C-TELCenter for Teaching Excellence and Learning

Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning (C-TEL)

Teaching Circles

Teaching Circles (TC) are short-term focused book clubs. Browse through the list below and choose a TC that interests you.  Once you have registered to participate in a TC please stop by the C-TEL Office (206A Mabee Library) to pick up your book.  Participants will meet over coffee and snacks three times during a one-month period to discuss insights or challenges that emerge from the work.  This is a great, low-key opportunity to meet new collegues and share ideas.  Please join us!

Space is limited to 15 participants per Teaching Circle so please REGISTER TODAY!  

Teaching Circle Schedule 2014-2015


Teaching Circle 1:  
September 8, 15 & 22, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Weimer, M., 2013.  Learner-Centered Teaching:  Five Key Changes to Practice, 2nd Edition.  San Francisco Jossey-Bass.

 In this new edition of the classic work, one of the nation's most highly regarded authorities on effective college teaching offers a comprehensive introduction to the topic of learner-centered teaching in the college and university classroom, including the most up-to-date examples of practice in action from a variety of disciplines, an entirely new chapter on the research support for learner-centered approaches, and a more in-depth discussion of how students' developmental issues impact the effectiveness of learner-centered teaching. Learner-Centered Teaching shows how to tie teaching and curriculum to the process and objectives of learning rather than to the content delivery alone.

Teaching Circle 2:  
September 9, 16 & 23, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Doyle, T., 2011.  Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice.  Stylus Publishing.

This book presents the research-based case that Learner Centered Teaching (LCT) offers the best means to optimize student learning in college, and offers examples and ideas for putting it into practice, as well the underlying rationale. LCT keeps all of the good features of a teacher-centered approach and applies them in ways that are in better harmony with how our brains learn. It, for instance, embraces the teacher as expert as well as the appropriate use of lecture, while also offering new, effective ways to replace practices that don’t optimizing student learning.  Neuroscience, biology and cognitive science research have made it clear that it is the one who does the work who does the learning. Many faculty do too much of the work for their students, which results in diminished student learning.


Teaching Circle 3:
 October 13, 20 & 27, 3:00 - 4:00 pm 

 Ambrose, S.A,  (et al.) 2010.  How Learning Works:  Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass

 Distilling the research literature and translating the scientific approach into language relevant to a college or university teacher, this book introduces seven general principles of how students learn. The authors have drawn on research from a breadth of perspectives (cognitive, developmental, and social psychology; educational research; anthropology; demographics; organizational behavior) to identify a set of key principles underlying learning, from how effective organization enhances retrieval and use of information to what impacts motivation. Integrating theory with real-classroom examples in practice, this book helps faculty to apply cognitive science advances to improve their own teaching.

Teaching Circle 4:
 October 14, 21 & 28, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Dee Fink, 2013.  Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses.  San Francisco, Josey-Bass

Dee Fink poses a fundamental question for all teachers: "How can I create courses that will provide significant learning experiences for my students?" In the process of addressing this question, he urges teachers to shift from a content-centered approach to a learning-centered approach that asks "What kinds of learning will be significant for students, and how can I create a course that will result in that kind of learning?"  In this book Fink walks you through the process of designing and organizing a course using the principles of Backward and Integrated Course Design.


Teaching Circle 5:  
November 10, 17 & 24, 3:00-4:00 pm

NTFDCE, 2012.  A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future.  AAC&U.

This report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission. Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, the report pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy.

*Please note that this is an on-line resource and this learning circle will be available via. video conferncing.  This is an ideal Teaching Circle for faculty with tight schedules or who are located off campus.

Teaching Circle 6:  
November 11, 18 & 25, 3:00-4:00 pm

Michaelsen, L. and Knight A.B. and Fink L.Dee, 2004.  Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching.  Stylus Publishing.

This book describes team-based learning (TBL), an unusually powerful and versatile teaching strategy that enables teachers to take small group learning to a whole new level of effectiveness. It is the only pedagogical use of small groups that is based on a recognition of the critical difference between "groups" and "teams", and intentionally employs specific procedures to transform newly-formed groups into high performance learning teams.  This book is a complete guide to implementing TBL in a way that will promote the deep learning all teachers strive for. This is a teaching strategy that promotes critical thinking, collaboration, mastery of discipline knowledge, and the ability to apply it.


