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Faculty Development Resources

This site is under construction.  It will be a repository for resources most often requested by faculty (or for faculty). Currently, resources pertain to

  • proactive/intrusive advising
  • case management advising
  • peer review of teaching
  • open educational resources
  • retention toolkit

If you have resources you would like to share, please send them to 

Proactive and Intrusive Advising

Proactive Advising with First-Generation Students: Suggestions for Practice
Elizabeth Kalinowski Ohrt, George Mason University

Proactive (Intrusive) Advising!
Jennifer Varney, Chair-Elect, Distance Education Advising Commission

The Role of Proactive Advising in Student Success and Retention
Sue Ohrablo, Adjunct Professor, Valencia College

Intrusive Advising 101: How to be Intrusive without Intruding
Jennifer Cannon, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

Intrusive Advising
Jennifer Varney, Hesser College

Intrusive Academic Advising: A Proactive Approach to Student Success
Alison Herget, HigherEdJobs

Report: ‘Intrusive Advising’ Among Best Practices for Community College Student Success
Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse

Additional Best Practice Recommendations for Intrusive Advising (PDF)
Missouri Western

Retention Toolkit

Research has shown that the following strategies positively impact student retention.

Learn Students Names

  • Ask students to sit in the same seats for the first few weeks, while you learn to match names with faces. Create a seating chart to match.
  • Ask students to write their names on nametags or table tents. Table tents can be made from index cards or card stock.
  • Take pictures of your students or have them send you a photo so you can create a photo roster.
  • Create frequent assignments early in the class. When you call names out to pass assignments back, you will be able to associate a name with a face.
  • Call roll. When students answer, look at each one to put a face with the name.
  • Do an icebreaker where students add an adjective before their names to describe themselves. Tell them to use an adjective that begins with the same letter as their names. Examples: Antsy Adam, Marvelous Mandy, Rockin’ Rick, or Basketball Bill.

More Resources on Learning Students’ Names

Create a Positive Classroom Environment

  • Arrive early and greet students by name.
  • Give explicit, constructive, and timely feedback.
  • Make learning relevant
  • Avoid negative statements that will make students feel like they cannot succeed, such as “Only one in five of you will successfully pass this course” or “That’s a stupid question.”
  • Always be positive.
  • Begin and end class on time.
  • Reinforce positive behaviors.

More Resources on Creating Positive Classroom Environments

Provide Access to Course Materials

  • Study guides, handouts, and graphic organizers
  • Lecture outlines
  • Slide presentations
  • Syllabus
  • Post files online so students have access anytime they want.
  • Provide detailed instructions for accessing material, websites, and publisher content.

Communicate Clear Expectations

  • Discuss course policies, such as attendance, participation, and academic integrity.
  • Invite students to visit you during office hours if they need help.
  • Identify textbook and materials needed for this course.
  • Provide a course calendar or schedule.
  • Explain how grades will be earned.
  • Describe expectations for participating and completing the course successfully.
  • Tell students how much time to expect working outside of class time.

More Resources for Communicating Clear Expectations

Use a Variety of Teaching Techniques and Strategies

  • Vary instructional techniques. Use examples, demonstrations, practice, active learning, and feedback.
  • Teach creatively.
  • Think about new ways to teach the content. Use a strategy that fits the content.
  • Use humor, suspense, and surprise.
  • Use stories and “real life” examples.
  • Provoke curiosity.
  • Take periodic breaks. For example, lecture ten minutes, then have a short activity to reinforce what was just discussed.

More Resources on Teaching Techniques and Strategies

Have Students Restate Material through Reflection and Self-Assessment

Reflection helps students articulate thoughts, and self-assessment helps students appraise how well they understand the material presented. Below are few examples of questions to ask to assess students’ learning.

  • What is the most significant thing you learned today?
  • What question is uppermost in your mind?
  • Jot down three or four key concepts or main ideas from today’s class.
  • What did you learn today that you think is totally unimportant?
  • What did you learn today that you will use or apply?

