Workshops by Drs. Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent

Drs. Felder and Brent regularly present workshops on effective teaching, mentoring and supporting new faculty members, and faculty development, on campuses and at conferences around the country and abroad. Workshop outlines, locations of past and scheduled workshops, and summaries of participant responses are given on this page. The workshops are intended primarily for faculty members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, most of them can be modified for campus-wide audiences. Some are also suitable for administrators (deans, associate and assistant deans, and department heads) and future faculty members (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows headed for academic careers).


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Effective college teaching -- 1.5 days (2 days in countries where English is not the native language). Basic teaching workshop for faculty members, covering important aspects of course design, delivery, and assessment.
Active learning -- 1/2 day. Workshop for current and future faculty members.
Cooperative learning -- 1/2 day. Workshop for faculty members.
Helping STEM students develop high-level skills -- 1 day. Workshop for STEM faculty members.
Outcomes-based education -- 1 day standalone, 1/2 day as a supplement to the effective teaching workshop. Workshop for faculty members and deans, associate and assistant deans, and department heads.
Introduction to learning styles -- 1/2 day. Workshop for current and future faculty members.
Getting an academic position and getting it off to a good start -- 1 day. Workshop for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows contemplating academic careers.
Mentoring and supporting new faculty members -- 1/2 day. Workshop for deans, associate and assistant deans, department heads, and senior faculty members.
How to evaluate teaching -- 1/2 day. Workshop for department heads and faculty members.
Designing and presenting effective teaching workshops to STEM faculties -- 1/2 day. Workshop for faculty development personnel and teaching leaders.
Locations of past and scheduled teaching workshops.
Participant evaluations of teaching workshops.

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at rmfelder@mindspring.com.


Effective College Teaching (1.5 days)

College teaching may be the only skilled profession that does not routinely provide its practitioners with prior instruction or on-the-job training. The assumption seems to be that getting a Ph.D. in a discipline somehow equips people with the knowledge and skills to design courses, motivate students to learn and equip them with well-developed analytical and professional ("soft") skills, lecture effectively, actively engage students in class regardless of the class size, write good assignments and tests, and deal with the hundreds of problems that routinely arise when dealing with a class full of individuals with different abilities, needs, motivations, and problems. The assumption is false--it typically takes new instructors 4-5 years to learn to teach effectively by trial-and-error, and some never learn. Unfortunately, the ones who pay the penalty for the errors are usually not the ones making them.

As it happens, a great deal is known from both research and experience about what makes teaching effective. Most of it does not require innate teaching ability or a particular type of personality, but simply involves a combination of easily implemented strategies and common sense. This workshop draws on this material to provide faculty members and graduate students with tools to make them more effective teachers and good sources of information for further study.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Active Learning (1/2 day)

Active learning is classroom instruction that involves students in activities other than watching and listening to a lecturer. Working individually or in groups, the students may be called upon to answer questions, solve problems, discuss, debate, reflect, brainstorm, or formulate questions. Both cognitive science and empirical classroom research have repeatedly demonstrated that when properly implemented, active learning increases the extent and quality of students' achievement of most common learning outcomes that don't involve simple rote memorization. This workshop is designed to provide participants with guidance and practice in active learning techniques. It is suitable for current and future faculty members (graduate students and postdocs)

For Whom Intended

The workshop may be tailored specifically for current and/or future faculty members in STEM disciplines, or they may be designed to address campus-wide audiences from all disciplines.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Cooperative Learning (1/2 day)

Cooperative learning (CL) is instruction that involves students in team projects under conditions that meet several criteria, including positive interdependence (the team members must rely on one another to carry out their responsibilities) and individual accountability for every part of the project. When properly implemented, CL has been proven to motivate students to learn, increase the extent and quality of their learning, lower attrition from academic programs, and improve attitudes of students toward their education. This workshop is designed to provide participants with guidance and practice in CL techiques, a summary of the research that confirms CL's effectiveness; and information about possible pitfalls associated with CL and strategies for overcoming them.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Helping STEM Students Develop High-Level Skills (1 day)

This workshop provides tools and strategies for STEM faculty members to help their students acquire and improve skills in analytical problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, and teamwork, and outlines techniques for assessing those skills.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Outcomes-Based Education
(1 day if standalone, 1/2 day if linked with effective teaching workshop)

In traditional education, curricula are defined and evaluated based on the content presented. If a department's course syllabi list the appropriate topics and the course instructors address those topics, the instructional program is judged successful, regardless of what the students learned. In outcomes-based education (OBE), curricula are defined based on the learning outcomes they address--the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they wish their graduates to have. A program is considered successful only to the extent that the outcomes can be shown by rigorous assessment to have been achieved.

