Seeking Applicants for the Preparing Future Faculty Program (PFF)

The PFF program supplements departmental graduate preparation by offering new teaching, mentoring, and learning possibilities, which give postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, and master’s students further credentialing for a competitive academic job market. PFF’s goal is to better prepare graduates for faculty careers through a combination of seminars, mentoring, and practical classroom and departmental service experiences. There are a few remaining open slots for the 2017-2018 academic year—interested graduate students and postdocs should submit applications by April 15. To learn more and apply visit CELT’s How to Apply and Information for New / Continuing PFF Participants website.

Reminder: The SoTL Scholars Program Proposals are due on March 27

This yearlong program provides a framework and mentorship to help a faculty member complete a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research project. Sara Marcketti, CELT Associate Director for SoTL leads this program and guides participants through a series of activities all aimed toward a completed and publishable SoTL project. Deadline to apply is March 27, 2017. For additional information and the form visit CELT’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Scholars Program website.

View Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoTL) Overview YouTube Video

POSTPONED: Advance Workshops: Diversity & Inclusion Training presented by Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE) (Mar. 27)

About ISU Advance

ISU ADVANCE has become Iowa State’s most prominent vehicle to recruit, retain, and advance women and people of color in faculty positions. We are known for a well-managed network, innovative research, and an integrated approach to change at all levels of the university. We work within departments using a collaborative transformation approach to improve the work environment for all faculty members. Our program identifies cultures, practices, and structures that enhance or hinder the careers of ISU faculty, and works with faculty and administrators to transform university policies, practices, and academic culture in pursuit of a diverse and vibrant faculty in all academic disciplines. For more information, contact or visit the ISU Advance website.

The First 5 Minutes of Class

The calendar shows we are more than half way to May and most of us are comfortably into the rhythm of another semester. With that in mind, it might be time to mix it up a bit and help students re-focus their efforts in your course as they prepare for the last push to finals week.

I recently came across an article titled Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class. In it the author suggests incorporating four simple actions at the beginning of class to help focus student attention. It helps set the stage for what will be taught that day and pulls them away from the plethora of distractions many walk into class with each day. The ideas are simple, straightforward, and easy to implement:

  • Open with a question or two related to the course material for that day. This helps frame what will be taught that day and can also help them understand the relevance and relationships of course content.
  • Ask students to summarize “What did we learn last time?” Having students summarize rather than the faculty member summarizing for them, helps students reengage with the course material.
  • Have students describe or consider what they have learned in previous courses, inside or outside of the discipline, so they make connections to what they already know as it relates to the course material at hand.
  • Have students write down answers to the questions you posed about the day’s topic, their summary of what they learned last time, and or connections to their prior knowledge. Writing their responses helps formalize the connections and gives them something tangible to refer back to after the class session ends.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great Spring Break!

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Update on the Learning Management System (LMS) Review

On March 2, 2017, the Iowa State Daily published a story entitled, “Seeking more reliability, Iowa State breaks up with Blackboard.” The story reported on the Learning Management System (LMS) review update presented to the Government of the Student Body by Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director, CELT. The original published article had multiple errors in it. Upon notification of these errors, the Daily staff quickly corrected the online article and re-titled it, “Seeking more reliability, Iowa State explores new LMS options.” In addition, the Daily staff will be providing an update to the March 3rd printed edition.

It is important for the campus community to know the following:

  • The current LMS license with Blackboard Learn ends December 2017. ISU has extended the license to accommodate the LMS transition until June 2018. All spring 2018 courses will be taught in the new LMS.

    This is stated on the LMS Review website.

  • Iowa State has not selected a new LMS.

    ISU’s Procurement Services: Request for Proposal (RFP) process provides concrete ways for Iowa State University to explore and evaluate multiple LMS options. To learn about Iowa State University’s process and access the LMS RFP visit ISU’s Procurement Services: Current Bid Solicitation.

  • The five phases of the LMS review process and timeline (organization, evaluation process, demonstration, migrations and implementation, and ongoing operations) are outlined on the LMS Review Process and Timeline website.

