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Focused on imaginative, effective teaching, cafe dialogues draw faculty from a range of disciplines, inviting colleagues to learn from each another by sharing essential and emerging tools to nurture and challenge students. Cafe helps facilitate an education that allows students to address real-world problems and serve not only their community, but also the world as competent, conscientious, and compassionate individuals.

What's New on Camino?

Designing and Assessment Multimodal Assignments

Technology Worth Keeping for In Person Instruction

Pedagogies of Wellness and Compassion (Dec 2021)

Pedagogies of Wellness and Compassion (Jan 2022)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Find helpful resources from previous CAFEs or faculty development events you might've missed

Thursday, January 27: "Transitioning Back to the Classroom & Student Engagement"

A virtual CAFE about managing the transition back to the classroom next month (pending COVID restrictions). Steven Suljak (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Kieran Sullivan (Psychology), Jes Kuczenski (General Engineering), and Lisa Davis (Communication) will share their ideas about the upcoming pivot, the challenges they anticipate, and the strategies they will use to encourage student engagement and support well-being for faculty and for students. Faculty in attendance will also have the opportunity to talk more about these topics and share ideas.

Monday, November 8: "Assignment Design Matters: How Redesigned Assignments Can Improve Student Learning"

Assignments play a critical role in student learning and they provide the basis for assessment of student learning. Many of us make small tweaks to our assignments all the time, but what happens when faculty take on assignment redesign based on evidence-based strategies to make them more equitable, successful, and engaging for students? Join us to hear from four colleagues who very intentionally redesigned their course assignments, soliciting feedback from colleagues or students along the way. Some used resources from the Success in Writing, Research and Information Literacy project (SWIRL) at SCU, others drew upon suggestions from the Transparency in Teaching and Assignment Design project (TILT). And others have also made use of resources from SCU’s HUB Writing Center. 

C.J. Gabbe (ESS), Matt Gomes (English), Barbara O’Brien (Child Studies), and Erin Schwartz (Biology) will walk us through their process of assignment redesign, sharing how and why they made the changes they did, and what impact it had on students. Spoiler alert: the before/after versions tell a really interesting story about the benefits of transparency in teaching!

Wednesday, October 20: "Bringing Online Innovations to In-Person and Hybrid Courses"

Are you curious about how faculty are making use of technology in their transition from remote instruction to hybrid or in-person environments? Learn more about what tools and resources SCU faculty used in their teaching in 2020-21, and why they are working today!

Friday, October 15: "Restarting Your Research"

Now what? And how? Faculty research agendas have been disrupted since March 2020: labs, archives, studios, fieldwork, travel, conferences, grant funding, teaching online, and childcare–all difficult, complicated, or curtailed. So how’s it going now? Or how do you wish it was going? Join us for this faculty panel discussion of current challenges as well as strategies for moving forward, getting (re)started, and reengaging with your work.

Panelists included Ed Maurer (Civil, Environmental, & Sustainable Engineering), Korin Wheeler (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Naomi Andrews (History), Sanjiv Das (Finance), and Marco Bravo (ECP). This panel and discussion was moderated by Eric Tillman (Chemistry & Biochemistry; Associate Vice Provost for Research).

Friday, September 17: "Teaching with a Mask: Voice and Speech Refresher"

Are you wondering what it will be like to teach while wearing a mask? Will your students be able to hear you? How can you keep your voice strong over the course of an hour (or longer)? If you’re having these questions (and worries…), you’re in good company. Led by Kimberly Mohne Hill (Theater and Dance), learn more about how to best use your voice while wearing a mask. She demonstrated exercises to stretch the body, improve breathing, and tune up projection and articulation muscles. 

Thursday, April 15: "Guiding Students in Inclusive and Effective Group Work"

This CAFE explores ways that faculty can help students achieve more effective, satisfying, and inclusive experiences when they engage in teamwork for large (or small) course assignments. With some purposeful strategies in assignment design and messaging, faculty can guide students toward a much more inclusive, productive, and meaningful experience working with peers. Join us as Ariel Schindewolf (Modern Languages & Literatures), Heather Turner (English), and Amy Eriksson (Communication) share their approaches to group work.