Outcomes-based education is increasingly used in engineering programs throughout the world as the basis for instructional program accreditation and is starting to be used in other disciplines. In the United States (which is subject to the ABET Engineering Criteria) and nations elsewhere in the world that are signatories of the Washington Accord, engineering programs seeking accreditation must equip their graduates with certain attributes including learning outcomes defined by Criterion 3 of the ABET Engineering Criteria. Some of the attributes are straightforward but others lack precise definition, and no clear idea exists of how they should be assessed or what instructors must do to equip students with them.

This workshop prepares STEM department heads, coordinators of multi-department degree programs, and faculty members to formulate learning outcomes, design instruction to address the outcomes, and assess the degree to which the outcomes have been achieved. The ABET Engineering Criteria are used for illustration, but the methods presented can easily be extrapolated to OBE-based evaluation systems in other STEM disciplines.

Topics Addressed For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Introduction to Learning Styles (1/2 day)

Students learn in a variety of ways: by seeing and hearing, working alone and in groups, reasoning logically and intuitively, memorizing and visualizing and modeling. Teaching methods also vary: some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or discuss; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding. How much students learn in a class depends in part on the compatibility of their learning style preferences with the instructor's teaching style. This workshop for current and future faculty members introduces participants to the concept of learning styles; describes a widely-used learning styles model and gives participants an opportunity to assess their preferences on each of the model dimensions; and outlines how learning styles can be used to design instruction effective for reaching students with a wider variety of learning styles than are reached with traditional teaching methods.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Getting an Academic Position and Getting It off to a Good Start (1 day)

It takes many skills to be a successful college professor. The first thing you have to do is get a job offer from an institution where you would like to work, competing with many talented competitors for the open position. Once you’re there, you have to plan, fund, and manage a research program, attract and retain graduate students, design courses and lectures and deliver them effectively, and deal with a wide range of problems related to research, teaching, and campus politics. As a rule, no one tells new or future faculty members anything about most of these things, and it is therefore not surprising that becoming a successful professor usually involves a long learning curve. Robert Boice, who has studied many new faculty members, notes that it generally takes 4-5 years for professors to meet or exceed their institution’s standards for research productivity and teaching effectiveness. However, about 5% of them--the ones Boice calls "Quick Starters"--manage to do it in their first 1-2 years. This workshop presents strategies that will help postdoctoral and graduate students get good faculty positions and become quick starters.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Mentoring and Supporting New Faculty Members (1/2 day)

Robert Boice has shown that most new faculty members take roughly four years to become reasonably productive in research and effective in teaching. Appropriate mentoring and support from senior colleagues can help new faculty members become what Boice calls quick starters, reaching full productivity and effectiveness in 1-2 years. Mentoring is itself a skilled and complex craft, however, and when poorly done it may do more harm than good. This workshop is designed to help college administrators, department heads, and senior faculty members develop effective support programs for their new faculty members, increasing the likelihood that they will become quick starters.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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How to Evaluate Teaching (1/2 day)

The usual way to evaluate how well a course was taught is to survey the students at the end of the course and compile and average the ratings. If the rating form was carefully designed and validated, this procedure provides unique and important information, but student ratings alone are not adequate to provide a good comprehensive evaluation of teaching quality. Students are not in a position to judge certain aspects of instruction, such as whether the course learning objectives were appropriate, the content was up-to-date, the instruction followed well-established pedagogical principles, and the instructor had an adequate mastery of the subject. Only peers can do that. Recognizing this situation, a growing number of institutions have begun to include peer review of teaching in faculty performance evaluations, but there are problems here as well. In many peer reviews a faculty member simply observes a single lecture, notes whatever catches his or her attention, draws conclusions that may reflect questionable preconceptions of what constitutes good teaching, and files a report. This procedure does not provide a fair, reliable, or valid assessment of teaching quality: an observation conducted by a different observer or by the same observer on another day could lead to completely different conclusions.

