Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence

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

Upcoming Events

Join a Reading Circle!

Sign up to join a reading circle by Friday, Sept. 27

Join a Reading Circle

CTE Reading Circles are low-stakes, short-term reading groups of 6-12 participants with a faculty facilitator. Circles will focus on a single book (or part of a book) on teaching or topics related to teaching and meet three or four times over the fall 2019 semester. Meetings might be on campus or off. CTE will buy the books! All USF faculty members and librarians are eligible to participate.

Elizabeth Barkley and Claire Major Interactive Lecturing: A Handbook for College Faculty
Facilitator: Rebecca Mason, College of Arts & Sciences

In discussions about pedagogy, lecturing is often contrasted with active learning techniques. Barkley and Major argue that this contrast presents a false dichotomy. Instead, they propose a new model: interactive lecturing. The interactive lecturing model unifies engaging lecture presentations and active learning methods in dynamic ways. In this reading circle we will discuss, among other things, how faculty can blend lecturing and active learning to enhance student engagement and learning.

Meeting Schedule:
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2–3 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2–3 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2–3 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2–3 p.m.

Asao Inoue Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom
Facilitator: Nicole Gonzales Howell, College of Arts & Sciences

Writing and Rhetoric scholar Asao Inoue is a long-time practitioner of, and champion for, Labor-Based Grading Contracts in higher education. Labor-based grading contracts are set up to reward student labor and to deemphasize “quality” of work that often relies on historically racist and classist features. In other words, while students receive feedback on assignments from each other and the teacher, they do not receive individual grades on products. Instead students earn their grades based on behaviors and labor. While Inoue focuses his work primarily in the writing classroom, this book is sure to provide many threads for discussion across disciplines and faculty from all schools are encouraged to join. We can all grow and benefit from asking, how do our grading practices affect our relationships with our students? How do grades affect the students’ relationship with both knowledge development and production? And perhaps one of the most pressing questions is, how might our current practices perpetuate racist and classist ideals/practices?

Meeting Schedule:
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 10:15–11:15 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 10:15–11:15 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 10:15–11:15 a.m.

Toni Morrison The Source of Self-Regard
Facilitators: Monisha Bajaj, School of Education and Collete Cann, School of Education

Teaching in contested times requires us as professors to consider the dimensions of our work, the spaces we create in our classrooms and the impact of our curricular choices, discussion prompts, and approaches on our students and ourselves. One of the leading thinkers/writers of our time who has just passed away, Toni Morrison, published earlier this year a book of selected essays/speeches that discusses race, politics, feminism, culture, and identity, among other topics. Through reading and discussing the book together, this group will gain clarity on the issues, considering Morrison's perspectives and our own reflections; we will also discuss the book with regards to our own work as educators and how we approach topics that affect students' lives deeply, and that may be core to our identities as well.

Meeting Schedule:
Discuss the first half of the book on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2–3:15 p.m.
Discuss the second half of the book on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2–3:15 p.m.
Meet to screen the new documentary on Toni Morrison & Potluck Wednesday, Nov. 21, 5–7:30 p.m. in the East Bay

Announcing a CTE reading circle in collaboration with the Center for Research, Artistic, and Scholarly Excellence (CRASE):

Tommy Orange There There
Facilitator: Rick Ayers, School of Education

There There is a powerful exploration of culture and social struggle in our society, a deep look at Oakland and at urban Native American culture. It is a novel filled with flat-out beautiful writing. We will explore the idea of cultural relevance and culturally sustaining education, the mismatch between bay area communities and official discourse and knowledge claims, and how to be an institution that pursues the mission to change the world from here. We will tie our exploration to the upcoming spring CRASE events based on There There including an upcoming special series of blogs as well as a public event with the author.

Meeting Schedule:
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 12:00–1:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 12:00–1:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 06, 12:00–1:15 p.m.

Join a Reading Circle