Thursday, January 14: "Designing Engaging Synchronous Zoom Sessions"

Join us to hear how faculty are making their synchronous Zoom sessions more engaging for students. Drs. Missy Donegan (English) and Juan Montermoso (Leavey School of Business) will share their experiences in teaching online during the Fall Quarter. You'll get a chance to chat with faculty colleagues about what's working with your class and the lessons learned from misadventures with Zoom (we all have some!). You'll walk away with new ideas for connecting with your students over Zoom.

Thursday, February 11: "Strategies for Teaching and Facilitating Learning Through Asynchronous Experiences"

How can you engage students in meaningful learning when you’re not meeting face-to-face for every class session? Join Sofia Kotsiri (Economics), Dawn Hart (Biology), and Justin Boren (Communication) to hear about some of the strategies they’ve found effective. 

Tuesday, February 9: "SCU Student Well-Being and Mental Health during COVID-19"

Join Dr. Jill Rovaris, Director of Cowell Center and her colleagues from the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Staff to learn more about how SCU students are coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. They will discuss the trends they’re seeing in students’ mental health and well-being, and share an update on the resources available to students at SCU.

Thursday, January 28: "What’s Working Now: Course Assignments and Assessment Approaches"

Join us for a conversation with colleagues Stephanie Hughes (Environmental Studies and Sciences), Christelle Sabatier (Neuroscience and Biology), and Lisa Whitfield (Psychology) as they share their approaches to assignment design and assessment of student learning in the online environment.

Among the topics: Replacing tests and quizzes with weekly homework assignments; moving from a curve-based grading system to contract grading; developing a project using ePortfolios; engaging students as individuals and groups to use more than one modality in completing projects; and strategies for scaffolding student work.

This CAFE is the third in a series, "Learning with our Colleagues: SCU Departments’ Anti-Racist Teaching Initiatives," and features Amelia Fuller (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Natalie Linnell (Math and Computer Science), Virginia Matzek (Environmental Studies and Sciences), and Brian Thorstenson (Theater and Dance).

Stream this session

Mini-Grants: Building an Evidence-Based Anti-Racist Discussion Toolkit for Santa Clara University

Ambient belonging: how stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science

Monday, February 24: "Facilitating Team-Based Projects Your Students Won’t Hate"

Are your efforts to get students to work in teams met with groans? Classroom-based team experiences can be a great way to teach students how to work effectively and interdependently to produce a deliverable, which are essential skills in today’s workplaces. However, effective teamwork is challenging and does not happen on its own. In this workshop, Esther Sackett, an Assistant Professor in Management and Entrepreneurship and an expert in team dynamics, will share evidence-based strategies for engaging students in effective team processes, including goal setting, conflict management, and communication. Participants will have an opportunity to experience a team-based exercise firsthand and will leave with tools for providing the structure students need to have more successful and positive teamwork experiences in the classroom.

Related DRT Page:

Tuesday, October 20: "Inclusion as a Jesuit Value: What About the Classroom?"

Dr. Chatelain, a distinguished scholar, teacher and strategist from Georgetown University, is a noted speaker on race and history in the US. She has worked on Georgetown’s recent response to its history of slavery. She will join us for this session on inclusive pedagogy and Jesuit education. Learn more here about Dr. Chatelain’s scholarship, teaching, podcasts and media appearances, follow her on twitter, or see her on this recent panel: Chronicle of Higher Ed: Race, Class and Academic Life.

Wednesday, October 14: "Inclusive Teaching with Dr. Bryan Dewsbury"

Dr. Bryan Dewsbury talks more about inclusive teaching strategies within STEM fields. Learn more about Dr. Dewsbury’s work here, follow him on twitter, or check out his latest talk.