Teaching Circle 7:  
February 9, 16 & 23, 3:00-4:00 pm

Bowen, Jose A. 2012.  Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. SanFrancisco, Jossey-Bass.

You've heard about "flipping your classroom"—now find out how to do it! Introducing a new way to think about higher education, learning, and technology that prioritizes the benefits of the human dimension. José Bowen recognizes that technology is profoundly changing education and that if students are going to continue to pay enormous sums for campus classes, colleges will need to provide more than what can be found online and maximize "naked" face-to-face contact with faculty. Here, he illustrates how technology is most powerfully used outside the classroom, and, when used effectively, how it can ensure that students arrive to class more prepared for meaningful interaction with faculty. Bowen offers practical advice for faculty and administrators on how to engage students with new technology while restructuring classes into more active learning environments.

Teaching Circle 8:  
February 10, 17 & 24, 3:00-4:00 pm

Oblinger, Diana and James Oblinger (eds.) 2005.  Educating the Net Generation. Educause.

This e-resources discusses the implications of technology on our students and institutions.  Topics include millenial learning styles, access to information, learning spaces, and faculty development challenges.

 *Please note that this is an on-line resource and this learning circle will be available via. video conferncing.  This is an ideal Teaching Circle for faculty with tight schedules or who are located off campus.


Teaching Circle 9:
March 9, 23 & 30, 3:00-4:00 pm

Light, Gregory, 2013.  Making Scientists: Six Principles for Effective College Teaching. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

The authors invite us into Northwestern University’s Gateway Science Workshop, where the seminar room is infused with a sense of discovery usually confined to the research lab. Conventional science instruction demands memorization of facts and formulas but provides scant opportunity for critical reflection and experimental conversation. Light and Micari stress conceptual engagement with ideas, practical problem-solving, peer mentoring, and—perhaps most important—initiation into a culture of cooperation, where students are encouraged to channel their energy into collaborative learning rather than competition with classmates. They illustrate the tangible benefits of treating students as apprentices—talented young people taking on the mental habits, perspectives, and wisdom of the scientific community, while contributing directly to its development.

Teaching Circle 10:
March 10, 24 & 31, 3:00-4:00 pm

Fried, J., 2012.  Transformative Learning through Engagement Student Affairs Practice as Experiential Pedagogy.  Stylus Publishing.

This book – intended primarily for student affairs professionals – presents what we now know about the learning process, particularly those elements that promote behavioral change and the ability to place information in a broader context of personal meaning and long term impact. Central to its argument is that learning must be experiential and engage students holistically; that it must be grounded in brain science and an understanding of the cultural drivers of knowledge construction; that academic faculty and student affairs professionals must cooperate to help students make connections and see the implications of their learning for their lives; and that the entire learning environment needs to be integrated to reflect the organic nature of the process.  A second purpose of this book is to enable student affairs professionals to articulate their own role in helping students learn.


Teaching Circle 11:  
April 14, 21 & 28, 3:00-4:00 pm

Barkley, E. 2009.  Student Engagement Techniques:  A Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Keeping students involved, motivated, and actively learning is challenging educators across the country,yet good advice on how to accomplish this has not been readily available. Student Engagement Techniques is a comprehensive resource that offers college teachers a dynamic model for engaging students and includes over one hundred tips, strategies, and techniques that have been proven to help teachers from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions motivate and connect with their students. The ready-to-use format shows how to apply each of the book's techniques in the classroom and includes purpose, preparation, procedures, examples, online implementation, variations and extensions, observations and advice, and key resources.

Teaching Circle 12:  
April 13, 20 &  27, 3:00-4:00 pm

Bain, K. 2004.  What the Best College Teachers Do.  Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

What makes a great teacher great? Who are the professors students remember long after graduation? This book, the conclusion of a fifteen-year study of nearly one hundred college teachers in a wide variety of fields and universities, offers valuable answers for all educators.

 If you have ideas or suggestions for next year please let us know by clicking on "contact us" or "suggestion box."