Share your strategies

There are many wonderful things happening on our campus to engage students, promote learning, and support retention and success. Please share your ideas by posting here in “leave a reply”.

For example, you might include a specific assignment, discuss how you use it, then share it’s impact on student learning and engagement.

Please remember to include your contact information so that colleagues can reach out to you. We’ll also use strategies shared in weekly CETL emails to the campus.

Posted in CETL Activity | 2 Comments

CETL Weekly – Expanding Perspectives

November 13, 2017

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.” — Seneca

Vision is critical to higher education.  Even as we ground students in long-standing theories and ideas, we prepare them for their future careers and lives.  We can envision the possibilities of the future and ways to prepare our students even as we adapt our campus to their perspectives and understanding of the world.  We ask students to adopt a growth mindset and we must as well.  This includes our ability to learn about the students we are teaching and their generational perspectives on the world.

Last week, at least six transgendered people were elected into office around the United States. (See more at This is a much-celebrated event. In social media, people shared that they thought the country would not reach this milestone in their lifetimes, and yet here we are! The concept of gender has changed over time as has society’s perspective on it. It is much more fluid than the past binary definition.

Last year, Daniela Mansbach, Associate Professor in Political Science and Gender Studies Coordinator, facilitated an amazing conversation on gender and the use of gender pronouns.  For example, “xhe” is a non-binary pronoun and “they” is now used as a singular pronoun. We also talked about how gender has been shaped by our own generations, experiences, and perspectives on the world. Our students reflect much more diverse perspectives on gender; we must learn and adapt to those perspectives to better support students in their identities.

The conversation last spring led to the purchase of “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” by CETL and succeeding conversations about gender and what it means to our interactions with students. This summer, we hosted a viewing to a packed room from folks in a diversity of roles.

Our next part of the Gender Revolution conversation is TOMORROW (Tuesday, 11/14) from 5 – 7 p.m. Why attend?  Discussion will be integrated into portions of the video, with opportunities to share ideas on what our learning means to our work inside and outside the classroom. As a community, we will generate concrete strategies in working with students and expanding our own learning.   If you have not attended previous sessions, please feel free to join us!

If you cannot attend this session but would like to see the video and the National Geographic issue, Gender Revolution, contact, or contact Nicole or Monica in CETL.

Additional upcoming events

Please see the attached flyers for Native American Heritage Month and Diversity events this fall.

Both events below are in CETL (Swenson 2074); light refreshments will be served.

  • The URSCA Peer Network meets this Thursday, November 16 from noon – 12:50 p.m.
  • The Well-being Community of Practice meets next Wednesday, November 22 from noon – 12:50 p.m. The topic for this session is “Cultivating a Character Strengths Focus”. Character Strengths are the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel and behave and are the keys to you being your best self. When individuals are aware of their strengths, and have the opportunity to use them within their work or school day, they are happier and more engaged. Come learn how to identify, use and benefit from the VIA Charter Strengths Assessment.

CETL events are winding down to better support faculty and staff during the final weeks of the semester. We are happy to consult with you on various teaching and learning interests and needs including instructional design/development, technology integration and media production. Please feel free to contact Monica, Del or Tom. See more details at


Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Teaching and Learning Relationships

November 6, 2017

Teaching is not about information. It’s about having an honest intellectual relationship with your students. ~ Paul Lockhart

Please forgive me for stating the obvious – this is a difficult time for our Yellowjacket community. People have been impacted in various ways. In recent days, I’ve found myself reflecting often on the teaching and learning relationship and what it means to be at a university.

Teaching and learning are about relationships, not just knowledge and how it is taught. One of the best things about working at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning are the countless and varied conversations about what it means to be a teacher. Over time, the themed response to “What is the most critical thing in the teaching and learning process?” is “relationship”.  This theme comes up again and again, regardless of role – student, staff, faculty, advisor, coach, and/or supervisor.  Some frame it as empathy and compassion, others as trust, others as responsiveness.

Numerous research studies support the importance links between relationship, teaching and student progress. When we combine students’ trust in us and our interest in their progress with best practices in teaching and learning, amazing things can happen.

