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2014 CTE Summer Institute on Teaching & Learning

May 12th - May 16th


Reflecting on our teaching practice and making informed decisions about how we can improve our students’ learning is difficult, time consuming, and at times, an emotionally challenging endeavor. Faculty members rarely have the time or resources necessary to guide them through this process. The CTE Summer Institute on Teaching and Learning is designed to provide faculty with a unique professional development opportunity that will help them overcome these challenges. Participants spend a week with colleagues, the CTE staff, and a variety of teaching and learning resources—all of which are intended to guide, inform and inspire our own professional development as university faculty.

Although participants may come for a variety of reasons, we have found that all participants share a common goal: we all want to be more effective teachers and improve our students’ learning. In addition, we all want to enjoy our work and gain fulfillment from our efforts. With this in mind, The CTE Summer Institute endeavors to foster an environment where faculty can:  

  • Engage in critical reflection regarding their teaching practice
  • Engage in both formal and informal Interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Learn more about the art and science of teaching and learning
  • Examine new ideas, dust off old ideas, and explore their relative efficacy in helping you to improve your students’ learning

The Institute’s format consists of a variety of sessions that involve compelling interactive presentations, thoughtful conversations, and meaningful small group work. The week begins with sessions that are designed to introduce faculty to two critically important bodies of knowledge -- the science of how people learn, and high-impact educational practices. These two areas will serve as the foundation for the rest of the institute. Subsequent sessions rely on this foundational knowledge to explore issues related to course design and delivery, lesson planning, teaching methods and assessment techniques. Each session includes faculty tips, best practices, and reference information from key research studies on teaching and learning.

Many of the faculty members who participate in the Institute emerge with a more comprehensive understanding of the teaching and learning process, as well as a broader repertoire of practices that are most effective for engaging and motivating students, as well as facilitating and assessing their learning.

We continue to be impressed with the level of commitment, passion and knowledge that VCU faculty members bring with them to our Summer Institutes. We attribute much of the success of our institutes to the character of our faculty and their willingness to share with, and learn from each other. The CTE staff always learns a great deal from the experience as well. Please see the comments from participants who’ve attended previous institute below.

Applications can be mailed, emailed or faxed to the CTE. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, May 11th by 4pm. Faculty who register will be expected to attend the entire institute. Faculty who complete the institute will be encouraged to submit a proposal for a CTE teaching and learning grant that is intended to support the development, implementation and assessment of a teaching project that explores the effectiveness of a new course design, teaching method, or activity. 

Comments from Last Years' Participants (2012)

The range of material and the wealth of new ideas and strategies I was exposed to was fantastic -- it will certainly be a great benefit to my teaching...I found the institute very helpful and enjoyable.

I am excited to incorporate various things learned in the institute into my teaching, ranging from improved syllabus design, to including formative assessment assignments, to using learning-centered strategies to increase student engagement such as T-P-S and misconception exercises.

YOU GUYS ARE GEMS! So glad to find CTE and hope to attend classes in the future for further enrichment

Comments from 2011 Participants

The manner in which the institute was conducted reinforced the skills that were being presented. It was extremely helpful, thought provoking and has inspired me to incorporate some different teaching methods to achieve my teaching goals.

I got so much more than I expected and I expected a lot. I am sure that I will continue to make use of your services. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

It was extremely helpful. I am certain the CTE Summer Institute information will be used time and time again.

I liked that the seminars were very interactive and that the presenter made an effort to incorporate all our suggestions. Also, really enjoyed the group discussions, which generated a lot of interesing ideas.

It was good to hear and learn from experiential situations that others shared in the classroom. I am eager to see how my new techniques will enhance student learning.

Comments from 2010 Participants

Participating in this Institute was an great experience. I recommend it to all teachers, seasoned or novice, even if they currently employ the methods and means discussed in this institute in their teaching practices.

It is an exhilarating experience.

I cannot say how much I enjoyed the Institute! You all did a great job. The institute has invigorated my enthusiasm for learning and for improving my teaching skills for the benefit of the students. Job well done.
Thank you.

Wonderful program and the staff are all outstanding academic teachers. This was the best spent week of learning I have had in a long time. Bravo!

I am refreshed, renewed and ready to move into the work on my courses. Thanks!

Thanks for the great Institute, folks. You have inspired me to reflect on and develop my teaching practice.

Comments from 2009 Participants

thank you all for this fantastic learning experience. I look forward to using the techniques and best practices modeled in the CTE sessions in my fall classes! Best Regards to you all!

I wish I could take this course to University of Sao Paulo in Brazil where I work.

The discussions were deep and interesting ... I applaud the CTE for providing the vision and opportunities to improve learning and teaching at an institution where teaching is not always paramount.

My experience in the 2009 CTE Summer Institute on Teaching and Learning was absolutely wonderful and rewarding! I enjoyed every second there.

I really enjoyed being part of such a rich learning environment.

It was awesome!

Comments from 2008 participants

I thoroughly enjoyed the CTE Summer Institute. As a new assistant professor, I now have a list of new strategies for teaching both my graduate and undergraduate courses. Thank you very much for your time and your dedication to teaching excellence. I cannot express to you enough how fortunate we are to have the CTE.

I appreciated the opportunity to review current standards of best teaching practices. CTE staff was strong facilitators and role models. The opportunity to interact with colleagues was phenomenal. The small group work was intensive, and provided opportunity for application, shared learning, as well as reflection.

Thanks to the masterful teaching and facilitation provided by CTE, and the ability to share ideas and process new information with my colleagues across disciplines, I have grown as an educator and have a toolbox full of strategies to employ in my future courses. It was a fantastic institute, and I will encourage others to attend!

Very helpful and energizing. The pace was just right to convey the maximum amount of information without overwhelming us. I have already begun to incorporate the material I learned at the Institute in my course, and I am working on new ideas for implementing in fall sessions

Comments from 2007 Participants

"The 2007 CTE Summer Institute was organized and very helpful. It motivated me to carefully examine my current syllabi and to begin making adjustments in the parts of the syllabi which require student engagement especially."

"It did more than meet my "needs". I am pretty much overwhelmed with how meaningful this will be for my teaching in the higher education arena. I am so thankful for this week. I love that this does not feel like the end of another staff development, but the beginning of systematic change."

"What a remarkable and committed group of colleagues! It was so rewarding to hear the perspectives of colleagues who share my vision and understanding of the challenges and joys of teaching and learning."

"The interaction among faculty participants and Center presenters/staff was first rate. It was a week-long taste of what learning can be at its best - in a community of motivated, enthusiastic, courageous, bright educators - who are open to new ideas and willing to take risks to grow and stretch and evolve. I can't say enough good things about the experience - phenomenal! Thank you for making it possible!"

"Of all the workshops that I have attended at CTE, I would say that is was one of the most valuable--resources presented, research, and specific teaching strategies. Timing was also great, since the summer will give me time to process the information, and to integrate the ideas to the syllabus. Thanks so much!"

"This institute has been a great learning experience. I was impressed and inspired by the different individuals that created the discussion (both CTE staff and participants). I was able to add tools to my half-full tool box and start to modify some of my mental models. I believe my students will benefit from my learning experience, which is the general purpose for participating in this institute. Thank you all for being exceptional role models."


Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: February 4, 2014
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