Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community


Below, you will find information on CTE programs related to course transformation, including our Best Practices Institute (BPI), Department Teaching Grants, Trestle, and C21. We encourage you to consult the Access and Eligibly Information before you begin the application process.

CTE Programs Access & Eligibility Information

The following CTE programs and services are available without charge to all KU faculty and staff members with instructional responsibilities, including part-time faculty/staff and graduate teaching assistants:

  • Workshops and discussion forums (Lunch & Conversation, Teaching Teas, Essential Teaching Practices, etc.): Including the annual KU Summit, presentations by KU faculty members at CTE, and workshops by speakers from outside KU.
  • Resources: CTE publications (Teaching Matters, Reflections From the Classroom) are sent to all Lawrence campus faculty members. Instructional staff and GTAs who have requested to receive copies also receive these publications. Materials in the CTE library are available for check out by all teachers as listed above, as well.
  • Individual teaching conferences: Any teacher as listed above may schedule an individual teaching conference with a CTE staff member. Teaching conferences may include syllabus review, class observation, student work analysis, and student evaluation analysis.
  • Working groups: Any teacher as listed above may participate in a CTE Working Group (Science, Large Class, etc.).
  • Celebration of Teaching: Tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty members may be recognized at this annual event. Instructional staff members and GTAs are not eligible.
Eligibility* for Faculty Seminar and Best Practices Institute is limited to:
  • Tenure-track faculty members
  • Faculty-equivalent academic staff
  • Librarians
  • Lecturers with an ongoing appointment of 50% or more and at least three years of service to KU
  • Full-time unclassified staff with instructional responsibilities
*NOTE: Priority will be given to applications from (a) tenure-track faculty and (b) faculty equivalent academic staff and librarians with substantial instructional responsibilities (e.g., clinical faculty members).

Best Practices Institute

BPI is a collegial, hands-on seminar especially useful for teachers who would like to reflect on and learn to represent their teaching. BPI is a good first experience for interacting with colleagues about course design. In the BPI, you’ll focus on one thing you want to change about one of your courses. You’ll work in small groups with teachers from various disciplines, as well as with colleagues who’ve successfully implemented changes in their teaching. By the end of BPI, you will have a plan in place and will be ready to implement the course change you want to make next year, and you will be ready to document the results of your teaching project.

What will you do in BPI?

You’ll learn more about:

  • Designing a course to maximize student learning
  • Making the most of class time
  • Using out-of-class time to promote learning (e.g. flipping classes)
  • Assessing learning efficiently and productively
  • Representing your teaching effectiveness

By the end of the seminar, you’ll have an electronic poster that documents new features you’re developing with your teaching and that tracks implementation of your ideas. And as a BPI participant, you’ll receive a $1000 instructional fund you can use for materials, travel, or hourly help for any teaching project.

When is the BPI?

The seminar will be held May 20-23, 2019. Participants will also attend two follow-up sessions during the Fall 2018 semester.

When is the application deadline?

Applications for the May 2019 BPI are available as a Word document or as a PDF. Applications are due March 25 and participants will be chosen and notified by April 16. Final representation of your teaching should be completed by May 2020.

CTE Department Teaching Grants

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) offers $5,000 grants (with potential for renewal) to departments/units to develop teaching initiatives of their choosing at the undergraduate or graduate level. Examples of projects that could be funded include but are not limited to:

  • Evaluating curriculum to facilitate student learning in a program
  • Planning departmental course offerings to identify redundancies or gaps that impede students’ progress in a program
  • Developing a series of hybrid courses to improve undergraduate or graduate education
  • Establishing e-portfolios for students to demonstrate their learning in a program

Examples of activities that could be supported include but are not limited to: planning retreats and start-up costs; workshops facilitated by consultants; travel to conferences or other campuses to learn about successful strategies; summer salary for project participants; and/or student employment (undergraduate or graduate) for project assistance.

Academic departments or equivalent academic units on the Lawrence campus are eligible. CTE’s advisory board will review applications and identify recipients. Project goals must be clearly defined, as well as how the unit will determine whether the goals have been met. Projects should promote cooperative, integrated participation among faculty members. Preference will be given to projects that will have a high impact on the teaching culture of a unit and that have the potential to impact multiple units at KU.

