Respond to the Seminar: Using the Student Assessment of Learning Gains: A Path to Teaching Excellence

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Ellen Yezierski, Chemistry and Biochemistry

For advancement at Miami, teaching effectiveness and excellence are to be documented by showing how multiple indicators are used to improve instructional quality. This session focuses on a useful measure called the Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains (SALG). The SALG is an instrument to evaluate the degree to which components of a course facilitate student learning. The SALG items enable instructors to gather data ranging in specificity from the individual assignment to the overall course level. Administering the SALG relatively early and then later in a semester allows the instructor to collect student data, respond instructionally to it, and evaluate the efficacy of the response. In this session, the SALG will be introduced along with sample data from a Miami course. Participants will construct a custom, ready-to-launch version to deploy in a current or upcoming course to identify the course strengths and areas of improvement. Each participant should bring a laptop computer to the session.

Major Teaching Project Grant: Deadline Is March 1st

Individuals or small groups of faculty, departments, or programs are eligible to apply for a major teaching project grant. Applicants should have a significant pedagogical innovation to improve student learning and be able to provide a detailed budget, justification, evidence of outcome, and supporting evidence. Project must align with department and/or university goals.

The maximum for each grant is $3,000. There are a limited number of grants available.

Information about the grant, proposal requirements, and a link to the online proposal form can be on the CTE webpage at

Please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at or 529-9266 if you have questions.

CTE Announces Our Schedule of Spring 2016 Seminars!

Greetings! The Center for Teaching Excellence is excited about our upcoming spring semester seminars:

February 9Using the Student Assessment of Learning Gains: A Path to Teaching Excellence from 10:00-11:00 am in 320 Laws Hall
February 11The ACE Program and Chinese vs. American Student Experiences from 2:00-3:30 pm in 320 Laws Hall
February 17Chinese Names from 2:00-3:30 pm in 320 Laws Hall

February 25Academic Life in the US: Through the Eyes of Our International Students from 10:00-11:30 am in 320 Laws Hall
March 4Best Intercultural Classroom Practices: Top Issues from 10:00-11:30 am in 320 Laws Hall
March 9Understanding Chinese Students at Miami from 2:00-3:30 pm in 320 Laws Hall
March 29What I’ve Learned About Learning to Teach and Learn…I Think from 2:00-3:00 pm in 320 Laws Hall

April 6Flipping Assessment from 2:00-3:00 pm in 320 Laws Hall
April 13Alumni Teaching Scholars Teaching and Learning Symposium from 9:00-1:00 pm in 220, 311, and 320 Laws Hall
April 20International Students’ Perspectives on Academic Integrity from 2:30-4:00 pm in 320 Laws Hall

Please RSVP to if you are interested in attending any of the seminars. Be sure to indicate which seminar(s) you will be attending. Additionally, please let us know in advance of the event about any accessibility needs you have so we may try to accommodate them.

Article in Miami’s Peer-Reviewed Journal on Excellence in Teaching and Learning Featured Among Exemplary Articles on Learning to Teach Well

In “Becoming a Better Teacher: Articles for New and Not-So-New Faculty ” (Faculty Focus, January 13, 2016), Maryellen Weimer features a broad sampling of article readings from across disciplines, topics, and categories that represent the diversity of thinking about teaching and learning.

One of the articles Weimer features, from Miami’s peer-reviewed Journal on Excellence in Teaching and Learning (, is Joseph Gonzalez’s “My Journey with Inquiry-Based Learning” (Volume 24.2, 2013, pp, 33-50). The abstract of Gonzalez’s article follows:

“The author chronicles his experiments with inquiry-based learning (IBL) as he applied lessons from the literature and assessed the results. He describes a difficult journey with the result that, with the help of the literature, supportive colleagues and patient, creative students, he learned how to design courses that invite undergraduates to become more critical, more complex, and more autonomous thinkers. Readers of this article will, he hopes, avoid some of the pitfalls that he encountered.”

As Gonzalez points out, learning to teach well often requires change that grows out of one’s discoveries about teaching and learning. In addition, good teaching often involves being willing to make mistakes and learn from them.

To read Gonzalez’s article and access the entire Journal archive, available free of charge to Miami faculty and staff from on campus, go to

To read Weimer’s entire article and see her complete list of must readings for faculty on teaching, go here.

Get Formative Feedback From Your Students With an SGID!

Are you interested in getting formative feedback from your students about your teaching? Consider doing a small-group instructional diagnosis (SGID).

Implementing the SGID involves about 30 minutes near midterm. A trained facilitator will visit your class, engage students in dialogue with each other about their perspectives, and share and discuss the results with you in a confidential meeting.

For the Oxford campus: The SGID online request form is now open for spring semester 2016. In order to serve their formative purpose, all SGIDs need to be completed by March 18. Please submit your SGID request as soon as possible to ensure you receive your preferred time.

