Spring 2024

Thursday, April 11th
Sheila Fisher Professor of English Emerita
Reflections on the Teaching Life: A Conversation

To view the talk, click here

A lot has changed since I taught my first class in September of 1978. And the speed of change has accelerated, of course, since March 2020. To start our conversation about teaching and learning, I’ll be reflecting on some of the ways my teaching has changed in the past 40+ years and why. I’ll also be considering how teaching in carceral settings for over ten years has influenced my teaching here on the Trinity campus. Then, let’s reflect together on our experiences of change in the classroom. How has learning and teaching inevitably shifted for us all, and why? What are our greatest challenges and joys in the classroom?

Thursday, March 28
Prof. Jack Schneider, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
A Conversation about Grades: What Do They Mean, Who Are They For, and What Should We Do About Them?

To view the talk, click here

Join us for a conversation with Prof. Jack Schneider, co-author of Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (But Don’t Have To). Drawing on the book, we will examine the history of grades in the U.S. and how they have come to be used here. We will explore the tension between grades as feedback to students and grades as durable signals to third parties, such as employers and graduate programs. Finally, we will discuss the ways in which individual faculty choices and institutional policies can shape the effects of grades on student learning.

Thursday, February 29
Moderated by Dan Lloyd,Thomas C. Brownell Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus
Panelists Include:
Beth Casserly, Associate Professor of Psychology
Alex Helberg, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
Tim Landry, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies

Using ChatGPT in the Classroom

To view the talk, click here

As part of our ongoing programming around advances in Generative AI, CTL and Digital Learning and Scholarship awarded several faculty premium ChatGPT subscriptions for an experimental pilot program. Faculty used the platform to develop activities, create new assignments, and explore other pedagogical uses for this tool. Join us as our faculty colleagues share their insights and recommendations during a panel discussion about their exploratory experience.



Fall 2023

Thursday, October 12
Jamie Kleinman
PhD. Associate Professor in Residence
UConn-Avery Point

Common Hour (12:15-1:30)
Specifications Grading: Assessing Students Based on Mastery and Process
To view the talk, click here

Prof. Kleinman has been using specifications grading systems in her undergraduate psychology courses for the last seven years and works with instructors learning about alternative grading systems as a Faculty Affiliate with the UConn Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). She will lead a hands-on workshop geared towards faculty with a range of experiences using specifications grading, from those looking to include this grading system in their courses for the first time to more experienced users looking to problem solve and work through obstacles.

September 14
Brainstorming Lunch about AI and ChatGPT
As AI tools like ChatGPT continue to evolve, so too have Trinity faculty experiences with these programs. Please join us for a semi-structured brainstorming lunch that builds upon our spring 2023 ChatGPT workshop. Several colleagues with expertise with ChatGPT will attend this event, and we look forward to discussing the ways these technologies impact our work inside and outside the classroom.

Spring 2023

2022-2023 CTL Fellows Presentations

Common Hour (12:15-1:30 p.m.)
Dangremond Family Commons
Hallden Hall North

April 20: “Assessing Assessment”
Presenters: Beth Casserly, Kyle Evans, Deborah Fixel
Whether students meet our learning goals depends on what we ask them to do and how we, as instructors, or the students themselves, assess their work and learning. We share our CTL projects on assessment which include: building coding skills through a team project and research articles, student self-evaluations on homework problem sets, and the implementation of “ungrading” for a whole course. We also plan to engage attendees in a critical discussion on the value of assessment and our own practices. Click here to view the presentations.

April 25: “Critical Conversations and Inclusive Pedagogy”
Presenters: Jason Doerre, Stefanie Chambers, Kifah Hanna, and Tim Landry
Panelists will examine global and local perspectives relating to pedagogical strategies and approaches for teaching challenging topics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion. Topics include teaching the holocaust and antisemitism; diversity and exclusion in the American wine industry; queer narratives from the Middle East; and the overlaps between queerness and religion. Click here to view the presentations.