There are better ways to evaluate teaching. The goals of this workshop are to outline methods that have been proved effective and to equip department heads and their faculties to design a reliable and valid evaluation process for their department.

Topics Addressed

For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Designing and Presenting Effective Teaching Workshops to STEM Faculties (1/2 day)

This workshop is intended to help faculty developers and STEM teaching leaders plan and present effective teaching seminars and workshops, overcoming the skepticism STEM faculty members often feel toward instructional development programs.

Topics Addressed
For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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Locations of Past and Scheduled Campus Workshops

  1. Aalborg University (Aalborg, Denmark)
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Armament University, Picatinny Arsenal
  4. Athlone Institute of Technology (Ireland)
  5. Baton Rouge Community College
  6. Bucknell University
  7. Cape Technikon (Capetown, South Africa)
  8. Central Carolina Community College (Sanford, NC)
  9. Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand)
  10. Clemson University
  11. Cornell University
  12. Davidson College
  13. DeVry Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
  14. DeVry Institute of Technology (Columbus, OH)
  15. DeVry Institute of Technology (Irving, TX)
  16. Duke University
  17. Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)
  18. Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
  19. Erie County Community College (Orchard Park, NY)
  20. Fayetteville State University (Fayetteville, NC)
  21. Florence-Darlington Technical College (Florence, SC)
  22. Florida A&M University/Florida State University
  23. Florida Atlantic University
  24. Fresno City College (Fresno, CA)
  25. Georgia College and State University
  26. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  27. Institute of Technology­--Tallaght (Dublin, Ireland)
  28. Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)
  29. Iowa State University
  30. Johns Hopkins University (Laurel, MD)
  31. Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, NC)
  32. Kettering University
  33. Louisiana State University
  34. Louisiana Tech University
  35. Lund Institute of Technology (Sweden)
  36. McNeese State University
  37. Meredith College (Raleigh, NC)
  38. Michigan State University
  39. Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey)
  40. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  41. Mississippi State University
  42. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  43. Morehouse College
  44. Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  45. National Cheng Chung University (Taiwan)
  46. National Taiwan University
  47. Naval Academy Prep School
  48. New Jersey Institute of Technology
  49. New Mexico State University
  50. New York University
  51. North Carolina A&T University
  52. North Carolina Central University
  53. North Carolina State University
  54. North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (Durham, NC)
  55. North Dakota State University
  56. Northeastern Illinois University
  57. Northern Illinois University
  58. Oakland University (Rochester, MI)
  59. Ohio Northern University
  60. Old Dominion University
  61. Oregon Institute of Technology
  62. Penn State ­- Altoona
  63. Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Lima, Peru)
  64. Princeton University
  65. Purdue University
  66. Research Triangle High School (Durham, NC)
  67. RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia)
  68. Rochester Institute of Technology
  69. Rowan University
  70. Seattle University
  71. Shaw University (Raleigh, NC)
  72. South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Consortium
  73. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  74. Stanford University
  75. State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton University)
  76. State University of New York at Stony Brook (Stony Brook University)
  77. Stevens Institute of Technology
  78. Syddansk Universitet (Odense, Denmark)
  79. Tallinn Institute of Technology (Estonia)
  80. Technical University of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  81. Technical University of Nova Scotia
  82. Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology
  83. Texas A&M University at College Station
  84. Texas A&M University at Kingsville
  85. Texas Woman's University
  86. Tufts University
  87. United States Air Force Academy
  88. United States Naval Academy
  89. Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (Chile)
  90. Universidad de las Americas (Puebla, Mexico)
  91. Universidad Iberoamericana (Puebla, Mexico)
  92. Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal)
  93. Universidade do Minho (Braga, Portugal)
  94. Universidade do Porto (Portugal)
  95. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil)
  96. Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  97. Universidade Federal de Vicosa (Brazil)
  98. Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain)
  99. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  100. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia at Johor Bahru (Malaysia)
  101. University College Dublin (Ireland)
  102. University of Adelaide (Australia)
  103. University of Akron
  104. University of Alabama
  105. University of Alaska at Anchorage
  106. University of Alberta (Canada)
  107. University of Arizona
  108. University of Arkansas
  109. University of Cape Town (South Africa)
  110. University of Colorado at Boulder
  111. University of Connecticut
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst (videolink)
          University of Massachusetts at Lowell (videolink)
          University of Rhode Island (videolink)
  112. University of Dayton
  113. University of Delaware
  114. University of Florida
  115. University of Freiburg (Germany)
  116. University of Illinois
  117. University of Kansas
  118. University of Karlsruhe (Germany)
  119. University of Konstanz (Germany)
  120. University of Limerick (Ireland)
  121. University of Maine
  122. University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  123. University of Melbourne (Australia)
  124. University of Massachusetts
  125. University of Michigan
  126. University of Minnesota
  127. University of Mississippi
  128. University of Nevada at Las Vegas
  129. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  130. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  131. University of Notre Dame
  132. University of Oklahoma
  133. University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  134. University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
  135. University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)
  136. University of Rochester
  137. University of San Francisco
  138. University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines)
  139. University of South Carolina
  140. University of South Florida
  141. University of Stuttgart (Germany)
  142. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  143. University of Texas at Arlington
  144. University of the Natal (Durban, South Africa)
  145. University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  146. University of Tulsa
  147. University of Utah
  148. University of Washington
  149. University of West Florida
  150. Vanderbilt University
  151. Villanova University
  152. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  153. Wake Technical Community College (Raleigh, NC)
  154. Walters State Community College (Morristown, TN)
  155. Washington State University
  156. Wayne State University
  157. West Virginia University
  158. Wichita State University
  159. Wingate University (Wingate, NC)
  160. Winona State University
  161. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  162. Wright State University