To read more about the SGID process and its benefits to students and faculty and to request an SGID for the Oxford campus, go to <>

If you have any questions about the SGID on the Oxford campus, contact Gregg Wentzell, Center for Teaching Excellence, at or 529-9265.

For the Hamilton, Middletown, and VOA campuses: If you would like to request an SGID for the Hamilton Campus, please complete this form; for further information, contact Mert Bal ( For the Middletown or VOA Campuses, please complete this form; for further information, contact Kent Bradshaw ( or Caryn Neumann (, or call the Middletown CTL at 727-3464.

Respond to the Workshop: Managing Faculty Burnout

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Ashley Wilson and Jennifer Young, Student Counseling Service

This 1.5 hour workshop is designed for faculty who seeking information about ways in which to cope with and prevent burnout in their professional lives. The workshop will cover the following:

• Major causes of burnout
• Symptoms of burnout
• Long term changes to prevent burnout
• Short term stress reduction to ameliorate the inevitable moments of being overwhelmed

The workshop will be led by psychologists from the Student Counseling Service who will provide opportunity for audience participation and provide specific strategies to reduce burnout and cope with stress.

Respond to the Workshop: The Syllabus Is Not Enough: How to Promote Academic Integrity and Prevent Academic Dishonesty – Parts 1 and 2

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar.

Dates: Tuesday, January 12 and Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presented by Brenda Quaye, Center for Teaching Excellence

Join Brenda Quaye, Coordinator for Academic Integrity, and other colleagues in this two-day, hands-on workshop to engage around what academic integrity means from a teaching and learning perspective. The course context is one of the most important factors in decisions students make about academic integrity, and, as such, students take their cues from instructors. In this workshop, we will discuss how students think about academic integrity and dishonesty, how aspects of the course context affect students’ decisions about academic integrity, and what pedagogical and other strategies instructors can use to help students make decisions to maintain integrity rather than commit dishonesty.

Tips for Making the Most of the First Five Minutes of Class

In “Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class” (see, James M. Lang offers “4 quick ways to shift students’ attention from life’s distractions to your course content.”

Lang begins,

“The opening five minutes [of class] offer us a rich opportunity to capture the attention of students and prepare them for learning. They walk into our classes trailing all of the distractions of their complex lives — the many wonders of their smartphones, the arguments with roommates, the question of what to have for lunch. Their bodies may be stuck in a room with us for the required time period, but their minds may be somewhere else entirely.”

He goes on to offer “four quick suggestions for the first few minutes of class to focus the attention of students and prepare their brains for learning”:

1. Open with a question or two. To grasp students’ attention and get their minds working, Lang recommends opening class by posing one or two questions that are important, thought-provoking, and otherwise relevant to the day’s material. Exploring these questions can then serve as the roadmap for the day’s activities, and returning to them at the end of class can provide an effective summary of what students are to take away for the day.

2. Ask students, “What did we learn last time?” While summarizing the previous class is an effective strategy to reinforce learning and connect course content, it can be even more powerful if students are asked to do it themselves instead of the instructor doing it for them.

3. Reactivate what [students] learned in previous courses. Asking students to relate what they already know (or think they know) about the course material (1) “lights up the parts of their brains that connect to your course material, so when they encounter new material, they will process it in a richer knowledge context” and (2) “lets [instructors] know what preconceptions students have. Armed with this information, instructors can tailor instruction to the class’s learning needs more effectively.

4. Write it down. Building some student writing into the beginning of every class teaches students to associate writing with thinking. Writing engages and focuses students on the day’s learning. All three of the previous activities can be enhanced through writing about them.

Lang closes by reminding us that first impressions matter. Just as what happens on the first day of class sets the instructional tone for the rest of the term, what happens in the first five minutes of class can go a long way toward making for the most successful day’s learning experience.

Lang, J. M. (2016). Small changes in teaching: The first 5 minutes of class. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Advice section. Retrieved from

Faculty-Staff Learning Community Proposals Due February 1st, 2016

Organize a community of 8 to 12 faculty, professional staff, and/or teaching assistants to engage in a year-long series of seminars and activities about enhancing teaching and learning. Participants develop individual or group teaching projects and may construct a course mini-portfolio to provide evidence of student learning.

More information about FLCs and the proposal process can be found at:

Please consider submitting a proposal today! Please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at 9-9266 or for additional information or if you have any questions.

The CTE Has a New Grant Structure!

Beginning in 2016, the Center for Teaching Excellence has a new grant structure.

There are two types of grants:

Minor Teaching Project (maximum $300; proposal deadline is rolling)

Major Teaching Project (maximum $3000; proposal deadline is September 15 and March 1 each year)

These available grants encourage curricular and pedagogical innovations that will result in more engaged and improved student learning. Innovations may be at the course, department, program, division, and/or university levels.

To learn more and to submit a grant proposal, go to