Center for Teaching & Learning

The Center for Teaching and Learning aims to be the nexus for people, projects, and initiatives that advance the art and science of effective teaching. We recognize the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of transformational learning environments and are committed to encouraging conversation, experimentation, and research that contribute to a dynamic academic community at Centre College.

How We Fulfill Our Mission 

  • Promote faculty growth and renewal during all stages of one’s career. 
  • Support the adoption and sharing of innovative and effective pedagogical studies and practices. 
  • Encourage research and scholarly conversation related to teaching and learning practices. 
  • Provide instructional technology support and mentorship to faculty, staff, and students in one-on-one and group settings. 
  • Collaborate with people and programs on Centre’s campus and beyond to support the advancement of teaching and learning initiatives and research. 

Opportunities

Part of CTL’s mission is to support faculty growth and renewal at all career stages. We offer a number of faculty development funding opportunities to support course development, pedagogical experimentation and innovation, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. We also love to highlight the achievements and expertise of our outstanding faculty, and to inspire faculty to share their successes with us.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce a call for applications for one Faculty Fellow position for the 2023 Spring term. This is a pilot program to test the interest and institutional capacity to offer this professional development opportunity at Centre.

Modeled after our previous versions, these fellowships are intended to encourage faculty exploration, study, and sharing of pedagogical approaches; advance our understanding and implementation of new and innovative pedagogies; and highlight the teaching excellence of Centre College faculty members. This spring our focus is on topics that might map onto Centre’s strategic plan priorities of community wellness and/or experiential learning.

As in the past, these fellowships are an opportunity to explore questions of interest or to learn more about wellness and wellbeing and/or experiential learning. One does not need to already be an expert in these pedagogies to apply. The Fellows will facilitate campus discussion related to their project topics throughout the spring term by organizing seminars or workshops, facilitating learning communities, hosting guest speakers, or other means of intentionally and broadly engaging colleagues.

The Spring 2023 Faculty Fellow will receive one course release (1 course or 3 credit hours total). In addition, a total of $4,000 will be made available to support the activities of the fellow. The funds are to support: hosting events, such as seminars or guest speakers, on campus; conference travel to present project results; and miscellaneous expenses.

All full-time faculty who have earned tenure and demonstrated commitment to student learning are encouraged to apply.

We are no longer accepting proposals for Spring 2023.  Future offerings of this program may be possible.  Please contact Nisha Gupta for more information.

The CTL seeks to promote an academic environment in which faculty are encouraged to pursue their own educational growth to advance instructional innovation for their students.  Our featured faculty are enhancing teaching and learning by engaging students in experimental and dynamic learning methods that are challenging them to think critically and creatively.

Jeff Shenton
Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Jeff Shenton, Lived Histories: Urban Renewal Oral History Project, January 2021

John Harney
Associate Professor of History
Innovative Teaching Fund Recipient, John Harney, HistoryBots, CentreTerm 2020

David Toth
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Innovative Teaching Fund Recipient, David Toth, Programming and Problem Solving, Spring 2020

John Harney
Associate Professor of History
John Harney breaks from traditional teaching methods to inspire student creativity in his courses. Gaming the System , July 2019

KatieAnn Skogsberg
Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience
Innovative Teaching Fund Recipient, KatieAnn Skogsberg, Models, Games and Videos, Fall 2019

Steve Asmus
Professor of Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Steve Asmus helps students dive into deeper learning through Inquiry-Based Learning in his Cell Biology course. Inquiry-Based Biology, December 2018

Iulia Sprinceana
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Iulia Sprinceana encourages students to take risks and explore their creative sides in an alternative twist on her Spanish Junior seminar course. Dramatic Experiences, December 2017

Patten Mahler
Assistant Professor of Economics
Patten Mahler helps students create connections between Economics and real life situations through community building and co-education opportunities. Economic Engagement, March 2017

Joel Kilty and Alex McAllister
Associate Professors of Mathematics
Joel Kilty and Alex McAllister broaden student learning through the creation of supplemental video instruction and step-by-step screencasts in their Mathematics Modeling and Applied Calculus course. Mathematical Redesign, November 2016

Jason Neiser
Associate Professor of Physics
Jason Neiser encourages deep student learning through Just in Time Teaching (JiTT) strategies that engage students in personal exploration and complex discussion. Struggling through Physics, February 2016

Mary Daniels
Professor of Spanish
Mary Daniels creates space for students to engage in academic discourse and practice active listening skills through the use of a discussion protocol aimed at problem solving.  Discussion Protocol: Write to Listen, September 2015

Jeff Fieberg
Associate Professors of Chemistry
Jeff Fieberg’s passion for art history inspires him to combine Chemistry and Art into creative and life altering experiences for his students.  Chemical Artistry, January 2014

