Center for Teaching Excellence Workshops

Designed to help faculty with planning and thinking creatively about teaching

  • To register, please e-mail the Center with your request. ( If you have any questions about the workshops in general or particular workshops that interest you, please contact any one of us.
  • This semester we will be Skyping our workshops to anyone who is off campus. If you would like to participate via Skype, please let us know when you sign up, and provide your Skype name and phone number. 

CTE workshops are not lectures, so come prepared to work on issues in your own teaching, reflect on your teaching goals, and expect some practical takeaways that you can apply in your courses. Here is your slate of teaching workshops to help you build and maintain momentum in your teaching this semester!


Workshops for Spring 2016 

Course Evaluation

Wednesday, January 13, 1:00-2:30, ACC #1
Dr. Murphy and I will be co-hosting a workshop on how to interpret and respond to course opinion surveys.  The purpose of this workshop is to give you the tools to understand the elements of the student surveys that are most relevant to efficacy in teaching and suggestions on how to address those elements in a productive way and sustained way.            

The Learning Brain

Wednesday, January 27, 12:00-1:30, ACC #1
Current research on the brain has yielded information that can have significant impact on how we design courses and teach our content. What is particularly helpful is understanding how the brain processes information through the various layers of memory, vision, and emotion. We will review some of the literature of neuroscience and discuss how what scientists are learning about the brain can inform how we are teaching.

Hard Talk

Monday, February 1, 1:00-2:30, ACC #1
Tuesday, February 16, 1:00-2:30, ACC #1
(This workshop is being offered twice, so catch either one.)
Learning is transformational. As educators, we know that means struggle. Some ideas may challenge our students’ fundamental perception of themselves and their world, just as they challenge ours. No discipline is immune to these ideas. And there are other layers of learning and transformation that may not be directly related to our student learning outcomes but are still a part of the process of education. In Hard Talk we will develop techniques for guiding discussion on difficult topics, those that arise naturally in our disciplines, and those that arise naturally for us as imperfect creatures in a diverse and imperfect world.

Dealing with "Impostor Syndrome" in Ourselves and Our Students

Friday, February 5, 11:00-12:30, ACC #1
Impostor Syndrome is a person’s belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that he or she is inadequate, unworthy, and doesn’t belong in a particular role or position. One attributes one’s success to luck, and that luck will soon run out. “I am a fraud,” that little voice inside us says, “and it’s only a matter of time before everyone else knows it. I don’t belong here,” or so the voice would have us believe. While not a recognized medical condition, this “syndrome” can still have profound consequences for our wellbeing, our enjoyment of life and school, and our ability to perform at our true levels.  It is quite common in academia, and both teachers and students suffer in secret. In this workshop we will talk more about what I.S. is, how we can recognize the “symptoms” in ourselves and our peers, and what we can do to recover a well-deserved sense of confidence, enjoyment, and satisfaction in our teaching, learning, and research.

Design or Redesign Your Course

Wednesday, February 10, 2:00-3:30, ACC #1 (Part 1)
Wednesday, February 17, 2:00-3:30, ACC #1 (Part 2)
When designing a course, knowing what you want your students to know, be able to do, or care about at the end of the course is fundamental to everything else. Based on the powerful yet intuitive principles of “backward design” (Wiggins and McTighe, 1998, 2005), this two-part workshop will help you design a new course or redesign an existing course with the end goals always in mind. We will first identify the big goals of the course, refine them into learning objectives stated in student-centered language, and then incorporate the content into activities and assignments aligned with the goals and objectives. (Part 2 will build on Part 1, so we ask that you come to both sessions.)

Helping Underprepared Students Succeed in the Sciences, with Dr. Nancy Elwess, Biological Sciences

Thursday, February 18, 3:00-4:30, ACC #1 
Undergraduate science courses require a certain level of incoming knowledge and research skill. But what if a student has not had adequate exposure to the sciences before college, or matriculates without a solid understanding of core concepts, and has inadequate lab or research skills? In this workshop Biology Professor Nancy Elwess and Michael Murphy will explore ways that course design, classroom dynamics, and ways of relating to students can all have extraordinary impacts, and help your students take control of their own learning so that they can get up to speed in your course and your discipline.

The Drive to Learn: Fostering Intrinsic Motivation

February 25, Thursday 2:00-3:30, ACC #1
This is a workshop on matching learning objectives and assignments in a way that emphasizes what motivates students to become responsible learners. We will also talk about the particular characteristics of our students and the challenges of helping them to develop intrinsic motivation.

Writing a Powerful Teaching Philosophy Statement

Monday, February 29, 11:00-12:30, ACC #1
A teaching philosophy statement is both a document that provides evidence of teaching principles, practices, and efficacy, and also a powerful catalyst for reflecting upon one’s teaching. In this workshop, participants will walk through the three big “moments” of a teaching philosophy statement: What are your goals for your students? What do you do in your teaching so that those goals can be achieved? How do you know the things you do are effective? You may not emerge from the workshop with a completed statement, but will be well on your way toward articulating a deeper understanding of what you do and why you do it.

Teaching Large Classes, with Physics Associate Professor Ken Podolak

Wednesday, March 2, 11:00-12:30, ACC #1
Large classes bring their own special set of challenges – both for teachers and students. In this collaborative workshop, Physics Associate Professor Ken Podolak and Michael Murphy will discuss ways of keeping students active and engaged, from large classrooms to auditoriums of hundreds of students. Participants will have an opportunity to create classroom activities based on teaching modes like problem-based learning, peer-to-peer teaching, “Just in Time Teaching,” and other alternatives or supplements to lecture.

Classroom Performance Skills

Thursday, March 3, 12:15-1:45, ACC #8
The classroom is a stage, there’s no denying that, so why not consider how to craft a persona that best fits that stage and that audience? In this workshop we will discuss how we can use our bodies, voice, classroom space, props, and suspense and surprise as tools for effective teaching.

Special Workshop Requests:

The CTE is happy to create and facilitate a workshop for your department or program focusing on particular topics, populations, events, or challenges. Please contact Becky, x3043 or Michael, x3304 if you would like to discuss a special workshop for your group. 

Contact Information

For general inquiries about the Center for Teaching Excellence, please contact:

The Center for Teaching Excellence
SUNY Plattsburgh
301 Feinberg Library, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3043
Fax: (518) 564-5100