April 27: “Sustainable Approaches to Iterative Instructional Design”
Presenters: Kelly Dugan, Alex Helberg, Michael Grubb, and Mike Puljung
This group of fellows will present their approaches to sustainable and iterative instructional design, ranging from summative sequences across semester-long courses to individual projects with specified learning objectives. Each of these projects provides insights on how instructors can design instructional sequences to be efficiently and effectively repeated across multiple semesters, while providing helpful feedback to instructors that can positively influence subsequent iterations of each sequence.
Click here to view the presentations.

Thursday,  March 9
Tania D. Mitchell
Associate Professor of Higher Education
University of Minnesota

Common Hour (12:15-1:30)
Challenging White Supremacy Culture in Community Engaged Learning
To view the talk, click here

Community engagement is often positioned as a practice able to actualize commitments to and aspirations toward social justice. However, it is also recognized as a pedagogy that perpetuates whiteness and white normativity. Dr. Mitchell will speak to the social justice imperative in community engaged teaching and opportunities to interrupt white supremacy culture and enact an anti-oppressive pedagogy.

February 28 (zoom)
Chat About ChatGPT: What’s All the Buzz?
Click here to view the discussion
Given the excitement around ChatGPT and artificial intelligence, CTL and the Digital Learning and Scholarship Group will co-sponsor a workshop/discussion to demonstrate the capabilities of ChatGPT and discuss its problems and potential use in the classroom.

Thursday, February 9th on zoom
Sara E. Brownell
Professor School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University

Common Hour 12:15-1:30 pm
How Active Learning Can Impact Students of Different Identities

Click here to view the discussion 
While active learning has been shown to be more effective than traditional lecturing on average, how active learning is done can lead to unintended impacts on certain groups of students. This workshop will explore how common active learning practices can differentially affect women, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, students with anxiety, and students with depression.

Workshop 4:15-5:15 pm
Faculty Identity in the Science Classroom
Click here to view the workshop
Representation can help students feel that they belong in science, yet many identities are not apparent unless the instructor reveals that identity to students. This workshop will explore the extent to which instructors reveal concealable stigmatized identities to students in the context of science classrooms and their reasons for concealing or revealing the identities. It also will highlight two studies that explore the impact of revealing concealable stigmatized identities on students.

Fall 2022 Events

Thursday, November 3 Common Hour 12:15-1:30 Dangremond, Hallden Hall
GRADING AND UNGRADING: A Panel Discussion on Alternative Grading Methods
Karen Cook, Associate Professor of Music History, University of Hartford
Chris Hager, Professor of English, Trinity College
Jamie Kleinman, Associate Professor In Residence in Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut
Andrea Roberts, Professor of the Practice in Chemistry, Wesleyan University
Faculty on this panel have implemented a variety of grading strategies, including specifications grading and ungrading in their teaching. The impetus for these approaches has been in response to the pandemic and to their developing pedagogical philosophies about grades to motivate authentic student learning.
To View the discussion, Click here


Thursday, October 13 Common Hour,  Zoom 
What’s the Point in Ungraded Classes? Learning, Motivation, and Curiosity
Susan Blum, Professor of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
It often seems as if the point of college is points and grades. But many people have been questioning the centrality of points and grades. This talk will address the reasons why the speaker and other faculty have moved to ungrading their classes, showing how it’s possible to place learning and curiosity at the center of the class.


September 15 Common Hour, Dangremond Family Commons
Reflections on What Comes Next in Times of Uncertainty for Teaching and Learning
Clay Byers, Assistant Professor of Engineering
Elise Castillo, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
Stefanie Chambers, Professor of Political Science
Prakash Younger, Associate Professor of English
The unexpected changes brought by the pandemic the past two years have made it hard to plan for and teach in the classroom. Stress and burnout have negatively affected faculty and student motivation and potentially student learning. Faculty on this panel will share perspectives on the challenges of last year and ideas on how they plan to respond this academic year.