More Resources on Reflection and Self-Assessment

Providing Opportunities for Students to Interact

Ideas for designing, creating, or enhancing interaction in the classroom.

  • Divide the class into teams of six and ask them to create a 30-second television commercial that advertises some aspect of subject material of the class, emphasizing its value to the world. Ask each team to present its commercial.
  • Divide the class into teams and have each team teach a concept learned in class.
  • Student-Centered Case Studies
  • Have students pair up and share lecture notes, evaluate material, or discuss essay questions.

More Resources on Interaction in the Classroom

Give Encouragement to All Students

Encourage students to succeed. Ask students how you can help them succeed. Inspire confidence.

Provide Numerous Options for Evaluation

Multiple choice quizzes are not the only way to evaluate learning, though many faculty rely heavily on these types of quizzes. Provide students with alternate ways to demonstrate what they have learned.

  • Testing: Short answer and essay questions, matching, true/false, ranking, multiple answer
  • Writing: Research papers, abstracts, journals, wikis, free writes, reflection papers, one-minute paper

More Resources on Providing Options for Evaluation

Prepare Students Both Psychologically and Academically for Exams

  • Ask students how you can make them feel less anxious about exams.
  • Put old exams on file in the library.
  • Give students practice exams.
  • Before the exam, explain the format to students.
  • Give students advice on how to prepare for exams.

More Resources on Preparing Your Students for Exams

Inform Students of Their Progress during the Term

Giving feedback throughout the year may encourage students to try harder. At the very least, it helps students know where they stand and not find a nasty surprise at the end of the semester. Below are suggestions for keeping students informed on their progress throughout the semester.

  • Give students a sense of what their score means for each assignment. If every assignment is worth 100 points, for example, but you weigh certain assessments more heavily, students may not understand why a 100 on an assignment does not raise their grade average much.
  • Show the range and distribution of points.
  • Indicate what level of performance is considered satisfactory.
  • Provide correction, feedback, guidance, and recognition (verbal and written) that will enable a student to improve.

More Resources on Continuous Feedback

Believe You Make a Difference

Resources and Articles on Student Retention

  • Davis, Barbara Gross. (1993) Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Palomba, Catherine A., Banta, Trudy W. (1999) Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Shaffer, Kathy. (2000). Are They Getting It? Workshop Handouts.
  • Silberman, Mel. (1996) Learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Sylvester, Robert. (1994). How emotions affect learning. Educational Leadership, 52, 60-65.
  • Yelon, Stephen L. (1996). Powerful principles of instruction. White Planes, NY: Longman.


Online Faculty Development to Increase Student Retention

CTE Online, the Center for Teaching Excellence online faculty development site, has a number of webinars on strategies for improving student retention.  For a complete listing of titles, visit the CTE Online page.

  • What Can I Do to Increase Student Retention?
  • How Do Master Teachers Create a Positive Classroom?
  • Learner-Centered Teaching - Where Should I Start?
  • How Can I Communicate to Engage Students and Encourage Learning?
  • How Can I Get Students to Take Responsibility for Their Own Learning?
  • How Do I Get Students to Come to Class Prepared?
  • How Do I Build Community in My Classroom?
  • How Do I Create a Climate for Learning in My Classroom?
  • How Can I Assess Critical Thinking with Objective Items?
  • How Can I Effectively Teach Unprepared Students?
  • How Can I Effectively Use Class Preparation Assignments?
  • How Can I Make My Course Content More Accessible?
  • How Can I Transform My Tests into Learning Tools?
  • How Can I Use Frequent Student Feedback to Improve My Courses?
  • How Can I Use Low-stakes Quizzing to Enhance Learning?
  • How Can I Use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) Online?
  • Beyond the Discussion Board: How Can I Engage Online Students?

