Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence

Welcome to the Center for Teaching Excellence's website at the University of San Francisco.

Upcoming Events

Join one of the 2020-2021 FLCs!


Our Faculty Learning Communities (or FLCs) bring together small, inter-disciplinary groups of faculty (6 to 10), who meet twice a month each semester for an academic year to address a pedagogy or academia-related problem of mutual interest.


2020-21 FLC Interest Form »


Building a Trauma-Informed Campus as Part of the Jesuit Mission for the 21st Century

Co-Facilitators: Lindsay Gifford (International Studies, Anthropology, Middle Eastern Studies) Dana Zartner (International Studies, Environmental Studies, School of Law)

Building on faculty brainstorming sessions held last year, this FLC will consider the possibilities for a trauma informed campus (TIC) at USF. A TIC is one that recognizes the impacts that both primary and secondary trauma may have on our university community. Primary trauma—such as sexual assault, racism and discrimination, and recent issues such as the pandemic—are a big part of this discussion. This FLC will also consider the secondary trauma that can arise through the difficult material we teach and the work we do in our classes and communities, and through our own research. A TIC works to inform all aspects of the university experience (study, research, working, living) on issues relating to trauma in all its forms, with an emphasis on providing tools to address these issues. We will also explore how a TIC is related to the Jesuit mission of educating the whole person (cura personalis), and how principles of a TIC could be integrated into USF policies, activities, and learning as part of our social justice mission and educational approach.


Project-Based Learning (PBL) & Makerspaces

Facilitator: Julia Thompson (Engineering)

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an experiential learning approach that organizes learning within authentic and complex projects and in which the teacher’s role is that of facilitator rather than expert. The PBL approach integrates teamwork, communication, project management, etc. within the traditional content knowledge. This approach can be a central portion of the educational process, or an additional project within a lecture-based course.

In this FLC, members will explore project-based learning and also participate in a project themselves to learn the equipment and resources that USF has to offer. This includes the innovation spaces with equipment (e.g., 3D printers, laser cutters, virtual-reality headsets, and other technologies), active learning spaces, and mixed media equipment. As a community, we will devise project(s) we want to work on, learn about equipment and/or resources, work on the projects in groups, and then reflect on the experience to better understand the experiences of our students.


Examining the Impact of Grading Practices on Student Learning

Facilitator: Nicole Gonzales Howell (Rhetoric and Language, Arts and Sciences)

This FLC aims to bring together faculty members to examine, understand, and design/redesign their grading practices in order to best support student learning across diverse cultural communities (race, class, ability, etc.). While this FLC will focus on the use of grading contracts as a framework, we will also take the necessary time to examine whether or not (and how) current grading practices align with participants’ pedagogical values. Specifically, participants will examine examples of grading mechanisms such as grading contracts, work and grade agreements, and specification grading models in order to consider the pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of implementing new grading practices in their classes.




Faculty Panel Discussions COVID-19


From March - May 2020, Members of the USF faculty took part via Zoom in a series of panels that explore COVID-19 from a range of scholarly lenses. These panels aim to bring together the USF community, drawing on our faculty’s scholarly perspectives and expertise across disciplines, to help make sense of COVID-19 and to explore what a scholarly community dedicated to Jesuit values can offer in terms of education and support during COVID-19. Please find panel descriptions listed below. Descriptions of all the panels with panelist biographies and more information are available here:

Panel Descriptions and More Information

Links to recordings of these panels are available. Please contact the Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at cte@usfca.edu.


CTE Grading Break Zoom Faculty Get-Together

Wednesday, May 13 | 12:00 – 1:00pm

RSVP and Zoom Link »

For the past several years, CTE has hosted a grading retreat at the end of each semester to provide fuel and motivation for the sometimes onerous task of grading. After all, there's nothing quite like shared meals, bottomless pots of coffee, and the camaraderie of fellow graders to help power through the end-of-semester grading ritual!This semester, we can't gather in person for meals and group grading. But we can still enjoy the community of our awesome faculty colleagues by taking a grading break together. Please join CTE on Wednesday, May 13 from noon to 1:00 p.m. for a BYOL (bring your own lunch) grading break. We'll host a main room for folks to visit and chat with one another, as well as three themed "breakout rooms" for faculty to share observations and thoughts about teaching-related issues that have emerged in this semester's distance-learning environment. Stay for as little or as long as you'd like. Lurkers welcome! RSVPs appreciated but not required.
Looking for resources and guidance as you move your courses online?

CTE recommends "Keep Teaching & Learning: Providing Instructional Continuity", developed by USF Educational Technology Services.

Keep Teaching & Learning »