Thursday, November 12: "Learning with our Colleagues: SCU Departments’ Anti-Racist Teaching and Initiatives"

Many departments are currently engaged in thoughtful, productive work on anti-racist teaching, curricula, department culture, hiring, evaluation, and more. Please join us as faculty colleagues from English, Anthropology, and Neuroscience tell us about that work in their disciplines.

Wednesday, November 18: "More Learning with our Colleagues: SCU Departments’ Anti-Racist Teaching Initiatives"

We continue the discussion from the previous CAFE about the work done on anti-racist teaching, curricula, department culture, hiring, evaluation, and more with colleagues in Art and Art History, Education, and English.

Wednesday, April 10: "Institute on Teaching Excellence / ACUE: What We’ve Been Learning"

Last fall we introduced a new opportunity: a nationally recognized course on teaching practices with ACUE (Association of College & University Educators). 30 SCU colleagues participated in this program this year–learning to apply evidence-based practices on topics such as student engagement, course/assignment design, civility in the classroom, active learning across the disciplines, inclusive teaching practices, efficient and equitable grading and more.

Join us for this special CAFÉ as participants CJ Gabbe (Environmental Studies and Sciences), Allia Griffin (Ethnic Studies), Sofia Kotsiri (Economics), Laura Nichols (Sociology) and Robert Shanklin (Philosophy) share what they are learning from this year’s inaugural Institute on Teaching Excellence. And consider whether you are interested in participating in the future. 

Tuesday, May 7: "Let’s Talk about Grading"

Grading, by many accounts, is one of the most challenging part of teaching–not just because of the time it takes, but its toll on our emotional energy as well. In this CAFÉ conversation, we’ll discuss how we handle this part of our job–how we approach grading in a way that’s fair, transparent, supportive of learning; how we communicate our grading philosophies to students; what the role of ungraded student work is in our courses. Share new approaches to grading you have tried (e.g., contract grading, “tokens,” “bundles”), and how that’s worked out.

You might find a few of these resources provocative and helpful in your work:

Tuesday, May 21: "Creating a Classroom Culture of Academic Integrity"

Navigating cases of student academic integrity can be challenging. Join us for this session as we discuss what a culture that discourages cheating looks like. Get tips from faculty peers across the disciplines on how to cultivate and reward integrity of all kinds in our students and ourselves. Our backdrop will be scholarship such as this 2017 article that helps us understand academic integrity in the context of other teaching and learning challenges.

Thursday, January 24: "Using Midterm Student Feedback to Improve your Teaching"

Invite students to respond to the course part way through the term. Why do this? Lots of reasons, including:

Get focused feedback on particular issues, assignments, activities.Reflect on how to improve student learning experiences in the course well before it’s over.Demonstrate your concern for student learning. Make course learning goals and your teaching values more transparent in discussions of student feedback.

Join us as Angela Holtzmeister (Classics), Andrew Ishak (Communication), Mona Musa (Math/Computer Science), and Christelle Sabatier (Biology/Neuroscience) talk about how (and why) they take a moment to gather feedback and respond to students partway through the quarter. You’ll leave the session with several tools to choose from—all of which you can use in your course immediately and integrate with Camino.

Here are some of the research and practice in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning on this topic:

Wednesday, February 20: "Using 'Design Thinking' to Reimagine Teaching, Transform Learning, and (maybe) Change the World"

Regardless of our disciplines, we are teaching college students who will hold multiple jobs and require proficiency in skills and knowledge that cut across majors. Design thinking offers one approach to helping students develop core abilities that help them develop their to promote collaborative problem solving, project-based learning, and students’ abilities to address real-world challenges. Survey data shows that while college students are eager to apply their knowledge and skills, many of their courses do not offer these opportunities. But for faculty using a design thinking approach in their courses, this real-world engagement with ill-defined problems is precisely how they’re engaging students.

Wednesday, May 9: "Student Evaluations of Teaching: Learning from and Supplementing SCU Course Evaluations"

A panel of faculty colleagues shares their experiences with student feedback and the evaluation process. How can paying attention to student responses to teaching help you become a better teacher? How do you develop additional forms of information (beyond SETs) about your teaching?

