3-Part Series: Reflection, Retooling, and Renewal: Strengthening your ability to be a more effective graduate student mentor

3-Part Series: Reflection, Retooling, and Renewal: Strengthening your ability to be a more effective graduate student mentor

Facilitated by Dr. Tera R. Jordan, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

All graduate faculty and other key stakeholders in graduate education are encouraged to participate in this three-part workshop series. While participants should attend all three sessions, workshop participants may participate in each webinar as their schedules permit. We welcome you to invite faculty colleagues who may benefit from this workshop series.

Essential Resource

Read Jordan’s Teaching Tip:  Mentoring Graduate Student Scholars page

Tera Jordan

Workshop 1: Reflecting on One’s Mentoring Experiences

Occurred on Friday, September 11 (1:30-3 p.m.)

How have you your past mentoring experiences shaped your present mentoring philosophy and practices? In this session, participants will travel down memory lane together and set goals for improving mentoring approaches. Learning objectives will include:

  • Reflecting on your educational journey to discover factors that have contributed to your present mentoring expectations and practices.
  • Exploring mentoring cultures across departments, colleges, and the institution
  • Conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis relative to your mentoring approaches and setting workshop series goal

Workshop 2: Sharing Mentoring Philosophies: A panel discussion with Margaret Ellen White award winners and Graduate College leaders

Occurred on Friday, September 18 (1:30-3 p.m.)

What similarities and differences arise in the mentoring philosophies and approaches of the Margaret Ellen White award recipients? Award-winning graduate faculty and Graduate College leaders will share their wisdom and best practices. Learning objectives will include:

  • Reflecting on Workshop 1 learning objectives and key summary points
  • Hearing from award-winning graduate faculty about their mentoring philosophies
  • Crafting/revising your mentoring philosophy


  • Donald Beitz, Distinguished Professor, Animal Science
  • Carolyn Cutrona, Associate Dean of the Graduate College & Professor of Psychology
  • Ann-Marie Fiore, University Professor, Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management
  • William Graves, Dean of the Graduate College & Professor of Horticulture
  • Leslie Hogben, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Development & Professor of Mathematics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Daniel Nettleton, Laurence H. Baker Chair & Distinguished Professor, Biological Statistics
  • Steven Rodermel, Distinguished Professor, Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology
  • Mack Shelley, Chair and University Professor, Political Science

Workshop 3: Alignment, Trust, and Inclusiveness

Occurred on Friday, September 25 (1:30-3 p.m.)

Mentoring goals, mentor-mentee trust, and inclusiveness are interrelated. Participants will learn about approaches for ensuring excellence in graduate mentoring and aligning these goals. Learning objectives will include:

  • Reflecting on Workshop 2 learning objectives and key summary points
  • Discussing key characteristics of effective mentors and mentees
  • Finding ways to cultivate trust, psychological safety, and well-being
  • Exploring opportunities to advance the development of all graduate scholars and engage underrepresented students


Dr. Chris Hanes, Director of Student Counseling Services

Helping students achieve success (Teaching Tip)

This fall semester brings more complications than any semester before. However, many fundamental aspects of teaching at Iowa State University remain the same. Our students bring their dreams and their aspirations with them to Ames. Whether the students know exactly what to study or are still figuring out their focus, it is our opportunity and responsibility to help them succeed.

Provide a roadmap to success

Share with your students why what they are learning is essential. What does it matter for the major and for their future careers? Provide a roadmap for them to succeed using transparent assignments that give students enough information to know how to meet the learning objectives.

Create connections between students, content, and you

Students bring with them the desire to not only learn the material but also to learn more about themselves and others. Students are still forming their identities shaped by their experiences. Provide multiple ways for students to connect, the content, and with you, the instructor. In all modalities, face-to-face, hybrid, and online, there are many ways to encourage connections. Such as synchronous meeting times, the formation of small pods of students, group projects that require the group to work together (but apart) on weighty problems significant to the discipline, and the use of discussion boards. Discover these strategies and more via the Engage Students Online webpage.

