Chapter 8: Teaching and Faculty Interactions with Students

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8.B Resources for Faculty

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8.B.1 Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) is a central administration unit reporting to the Office of the Provost and serving all faculty members at the University of Michigan. CRLT is dedicated to the support and advancement of learning and teaching at the University. Professional staff at the Center have doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines. They work collaboratively with faculty members, graduate student instructors (GSIs), and the academic administration to promote a University culture that values and rewards teaching, respects and supports individual differences among learners, and encourages instructional environments in which diverse students can learn and excel. The programs and services described below are designed to meet the interests and needs of faculty members at all stages of their careers. Faculty at UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn are welcome to participate in CRLT workshops, although they are not eligible for CRLT grants. UM-Flint established the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching on the Flint campus. See also section 8.B.4 “Evaluations of Teaching.”

Grants to Enhance Teaching and Learning In collaboration with the provost’s office, CRLT sponsors seven grants competitions for faculty who wish to develop innovative approaches to improving teaching and learning at the University. Grants are available to fund course and curriculum development, multicultural pedagogies, interdisciplinary teaching, instructional technology, innovative pedagogical projects, and investigating student learning.

Evaluation Services for Educational Grants and Curriculum Improvements CRLT’s evaluator works with faculty on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of education grants in areas of curricular and pedagogical innovation. CRLT staff also work with groups of faculty in departments or schools/colleges to review their current curricula, develop new curricular offerings, and evaluate the results of curricular changes.

CRLT maintains an extensive website of resources on teaching and learning. The Teaching Strategies page has links to Web documents on a variety of topics, including syllabus and course planning, multicultural teaching, grading issues, and academic integrity. Faculty can also download CRLT’s Occasional Papers and other publications and get information about CRLT’s grants and our current programs.

Assessment of Student Learning Website This website includes a set of assessment background and resources, plus a set of U-M assessment resources, which includes materials from the Provost’s Seminar on Teaching, institutional-level assessment, examples and resources from U-M academic units, and data about U-M students.

Multicultural Teaching Resources  Helping faculty create inclusive learning environments for all students is a core component of CRLT’s mission. CRLT’s instructional consultants work one-on-one with faculty and in collaboration with departments and colleges to help them serve the learning needs of a diverse student body, infuse new content into the curriculum, and create inclusive classrooms. Multicultural services include individual consultations, campus-wide and customized workshops, discussions of curriculum revision, and print and Web resources.

Midterm Student Feedback Faculty can arrange for a CRLT consultant to visit one of their classes and collect feedback. The consultant speaks with the students about strengths of the course and suggested changes. The faculty member and the consultant then meet to discuss the feedback and strategize about changes and next steps. The service is completely confidential.

Seminars for Faculty Each term, CRLT offers seminars on a variety of topics. All seminars are interactive, solidly grounded in the research on teaching and learning, and designed to offer practical suggestions that faculty can incorporate into their classrooms. Faculty can register for seminars on CRLT’s website.

CRLT Theatre Program The CRLT theatre program uses traditional and interactive theatre techniques to bring research findings to life on stage. The program’s performances, based on a solid foundation of research, allow faculty to dialogue with the characters and each other to explore issues in labs, departments, schools or colleges, and classrooms.

Faculty Consultations Professional staff provide confidential consultations for individual instructors about any aspect of teaching and learning including innovative teaching strategies, classroom-related concerns, interpretation of student ratings, and ways to incorporate instructional technology into teaching.

Customized Programs and Faculty Retreats In collaboration with the University’s academic programs, departments, schools, and colleges, CRLT develops customized programs and services to respond to their special needs.

Services for Graduate Students and Postdocs CRLT offers programs and services designed to support graduate students in all stages of their teaching careers from training for their first teaching experiences through preparation for the academic job market. Many of CRLT’s services are open to all graduate students, whether or not they are GSIs.

Services for graduate student instructors (GSIs), include orientation programs in the fall and winter for new GSIs, a series of seminars on teaching for GSIs during the academic year, and individual consultations. CRLT also works with individual departments to help design GSI training programs that are discipline specific. In collaboration with the English Language Institute, CRLT offers a training program for graduate students who did not receive their undergraduate education in English.

Publications and Links CRLT publishes resource materials for the teaching faculty of the University. CRLT’s Occasional Papers present original research on student learning and provide summaries of literature and recommendations for best practice on a range of issues including learning styles, working effectively with students from underrepresented groups, teaching portfolios, and fundamentals of online teaching. CRLT also makes available a set of publications designed for GSIs or the faculty in charge of GSI training in a department. All of CRLT’s publications are available at their website.

For more information about any of these programs and services, contact CRLT at 1071 Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Avenue, phone 764-0505, fax 647-3600, or e-mail <[email protected]>. See also the CRLT website at <>.

8.B.2 Distance Education

Distance education is defined by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as a formal educational process in which the majority of instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Although many faculty members use instructional technology to allow students to do some of the work for individual courses from a distance, the role of distance education is constantly evolving at the University of Michigan.

Faculty who are interested in distance education should consult their department chairs and deans regarding the policies, priorities, and resources of their academic units. When questions arise about legal issues such as copyright, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel should be consulted. The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) provides special assistance with pedagogical issues involved in distance education initiatives. See section 8.B.1 “Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.”

