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

  • Early-Career Faculty Development Circle
  • Future Professors Development Circle

Early-Career Faculty Development Circle

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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.

Topics for the Spring 2018 semester are drawn from the book Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning by James R. Davis and Bridget D. Arend. The text introduces a conceptual approach for selecting appropriate teaching strategies for different types of content and for achieving specific learning objectives. Davis and Arend demonstrate how a focused and purposeful selection of activities improves student performance and makes for a more effective and satisfying teaching experience. Participants will receive a copy of the book and an executive summary of each chapter.

  • 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 2018

The Lecture Paradigm and Alternative Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Wednesday, January 24
Thursday, January 25

Many college teachers are ready to examine alternatives to the traditional lecture paradigm, but the dazzling array of options they encounter is often bewildering. This session will examine and critique today’s most prominent and well-known approaches to teaching and learning.

Building Skills and Acquiring Knowledge

Wednesday, February 7
Thursday, February 8

Is the learning goal concrete and observable that a student performs or is it something that involves new ideas, new terminology, or useful ideas? This session focuses on building skills through behavioral learning and acquiring knowledge through cognitive learning.

Developing Critical, Creative, and Dialogical Thinking; Cultivating Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Abilities

Wednesday, February 21
Thursday, February 22

Does the learning goal involve being aware of and improving one’s thinking process or does it require solving problems or making decisions? This session focuses on developing critical, creative, and dialogical thinking through inquiry learning and cultivating problem-solving and decision-making abilities through mental models.

Exploring Attitudes, Feelings, and Perspectives; Practicing Professional Judgment

Wednesday, March 7
Thursday, March 8

Is the learning goal to change opinions, attitudes and beliefs or is it the kind of learning that involves developing professional judgment in a variety of contexts, including a simulated environment? This session focuses on exploring attitudes, feelings and perspectives through groups and teams and practicing professional judgment through virtual realities.

Reflecting on Experience and Transforming College Teaching

Wednesday, March 28
Thursday, March 29

This session explores learning that occurs when students get immersed in a real-life work, service, or travel experience. We will then discuss meaningful ways to put the seven ways of learning into practice for our courses.

End-of-the-Semester Luncheon

Thursday, May 3, 12 to 2 p.m.

Future Professors Development Circle

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Explore pedagogical issues, effective and disruptive teaching strategies, and gain confidence in your ability to teach at the college level. This professional development circle helps graduate students to teach in the academy, whether they are currently teaching, working as a teaching assistant, or considering teaching as a career path. Share teaching tips, tricks, and get support from other future professors. Discussions for spring will be based on chapters from What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain; however, there is no required reading to participate.

  • This group meets on select Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 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 2018

What do the best college teachers know about student learning?

Friday, January 26

There are many ways to “teach,” but the best teachers take into account how students learn. In this session we will talk about teaching so students will learn.

How do the best college teachers prepare to teach?

Friday, February 9

If college courses didn’t exist and you wanted to invent them, what questions would you ask yourself?

What do the best college teachers expect of their students?

Friday, February 23

Conventional wisdom says that teachers who “expect too much” get negative student evaluations, but research does not necessarily bear this out. In this session we will talk about what we can expect.

How do the best college teachers conduct class?

Friday, March 9

To lecture or not to lecture? That is the question many new instructors wrestle with. But it may not be the right question. In this session we will talk about what successful lectures—and successful labs—have in common.

How do the best college teachers treat their students?

Friday, March 23

Deciding “where to draw the line” . . . between friendliness and “being friends”; between accommodating legitimate needs and “bending over backwards” . . . can be a struggle. In this session we’ll talk about key concepts in interacting with students.

How do the best college teachers evaluate their students and themselves?

Friday, April 6

Did you know that “Final Exam Week” is actually called the “Evaluation Period”? What will you be evaluating? How?

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

2018-01-18T10:45:35.073-06:00 2018