Application Process

Submit a one- to two-page application that addresses these questions:

  1. What are the goals of your department/unit project?
  2. Who is the project leader, and which other faculty members will be involved?
  3. How would the project improve student learning?
  4. How will you demonstrate that the goals have been met?

The application must include a general budget for the project. Applications should be sent to Judy Eddy at

Grant Recipient Information

CTE will usually transfer the grants (state funds) by the end of December. By June 1, each grant recipient must submit a report to CTE that includes information about the project’s impact on student learning. A final report is due at the end of the project. Recipients are encouraged to present a breakout session about their project at the KU Summit.


Mid- to late-November: Applications due to CTE

Mid-December: Selection of grant recipient


Contact Andrea Greenhoot, Center for Teaching Excellence, at 864-4199 or

Course Transformation Grants

CTE regularly offers grants of $1000-$3000 to support the transformation of one or more courses with student-centered, evidence-based practices. Funding has been made possible through the TRESTLE and C21 programs (see below).

We are currently accepting proposals for AY18-19, and the official call and online application can be accessed at the following link:


TRESTLE, which stands for Transforming Education, Stimulating Teaching and Learning Excellence, is a multi-institution, NSF-funded project (NSF DUE #1525775) designed to help STEM departments transform undergraduate courses around teaching strategies that are known to improve student learning. TRESTLE is led by KU and involves six other research universities: Indiana University, Queen’s University, U of British Columbia, UC Davis, U of Colorado, and UT San Antonio. This project offers KU faculty members:

  • Funding for TRESTLE course transformation grants and travel grants to help faculty redesign courses to create a more active learning environment and track student learning based on the redesign efforts. A PDF of the request for travel grant proposals can be found here.
  • An online community of colleagues and collaborators from other TRESTLE institutions who are also focusing on STEM course reform.
  • A virtual online “Brown Bag Discussion” series, open to anyone interested in course transformation or other teaching change efforts.
  • Opportunities to participate in annual face-to-face gatherings of this network to share strategies, results, and lessons learned.
  • Access to resources and rich examples of successful and ongoing course transformation work via the TRESTLE website.

Each TRESTLE campus is implementing their own adaptation of a course transformation initiative that involves (a) department-embedded experts, such as teaching postdoctoral fellows, who collaborate with faculty on course transformation, and (b) the formation of intellectual communities around student-centered teaching and active learning, within and across departments, and across the TRESTLE network.

To join the TRESTLE network and learn more about events and resources, follow this link to visit the network website.

  • Andrea Follmer Greenhoot (PI), Director of CTE and Professor of Psychology
  • Caroline Bennett (Co-PI), Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Mark Mort (Co-PI), Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Blair Schneider, TRESTLE Program Manager and Postdoctoral Fellow

C21 Consortium

Most faculty members participate in intellectual communities organized around our scholarship or creative work. In these communities we exchange ideas, challenge each other to think in new ways, and ultimately advance the work in our fields. For most of us, similar opportunities for intellectual discourse on teaching are rare.

One opportunity CTE is providing is a new intellectual community around student-centered teaching. The C21 (i.e., 21st century) Course Redesign Consortium is a group of individuals from across campus who share the goal of student-centered course transformation at KU. These course transformations take advantage of today’s widespread availability of information, and they move students from a passive role in a classroom (e.g., note taking) to an active learning orientation (e.g., problem solving, writing, and collaboration). Many consortium participants are tackling the design of large enrollment courses by using 21st century technology to create learning experiences that are collaborative, hands-on, engaging, and facilitative of deep learning. C21 will connect instructors involved in this type of course design with each other, with students, and with multiple resources that will facilitate their work.

C21 activities are being jointly organized by CTE, CODL, and the Center for STEM Learning, hosted by the Commons, and funded by the Provost’s Office and CLAS. Most meetings will take the form of team course design workshops that create opportunities for members to collaborate on course redesign and utilize resources that can simplify, support, or document their work. Check the CTE calendar for C21 meeting dates.

For more information about C21, contact Andrea Greenhoot at

Collaborative Humanities Redesign Project [2017]

The Collaborative Humanities Redesign Project (CHRP) was an interdisciplinary collaboration that began with common exploration of the goals of both courses and majors, followed by the identification of challenges in helping students acquire a deeper understanding of humanities topics and the forms of inquiry and evidence characteristic of humanities scholarship. The projecct began in the 2014-2015 academic year and concluded with a conference in June 2017.

For more information about CHRP and its participants, follow this link.