Care for our students, and ourselves

The university-wide Syllabus statement clarifies how we can keep each other safe and be sure to use the COVID-19 health and safety requirements statement. The Dean of Students office has extensive resources/services, including helpful scenarios to consider. If you are concerned about a student’s well-being or behavior, contact the Dean of Students Office at 515-294-1020, send an email to studentassistance@iastate.edu, or use the “refer a student” link at the top of the Office of Student Assistance page.

Good luck and best wishes for the fall semester,

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Helping students achieve success (August 12, 2020 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for August 12, 2020 (PDF).

Workshop: Documenting Your Teaching using the DART Matrix (Nov. 3)

In this interactive session, Sara Marcketti, Interim Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Professor, Apparel Merchandising and Design, will lead you through a personalized workshop designed to help you consider where you are on the Dimensions of Activities Related to Teaching (DART) matrix. You will leave this session with a clear understanding of your teaching so far and a path for where you’d like to be. Participants will find this especially useful for documenting teaching for promotion, tenure, and professional development. To view resources for this workshop, visit CELT’s Using the DART Matrix website.

To participate in this Friday, November 3 (12:10 – 1:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall) workshop register through the Learn@ISU website.

What is Immediate Access and is it the right option for my course?

Immediate Access is a course materials affordability initiative that the University Book Store implemented in Fall term of 2014. The bookstore, faculty, and publishers all work together to provide digital course materials to students at a lower price than the standard print versions. Below are questions you should ask yourself to see if the textbook or digital homework platform you are requiring for your course is a good candidate for the Immediate Access Program.

The textbook I require for my course may be too expensive for my students. I like the content but is there a way I make it more affordable?

In the Immediate Access Program, the bookstore and faculty can work together to leverage a discounted price from the publisher because every student enrolled in the course is billed for use of the digital content. The bookstore works with many publishers. Please reach out to the bookstore to find out if the title you are using for your course is eligible for the program.

Are there affordable course materials I can adopt that will help improve the student learning outcomes?

Many of the publisher online homework platforms can be adopted into the Immediate Access Program. Examples of these platforms are Pearson’s MyLabs and McGraw-Hill’s Connect. These platforms have online learning tools to help the student succeed in the class. Some Immediate Access courses do not use a homework platform but instead use just the eBook. For those courses, a third-party platform called RedShelf is used to deliver the eBook. RedShelf eBooks come with built in study aids, such as Flashcards, and also have interactive engagement tools that can help improve learning and retention.

How can I make sure every student enrolled in my course will get access to the required course materials on the first day of class?

Students access the required course material through their Canvas course. Instructors wishing to use Immediate Access must create their Canvas course and enroll their students at a minimum of two weeks prior to the start of class. However, you don’t have to publish the course until a day or two before class. For more information about setting your course up with Redshelf use the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU’s Redshelf web guide.

What if my students don’t want to participate in the Immediate Access Program?

Students have through the first 10 days of class to opt out of the program and receive a refund. If they opt out, they must find another way to acquire the required textbook or online homework access. The bookstore only sees a 1 to 2% opt out rate each semester. This extremely low opt out rate is a result of the faculty, publisher, and bookstore working together to lower the price to the student.

How can I make sure the digital content I use for the course will be accessible to all students?

Accessibility is a very important component of Immediate Access. The bookstore works with the publishers, the RedShelf platform, and Student Accessibility Services to ensure that students with accessibility needs have access the digital content. For most courses the bookstore also offers an optional printed loose-leaf for students who would like a printed version of the eBook.

More information or Questions?

Visit CELT’s Immediate Access webpage, Immediate Access-The Iowa State Digital Content Solution or email immediateacess@iastate.edu

Service-Learning Teaching and Learning Community

This topic-based teaching and learning community meets on the following Wednesdays from 11:30-1 p.m. in 2030 Morrill Hall

Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 20, and Dec. 11

Are you interested in developing, or enhancing, a service-learning component within your course? You are invited to join this dynamic, interdisciplinary group as we share ideas and best practices of integrating service-learning into the curriculum. These interactive sessions will include topical discussions, readings, and sharing of best practices.

Learning more via CELT’s Service-Learning webpage.

New CELT faculty fellows aim to grow impact (Inside Iowa State)

Clark Coffman and Rob Whitehead may have different responsibilities as the newest faculty fellows at the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), but they both are trying to make connections that will benefit individuals and the community.