This week showcases the importance of relationships.  It is National Veteran’s Week! I’ve attached Monte’s email from the Veteran and Non-traditional Student Center on the many activities to celebrate this week.  I’m pleased that our CETL collaboration with them continues.  Green Zone training will be held this Tuesday, November 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. in CETL (Swenson 2074).  Why attend?  You will learn the strengths and challenges of student soldiers and veterans and various strategies to best support them both inside and outside the classroom. All are invited!

Chickering’s vectors of student development, long a staple of higher education, have been extended into working with student veterans. They include 1) developing competence, 2) managing emotions, 3) moving through autonomy toward interdependence and others. See more information at

Additional upcoming events

  • The Global Awareness and Inclusivity Community of Practice meets this Wednesday, November 8 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in CETL (Swenson 2074). Facilitated by Jerel Benton and Lynn Amerman Goerdt, this is a great opportunity to share ideas and engage with colleagues in learning about students.  Attached is a schedule of events the group has developed – please share with your colleagues!
  • Learn@UW-Superior: Analysis and Grades is this Thursday, November 9 from noon – 1 p.m. in Swenson 2020 with Stacy Leno and Tom Tu. Why attend?  You will learn how to use these tools along with how to implement them to best support student learning. For example, did you know that you can use the analysis tool to see how much course material (if included in Learn@UW-Superior) that the student has accessed and for how long? This relates to how you might work with the student regarding study strategies.

If you cannot attend this session and would like more information, please feel free to contact Tom Tu at or x8463.

CETL events are winding down to better support faculty and staff during the final weeks of the semester. We are happy to consult with you on various teaching and learning interests and needs including instructional design/development, technology integration and media production. Please feel free to contact Monica, Del or Tom. See more details at


Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Teaching at its Best

October 23, 2017

Teaching at its best arises from healthy teachers who are well rested, open minded, clear thinking and compassionate towards the challenges of learning. ~ Kathryn Lovewell, Every Teacher Matters

Good morning! We have reached the mid-term point of the semester. In the past two weeks, a number of people privately or at CETL sessions have shared how overwhelming/busy/hectic the semester is, and how it is difficult to find time to meet obligations and goals.  I believe that teaching is one of the best professions. It requires significant time and energy to teach, provide feedback, develop assignments, provide more feedback, assess and evaluate, then revise.  Additional campus responsibilities affect our time teaching and working with students.

There are ways to take care of ourselves as teachers. Our Well-being Community of Practice, which meets this week (see info at the bottom of this email) provides great ideas and is a source of support.  In the attached article, Helping New Faculty Thrive, there are a myriad of strategies and ideas offered to help enhance teaching. While the intent is towards new faculty/instructors, even those more seasoned may find some new ideas.  The article is broken out into specific sections:

  • The Things I Did Badly: Looking Back on My First Five Years of Teaching……….. 6
  • Qualities of Successful Teaching………………………………………………………………. 8
  • Lessons Learned from My Students…………………………………………………………. 10
  • ‘What Works’ in the Messy Landscape of Teaching and Learning………………….12
  • Student Engagement: What Is It?……………………………………………………………. 14
  • Ways to Achieve Student Engagement…………………………………………………….. 16
  • Critical Thinking: Definitions and Assessments……………………………………………18
  • A Less-Structured, More Learning-Centered Environment……………………………20
  • Avoiding Information Overload: Remembering Course Goals……………………….22
  • Some Lessons Learned about Learner-Centered Teaching………………………….. 24
  • Learning from Our Mistakes…………………………………………………………………….26
  • Talk about Teaching That Benefits Beginners and Those Who Mentor Them….28
  • Confessions of a Bad Teacher…………………………………………………………………..30
  • Six Things That Make College Teachers Successful………………………………………32

Upcoming events:
This week, CETL is hosting three open sessions, all held in the CETL conference room (Swenson 2076).

