Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community


This page contains information on opportunities for faculty development, including the Benchmarks Project, CTE’s annual Teaching Summit, and the Teaching Scholarship Collaborative.

Benchmarks Project

Benchmarks Rubric

The KU Center for Teaching Excellence is taking part in a five-year project, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF; DUE-1726087) to foster improved methods of reviewing, documenting and evaluating faculty teaching practices at KU and at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness is organized as a rubric and identifies seven dimensions of teaching practice that are designed to capture the teaching endeavor in its totality, including activities outside the classroom (e.g., identification of learning goals, assignment design, reviewing student work), and contributions to individual courses and the curriculum. The rubric can be used to guide the evaluation of teaching effectiveness (e.g., for promotion and tenure or progress toward tenure). It can also be used to foster teaching effectiveness, as part of a peer review or teaching mentoring system.

Why We Are Doing This?

Universities like KU have traditionally relied on methods for evaluating teaching that prioritize a narrow dimension of teaching activity (the behavior of the instructor in the classroom) and a limited source of evidence (student ratings). When other sources of information—such as peer observations or course material surveys—are available, reviewers often struggle to integrate and make sense of it all. Moreover, many new faculty members wish they had a better sense of how their teaching will be evaluated and had opportunities to learn from feedback. The Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness increases the visibility of all dimensions of teaching, clarifies faculty teaching expectations, enables quick identification of strengths and areas for improvement, and brings consistency across evaluations and over time. For more information about the rationale, see this report from the Association of American Universities, which features KU’s Framework.

What Units Are Already Participating?


Click links for department information 
Year 1 (Jan. - Dec. 2018) Year 2 (Jan. - Dec. 2019) Year 3 (Jan. - Dec. 2020)
Biology African & African-American Studies Pharmacy Practice
Philosophy  Physics & Astronomy Social Welfare
Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Linguistics Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
Sociology French, Francophone, & Italian Studies  
School of Public Affairs & Administration    


What Will Participating Departments Do?

Department teams will:

  1. Adapt the rubric, identify materials that might be used in each category, and build consensus with department colleagues.
  2. Use the modified rubric for some purpose, such as guiding a peer review or mentoring system, or structuring reviews of teaching for promotion and tenure or progress-toward tenure.
  3. Share results with department faculty after use on multiple cases; review and revise framework.
  4. Participate in a cross-department working group of team leaders to share strategies, results, and lessons, and develop guidelines for departments and review committees.
  5. Produce a brief report and present their work to other faculty at KU’s annual Teaching Summit.
Participant Information and Eligibility

We have awarded grants to 12 departments over three years of the program. We do not anticipate offering additional grants at this time, but other departments or equivalent academic units on the Lawrence campus are welcome to join the program.

For more information about the project, contact CTE Director Andrea Greenhoot ( or 785-864-4193) or Associate Director Doug Ward ( or 785-864-7637).

KU Teaching Summit

The KU Summit is held before classes begin each August. The Center for Teaching Excellence, Provost’s Office, and KU Medical Center co-sponsor the conference for faculty and instructional staff members from the Lawrence, Edwards, and medical center campuses. There is an opening plenary session including a thematic keynote speaker and recognition of the recipient of CTE’s Departmental Teaching Award. This is followed by three waves of conference style breakout sessions led by faculty members, and boxed lunch final discussions with academic leaders.

The fall 2020 KU Teaching Summit will be held August 20 from 9 am - 12 pm. This year’s theme is Teaching in a Transformed World. All sessions will be virtual. The keynote address is Dismantling Educational Inequities Through Teaching by Professors Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy of the University of North Carolina. More info on this page.


