Seminars For Excellence in Teaching

Since 2008, the Academy for Teaching and Learning has hosted a series of one-hour Seminars for Excellence in Teaching (SET) to help colleagues meet the historic expectations of excellence in teaching at Baylor. For new Teachers of Record (TOR), SET satisfy SACS requirements for professional development in teaching. For more experienced TOR, SET facilitate the sharing of ideas and insights about teaching and learning today and encourage participants to renew their commitments to inspirational teaching. SET are also a valuable resource in the preparation of graduate student Teachers of Record.

All members of the Baylor community are invited to attend SET in accord with our core commitments to seek learning and apply knowledge and to pursue excellence through continuous improvement.

Please see the schedule below for topics, dates, and times. Participants are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions, contact the ATL at atl@baylor.edu or by phone at (254) 710-4064.

SET Schedule for Spring 2019


Wed, January 23, 2019 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Learning Assistants in STEM Courses and Beyond
Michael Moore (ATL, Biology), Mojgan Parizi-Robinson (Biology), Eleanor Close (Texas State University)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

The Learning Assistant (LA) Program, which began at the University of Colorado, Boulder and has been replicated at over 100 institutions around the world, invites trained undergraduate students into the teaching process to facilitate discussions and encourage student engagement and responsibility for learning. While originating in STEM education, the LA program is widely applicable to all disciplines seeking to improve student learning, support efforts to transform teaching using evidence-based best practices, and provide an opportunity to high-achieving students to learn how to teach through exposure to research on teaching and learning. Implementation of active learning and learning assistants has been shown to increase student scores on concept inventories, persistence, and retention. In this SET we will first discuss the necessary elements of an LA program, hear from active participants, and help you consider ways you could redesign a class session of your choice to incorporate active learning using learning assistants.


Tue, January 29, 2019 | 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
(Please note extended duration)
Promoting Undergraduate Research In and Out of the Classroom
Tammy Adair (Biology), Nathan Elkins (Art History)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

Baylor undergraduates are eager to become involved in research opportunities. Nathan Elkins (Art History), Tamarah Adair (Biology), Mikeal Parsons (Religion), and Riz Klausmeyer (Pre-Health Studies), will help you explore strategies to facilitate, develop, and support research opportunities for undergraduates. No matter your field of interest, if you have a desire to incorporate undergraduates in your research or to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURES), come participate in a panel discussion to learn about the resources available through Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) and the College of Arts and Sciences.


Wed, February 6, 2019 | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Middling Energy: The Teaching Opportunities of Mid-Semester
Chris Rios (Graduate School, Religion)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

The middle of the semester often brings predictable challenges. Students and faculty become busy and overwhelmed. Classroom routines begin to feel like ruts. And the end of the semester can seem both frustratingly far and dangerously near. Yet mid-semester also provides a distinct opportunity for trying new things in the classroom, which can reenergize students and give instructors a chance to experiment with new teaching ideas. This SET will explore Carolyn Lieberg's idea of "middling energy," and discuss how innovation in mid-semester can benefit students and faculty.


Wed, February 13, 2019 | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Using Inquiry-Based Techniques to Teach Science to Non-Science Majors
Trey Cade (Air Science)

Location: Jones Library 200 (Dennis Campbell Innovative Learning Space)

Undergraduate science education is an important component of creating a scientifically literate society. The scientific community has made great strides in educating science students but providing a broader science education to all undergraduates is rarely addressed. To help address this, I have created an introductory space weather course for non-science majors, with the goal of expanding exposure to space weather. The philosophy and methodologies used will be presented, as well as results of the first attempts to teach it. Using an approach more tailored to the non-scientist, courses like this can be an effective means of broadening science education.


Thu, February 21, 2019 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Contemplative Teaching: A Pedagogy for Promoting Student Reflection and Engagement
Elise Edwards (Religion)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

Contemplative pedagogy is an approach to teaching that encourages students and faculty to observe (or contemplate) their experience of learning and integrate that experiential component into course content. With this approach, classroom participants are encouraged to examine their internal worlds and connect their learning to their own values and senses of meaning. This seminar will explore the characteristics of contemplative pedagogy and rationales for adopting it. Elise Edwards will explain why she began to use this approach and the opportunities and challenges it affords. Together, we will discuss how contemplative pedagogy could be implemented throughout the curriculum and role play selected strategies and techniques.


Tue, March 5, 2019 | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Syllabus Language and Teaching Style: A Quest for Harmony
Christopher Richmann (ATL, Religion), Courtney Kurinec (Psychology and Neuroscience), Matt Millsap (History)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

The syllabus is an important element of any college course, setting the “tone” for a class. While scholars recognize the emotional importance of syllabus language, none has objectively measured the emotional associations of syllabus language. Further, none has explored the relationship between instructors’ teaching style and the emotional associations of syllabus language. This SET presents research conducted by the Academy for Teaching and Learning, with the assistance of Baylor’s digital scholarship librarians, comparing instructors’ self-perceptions with the emotional associations of their syllabus language. According to our findings, most instructors’ syllabi are incongruent with their teaching self-perceptions on key emotional dimensions. In other words, instructors’ syllabi are not communicating the central emotional associations of their teaching style, and instructors are likely presenting inconsistent emotional messages through their in-class performance compared with their syllabi. In addition to learning more about our methods and findings, participants will encounter tools for measuring their own teaching self-perception and receive suggestions for better aligning their syllabi with these perceptions.


Tue, March 26, 2019 | 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Teaching with Special Collections
Baylor Libraries Fellows

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

The Baylor Libraries Teaching Fellows Program encourages the use of rare books, archives, and other special collections materials in Baylor graduate and undergraduate curricula. In this session, fellows will present lightning talks on how the use of special collections materials enhances teaching and learning in their courses. Attendees will leave the session with ideas for incorporating special collections into their own courses and prepared to apply for a summer 2019 fellowship.


Mon, April 15, 2019 | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Lessons Learned from Teaching Online
Allison Alford (Information Systems, Online Teaching Library Fellow)

Location: Moody Library 104 (Active Learning Lab)

The Baylor Libraries Teaching Fellows Program offered a library fellowship that focused on redesigning a traditional face-to-face course for delivery completely online during a five-week summer session. With this fellowship, the faculty fellow worked with an Online Teaching and Learning Services, Instructional Designer throughout the process. In this session, the Online Teaching Library Fellow will discuss her experience redesigning her course; delivering course to students only in an online format, and possible improvements for the next course offerings. Attendees will leave the session with ideas for teaching online and prepared to apply for a summer 2019 fellowship.