Coursera. U-M partners with other top universities in the world to offer a wide range of no-cost courses online through Coursera’s interactive platform. Coursera is a California-based online education company founded in 2012. For more information, see

U-M Podcasts and iTunes U. The Office of the Vice President for Communications publicizes a catalog of locations on campus that make audio and video podcasts available to the public. The catalog includes such topics as arts and the humanities; business, economics, and government; and science and technology. Through iTunes U, the University also offers downloadable selections from the University’s public lectures, select classroom lectures, news podcasts, and videos.

8.B.3 Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning

Building on a long tradition at the University of Michigan, the Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, named after U-M alumnus Edward Ginsberg, seeks to enable faculty on the Ann Arbor campus to integrate service into teaching and to conduct research responsive to community needs, engage students in community service and academic learning in order to promote civic participation, develop collaborative partnerships with communities, improve the quality of life in communities nationwide, and enhance the educational process.

The Center promotes “service as scholarship” through faculty activities such as:

  • Consultation and technical assistance for faculty related to community-based service learning
  • John Dewey Lecture Series
  • Faculty instructional workshops on community-based research and service-learning pedagogy
  • Faculty Instructional Grants, available to faculty members who integrate service into teaching
  • Doctoral seminar on service learning
  • Publication lending library
  • “Service-Learning Course Design Workbook” (a complimentary copy is available to any U-M faculty or staff member on request)
  • Workshops preparing faculty and students for participation in the community
  • National peer-reviewed journal, the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning

The Center’s Faculty Council has responsibility to advise the Center on policy, planning, and program priorities. Located in a turn-of-the-century former residence near the heart of campus, the Center is a meeting place and activity center with facilities available for campus and community groups. Programs and grants are available to all faculty on the Ann Arbor campus.

8.B.4 Evaluations of Teaching

Teaching evaluations can help faculty improve their classroom performance and provide important information for decisions about re-appointment, promotion, tenure, salary, and awards. (They also provide information to students to assist them in course selection.) All of the schools and colleges have teaching evaluation tools to meet these objectives. For information about the systems in place for a particular academic unit, faculty should check with the department chair or other administrator.

Many schools and colleges use the Office of the Registrar system of student course evaluations called Teaching Evaluations. This system permits instructors to select questions to administer to the students in a given class from a large catalogue of choices. Some schools, colleges, and other academic units design common core questions for use in these or other questionnaires. Reports with statistical results of the responses and all individual student comments are provided to the instructors. In some academic units, the statistical reports are also sent to the dean or chair. See also section 8.B.5 “Examination Scoring, Placement Exams, and Surveys.”

The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) can provide information about multiple methods of evaluating teaching, including teaching portfolios and peer review. CRLT’s instructional consultants also help individual faculty interpret their student ratings reports. See also section 8.B.1 “Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.”

8.B.5 Examination and Survey Services

The Office of the Registrar provides electronic scoring services for standardized tests or exams constructed by faculty. This office also handles placement tests for incoming students during orientation, assists departments in selecting and designing placement tests, and assists University researchers and administrators who are designing and analyzing surveys and evaluations (see Survey Services) These services are available for courses taught and students enrolled at the Ann Arbor campus. For information about E&E’s role in teaching evaluations, see section 8.B.4 “Evaluations of Teaching.”

8.B.6 Faculty Mentoring & Advising

The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies publishes two guidebooks: “How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty in a Diverse University” and a companion handbook for graduate students, “How to Get the Mentoring You Want.” Rackham recognizes the important role mentoring plays within graduate education, and developed these handbooks to assist faculty and graduate students in forming mentoring relationships that are based on realistic goals, expectations and understandings of one another. Rackham offers a number of other resources related to mentoring and advising.

8.B.7 Instructional Technology

See Information and Technology Services website for information on instructional software and computing classrooms.

Also see the University’s Teaching and Technology Collaborative (TTC) website for learning and incorporating technology into teaching and learning.

In addition, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching provides consultation services to individuals and departments in the integration of technology into teaching, including distance education.

8.B.8 Michigan Learning Communities

The Michigan Learning Communities (MLC) encompass a number of programs designed to offer students a friendly, supportive, and close-knit learning community within the context of the larger University environment.

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) offers two four-year academic learning communities: the LSA Honors Program and the Residential College.  Other residential programs include the Global Scholars Program, the Health Science Scholars Program, the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, the Michigan Community Scholars Program, the Max Kade German Residence Program, the Michigan Research Community, the Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program (see also handbook section 2.C “Ann Arbor Campus Resources”), and the Adelia Cheever Program to prepare women for a leadership in a global society.

In addition, the University offers non-residential learning communities:  the University Mentorship Program, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (see also handbook section 2.C “Ann Arbor Campus Resources”), and the Comprehensive Studies Program.

These programs provide faculty with a wide range of contexts and opportunities to interact with students outside of the traditional classroom. For more information, contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in LSA.

8.B.9 Student Organizations

There are over 1200 student organizations at the University. Students’ experiences in these organizations are greatly enhanced by faculty involvement as advisors, resource persons, and guest speakers. To learn about student groups by discipline or academic area, contact the departmental administrator. In addition, the Office of Student Activities and Leadership (<>) maintains Maize Pages, the online U-M directory of student organizations.