Coffman, an associate professor in genetics, development and cell biology, is CELT’s graduate student and postdoctoral professional development faculty fellow, and Whitehead, an associate professor in architecture, is the high-impact practices fellow. The half-time appointments began this summer and last three and two years, respectively.

Leading initiatives

Whitehead’s role centers around three initiatives — service-learning, project-based learning and open educational resources.

Service-learning curriculum incorporates community service into course instruction — for example, a city park clean up that leads to better waste disposal and recycling through data collection.

Rob Whitehead


“Service-learning happens across all of the colleges in many different ways, but currently there is no common way to designate what courses are service-learning courses,” Whitehead said. “One of my responsibilities is to get a group of people together who are doing service learning around campus and try to have us teach and learn from each other.”

Whitehead wants to determine best practices and offer advice to instructors who want to modify or develop a service-learning course. Service-learning teaching and learning communities are underway, meeting once a month. Megan Myers, an assistant professor in world languages and cultures and Iowa Campus Compact engaged scholar research fellow, is helping lead the group.

“This is meant to engage the faculty, and then the faculty deliver the courses in a way that is effective for students,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead also is coordinating project-based learning, focused on different ways courses or activities can be taught.

“It is essentially the idea of brainstorming, testing and implementing,” he said. “This happens all over in architecture, engineering, ag and business. It often happens in capstone classes all around campus, but before this fellowship, there was no common practice.”

Whitehead believes project-based learning will create even more interdisciplinary interaction. The first workshops are being designed for the spring semester. Ideally, this would dovetail with work that will happen at the Student Innovation Center, opening in January.

In addition, Whitehead will serve as CELT’s lead on open educational resources, which includes the Miller Open Education Mini-Grants.

Preparing future faculty

Coffman directs CELT’s four-course preparing future faculty program designed for graduate and postdoctoral students pursuing faculty careers. Participants are aided throughout the process by self-chosen faculty mentors who are not their thesis advisers.

“Since we are a university-wide program we can’t really focus on individual disciplines,” said Coffman, who took over the 18-year-old program from a professor of veterinary pathology Holly Bender. “We provide the large-picture view, and the faculty mentor provides the discipline-specific information.”

Clark Coffman


The first semester-long course covers the expectations of what faculty encounter at different institutions, from community colleges to top research universities. Participants create and polish cover letters, research statements, and vitae.

“We have faculty panels come in from a whole spectrum of institutions and talk about what faculty life is like, what the promotion and tenure process is like and how to put together an application,” Coffman said. “We tell the students this course really is about finding your fit.”

The next course continues work on job materials, such as diversity statements, but shifts focus to pedagogy. The third class provides teaching experience — greater than a teaching assistant — that could include teaching a section of a mentor’s course. The final class is an independent study that can range from preparing research grants to portfolio development. The program could be completed in a semester and a half as some courses can be taken simultaneously.

Participants who complete the first two courses earn the designation of a preparing future faculty associate. Those who complete three courses are fellows, while finishing all four earns them the label of scholar. The levels of distinction can be beneficial when trying to land a first job.

“Being part of this program sets you apart, especially having this level of teaching experience in the classroom,” Coffman said.

Seventy students enrolled in the first course this fall. Coffman is assisted by CELT program coordinator Karen Bovenmyer, who has helped guide 961 students through the program since its inception in 2002.

Coffman and Bovenmyer also work closely with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning on campus, a national program focused on effective teaching practices in higher education.

He also collaborates with the School of Education’s graduate student teaching certificate program aimed at graduate students looking to become professors.

“It is like preparing future faculty plus,” Coffman said.

Re-posted from Inside Iowa State’s New CELT faculty fellows aim to grow impact (November 21, 2019) web edition

Preparing to Teach a Condensed-Format Course

As an instructor looking to condense a course to this new format, shorter courses bring a new challenge: determining the appropriate balance of efficiency and rigor in the higher learning experience. High-quality condensed-format courses allow the instructor to focus more on the outcomes of academic rigor and efficiency. Faculty must take time to intentionally plan thoughtful engagements, while balancing the workload for students, and themselves, in a way that supports student success.

