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.

  • Early-Career Faculty Development Circle Make Connections icon Transform Teaching icon Design Learning icon
  • Small Teaching, Big Thinking Reading Group 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.

Discussions for fall will be based on chapters from What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain; however, there is no required reading to participate. 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 Fall 2018

What do the best college teachers know about student learning?

Wednesday, August 29 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, August 30 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, September 12 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, September 13 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, September 26 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, September 27 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, October 10 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 11 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, October 24 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 25 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, November 7 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, November 8 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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

Early Career Faculty Luncheon

Thursday, December 6 • 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Teaching can be an isolating experience.  This reading group, intended for those who have been teaching at Illinois State for more than four years, provides an opportunity for faculty to engage in discussions to encourage peer support, networking, and mentorship. Experience new confidence in yourself and your ability to teach!

During the Fall semester, we will be using Small Teaching , by James Lang, as the springboard for our conversations. Attend when you can – no registration is necessary.  All sessions are held at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main St.

Thursday, September 6 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, September 20 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 4 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 18 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, November 15 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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 fall will be based on chapters from How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, by Susan A. Ambrose et al.; however, there is no required reading to participate.

  • This group meets on select Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 p.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 Fall 2018

How does students' prior knowledge affect their learning?

Wednesday, September 5 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, September 19 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

To be able to retrieve and apply knowledge effectively, students much make accurate and meaningful connections between pieces of knowledge. 

What factors motivate students to learn?

Wednesday, October 3 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, October 17 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, October 31 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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?

Wednesday, November 14 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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.

2018-11-14T15:23:07.762-06:00 2018