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 participants in engineering and the physical, mathematical, and biological sciences, although they can be modified for campus-wide audiences if required.


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Effective College Teaching -- 1.5 days (2 days in countries where English is not the native language). Basic workshop for faculty members and/or graduate students, with optional supplementary half-day workshops on cooperative learning and course planning.

Active and Cooperative Learning -- 1 day. Workshop for faculty members and/or graduate students.

Active and Inquiry-Based Learning -- 1 day. Workshop for faculty members and/or graduate students.

Learning Styles -- 1/2 day. Workshop for faculty members and/or graduate students.

Outcomes-Based Education -- 1 day standalone, 1/2 day as a supplement to the effective teaching workshop. Workshop for faculty members and administrators.

Getting Your Academic Career off to a Good Start -- 1 day. Workshop for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students contemplating academic careers.

Helping New Faculty Members Get Off to a Good Start -- 1/2 day. Workshop for college administrators, department heads, and senior faculty members.

How to Evaluate Teaching -- 1/2 day. Workshop for faculty members and administrators.

Designing and Presenting Effective Teaching Workshops to Engineering and Science Faculties -- 1/2 day. Workshop for faculty development personnel and teaching leaders.

Locations of past and scheduled teaching workshops.

Participant evaluations of teaching workshops.


Effective College Teaching (1.5 days) with optional supplementary
half-days on cooperative learning and course planning

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 problem-solving, communication, and lifelong learning skills, lecture effectively, 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, and 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.

For Whom Intended

Workshops may be tailored specifically for professors and/or graduate students in the physical and mathematical sciences, engineering, and engineering technology, or they may be designed to address campus-wide audiences from all disciplines.

Topics Addressed

Two half-day supplementary workshops can be scheduled as add-ons to the basic effective teaching workshop.

Cooperative Learning Workshop (optional half-day).

This workshop can be offered on a stand-alone basis, but it is more effective (and more economical) when given as an add-on to the basic 1.5-day teaching workshop.

Course Planning Workshop (optional half-day).

Participants develop learning objectives and detailed plans for the first several weeks of a course they plan to teach, working collaboratively with colleagues interested in the same course. They are guided in incorporating a number of the teaching and assessment strategies presented in the basic effective teaching workshop, and so this workshop is only suitable for faculty members who have previously taken the basic one. The procedures learned and practiced in this workshop can easily be extended to plan the rest of the course.

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

Click here to see a summary of participant evaluations of teaching workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
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Active and Cooperative Learning (1 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. Cooperative learning 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. Both cognitive science and empirical classroom research have repeatedly demonstrated that when properly implemented, these techniques 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 (a) guidance and practice in methods of active and cooperative learning; (b) a summary of the research that confirms the effectiveness of these methods; and (c) information about possible pitfalls associated with the methods (including student resistance to them) and strategies for overcoming them.

For Whom Intended

Workshops may be tailored specifically for professors and/or graduate students in the physical and mathematical sciences, engineering, and engineering technology, 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.

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


Active and Inquiry-Based Learning (1 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. Inquiry-based learning is an inductive teaching method that begins with a challenge--a question to be answered, a problem to be solved, or a set of data or observations to be explained--and guides the students in the discovery of the knowledge and methods and acquisition of the skills needed to meet the challenge. Both cognitive science and empirical classroom research have repeatedly demonstrated that when properly implemented, these techniques 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 (a) guidance and practice in methods of active and inquiry-based learning; (b) a summary of the research that confirms the effectiveness of these methods; and (c) information about possible pitfalls associated with the methods (including student resistance to them) and strategies for overcoming them.

For Whom Intended

Faculty members and/or graduate students in engineering and the sciences.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
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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 interactive workshop defines different student learning styles (characteristic ways of taking in and processing information and responding to different types of instruction), explores the consequences of common mismatches between learning and teaching styles, describes how learning styles should be taken into account when designing instruction (and points out why it is not tailoring instruction to match the learning style preferences of the students), and offers ideas for reaching students with a wider variety of learning styles than are reached with traditional teaching methods.