  • The URSCA Peer Network meets Tuesday, 10/24 from noon – 12:50 p.m. (See more info in the attached email from Julie.) This group is facilitated by Cheong Soon Gan and Julie O’Leary.
  • The Well-being Community of Practice meets Wednesday, 10/25 from noon – 12:50 p.m. This month’s topic is “Attitude of Gratitude”. Research has shown that gratitude is good for our bodies, our minds, our relationships and our workplaces. Come learn how to cultivate and appreciate the many blessings in your life based on new research being done in this area of well-being. This group is facilitated by Randy Barker and Mimi Rappley-Larson.
  • Implicit Bias Training, facilitated by Jerel Benton, EDI Director, is on Thursday, 10/26 from 11:30 a.m.  – 12:50 p.m. Implicit bias is defined as attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. It can have a powerful influence inside and outside classrooms.
Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Teaching with Technology Resources

October 16, 2017

CETL Instructional Pedagogy and Technology Series
We invite you to attend the upcoming professional development sessions provided through the CETL Instructional Pedagogy and Technology Series. Each session has been designed to provide a launching pad towards developing new skills for enhancing your teaching and student learning, promoting student success, and leveraging available technology resources able to make your work easier. Session follow-up consultations can be arranged to provide more comprehensive support relevant to your specific professional development goals in the areas of instructional pedagogy and technology. Check out the session details below, mark your calendar, invite a colleague to join you, build your learning network and gain valuable skills for teaching with technology.

Using Digital Content to Enhance Your Teaching and Student Learning
Are you interested in using digital content to enhance your teaching and student learning but you don’t know how to get started? The Teaching with Technology: Lecture Capture session is designed to get you started on the right path for developing digital content for your courses. This session focuses on leveraging the tools and resources available at UW-Superior to quickly develop and distribute lecture content in a digital audio or video format accessible 24/7 by your students.

The session introduces you to available tools and resources for recording lecture content or supplemental instruction, brief demonstrations of the tools will be provided along with a review of additional training materials and quick guides. Tools to be demonstrated and reviewed include using Microsoft Office Mix with PowerPoint, CaptureSpace Lite, and the embedded recording applications in Kaltura “MyMedia” within Learn@UW-Superior.  The next session will on October 19 from noon – 12:50 p.m in the CETL Conference Room – Swenson 2074, led by Del Wright.

Learn@UW-Superior (D2L) Learning Analytics and Grades
As the official Learning Management System (LMS) at UW-S, Learn@UW-Superior (D2L) is an important and readily available teaching and learning tool. It assists instructors in sharing digital content and learning resources, providing timely feedback, tracking grades for students as well as promoting effective learning and engagement. Students show preference and expectations for the instructors to use various D2L tools in their courses.

As shown in the 2017 EDUCAUSE survey of 35,760 students from 110 institutions in the country:

  • 79% Students prefer blended learning environments (these are face-to-face courses with some online components in LMS).
  • 66% Students stated being able to check course progress inside the LMS is one of their primary concerns.
  • 61% students wish their instructors use more early-alert system/resources/tools designed to catch potential academic trouble as soon as possible.

D2L Learning Analytics enable instructors to conveniently track student participation and progress both at individual student and class levels and use that data to support the student learning. As part of the early-alert strategies, the instructors can then decide the appropriate intervention to assure the student success in the course. In addition, the D2L Grades tool allows the instructor to set up a state-of-the-art online gradebook in LMS. The instructor can keep updating the students’ grades and providing timely feedback to each assignment or exam in the Grades tool throughout the semester. Each student can check his/her/xer own grades and progress inside LMS. These D2L tools have great potential to help the instructors better support the student-centered learning. To learn more strategies and best practices of using these tools in your course, please join us in Learn@UW–Superior: Learning Analytics and Grades at noon–12:50 p.m. on Thursday, November 9 in Swenson 2020.  Stacy Leno and Tom Tu will lead this session.

CETL Consultation Services
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) provides the campus community with services, resources and support to foster meaningful student learning, quality teaching, and supportive advising within a liberal arts tradition. CETL staff provide the campus members a broad array of services which include consultation services on instructional design/development, technology integration and media production. See more details on how to request these services at:

Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Open Educational Resources

Greetings to you on Friday, October 13.  While there are many superstitions linked to this day, with them come different perspectives of the world and the opportunity to learn about cultural beliefs. For example, there may be psychological benefits to the phobia of Friday the 13th (triskaidekaphobia).  For more, see

This coming week in CETL, we are focusing on Open Educational Resources. Stephanie Warden, UW-S Librarian, will showcase OERs and discuss their use and implementation on Monday, October 16 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in Swenson 2034 (please note the change from the CETL conference room).

