Support for Instructors

As noted in the Mission Statement University Courses “provide occasions for engaged, innovative, and proactive pedagogy.” The program is deeply committed to supporting collaborative teaching, which creates opportunities but also presents challenges for participating instructors, teaching assistants, and students. In recognition of these challenges and opportunities, the program includes both formal structures and informal opportunities to support instructors.

Council of Instructors

Instructors teaching University Courses in a given year are members of the program’s Council of Instructors. This group meets twice each semester to discuss pedagogical issues and strategies related to their courses. Each session is built around a presentation by a faculty member about a particular teaching practice. The Council also advises the advisory board about possible future course offerings.

Instructional Support

Program support for University courses can take many forms. Some courses receive funding for Teaching Assistants. Others receive funding for specific staffing needs or for special events such as guest speakers, visiting performers, or film screenings.

The Director of Instruction is also available to work with faculty and teaching assistants to help with course and assignment design on an as-needed basis.

Support for Teaching Assistants

Some courses receive TA funding from both University Courses and Writing in the Majors. In these cases, Teaching Assistants participate in Writing 7101, the Writing in the Majors Seminar that provides training and professional development to graduate student Teaching Assistants.

Assessment

In consultation with the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Institutional Review Board, the Director of Instruction designs and implements assessment strategies for University Courses. Assessment strategies are based on a combination of the following practices: student surveys; focus groups; class visits; assessment of student writing; and individual consultation with instructors and instructional teams. (Not all courses are assessed every year; not all courses assessed during a given year are assessed using the same tools). Using a range of assessment activities across a range of courses, we gather information about the successes of each course, and the challenges faced by each instructor, to be shared with future instructors.