Sara Egge
Assistant Professor of History
Sara Egge implements project-based learning to enhance student learning and provide increased opportunities for practicing critical thinking and oral presentation skills.  Synthesizing History, September 2014

Aaron Godlaski
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience
Aaron Godlaski teaches Neuroscience in a creative and innovative way. Through meditation and guided visualizations, he guides his students through the complexities of the brain.  Contemplative Pedagogy, December 2013

Rick Axtell
H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion
Rick Axtell empowers his students by submerging them into learning experience  unlike any other.  This transformational class may leave you with more questions  than answers. The Power of Poverty and Homelessness, May 2013

Jennifer Muzyka
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Jennifer Muzyka creates an engaging classroom experience for her students by implementing Just-in-Time teaching strategies to promote student-led discussions.  Chemical Restructuring, December 2013

Andrea Abrams
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Andrea Abrams inspires her students through community-based engagement opportunities, where they observe their education at work. Community-Based Learning, May 2013

Matthew Hallock
Professor in Dramatic Arts
Matthew Hallock transforms the dramatic arts program through the use of iPads, increasing efficiency and creativity in student productions. Enriching Dramatic Productions with Technology, May 2013

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is pleased to offer financial support for experiments with new and/or innovative teaching practices and the revision or development of new courses.

Innovative Teaching Fund

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is pleased to offer financial support for experiments with new and/or innovative teaching practices. This funding is designed to support the implementation of a new or innovative project or pedagogy aimed at supporting student learning, such as an imaginative approach to student collaboration, a creative use of instructional technology, or a new means of encouraging students to self-regulate their learning. 

All full time employees with faculty rank are eligible to apply for up to $300 to support their innovative project or pedagogy. Requests for much smaller amounts are welcome! These funds are meant to support the implementation of activities not already funded through other units on campus, including the library, divisions, or dean’s office. As such, requests for funds to support field trips, guest speakers, convocations, books, and stipends will not be considered. Requests for food or catering services will be considered, but should be a small part of the overall request.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by CTL staff on the first of each month, August through March To apply, please submit a statement of two paragraphs that includes a brief description of your project or pedagogy, an explanation of how you anticipate this project or pedagogy will improve student learning and/or their classroom experience, and a budget. Applications should be submitted via email to ctl@centre.edu

This funding was created to support a broad set of project ideas and pedagogies and is being offered in lieu of CBL and technology mini-grants. Innovative uses of CBL and technology will be supported through this fund. Please contact Nisha Gupta with any questions.

Course Development Grants

The CTL will fund up to five Course Development proposals (up to $1,500 each) for the design or significant redesign of courses to be offered in the 2022-2023 academic year.  In order to support the development of courses within our new General Education framework, this year we will give first priority to courses being (re)designed to fulfill the new sustainability category.  Secondary priority will be given to the development of new General Education courses in all other categories.

Please contact Nisha Gupta if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to discuss your idea(s). Details for the 23-24 funding will be posted in April 2023.

Community-Based Learning (CBL) Course Development

The CTL will fund up to two courses (up to $1,500) for community-based learning (CBL) projects.  The goal of this grant is to encourage faculty to develop (or revise) an existing course to incorporate CBL and offer this course in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Centre College defines community-based learning as a pedagogical approach that intentionally links what is being taught in the classroom to the real world through collaboration with community partners.  It is characterized by:

  • sustained, extensive work outside the classroom focused on the community;
  • meaningful student reflection on their experience in the community;
  • significant integration of community perspective;
  • and alignment between community partner defined needs and classroom learning.

These grants aim to increase capacity for community-based learning (CBL) offerings at Centre in support of the new General Education curriculum.  CBL courses connect disciplinary content with hands-on experiences in the surrounding communities in order to help students develop skills and enhance their understanding of the real-world significance of academic topics.  Both new courses and revised versions of existing courses, whether currently CBL or not, will be considered.  Faculty who have experience in CBL and novices are both encouraged to apply.  More information on CBL at Centre can be found here

To be considered, complete the course development grants proposal form.  Selected applicants will receive support from the CTL to create or update a course that would qualify for the CBL tag within the new General Education curriculum.

Please contact Nisha Gupta if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to discuss your idea(s). Details for the 23-24 funding will be posted in April 2023.

Teaching with Educational Technologies

The CTL has allocated $3000 for experimentation with innovative educational technologies in the classroom.  The goal of this grant is to encourage faculty innovation and student learning with innovative technologies.  Grant proposals up to $1500 will be considered.

Though the experimental classroom remains a space where new technologies can be tested, we are shifting the focus toward application of technologies in measurable ways that enhance student learning and outcomes.