What are OERs?  Educause states that OERs are “any resources available at little or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning, or research”. The term can include textbooks, course readings, and other learning content; simulations, games, and other learning applications; syllabi, quizzes, and assessment tools; and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes, such as the link above that could be used for a small group discussion of norms and beliefs (7 Things You Should Know about Open Educational Resources, 2010).

We know that textbook costs are high and continuing to rise. While students have the option of renting e-books, costs can be prohibitive. OERs are a way to supplement texts and embed them in courses, thus creating learning opportunities (readings, viewing videos, etc.) linked to meaningful assessment. For example, you can track if a student has read materials before taking an exam or participating in a small group discussion. Stephanie has done some great work in connecting instructors with OERs for UW-S courses. Please feel free to come to the session with questions and ideas for how you’d like to use OERs.

Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Weekly Message – October 3, 2017

October 3, 2017

Education is only a ladder to gather fruit from the tree of knowledge,
not the tree itself. –
Albert Einstein

Our campus theme this month is Yellowjacket Success, appropriate to October as the month sees us reaching the mid-term semester milestone and working with students in advisement. It may be a time that students experience significant stress, both in relation to courses and life events. 

Over 40% of our students qualify for Pell grants, which is related to income.  Even while students receiving funding for attending courses, they may not have the resources available for housing, food, and other aspects of daily living. This is why many of our students work significant hours. 

To help students meet their living needs while also engaging in learning, CETL has opened the Yellowjacket Pantry in collaboration with Student Affairs.  The Pantry is open to any current student who is food insecure. Food insecurity is “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2017). Nicole Stodola worked with local food programs over the summer to develop the Pantry, and we hired two student employees, Audrey and Guilia, to assist this fall.

How might we know if a student is food insecure?  A student might indicate this during advisement or when meeting about a class topic or concern.  At CETL, we’re doing a simple assessment –if a student has a YU food plan, then they are not food insecure as those plans allow for regular meals.   If a student does not know where their next meal is coming from and experiences hunger on a regular basis, we are generally defining that as food insecure.  While we know that this is not perfect, it is a starting place.

As you work with students, please send those students who you assess to be food insecure to us. This may be based on what they share about their life situation and/or other aspects that you assess.  The steps in receiving food assistance are:

  1. Refer the student (or walk them over) to the Center of Excellence on Teaching and Learning, Swenson 2076 (our sign is on our door). There is also a sign for the Yellowjacket Pantry.  Any staff can provide assistance.   Our office hours are from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  2. The student will be asked to read a brief statement of the Pantry’s purpose and process, then submit a food request form.
  3. The order will be filled within a day as appropriate to the food in stock and the student’s needs. Distribution will be daily (M – F) from 3 – 4:30 p.m. unless otherwise arranged (i.e. the student can arranged to pick the food up during office hours). 

If you have questions, please contact Del Wright or I.  Feel free to stop by and see our new Pantry! You can walk through the process to see what it is like and help refine our process.

If you would like to donate to the Pantry

We are in need of non-perishable food items and personal care products and would greatly appreciate your help stocking the Pantry. Ramen noodles, pasta, pasta sauce, canned veggies and fruits, and canned soup is what is needed, along with basic hygiene items (shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, etc).  Donations can be brought to the CETL Suite, Swenson Hall 2076, M-F, 8-4:30 p.m.  Please – no expired products.  

If you’re like me and grocery shopping is a challenge, feel free to provide financial support.  Checks with a donation can be made out to the UW – Superior Foundation, with “food shelf” in the memo or you can go directly to the Foundation website at

Events this week

  • Supporting Growth in Non-traditional Students with Monte Stewart and students from the Vets and Non-traditional Student Center on Thursday, October 5 from 11:30 a.m. –  12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room.  Come hear the perspectives of students and brainstorm ideas to engage strengths and address challenges in learning. 