Spring 2022 Events

March 3 Common Hour, Zoom
All This And Covid, Too
Janet Sand, Psychologist, PHD. and Consultant for the Academic Resilience Consortium
The increase in expressed anxiety and depression in adolescents precedes the pandemic, as the 300-student survey from 2021 has shown. Now young people are having to cope with the effects of COVID—isolation, fear of getting ill or making others ill, screens instead of people, and tremendous uncertainty. And so are WE, their teachers. How do we support ourselves as teachers who care about students, while we too suffer from what Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe calls “pandemic fatigue fatigue”? What can teachers offer that can help students’growth without being “in loco parentis” or “in loco therapist”?
Janet Sand, Ph.D. has a long history of working with adolescents in secondary and post-secondary schools and the teachers who serve them. She is previously Chief Psychologist at Harvard University Mental Health Service and faculty of Stanley H. King Counseling Institute.
Click here to view the presentation

March 10 Common Hour, Dangremond Family Commons
Teaching and Learning as the World Unravels
Dan Lloyd, Brownell Professor of Philosophy
The world is changing. Some forces, including ubiquitous digital technology and polarizing politics, have been gathering for decades. And now the pandemic has upended everything else, dislocating the future for us all. As teachers and learners, how should we wrestle with this era? To start this discussion, I’ll identify emerging threats to successful learning and reaffirm our collective need for cognitive empathy. We’ll also consider some concrete classroom strategies tailored to these times.
Click here to view the presentation

Fall 2021 Events

September 30 Common Hour, Zoom
Panel Discussion: Leveraging Design Thinking and Universal Design for Learning to Remove Barriers to Learning
Kirsten Behling, Associate Dean Of Student Accessibility and Academic Resources, Tufts University
Diana Larocco, Dean, School Of Applied Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; Director, Goodwin University Institute for Learning Innovation; Goodwin University
Laura Patey, Dean for Academic Advancement, Wesleyan University
Barriers to learning are the places in your curriculum and instruction where students seem to get stuck. They are characterized by those moments when students are asking the same questions over and over—ones you’ve answered many times before. Barriers to learning can be discovered in those times when you find yourself having to reteach or reexplain essential information again and again. You notice all this and wonder, “What can I do to get students unstuck?” In this panel, you will explore strategies for leveraging design thinking and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to identify barriers to learning and develop manageable solutions that optimize learning for all.

Click here to view the presentation

October 14 Common Hour, Boyer Auditorium
Academic Integrity: Navigating Trinity’s Procedures, Understanding Current Trends, and Cultivating a Culture of Intellectual Honesty
Sarah Bilston, Department of English
Janet Morrison, Department of Chemistry
Many Trinity faculty report a recent rise in instances of academic dishonesty, while institutions across the US report increased violations of their academic honesty policies. How should we as faculty, and Trinity as an institution, respond? What are the policies in place at Trinity? What are student and faculty members’ rights and responsibilities? What are recent case trends on our campus? Former chairpersons of Trinity’s Faculty Jury Pool Sarah Bilston and Janet Morrison will lead this session aimed at helping faculty understand the Trinity procedures for academic honesty violations and what trends we’ve observed in recent years in terms of numbers and types of cases on our campus; the session more generally aims to open a wider dialog about the culture of academic integrity at Trinity. This session will serve as a useful prelude to the upcoming CTL event “A Proactive Approach to Integrity: ConnectingTeaching & Learning” featuring Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant (October 21, 2021).

