Center for Effective Teaching - Center for Effective Teaching - Christopher Newport University

Center for Effective Teaching

About the Center

The Center for Effective Teaching at Christopher Newport University is dedicated to supporting faculty at all levels in their efforts to enhance their teaching efficacy and innovation. Striving for teaching excellence is a process that spans a faculty member's career and involves engaging with the scholarship of teaching and learning, assessing student learning in the classroom, reflecting on and refining one's methods and goals, and developing as a mentor both within and outside of the classroom. The Center for Effective Teaching provides diverse resources to aid faculty in this dynamic process, including new faculty programming, workshops on selected topics, opportunities for small group discussion and collaboration, confidential classroom observations and individual consultations.

CET Director: Dr. John Nichols, English and Film Studies

CET Assistant Director: Dr. Jessica Kelly, Mathematics

Course Design Workshop

  • This two-day workshop will focus on the four major stages of course design: setting learning goals, determining the course content and skill development that will best assist students in meeting those goals, organizing course content in a way that will enhance student learning, and designing appropriate assessment techniques to determine whether students have met the learning goals.
  • This workshop is appropriate for faculty at all stages of their careers who desire a focused opportunity to work on course design (or redesign) with constructive feedback from faculty colleagues. Workshop participants can expect to make substantial progress on their course design over the two days. Breakfast, lunch, and coffee will be provided for “working breaks” on both days.

Teaching Strategies Workshop

  • This one day workshop will expose participants to a diversity of effective teaching strategies that enhance students’ understanding and retention of course material. These strategies fall under the umbrella of techniques referred to as "active learning," and workshop participants will consider how to effectively incorporate these strategies into the structure of their own courses.
  • This workshop is particularly appropriate for newer faculty who are still building their teaching toolkit, but all faculty members who would like to work on designing effective learning opportunities for their students are welcome and encouraged to attend. Workshop participants will experience active learning "in action" as they learn about teaching strategies while making substantial progress toward determining which teaching strategies will be most useful in their individual classes. Breakfast, lunch and coffee will be provided for "working breaks" during the day.

Contact Dr. John Nichols, CET Director, at for dates and enrollment.

In the new faculty discussion group, full-time faculty who have recently joined Christopher Newport connect with other new faculty members and discuss relevant first-year topics in a supportive and confidential setting. Each discussion group meeting has a particular focus but will also provide a chance for new faculty members to ask questions on any issue that is important to them at the time. Discussion group meetings are facilitated by the CET director and assistant director.

New faculty members can choose to attend the discussion group meetings, usually held on the first Wednesday (from noon to 1 p.m.) or Thursday (from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.) of the month in September, October, November, February, March and April. Group participants are free to switch between the meeting times in different months, if needed, or to attend the discussion group in some months but not others.

Topics for lunchtime discussion include:

  • Why won’t they get off their *#&% phones? Creating a positive classroom dynamic and responding to incivility
  • Midterms time! Surviving the grading flood
  • The bad and the ugly: dealing with academic dishonesty
  • Time “management,” aka, does this ever get any easier?
  • So I just tried something that really didn’t work: strategies for mid-course (or even mid-class period) adjustment
  • Almost there! Now how do you make the most of your summer?
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