For Whom Intended

The workshop may be tailored specifically for faculty members and/or graduate students in the physical and mathematical sciences, engineering, and engineering technology, or it may be designed for campus-wide audiences from all disciplines.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


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), Europe (the Bologna Accord), and nations elsewhere in the world that are signatories of the Washington Accord, engineering programs seeking accreditation must equip their graduates with certain attributes such as Outcomes 3a-3k of the ABET Engineering Criteria. Some of the attributes are straightforward but others (e.g., understanding of professional and ethical responsibility and ability to engage in lifelong learning) 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 the participants 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 other OBE-based evaluation systems in engineering and other disciplines.

For Whom Intended

University administrators and faculty members.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


Getting Your Academic Career 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.

For Whom Intended

The workshop may be tailored specifically for postdoctoral and graduate students in the physical and mathematical sciences, engineering, and engineering technology who are considering academic careers, or it may be designed to address audiences from all disciplines.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


Helping New Faculty Members Get Off to a Good Start (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 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 administrators and senior faculty members develop effective support programs for their new faculty, increasing the likelihood that they will become quick starters.

For Whom Intended

College administrators, department heads, and experienced professors who might be in a position of mentoring new faculty colleagues.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


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 present methods that have been proved effective and to equip participants to design an evaluation process that meets the needs of their department.

For Whom Intended

Faculty members and administrators.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.


Designing and Presenting Effective Teaching Workshops to Engineering and Science Faculties (1/2 day)

Although faculty members as a class are not particularly receptive to instructional development programs, the resistance is often particularly intense in quantitative disciplines such as the physical and mathematical sciences, engineering, and engineering technology. This workshop is intended to help faculty developers and teaching leaders plan and present effective teaching seminars and workshops for instructors in these fields.

Topics Addressed

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

Click here to see a list of campuses that have hosted workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
Click here to return to menu.



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 Delaware
  113. University of Florida
  114. University of Freiburg (Germany)
  115. University of Illinois
  116. University of Kansas
  117. University of Karlsruhe (Germany)
  118. University of Konstanz (Germany)
  119. University of Limerick (Ireland)
  120. University of Maine
  121. University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  122. University of Melbourne (Australia)
  123. University of Massachusetts
  124. University of Michigan
  125. University of Minnesota
  126. University of Mississippi
  127. University of Nevada at Las Vegas
  128. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  129. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  130. University of Notre Dame
  131. University of Oklahoma
  132. University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  133. University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
  134. University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)
  135. University of Rochester
  136. University of San Francisco
  137. University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines)
  138. University of South Carolina
  139. University of South Florida
  140. University of Stuttgart (Germany)
  141. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  142. University of Texas at Arlington
  143. University of the Natal (Durban, South Africa)
  144. University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  145. University of Tulsa
  146. University of Utah
  147. University of Washington
  148. University of West Florida
  149. Vanderbilt University
  150. Villanova University
  151. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  152. Wake Technical Community College (Raleigh, NC)
  153. Walters State Community College (Morristown, TN)
  154. Washington State University
  155. Wayne State University
  156. West Virginia University
  157. Wichita State University
  158. Wingate University (Wingate, NC)
  159. Winona State University
  160. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  161. 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 5144 participants responding. The results show that our workshops are practical and active enough to overcome this skepticism in almost everyone who participates.

    Excellent -- 4187 (81%)
    Good -- 920 (18%)
    Average -- 35 (<1%)
    Fair -- 2
    Poor -- 0
    The presenters received "Excellent" ratings from 4566 (88%) of the participants, "Good" from 557 (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."

    Click here to see a list of locations of past and scheduled workshops given by Drs. Felder and Brent.
    Click here to return to menu.


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

    Return to Dr. Felder's home page