October 21, Common Hour, Zoom  
A Proactive Approach to Integrity: Connecting Teaching & Learning
Tricia Bertram Gallant,Director, Academic Integrity (Ai) Office, University of California – San Diego
The deficit approach to academic misconduct tells us that students are broken and we have to fix them. The growth mindset suggests that we can all learn from our experiences teaching and learning in a pandemic, and that there might be a new way forward that is healthier and more learning focused. In this talk, Dr. Bertram Gallant will suggest some proactive ways to enhance integrity by focusing on good teaching and learning rather than on stopping cheating.
October 21, 4:15 pm, Zoom
Workshop: Connecting Teaching & Learning:Making Integrity Matter
Participants in this workshop will pick one proactive strategy (discussed in the presentation) that they want to develop so they can apply it in their own future class(es). Participants will share their strategy and ideas with others and also receive input that should help ensure effective implementation.
To view the presentation, click here

November 18 Common Hour, Boyer Auditorium (by RSVP only) and Zoom
Strategies for Supporting Students Coping with Mental Health Diagnoses
Stefanie Chambers, Department Of Political Science
Molly Helt, Departments Of Psychology And Neuroscience
This presentation will discuss specific strategies that faculty can use to support students who are managing mental health diagnoses. These include how to approach students about uneven performance, and how to make sure syllabi are inclusive. Strategies are based on both research in college mental health, as well as feedback collected from over 300 Trinity students as part of a Mellon Inclusive Pedagogy Grant.


Previous events

CTL Fellows Spring Presentations

April 15, Common Hour
“Clarifying Classroom Expectationsin the Age of COVID and Beyond”
The pandemic has upended our classrooms in various ways, and in this panel Trinity faculty present their pedagogical responses to that upending. Three faculty from different disciplines-Blase Provitola (Language & Culture Studies), Clayton Byers (Engineering), and Vince Tomasso (Classical Studies)—this will present their projects in clarifying classroom expectations, which range from refining assessments, balancing workload, and designing coursework adapted to students’ different skill sets. These approaches will continue to inform course design long after COVID.

Click here to view the presentation

April 22 Common Hour
“Decolonizing History & STEM: Creative Uses of Primary Sources in the Liberal Arts Classroom”
What do a historian, archivist, and neuroscientist have in common? They share an interest in teaching with real data and artifacts to facilitate greater student empowerment. In this presentation, CTL Fellows Sally Seraphin (Neuroscience), Cristina Bleyer (Director of Special Collections and Archives, Watkinson Library), and Seth Markle (History and International Studies) reflect on how they will seek to incorporate primary source material stored in physical and digital spaces in their courses “HIST 498/499: Podcasting History: Audio Stories from the Watkinson Library” and “NESC 313: Emotion and Motivation”.

Click here to view the presentation


 The Center for Teaching and Learning  invited Dr. Betsy Barre, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Wake Forest University, and author of “The Workload Dilemma“, to share with Trinity her perspectives on student learning, labor, and loss through this pandemic year.

April 6, Common Hour (1:10 – 2:00) 
Pandemic Lessons on Learning, Labor, and Loss
College students across the country have shared that their academic work feels especially challenging this year. Few faculty, however, set out intentionally to make their courses harder and most reduced their expectations to account for the additional challenges this year would bring. So why are students reporting this phenomenon?  In this Zoom event, she will extend her analysis into larger lessons we might take with us as we move forward into the “new normal.” More specifically, she will help us think through what this moment has taught us about our traditional expectations of students and their capacity to learn in the midst of personal and social loss.  To view the workshop, click here

April 8, Common Hour (1:10 – 2:00)
Pandemic Lessons on Learning, Labor, and Loss: Charting A Path Forward
In this follow-up session, Dr. Betsy Barre will lead a conversation about concrete steps we might take to integrate what we’ve learned into our teaching practices moving forward. She will begin by walking us through participant feedback from Tuesday’s session. What have Trinity faculty heard from students over the last year? How have they made sense of student perceptions? What lessons have they taken away from this experience? From there, she will ask participants to identify what they take to be the most significant lesson and to collectively brainstorm ways they might implement that lesson this fall.
To view the workshop, click here.

Click here to view the resources from Betsy Barre’s workshops


On December 17, 2020, Melissa Eblen-Zayas (Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Carleton College and former director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching) presented a workshop titled Engagement as a Crucial Element of Resilient Course Design.