These resources will help you create a plan for condensed courses, regardless of length.

Finding one more way to encourage academic integrity (Teaching Tip)

Exams are a wonderful way for students to assess their learning and instructors to note progress. But how do we help encourage academic integrity within the testing environment? In addition to including an academic integrity statement on your syllabus, consider one of the following:

  • Before exam time, discuss with students how integrity, honesty, and responsible behavior are directly related to your field of study and the professional world beyond academia.
  • Attend the Panel, Exploring the benefits and shortcomings of TurnItIn, Feb. 12 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.); information about this special ISU Online Learning Community event is below.
  • Provide a sample exam question in the way of a no- or low-stakes formative assessment. This step provides students with experience in the format of the exam, as well as the content. The results can provide invaluable information on student preparedness.
  • Consider the benefits of open-book exams. Rather than, or in addition to, asking fact-based questions, open-book exams often work towards higher-order thinking.
  • Place an academic integrity statement prominently at the beginning of the assessment to emphasize responsible behavior.
  • Remind students of the Academic Success Center (ASC) programs, including academic coaching, Supplemental Instruction, Tutoring Services, and a wealth of resources related to studying skills, time management, and note-taking. Share a story of a past students’ success after engaging with the ASC.

With a joy for teaching,

Sara Marcketti, Director

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Finding one more way to encourage academic integrity (February 11, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for February 11, 2021 (PDF).

Winter Health and Wellness (Teaching Tip)

Iowa State campanile in the early stages of winter. The clock tower is feature with some trees and a light dusting of snow.

The first day of Winter is quickly approaching. As we wrap up the Fall 2021 semester and prepare to enter the Winter season, we want to remind you of the resources available to support you and your students.

  • ISU WellBeing: ISU WellBeing provides resources to help faculty and staff with a range of topics. They include mental health resources available to employees, financial well-being, and mindfulness. If you will be on campus or in the area, consider doing the Strolls for Well-Being at ISU. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Winter Strolls for Well-Being at ISU which will feature online and in-person options.
  • Student Wellness: Student Wellness supports the holistic health, wellbeing, and safety of students on campus. They provide various programs and services, including information about the Campus Food Pantry, a wellbeing assessment tool, and a myriad of other topics.
  • Student Counseling Services: Student Counseling Services offers clinical and campus-based services to help students achieve goals. As we navigate the pandemic, we have witnessed mental health needs for the entire campus community, and supporting students’ mental health is another way to support their wellbeing.
  • Campus Resources to Support Students (general): An extensive list of resources available to students and different ways of supporting your students can be found on the CELT website.

We wish you all a restful break and look forward to reconnecting for Spring 2022. Best wishes for the remainder of the Fall semester.

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Resources for Success (December 16, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print Version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for December 16, 2021 (PDF).

Important Semester Reminders

End of Semester

Grades are due by 2:15 p.m. on December 21.

Review the End of Semester Checklist and the Course Conclusion in Canvas webpage for helpful guides to wrap up your semester.

CELT will be closed the week of December 27-December 31. We will reopen January 3 with hours of 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Normal business hours resume Tuesday, January 18.

Start of Semester

Winter term runs from December 20-January 14. Grades will be due January 19 by 2:15 p.m.

Spring semester will begin Tuesday, January 18.

Review the Start of Semester Checklist for resources to help you begin your Spring course setup.

Third online course receives Quality Matters certification (Inside Iowa State)

Jennifer Shane, associate professor in civil, construction and environmental Engineering, and a program director at the Center for Transportation Research and Education, is the most recent ISU faculty member to successfully complete a Quality Matters certified course review, for CE 501 (Preconstruction Project Engineering and Management). QM certification is a national quality assurance process in which a faculty member must meet at least 85 percent of eight general standards for online course design. Shane joins Jeanna Nation, human development and family studies (Personal and Family Finance), 2016; and Gayle Brown, Center for Food Security (Case Studies: Emerging and Exotic), 2015; who also have certified courses. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching provides staff support for the QM process.

Re-posted from Inside Iowa State’s March 13, 2019 Announcement webpage