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Participant Evaluations of Effective Teaching Workshop

Professors tend to be skeptical about teaching workshops, imagining that they are going to be subjected to many hours of lectures about things that are irrelevant to their subjects, students, and problems. Following are complete ratings from the effective teaching workshops we have presented since the beginning of 1996, with a total of 5201 participants responding. The results show that our workshops are practical and active enough to overcome this skepticism in almost everyone who participates.

Excellent -- 4236 (81%)
Good -- 928 (18%)
Average -- 35 (<1%)
Fair -- 2 (<0.05%)
Poor -- 0
The presenters received "Excellent" ratings from 4619 (88%) of the participants, "Good" from 561 (11%), and "Average" from 21 (<1%).
Following are representative participant responses. "This workshop is the single most valuable instrument I have ever found to improve my teaching."
"I liked the blend of theory and practice."
"I saw good teaching and active learning in action."
"Real world examples."
"I liked having the chance to practice skills which may be applied in class."
"Practical advice supported by research."
"Frequent breaks and use of humor kept my mind fresh."
"Great collection of resources in the notebook."
"Great notebook! Lots of terrific reading material."
"I did not doze off!!!
"Efficient, effective, enjoyable."
"Many concrete, specific examples, scenarios, tools, etc., were engineering relevant."
"Although this workshop was geared toward the engineer I found it absolutely applicable to my department (Dramatic Arts)--I wasn't lost at all."
"You modeled well the kinds of things you were teaching."
"Very motivated knowledgeable speakers."
"Excellent use of humor."
"The best organized, most practical and applicable workshop yet."
"The presenters were competent, confident, and VERY comfortable. They did a good job of using the audience's expertise."
"Lots of good ideas--not a lot of fluff. Presenters are knowledgeable on the subject and use well-documented evidence to support their positions."
"Rich and Rebecca were outstanding presenters who really know the material, are passionate about it, and practice what they preach."
"The ideas presented in this workshop are among the best and most useful that I have ever heard. I appreciate the fact that, while they represent a great change in the way material is presented, they do not involve throwing out what I am doing now."
"The workshop was presented in a way that was very noncritical. Instead of feeling like you are a `bad teacher,' you felt more like you now have tools to be a more effective or a `great' teacher."

(From a Dean of Engineering)"Your previous visits were extremely productive. The number of faculty members engaged in collaborative learning activities keeps increasing [and] our faculty members are also increasingly engaged in a number of novel educational projects. The level of awareness, enthusiasm and commitment to learning is very gratifying and owes much to your workshops."
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For information about scheduling and fees, contact Richard Felder at
rmfelder@mindspring.com.
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