Due to the reorganization of units in the Center for Teaching and Learning, most faculty programming is on hiatus in AY 2014-2015. Please contact Dr. Jennifer Frederick, CTL executive director, for information on planned 2015-2016 faculty programming, including New Faculty Orientation.

2013-2014 Events

  1. Workshops
  2. “Award-winning Teachers on Teaching” Lunchtime Colloquia
  3. New Faculty Member Orientation, including Syllabus Bootcamp
  4. Instructional Consultations and Classroom Observations
  5. Off-campus Opportunities


Five Ways to Deepen Discussion and Increase Participation in Seminars

Presenters: Bill Rando and Risa Sodi (Director and Associate Director, respectively, Yale Teaching Center)

Date, Time, Location: Tuesday, October 1, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in HGS 119A

Description: In this  program, we will discuss and practice five techniques that draw on the active learning and literature to get all students thinking and interacting at a deeper level.  We will focus on teaching seminar classes in which discussion is the primary mode of learning, though all of these techniques can be used in small classes and large  lectures.

As you might expect, this will not be a passive workshop.  Participants should come prepared to experience these techniques as students – what better way to understand a technique than experiencing it from the student’s point of view? 

By the end of the program, participants will leave with new ways to develop analytical skills among students.

Note:  Limited to 25 people.

Learning from Students: Enhancing Teaching with Mid-Term Feedback

Presenters: Bill Rando and Risa Sodi (Director and Associate Director, respectively, Yale Teaching Center)

Date, Time, Location: Monday, October 7, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Location TBA.

Description: The feedback we get from students at the end of the semester either boosts our egos or gives us the blues, but only rarely does it help us teach better.  Timing is one problem; students have little interest in improving classes that are over, and end-of-term feedback tends to focus on evaluation rather than pedagogy and learning.

In this session, we will discuss how you can use mid-term feedback to learn from students what helps them learn.  In addition to looking at different kinds of questions, we will also discuss ways of eliciting feedback that match your style and improve classroom dynamics.

We will also hold a post-feedback session to talk about what students said and how to address their concerns.

Note:  Limited to 25 people.

Theater, Performance, and Narrative: Tools for Lecturers and Teachers

Presenters: Elise Morrison (Postdoctoral Fellow in Interdisciplinary Performance Studies) and Bill Rando (Director, Yale Teaching Center)

Date, Time, Location: Monday, September 16, 3:00-5:00 p.m., in HGS B66

Description: In this program, we will endeavor to enhance our skills as lecturers and teachers by applying techniques from theater, performance, and narrative theory to our understanding of teaching and learning.  As you might expect, this will not be a passive process.  Participants should come prepared to explore physical, vocal, and textual communication as an experimental and creative act.  At the start of the session, we will embody the “teacher as performer,” which means speaking, moving, and responding to the performances of others.  In the second part, participants will enact the “teacher as director,” designing and producing scenarios in which students can practice, perform, and learn.  By the end of the program, participants will leave with new teaching strategies, physical and vocal skills, and a new repertoire of roles for themselves and their students.  We hope that you will be able to use some of these new skills to teach in ways you’ve always imagined you’d teach.

Note:  Limited to 25 people.

Lunchtime Colloquia: Award-winning Teachers on Teaching

The 2013-2014 Lunchtime Colloquia are dedicated to the topic of “Award-winning Teachers on Teaching.” Hear from recent Yale Teaching Prize winners as they share their tips, ideas, struggles, reflections and wisdom about teaching and teaching at Yale in particular.

Each hour-long colloquium takes place in a residential college dining hall and is open to faculty members at all ranks.  

Presentations by each award-winning teacher will be followed by Q&A.

Invitations to the faculty will be sent two weeks before each colloquium. The will include registration instructions.

Faculty are invited to attend individual sessions or the entire colloquium series.

Fall 2013 Schedule

October 30, 2013, 12:30-1:30, Timothy Dwight Thompson Room. John Merriman, Charles Seymour Professor of History, title TBA. 

November 14, 2013, 12:30-1:30, Branford College private dining room. Marvin Chun, Professor of Psychology, Cognitive Science and Neurobiology, and John B. Madden Master of Berkeley College, “Keeping Introductory Courses Fresh

December 3, 2013, 12:00-1:00, Location TBA. Scott Strobel, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and Vice-President of West Campus Planning and Programming, “Playing Games and Taking Road Trips: Non-Traditional Ways to Engage Students in Discovery-Based Learning”

Spring 2014 Schedule

January 28, 2014, 12:00-1:00, Branford College private dining room: Deborah Davis, Professor of Sociology, “A Decade of Integrating LAC: Language across the Curriculum

February 11, 2014, 12:30-1:30, Timothy Dwight Thompson Room. Michael Koelle, Associate Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, “Running an Effective Large Lecture Course:  Getting All the Details Right

March 27, 2014, 12:00-1:00, Branford College private dining room. Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History, “Teaching the Seminar: Have a Script and Stick to It

April 9, 2014, 12:30-1:30, Timothy Dwight Thompson Room. Deborah Margolin, Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Theater Studies, “The Non-Competitive Classroom: Comedy as Pedagogical Method

2012-2013 Lunchtime Colloquia Series

  1. “Using Prezi to Enhance your Presentations” – Presented by Dawn Teele Ph.D candidate, Political Science
  2. “Pace and Humor in the Large Lecture” – Presented by Ben Polak
  3. “Teaching the Seminar: Departing from the Script” – Presented by Katie Trumpener
  4. “Working with Graduate Teaching Fellows” – Presented by Christine Hayes

New Faculty Member Orientation

Click here for a September 11, 2013 Yale Daily News article, “Faculty Orientation Revamped,” that includes an interview with YTC Director Bill Rando and comments from faculty participants on the two orientation sessions dedicated to teaching practices.