Related DRT Page:

External Resource:

Friday, April 6: "Creating a Classroom Environment for Student Learning"

How do we create learning environments that acknowledge students as whole persons? Does doing so lead to better learning and student achievement? (Hint: yes!) What does teaching the whole student look like–in practical terms? Join us for this conversation with Ahmed Amer (Computer Engineering), Christelle Sabatier (Biology) and Chan Thai (Communication), where we invite you to reflect on classroom ethos, student learning, and teaching practices.

Resources from Christelle:


Wednesday, April 11: "Taming the Red Pen: Strategies that Help Students Become Better Writers and Simplify Grading"

This CAFE highlights three strategies for improving students' writing in their disciplines: Effective rubrics for providing feedback on writing, comments on student work, and peer review/editing. English Department colleagues Denise Krane, Amy Lueck, and Julia Voss will share a variety of well-honed, evidence-based approaches.

Related DRT Pages:



Wednesday, January 16: "Human-Centered Design Thinking"

What's the magic sauce behind Design Thinking, and how can it help you improve your teaching and your students’ learning?  Join us for this special CAFE to hear Design Thinking expert Dr. Karen Tilstra, Co-founder and Director of the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab (FHIL) and co-designer of the nation's first undergraduate degree in Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (Rollins College). Karen's most recent project is founding the San Diego State University’s Design Thinking Innovation Lab. She specializes in helping business professionals, university professors, students and others learn how to use design thinking to remain relevant in disruptive times. 

Can’t make it but you’d like to learn a little more? 

Monday, October 1: "Transparent Assignment Design + Assessment"

Drawing guidelines from a national study, faculty share ways they’ve redesigned course assignments to better engage students and promote more equitable learning, particularly for underrepresented college students.

Related DRT Page:

Wednesday, October 24: "Teaching Online: Exploring the Options"

Did you know SCU offers support for online course development? Join us to hear from faculty colleagues about their experiences teaching an online summer session course.​ Find out how teaching an online course is different from, and similar to, face-to-face teaching and how designing an online course can impact your face-to-face courses.

Related DRT Page:

Related SCU Resource:

Wednesday, January 25: "What is Design Thinking, and how does it connect with teaching?"   

Design Thinking is described as a process, a strategy for innovation, problem-centered learning, and a pathway to change in higher education. Chris Kittts (Engineering) and Michelle Stecker (Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship) will talk about how they're applying principles from design thinking in areas as diverse as engineering,  business, women's studies, first-year experience programming, and social entrepreneurship.


Resources from Chris:

Monday, October 9: "Teaching (with) R"

Michael Kevane and Bill Sundstrom (Economics), winners of this year’s Brutocao Family Foundation Award for Curricular Innovation, shared their work on techniques and approaches to teaching with R, a powerful open-source statistical software package. They talked about:

  • why R has become a particularly marketable skill for students;
  • what they have learned in discussions with faculty across the disciplines who have begun to incorporate R in their courses;
  • how you can get started using R and find campus and online resources to make it easy.

Missed it, but you’d like to learn a little more? Check out these links:

Resources from Bill and Michael:

Monday, November 6: "Curricular & Pedagogical Change"

Lots of us who have been around a while have weathered down-to-the-roots pedagogical and curricular revision (new core, anyone?). Even when faculty are entirely committed to such ambitious undertakings, it’s typically not pretty, not easy, and not fast. Join us as we talk about the process with Ed Shaefer (Math/CS), Elizabeth Dahlhoff (Biology), Christelle Sabatier (Biology) and Tracy Ruscetti (Biology) as they reflect on the process of upending and rebuilding pedagogies and curricula.

Resources from Ed, Elizabeth, Christelle, and Tracy:

April 20, 2016

How do you plan your courses or your class sessions each week? Here you'll find materials about how your colleagues are using the practice of "Backward Design" to design effective and engaging learning-centered experiences.