Events coming up next week

  • Gender Pronouns with Daniela Mansbach on Monday, October 9 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room. Last winter, Daniela did a fantastic session discussion the Campus Pride index and talking about the concept of gender identity, including pronouns. This fall, we decided to continue this session with foundational and updated information.
  • Global Awareness Community of Practice facilitated by Lynn Goerdt and Jerel Benton on Wednesday, October 11 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room. This is an open session – new and returning members welcome!
Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment

Weekly Message – Growing a Mindset

September 25, 2017

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

Hello!  While the weather didn’t feel like it this weekend, I was reminded by the bright colors of the trees that fall is here and we’re moving rapidly into the semester.  It’s the time where we can see growth and the potential for significant change, even though it’s only a month into the semester.

Last week, I was delighted by a surprise visit by a UW – S alumni.   A student in my freshman seminar four years ago, we continued our conversations over the years to learn together about the world and explore new opportunities (including Wisconsin in Scotland).  Now a graduate student in a professional program, this alumni shared how much both curricular and co-curricular activities impacted personal growth. The support from faculty and staff in emerging fully into his own identity, as well as his connections with classmates and now long term friends, are invaluable.

Even as we work with students, how do we envision them as alumni?  In what ways are we encouraging them into new opportunities? The growth mindset is a framework that can be used to encourage students who struggle and may not see themselves as learning new skills or knowledge.

The growth mindset was studied by Dr. Carol Dweck and discussed in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” (2007).  This mindset supports the belief that people can develop their basic abilities through hard work and dedication. Intelligence and talents are a starting point.

The growth mindset can help us as teachers to encourage development in our students. Feedback is a critical part. As stated in Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education “students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence…Students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves” (Chickering and Gamson, 1987).  Final scores on an exam or in a game means little if feedback is not provided to help students improve.

Effective feedback is timely and specific.  It provides opportunities to learn what has been done well and areas where improvement is needed.  Dr. Maryellen Weimer, provides ideas at As you consider feedback you’re providing to students, her ideas can increase your impact and effectiveness in supporting students in their growth. In addition, how we talk with our students about improvement is important. See ideas on statements that encourage learning.

Upcoming events THIS WEEK!

  • The Well-being Community of Practice meets this Wednesday, September 27 from noon – 12:50 p.m. Our first meeting’s topic is Mind full or Mindful.Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Come learn how to experience a variety of mindfulness research-backed impacts, including reduction in stress, improvements in job satisfaction, emotional regulation, and focus. Randy Barker and Mimi Rappley-Larson will facilitate our learning and conversation.
  • Lecture Capture is this Thursday, September 28 in Swenson Hall 2005 from noon – 12:50 p.m.. Lecture capture is a broad term that covers most any technology that allows instructors to record lecture course content in a classroom, studio, office or even using portable devices. The recorded lectures then can be made available digitally to students in a variety of formats to facilitate enhanced teaching and student learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom. If you are considering using lecture capture to develop digital media for the development of a flipped classroom (course modules), supplemental instruction, hybrid courses, online courses or just to augment your in-class lectures this CETL Teaching with Technology Session on Lecture Capture is for you. Topics include: Using Office Mix, Kaltura CaptureSpace and managing video content within Learn@UW-Superior.

  • Faculty and staff interested in advancing undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity (URSCA) both in the classroom and beyond are invited to attend the first meeting of the URSCA Peer Network this Thursday, September 28 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room. (This is the correct time – last week I goofed and put down 11:30 – 12:30.) This meeting will focus on sharing experiences and challenges, and participants will provide input to develop a list of topics for future meetings. Whether you are an experienced mentor or looking for tools and resources to get started, the Peer Network will have something to offer. For more information, please contact co-facilitators Julie O’Leary and Cheong Soon Gan.  Please note: We needed to make some changes in the October and November meetings.  The network will now meet on October 24 and November 16 (rather than October 16 and November 20).


Coming up next week:

Supporting Growth in Non-traditional Students with Monte Stewart and students from the Vets and Non-traditional Student Center is on Thursday, October 5 from 11:30 a.m. –  12:50 p.m.  Come hear the perspectives of students and brainstorm ideas to address challenges in learning.


Please note that the Green Zone training on 9/27 has been postponed until November 7.

Posted in CETL Activity | Leave a comment