The 2013-2014 New Faculty Member Orientation took place on August 20-21, 2013.  New faculty members received an invitation to participate by the Office of the Provost. New faculty members are invited to click here to see the materials put at their disposition by the Office of the Provost, including a pdf with materials developed for this year’s New Faculty Member Orientation.  

Topics include “Teaching at Yale” (pages 41-46) and “Course Syllabus Design” (pages 48-50), presented by Bill Rando and Risa Sodi of the Yale Teaching Center and Professors Julia Adams (Sociology and International & Area Studies; Director of the Division of Social Sciences) and Stephen Stearns (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology). 

The “Teaching at Yale” materials cover

  • Course Selection Period, a.k.a. Shopping Period
  • Residential College Deans and Dean’s Excuses
  • Grading and Grade Inflation
  • Teaching with TAs and Sections
  • Yale’s Teaching Resources
  • Class in the Classroom
  • The TEAL Classroom

Syllabus Boot Camp

This year’s Syllabus Boot Camp took place during the New Faculty Member Orientation (see above).  The “Course Syllabus Design” session featured a lively discussion among the new faculty members, led by Adams, Rando and Sodi, of the purpose and goals of a syllabus, and a detailed analysis of four (real) sample syllabi.  The “Course Syllabus Design” materials are included in a pdf prepared by the Office of the Provost (pages 48-50) and cover:

  • Tips and Guidelines from Bill Rando (YTC Director) and Julia Adams (Professor, Sociology and International & Area Studies, and Director, Division of Social Sciences) on conceiving and crafting a Yale syllabus
  • Do’s and Don’ts (“Positives” and “Negatives”) of writing a syllabus

Instructional Consultations

Confidential Instructional Consultations are available for any faculty member who wishes support and feedback about issues such as teaching principles and practices, teaching style, classroom goals, and interaction with teaching fellows and students. The Director or Associate Directs can also assists with section and course design, interpreting student evaluations, and addressing problems in the classroom.  Online education (distance learning, asynchronous or synchronous online classes, “flipping the classroom” (assigning prerecorded lectures as homework and reserving class time for discussion), and Coursera-type courses are other topics may be explored through an Instructional Consultation.

Instructional consultations may be applied to courses in progress, proposed courses, or for developing courses to propose.


Classroom Observations

Often, part and parcel of an Instructional Consultation is a Classroom Observation.  Such visits allow the consultant (for faculty, generally the Director or one of the Associate Directors) to identify both effective teaching practices that can be cultivated and enhances, and ineffective practices that can be modified. There is typically a pre-briefing during which the teacher provides the consultant background information about the class and shares any concerns about classroom dynamics. This meeting provides a context and focus for the classroom observation and is an invaluable first step.

During the classroom observation, the consultant takes notes on what happens in the classroom, how the teacher presents material and how the students respond both to the teacher and one another. At the teacher’s request, the consultant will videotape the lecture or discussion and provide the teacher (and only the teacher) with the video file for private review. The analysis concludes with a post-observation dialogue in which the teacher and discuss style and technique specific to the class observed.

All classroom observations remain strictly confidential. 

Off-campus Opportunity: “Teaching Renewal Retreat for Advanced Career Faculty”

The call for applications for the Teaching Renewal Retreat for Advanced Career Faculty, sponsored by Wake Forest University’s Teaching and Learning Center, scheduled for June 2-5, 2014, is now open. The retreat is intended for advanced career faculty, defined as faculty having a minimum of 12 years teaching experience as a full-time faculty member. Your position must be post-tenure or senior lecturer (or equivalent).

The Teaching Renewal Retreat takes place at the Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston Salem, NC. Graylyn provides the perfect setting for a deep exploration and reflection upon teaching practices. In addition to structured activities, participants have ample time to enjoy the grounds and amenities and informal opportunities to network and socialize. This unique four-day retreat brings together faculty from a variety of disciplines and universities to explore new paths, both pedagogical and personal, in an effort to reconnect with the excitement that originally led them into teaching careers.

The cost for the retreat is $980.80 and includes a private room at Graylyn for three nights, parking, and all meals, with the exception of one dinner. If you would like to arrive early or stay later, rooms are $174 per additional night and include breakfast the following morning.

The first 25 qualified applicants submitting complete applications will be accepted in the order in which the applications are received, with a wait list for any subsequent qualified applications. Notification of acceptance will occur on a rolling basis. Payment details will be provided upon acceptance.

Applications will be accepted up until March 17. The application here. The application contains further instructions on the completion and submission process.

For more information about the Teaching Renewal Retreat, please click here. Any additional questions should be sent to Dr. Catherine Ross, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Wake Forest University.

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