Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Professional Development Circles

Join your peers in a Professional Development Circle to share ideas, discover new approaches to teaching and student learning, reduce your stress, and increase your success! Circles are led by a facilitator who will guide group discussion, arrange contacts with key individuals, and provide information about campus resources and opportunities. No registration is necessary.

Questions? Contact Dr. Julie-Ann McFann at (309) 438-5848 or at jmmcfan@ilstu.edu.

Need help finding the right events? Most workshops are tagged with one or more of CTLT’s Keys to Enhanced Teaching.

  • Early-Career Faculty Development Circle Transform Teaching icon
  • Future Professors Development Circle Make Connections icon Transform Teaching icon Design Learning icon

CTLT’s Early-Career Faculty Circles offer faculty in their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year of service at ISU a combination of professional development and peer support. Join us for a series of lively conversations about surviving and thriving in the academy.

The topics for the Spring Early-Career Faculty Circle meetings are drawn from the book The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer. The text “builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique but is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher.” No reading is required for participation in these circles. Each participant will receive a copy of the book, but we will provide executive summaries of chapters. Understanding how to be authentically present in the classroom enables teachers to be deeply connected with their students and their subject which, in turn, enhances the learning process. Come to either the Wednesday or Thursday session.

  • This group meets on select Wednesdays or Thursdays from noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sessions are held in the Resource Commons at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main Street.
  • No registration is necessary.

Topics for Spring 2017

Wednesday, January 25
Thursday, January 26

Why is self-knowledge important for good teaching?

Wednesday, February 8
Thursday, February 9

How do we teach beyond technique?

Wednesday, February 22
Thursday, February 23

How, and why, does academic culture encourage us to distance ourselves from our students and our subjects?  How can we escape the grip of either-or thinking?  What would it look like to “think the world together?”

Wednesday, March 8
Thursday, March 9

How can we create a community that can embrace, guide, and refine the core mission of education—the mission of knowing, teaching and learning? How do we engage in subject-centered teaching?

Wednesday, March 22
Thursday, March 23

How can we create a community that can embrace, guide, and refine the core mission of education—the mission of knowing, teaching and learning? How do we engage in subject-centered teaching?

This professional development circle helps graduate students prepare for a career teaching in the academy. Explore pedagogical issues, effective and disruptive teaching strategies, and gain confidence in your ability to teach at the college level. Share teaching tips, tricks, and get support from other future professors. All participants will receive a copy of How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, by Susan A. Ambrose et al., but no between-session reading is required. This group is open to all graduate students currently teaching or planning to teach in the future.

  • This group meets on select Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • It is open to all graduate students currently teaching or planning to teach in the future.
  • Sessions are held in the Resource Commons at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main Street.
  • No registration necessary.

Topics for Spring 2017

How does students’ prior knowledge affect their learning?

Friday, January 20

Students’ prior knowledge can be a good thing … or it can be a bad thing. We can help students make connections between current learning and prior knowledge, but we must also address student misconceptions about both the subject matter and their own level of knowledge.

How does the way students organize knowledge affect their learning?

Friday, February 3

To be able to retrieve and apply knowledge effectively, students much make accurate and meaningful connections between pieces of knowledge. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.

What factors motivate students to learn?

Friday, February 17

Motivation plays a critical role in determining the quality of learning behaviors in which students engage. We’ll look at different types of student motivation as well as strategies for establishing the value of a learning goal or activity.

How do students develop mastery?

Friday, March 3

Goal-directed practice and explicit feedback contribute to student mastery. We need to be aware that our own competence can sometimes blind us to the complexity of our subject matter.

Why do student development and course climate matter for student learning?

Friday, March 24

The climates we create in our classrooms have direct implications for student learning. Classrooms are never neutral spaces, they always impact student learning for good or ill.

How do students become self-directed learners?

Friday, April 7

Students need to develop a variety of metacognitive processes before they can become self-directed learners. Learn how to incorporate the hard work of self-regulation into your classroom.


If you need a special accommodation to fully participate in an event, please contact the CTLT main desk at (309) 438-2542.

2017-01-18T11:31:48.226-06:00 2017