Peer Review of Teaching

Rubrics and Checklists: One Size Does Not Fit All

While you can find many examples of peer evaluation rubrics and checklists, you probably will not be able to locate one that fits your needs perfectly. The college could develop a set of criteria that fit all instructors and that should be included in all teaching peer review rubrics, but I would argue that rubrics should be individualized to departments, to ensure you are covering the things you need to cover. For example, for faculty who teach lab courses, there should probably be some place to record information on how well the instructor used the lab equipment. My suggestion would be that departments develop their own rubrics or checklists as a team and that they use the same instrument across the board (everyone in the department should use the same instrument).

Ideally, a rubric would be developed long before you actually use it. Just as rubrics we use with our students, rubrics provide guidance to help the reviewee understand what they will be evaluated on. This is another reason rubrics and checklists should be developed specifically for your needs. You want to include those things that are most important to your institution, division, and department.

Peer Review In a Nutshell

  1. There are two types of peer review: Formative peer review is used when you wish to evaluate and improve teaching skills. Faculty evaluate each other and make suggestions on how to improve teaching skills. Summative peer review is used for making personnel decisions, such has promotion, reappointment, and tenure. Information gleaned from this type of evaluation provides information to allow the evaluator to compare teaching effectiveness to other peers.
  2. Peers are the best judges of subject matter expertise and of instructional materials, activities, and assessments used.
  3. General Steps:
    1. Usually, there is a pre-observation meeting where the reviewer and reviewee discuss the plan for the class. This would be a good opportunity to review the syllabus to see if there are any areas of improvement.
    2. The next step is the classroom evaluation visit. The evaluator sits in on the class and observes.  
      1. Does the faculty member effectively manage the class?
      2. Were the activities and lecture/presentation well organized?
      3. Were major ideas emphasized and reinforced in the lecture, materials, and activities?
      4. Was the material presented at a suitable rate to cover the material? Was enough material covered? Was too much covered?
      5. Has the instructor created a safe, respectful environment that is conducive to effective learning?
      6. Has the instructor created an inclusive environment? Did everyone have an opportunity to participate on the same level? Were some groups/types of students left out?
      7. How did the instructor check for understanding? Did he or she solicit feedback? How were students assessed? What types of assessment were utilized?
    3. In some cases, the faculty who is being reviewed writes his own evaluation (using a form similar to the reviewer’s).
    4. After the classroom observation is complete, the two faculty meet to discuss their assessments of the class. They write a report that includes assessment notes and suggestions for improvements.
  4. Feedback is important. It is important that the reviewee be open for feedback and that the reviewer offer feedback in a respectful manner. Both should agree on the criteria to be observed/evaluated, and they should stick to developed standards.


(I recommend reading at least the ones in bold)

Open Educational Resources

What are open educational resources?

Open educational resources (OER) are materials that are free to be used in the educational setting. Some materials are free because they are in the public domain. Others are free because they have been released to be used or shared with others. OER includes a wide variety of educational material including digital textbook, videos, lesson plans, assignments, quizzes, games, activities, and more.

Example of an open book on OER
OER Student Toolkit: A BC campus Open Education advocacy guide for student leaders:

Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources:

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  • Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

OER FAQ: Texas Tech Universities

Check your licensing knowledge game:


Not all OER is of the same quality:

Check the material for:

  • Clarity, comprehensibility, and Readability
  • Accuracy (content and technical)
  • Adaptability
  • Appropriateness
  • Accessibility
  • Supplemental Resources


Providers of Open Educational Resources

  • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources: consortium of community and technical colleges committed to access to education and increasing student success through adoption of open educational policy, practices, and resources
  • Merlot: California State University System OER library, which allows you to find material, add material, create material, or create a course ePortfolio
  • MIT Open Courseware: open access to materials used in MIT courses
  • OER Commons: Library of searchable Open Educational Resources
  • Open Course Library: Washing State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts
  • OpenStax: Rice University OER library
  • Open Textbook Library: University of Minnesota OER library, includes to links to many colleges and libraries
  • University of Pittsburgh: OER: Big List of Resources
  • Word Digital Library: project of the U.S. Library of Congress, makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and culture
  • Open Yale Courses: free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University
  • YouTube: videos on a wide variety of topics

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