It is expected that funding recipients will (re)develop the course during the summer of 2022, and share their assignment, assessment, experiences, and student experiences with colleagues through a video and/or article for the CTL website and annual report.  It is expected that courses that are developed with funds from the CTL will be taught regularly.

Please contact Candace Wentz if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to discuss your idea(s). Details for the 23-24 funding will be posted in April 2023.

SoTL projects supported by ACS Mellon Grant
(Muzyka, 2012)

Project Title: The effect of mathematical modeling on quantitative literacy
Principal Investigators: Joel Kilty and Alex McAllister.

The quantitative literacy of college students is a major concern given the increasing role of mathematics and statistics in both everyday life and diverse academic disciplines. Students often struggle when asked to analyze the behavior of a set of data, to describe the relationships between multiple quantitative factors, or to mathematically model a particular situation.  While developing MAT 145: Mathematical Modeling and Applied Calculus course at Centre College, the mathematics faculty sought to improve the quantitative literary of our students by incorporating significant mathematical modeling and data analysis elements into the course.

This project is designed to assess the effectiveness of a mathematical modeling and data analysis approach to Calculus in improving students’ perceptions of their quantitative literacy.  We also examine how this approach impacts their attitudes toward mathematics and their future plans in studying mathematics.  The results of this study will be used to improve MAT 145: Mathematical Modeling and Applied Calculus at Centre College and to make improvements in the traditional Calculus sequence (MAT 170, MAT 171, MAT 230) at Centre College. In addition, we will provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of our approach to other mathematics educators via at least conference presentation(s) and possibly publication(s) in a peer-reviewed journal.
 


Project Title: Student Perceptions of Inclusiveness in the Philosophy Classroom
Principal Investigator: Eva Cadavid

The field of philosophy has recently lagged behind other disciplines in its ability to attract and retain women and members of under-represented ethnic-racial groups into its ranks.  A look at applications for university teaching lines reveals a disturbing lack of candidates that are members of under-represented groups. At the undergraduate level, although the percentage of female students in introductory classes is high, the percentage that declare a major or that continue to take advanced undergraduate classes is low. Even the most talented female philosophy majors are hesitant to continue on to graduate school and of those who do, the graduation rates are low.   As such, philosophical exploration has tended to ignore topics and approaches that are of particular relevance to women.  The problem, we contend starts at the undergraduate level.  Numbers of women who have declared philosophy as a major at Centre College are quite low, and conversations with our peers a other institutions like Centre indicates that the trend is widespread.

In this project we propose to first investigate what is happening in the classroom by gathering information on student perceptions first at Centre College and then at several institutions.  Our goal is to understand and compare what philosophy faculty are currently conveying to students. In doing this, we will also be testing some of the prevalent theories in the field about what causes the gender gap. Ultimately, we would like to explore avenues to make the philosophy classroom more inclusive.
 


Project Title: The effect of different pedagogical approaches on student learning outcomes in organic chemistry
Principal investigator: Jennifer Muzyka

The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of different pedagogical approaches on learning in organic chemistry.  Students in all organic chemistry courses during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years completed both pre- and post-surveys about different people or materials that might have influenced their learning in the course.  These surveys and performance on specific questions on exams in the courses will be used to determine how pedagogical approaches and web-based apps designed to support student learning influenced student performance in the courses.
 


Project Title: The effect of different uses of technology in the chemistry classroom
Principal investigator: Leonard Demoranville

This project is designed to assess the effectiveness of the use of producing YouTube videos during classroom problem solving sessions and the use of the Infuse Learning system in helping students master the chemistry content they learn in organic, analytical and instrumental chemistry courses. The results of this study will be used to improve the instruction of chemistry at Centre College. The results will also be shared with other chemical educators via presentation and/or publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
 


Project Title: Coping Skills in Higher Education Study
Principal investigator: Donna Plummer

This study is designed to help college faculty understand struggles faced by students on the autism spectrum in higher education.  A better understanding of these struggles will enable faculty members to identify effective approaches to facilitate the success of those students, empowering them to succeed in the college environment.  The results will be shared with Centre faculty members at a pedagogy luncheon.  They will also be shared more broadly at pedagogical conferences and/or publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

CTL SoTL Resources

Listed below are books located in our resource center.

​McKinney, K. (2007). Ehancing Learning Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bishop-Clark, C. (2012). Engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  Sterling, Virgina: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Weimer, M. (2006).  Enhancing Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning: Professional Literature that Makes a Difference. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Contact Information

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Nisha Gupta portrait

Nisha Gupta

  • Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Assistant Professor, Education, Philosophy, and Gender Studies
Candace Wentz headshot

Candace Wentz

  • Associate Director of CTL and Instructional Technology and Design Coordinator