Programs from past conferences are available below.
2018: Teaching the Whole Student
2017: Learning from (with) Our Students
2016: Supporting Learning for All Our Students
2015: Exploring the Spectrum of Engaged Learning
2014: Designing the University of the Future: Putting Learning First
2013: Innovations in Teaching and Learning
2012: More Than 4 Walls: Interactive Class Time = Enhanced Learning
2011: Teaching and Learning as a Community Enterprise
2010: Firm Foundations for Learning
2009: Engaged Learning
Summit 2009 program (pdf)

The links below are to materials from Jillian Kinzie’s presentations at the conference:
2008: Making Learning Visible
2007: Collaboration: Models, Processes, and Tools to Build Community
2006: Teaching and Learning in a Changing World
2005: I Know It When I See It: Detecting Quality in Teaching and Learning
2004: General Education: Establishing New Traditions of Learning
2003: The Engaged Learner
2002: Making the Most of the Times

Teaching Scholarship Collaborative

The Teaching Scholarship Collaborative provides an opportunity for people who have an interest in research/scholarship on teaching and learning to learn more about new developments in the field. Perhaps more importantly, it will function as a working group, with participants helping each other with T&L projects. Once a month, the group will read and discuss an article in the field. The other meetings will provide time for members to work on tasks related to their scholarship – and they will get some help from CTE and the TSC members, too.

More information on future schedules and registration forthcoming!

Faculty Seminar

KU faculty are invited to apply for CTE’s Spring 2020 Inclusive Teaching Faculty Seminar, to support the adoption of teaching methods, strategies, and course materials that enhance inclusivity and respect for diversity. Building on three years of the Diversity Scholars Program, our goal is to continue to develop campus capacity for fostering a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable KU learning environment.

What is Faculty Seminar?

CTE’s Faculty Seminar gives faculty members an opportunity to develop teaching innovations and new models of teaching practice in a collegial setting that offers peer review and support. In the Spring 2020 Inclusive Teaching Faculty Seminar, participants will explore ideas for incorporating greater attention to diversity (broadly defined) and more inclusive practices in their classes. In Spring 2020, participants will meet for five or six 90-minute sessions. Through readings, discussion, and workshopping of ideas, participants will develop plans for a substantial change to a Fall 2020 course to make it more inclusive, and plans to assess the impact on their students’ learning. In Fall 2020, participants will meet for two follow-up sessions, to reflect on progress and discuss implementation and assessment.

Deadline for Applications: December 4th

Zhejiang Normal University Faculty Professional Development Program [2019-2020]

From December 2019 through May 2020, KU welcomed 29 faculty from Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) in Jinhua, China, for an innovative 6-month professional development experience centered around effective college teaching. After a month of English study with the Applied English Center, the ZJNU faculty went through the Center for Teaching Excellence’s course on Effective College Teaching, originally developed by CTE Associate Director Doug Ward. The course combined study of research on teaching and learning with on-the-ground class observations of exemplary KU instructors. ZJNU professors were also paired with mentor faculty from KU. Unfortunately, in-person meetings and class observations were cut short by the transition to online courses due to COVID-19. However, the group was able to finish the CTE course on Zoom.

As a culmination of their time at KU, the ZJNU faculty spent their final 6 weeks of the program designing a transformation for a course they teach, which they presented via Zoom during the week of May 18-22, 2020. The PowerPoints for these presentations have been divided into six categories (Art and Design; Business and Economics; Language, Culture, and Humanities; Social Sciences and Philosophy; STEM; and Teacher Education) and can be accessed by using the buttons below.

The ZJNU course was taught by CTE Faculty Associate Ali Brox (assistant teaching professor, Environmental Studies Program), CTE Faculty Ambassador Yvonnes Chen (associate professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications), and CTE Graduate Student Fellow Debby Adams (Ph.D. candidate, Curriculum & Instruction). Special thanks go to faculty mentors and the staff of International Short Programs for their planning and partnership for the ZJNU program.

Art and Design Projects
Business and Economics Projects
Language, Culture and Humanities Projects
Social Sciences and Philosophy Projects
STEM projects
Teacher Education Projects

News & Notes

See how CTE is leading the shift to flexible teaching at KU.

Visit the Flex Teaching sitewhich provides help for creating flexible courses that can shift between in-person and online.