If you have any questions about the LMS review process contact LMS Review Co-Leads via email or contact Dr. Ann Marie VanDerZanden (, Director Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), or Mike Lohrbach (, Director IT Services Systems & Operations, Information Technology (IT).

If you have questions about the LMS RFP contact Eric Johnson ( or call 515-294-4701.

Call for Proposals: Annual Statewide Teaching and Learning Conference

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Best Practices in Fostering Student Engagement

July 10-11, 2017 (Monday & Tuesday)
DMACC Ankeny Campus, FFA Enrichment Center
2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, Iowa

Conference Mission Statement:

This conference aims to improve educational practices of Iowa teaching faculty in higher education institutions by sharing and advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Conference goals:

  • Provide a central location for advancing knowledge in teaching and learning by sharing resources and engaging in scholarship activities related to teaching and learning.
  • Dialogue and network with Iowa colleges in order to advance the scholarship and practice of teaching and learning in higher education.

​Conference Fee

  • DMACC faculty/concurrent -free
  • Regular attendee $75 both days (3 meals)
  • Presenter: free
  • Adjunct attendee and/or graduate student: $65 both days (3 meals)
  • Registration Information (Registration is not yet open)

For additional information visit the Annual Statewide Teaching and Learning Conference and DMACC Summer Institute website

Proposal Submission Guidelines​​

Proposal Categories:

  • Best Practices in Assessment of teaching and learning
  • Best Practices in Academic administration and/or adjunct perspectives
  • Best Practices in Classroom activities or projects that work for various learning styles
  • Best Practices in in Classroom activities or projects that work for vocational programs
  • Best Practices in Flipped classrooms and team based learning
  • Best Practices in Online teaching and learning
  • Best Practices in Research of teaching and learning
  • Best Practices in Service learning and project based learning

Proposal Types:

  • Practice session and/or panel discussion: Sharing and discussing best practices in higher education teaching and learning, while allowing for interaction with and among session participants.
  • Research session: Designed to inform participants of the design, implementation, and results of empirical research focused on teaching and learning in higher education.​
  • Poster session: Allow for the discussion of scholarly research and/or practice addressing higher education pedagogy with conference participants.
  • Conversational session: Designed to inform participants of the various topics on teaching and learning in higher education and open up the discussion for the audience.

Proposal Submission:

To submit your proposal use the Submit Proposal web form.

Proposal Submission Deadline:

March 20, 2017

Contact Person:

Please contact Dr. Anna Conway,
Director of Teaching & Learning

Still time to register for the 17th Annual ISCORE

Conference Registration

Friday, March 3, 2017
8 AM-5 PM
Memorial Union

Conference sessions >>
Conference morning address and keynote >>

The Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE) is the university’s local initiative designed to provide an ongoing platform of sharing and applying new knowledge through presentations and workshops. The conference support the university’s Mission to “create, share, and apply knowledge… and make Iowa and the world a better place.”

This comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity is free and open to the Iowa State University community (students, faculty and staff).

Pre-Conference Professional Development Registration

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
11:45 AM- 5 PM
Memorial Union

Pre-conference program and sessions >>
Pre-conference keynote at 3:10 p.m. >>

The Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE) offers a professional development opportunity for all faculty, professional and merit staff. These sessions provide a structured environment to enhance your understanding and sensitivity to cultural differences. Many of the sessions will focus on providing tools to improve employee interactions and create inclusive workspaces.

Please note: that the pre-conference is open to faculty and staff only. If you are a student and would like to register for ISCORE, please visit the ISCORE full conference registration page.

Call for Proposals: 2017 Big 12 Teaching and Learning Conference

The Texas Tech University Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Big 12 Teaching and Learning Conference on Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, 2017. All conference sessions will be held at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Times will be assigned and announced at a later date.