Stephen Carroll and Tonya Nilsson

CAFE Backwards Design Presentation

Action Verbs

March 8, 2016

Reports from Faculty Collaborative Grant receivers (colleagues from a variety of disciplines including Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Liberal Studies, and others) on their innovative projects designed to transform units of study or entire courses, with the common goal of enhancing student learning.

Maribeth Oscamou and Norm Paris

Bridging the Gap Between Math 14 and Physics 33

Natalie Linnell, Nicholas Tran, and Carol Gittens

Redesigning CS1

Christelle Sabatier

BIOL21 video proposal report


February 5, 2016

PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Slides... whichever tools you use to convey information, we know from research and experiences here at SCU that there are many strategies and guidelines designed to prevent "death by PowerPoint." Here are some materials from your colleagues to help you keep your students engaged and help them learn better. 

Julie Hughes


Katy Bruchmann

Bruchmann Faculty Cafe


Thursday, December 1: "Syllabus Design and Camino"  

Want a little inspiration for next quarter before you put up your feet and enjoy a mug of something? (Don’t have the feet up and mug thing in your December calendar yet? Go ahead and do that. We’ll wait.) Join us as colleagues share practices and examples of syllabus design. We are pretty sure you’ll get some new ideas--maybe even inspiration--from colleagues talking about syllabus design, including graphic syllabi (and making the most of Camino). Who knows, you might even get your winter syllabi done early...

Missed it, but you'd like to learn a little more? Here are a few guides to writing a syllabus from colleagues at other institutions:

Wednesday, November 2: "Faculty panel on teaching online Summer Session courses at SCU" 

  • Are you interested in hearing from your colleagues about their experiences teaching an online summer session course?
  • Are you interested in how teaching online courses is different from, and similar to, face-to-face teaching?
  • Are you interested in hearing how designing an online course can impact your face-to-face courses?

Please come and hear from Jackie Hendricks (English), Robin Tremblay-McGaw (English), Graeme Warren (OMIS), and Lisa Whitfield (Psychology), who have taught online summer session courses at SCU, bringing experience ranging from 1 year to many.


​Co-Sponsored by Academic Technology, the Faculty Collaborative for Teaching Innovation, and the Summer Session Office in the Drahmann Center.


Resources from Jackie:

Thursday, October 20: "Making 'group work' work: Planning, facilitating, and assessing."  

Students come to SCU with many experiences with group work, but often without the skills to engage in collaboration effectively. What role can faculty play in designing collaborative learning experiences so that students not only deepen their learning of project content,but also develop accountability, interdependence, and the ability to give and receive constructive feedback? How do faculty fairly evaluate work produced in teams?

Faculty colleagues, Kathy Stoehr and Kathy Sun (Education) and Andrew Ishak (Communication) discuss their approaches and strategies for promoting effective group work.


Resources from Andrew Ishak, Kathy Sun, and Kathy Stoehr:

Wednesday, October 5: “What I've been doing lately in my class and why."  

Like many of us, you may have approached fall quarter thinking about what changes to make to your courses. Many of us are drawn to innovate to keep our teaching and the learning environment fresh. Rebecca Adler, an editor for Edutopia, commented, "We teachers are always looking to innovate, so, yes, it's essential that we try new things to add to our pedagogical bag of tricks. But it's important to focus on purpose and intentionality -- and not on quantity. So what really matters more than 'always trying something new' is the reason behind why we do what we do." 

Come hear from Amy Eriksson (Communication), Leslie Gray (Environmental Studies and Sciences) and Amy Lueck (English)  about changes they've made to their classes and why. There will be time to explore some of the innovations you're trying or considering.


Resources from Amy Lueck:

October 22, 2015

Even as many of us move away from lecturing as the primary teaching approach we use in the classroom, the lecture can still fills an important role in student learning by helping frame an area, providing explanations and examples, and stimulating student interest in a topic. Here you can find resources from colleagues who describe how they design lectures to engage students.

Nancy Unger 

Engaging Lectures Script

Engaging Lecturing Presentation