With continuing uncertainty surrounding COVID, how do we preserve the essence of the residential liberal arts teaching and learning experience while designing our courses to be resilient in the face of changing circumstances and potential disruption? We will explore the possibilities for fostering student engagement and building a learning community through various modes and scales of connections (formal/ informal; synchronous/ asynchronous; whole class/ small group), and engage in a discussion of how to choose a mix of engagement strategies that works for your courses.

To view Melissa Eblen-Zayas’ workshop Click here    To view her slides Click here

On December 3, 2020, A panel discussion took place  featuring Trinity professors Carol Clark (Economics),
Amanda Guzman (Ann Plato), Luis Martinez (Neuroscience), and John Platoff (Music) discussing Pedagogical Lessons Learned Moving into J-Term and Spring.

With a challenging semester drawing to a close, and with many challenges ahead, it is an important time to reflect on the pedagogical lessons learned teaching during the first fall of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Four faculty members briefly will share their experiences teaching in-person, remotely, and in the hybrid format before inviting a broader conversation with the audience.   The conversation aims to pool experiences and elicit suggestions for supporting faculty and students in the months ahead.

To view the discussion click here

On June 25, 2020 Anne Law, Professor of Psychology at Rider University gave a virtual workshop titled Remote, Blended or in the Classroom: Good Teaching is Good Teaching.

Good teaching is the alchemy of passion and technique that can provide opportunities for intellectual transformations.  As teachers, we are responsible to create these opportunities, while learners must attend, engage, and effectively process their experiences. Quite naturally our focus is on the first part of this equation, however, what we as teachers do, and how we do it, will greatly impact the attention, engagement, and processing of our learners.

The Spring of 2020 has come to be known as the great experiment.  Using emergency, remote instruction we attempted to replicate our familiar teaching/learning routines.   The semester ended with teachers and learners exhausted by and with many questions about the experiment.  We don’t want to repeat it, and yet we must acknowledge the uncertainty of what we face in the Fall of 2020.  Our response to this uncertainty must rely on the liberal arts tradition that strives for intellectual growth in spite of challenges and provides students with opportunities for authentic learning even as they adapt to change.  In this workshop, I will address three questions.  How can we harness and apply our intellectual passions to teach in alternate formats?  How can the principles of learning help us better direct student attention, engagement, and cognitive process? What can we expect from technology?

To view Anne Law’s workshop click here

On June 17, 2020 Stefanie Chambers, Professor of Political Science at Trinity College led a workshop titled Student and Faculty Perspectives on the Spring 2020 Pivot to Remote Learning.

In this workshop, Stefanie discusses the results of the spring 2020 COVID 19 faculty and student online teaching surveys.  Special attention will be devoted to pedagogical practices favored by students and faculty, and those that presented specific challenges.  As we prepare for the fall semester, these survey results can help faculty generate ideas about how to structure fall courses based on assessments of students and faculty with firsthand experience with online learning.  Given the diversity in classroom structures in the fall, this workshop will be particularly valuable for those who wish to consider survey results as they develop their courses. 

To view Stefanie Chambers’ workshop click here

On March 5th, 2020 David P. Rivera, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Education & Community Programs at Queens College, City University of New York came to Trinity to discuss the topic: Understanding Implicit Bias & Microaggressions

“Implicit bias” has become a key part of the national dialogue on social justice and the term has been used in reference to several high-profile incidents: a White woman calls the police because she sees a Black man wearing socks at a swimming pool, and other examples—a pregnant interviewee is denied a job offer; a guidance counselor who decides not to recommend a low-income junior for AP History. These are incidents predicated on preconceived ideas grounded in stereotypes. A growing body of research has substantiated that individuals of any background can unconsciously foster negative attitudes and beliefs towards others based on sociocultural identities. These thought patterns, known as “implicit bias,” can translate into harmful actions, such as microaggressions. Higher education professionals must guard against their own implicit biases and support students who may encounter it during their academic careers.

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Events from the Center for Teaching and Learning