted at the mid-semester point, ESPs ask your students to reflect on what helps and hinders their learning and solicits their suggestions for improvement. ESPs are facilitated by a trained CTE teaching consultant who will also help you interpret the feedback and brainstorm strategies for addressing it. Instead of individual student opinions provided through end-of-semester evaluations, ESPs give you a majority feedback that you can use right away—not next semester. And another benefit: Students highly value your interest in their ideas about the course!

ESPs are conducted between the fourth and ninth weeks of the semester.

How does an ESP focus group work?

  1. Arrange for a CTE consultant to visit your class on a convenient day.

  2. End your class 25 minutes early, introduce the consultant, and go on your way.

  3. In small groups, the students answer the following questions:

    1. What most helps you learn in the course?

    2. What most impedes your learning?

    3. What suggestions for improvements do you have for the instructor and your peers?

  4. Each group generates feedback to these prompts; the consultant clarifies any vague comments and establishes what the majority of students thinks is important to communicate about the course.

  5. The consultant transcribes the responses and meets with you for approximately 30 minutes to discuss the feedback and offers suggestions for responding to the suggestions.

How beneficial is an ESPs?

Both faculty and TAs report that ESPs provide helpful ways to thinking about and improve their teaching. In their words:

It was very enlightening in many respects. I received some instructive feedback about the course; far better than the information I get from course evaluations.

The process gave me some practical tools necessary to lead a small group discussion.

I felt like my course was going well, and it was nice to have this affirmed. The suggestions and constructive criticisms from the students were good to have, and, in my opinion, were accurate. I have endeavored to make improvements.

In-Class Observation

Would you like a fresh  perspective on your teaching as it unfolds in the classroom? An in-class observation offers you valuable information and a space to reflect on your work as a teacher. Prior to the observation, you can tell the consultant what aspect of your course and teaching you would like to receive feedback on and we will tailor the observation accordingly.

Once you’ve requested an observation, here is what you can expect:

  1. We will contact you to arrange the date and time of the observation and the follow-up conversation.

  2. Prior to the observation, the consultant will invite you to share any questions you have about the specific class being observed or teaching in general. This will help the observer know what to focus on.

  3. At the time of the observation, the consultant will arrive early, find an unobtrusive place to sit, and spend the class time taking notes.

  4. During the follow-up 60-min meeting, the consultant will provide you with information on what was observed; discuss effective, evidence-based teaching and learning strategies, as relevant; and offer suggestions or additional resources.

Sign up for email updates