The theme for this year’s conference is Engaging Students in the Learning Process. Submissions are invited for poster presentations or 50-minute workshops that address a broad interdisciplinary audience. All proposals should include an abstract, session description, and an explanation of how the proposed session will relate to a broader audience. Additional details on the proposal requirements are included below. For the 50-minute workshops, interactive sessions with active audience participation are strongly encouraged, and presentations could be led by a faculty member or team of faculty members and graduate part-time instructors. Cross-disciplinary presentation teams are encouraged. For poster presentations, consider how to best present your research, program or work-in-progress related to teaching and learning. Poster presentations may be given by graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Questions you might consider when planning your session might include the following:

  • How do we foster deep learning in our students?
  • What are ways in which you encourage your students to engage in the learning process, both inside and outside
    the classroom?
  • How might high impact teaching and learning practices support efforts to engage students in the learning process?
  • What different forms might student engagement take in the classroom?
  • With the abundance of information available, how do we help students think critically about what they read and hear?
  • How can we best meet the needs of today’s college students while fostering engagement and self-directed learning?
  • What can instructors do to keep themselves energized and engaged in the teaching process?

Other topics related to issues of teaching and learning, geared towards a broad disciplinary audience, are also welcome and encouraged.

Interested in learning more about the process? Visit the Big 12 Teaching and Learning Conference Call for Proposals website

Proposals may be submitted online and will be due by Wednesday, March 1st. For more information about the call for proposals or for general questions related to this conference, please visit our conference website or contact Micah Logan at 806-834-0093.

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Creating an Inclusive Classroom

Diversity. Inclusion. These two terms have come to the forefront in many conversations over the past twelve months, including many conversations related to higher education. As a faculty member and teacher I’ve contemplated what these terms might mean relative to my work.

  • Diversity defined: Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) (American Association of Colleges & Universities).
  • Inclusion defined: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity–in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect–in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (American Association of Colleges & Universities).

The reality is that classrooms in higher education across the US are more diverse today than ever before. With this diversity of students comes the need to ensure that the learning environments we create are inclusive and designed to support all students. It means I need to understand my personal assumptions, particularly those related to bias, language, and word choice. I need to be aware, and adjust, to the ‘temperature’ in the classroom. The discipline I teach isn’t controversial, but I’ve heard from a number of our colleagues across campus who have faced difficult or uncomfortable situations in their courses recently. Many have dealt with the situation with grace and professionalism. Some have been at a loss of what to do next. It can be difficult to know what to do, or not do, since there isn’t always a clear direction to go.

To support faculty, CELT has gathered best practices from multiple resources and in some cases distilled them to actionable items on the Creating an Inclusive Classroom website. CELT also facilitates the Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshop and Coffee and Crucial Conversations each month. To find out about the next program visit CELT’s Event and Registration website or download CELT’s Spring 2017 Inclusive Classroom Programming Schedule (PDF).

Another opportunity to learn more about diversity and inclusion is the upcoming Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE) conference. ISCORE is a comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity at Iowa State University and beyond. The ISCORE will be held on March 3, with a half-day professional development conference on March 1.

We hope you find these resources and the ISCORE conference beneficial to your work at ISU and beyond.

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

CELT Teaching Tip: Desirable Difficulties Help Student Learning (February 2, 2017)

Students hold a number of misconceptions about learning. Many believe, for example, that the best way to remember something is to read it over and over again, or that the best way to learn multiple different topics is to study each of them one at a time. When students feel that a certain technique is effective for learning, it is usually because that technique increases immediate familiarity with the material, providing an intuitive sense that it has been learned well. In reality, however, techniques that encourage fast acquisition and familiarity often lead to fast forgetting.

Join CELT for a lively two-part workshop series around the book Make it Stick (registration is now closed for the spring series – CELT will be offering this series again in the near future – if you are interested email CELT). Workshop facilitators Shana and Cindy will review a number of evidence-based techniques that significantly improve students’ learning in their courses. Interestingly, these techniques are often regarded by students as ineffective because they reduce the intuitive feeling of learning and often encourage trial and error and an increased sense of effort invested. The techniques involving these “desirable difficulties” often lead to much greater long-term learning and flexibility of knowledge than the more intuitive (yet less effective) techniques preferred by students.

Part 1 of the series will discuss some of the research behind these learning techniques, why they work, and how they can be implemented in the classroom. Participants will then be invited to try these techniques in their courses and during Part 2 of the series, share their experiences. If you are unable to join this workshop series the book is available for check out at Parks Library or download the eBook via Park Library’s, Make it stick: The science for learning website.

We hope you will be able to join us and learn effective ways to make it stick!

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching