We don’t know what to expect from the next academic year. We never really do.  But some things we can count on regardless of the teaching context:

  • A sense of belonging correlates with learning.
  • Transparent learning design benefits all students, but especially students from underrepresented groups.
  • Relationships and connections matter deeply.
  • Visual art enlivens learning across disciplines.
  • Universal design for learning levels the playing field.

With this in mind, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) invites you to a week of virtual re-entry sessions that will focus on how to promote deep learning for all students. These sessions will take place August 9-13. Each session features small, researched steps faculty can take and provides brief periods of time for hands-on course planning.


You can register online. Sessions will be held on Zoom to accommodate travel schedules. Please email ctle@syr.edu with any questions.


In addition to the sessions listed below, CTLE and ITS Online Learning Services staff will offer shared office hours from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. each afternoon to answer questions and work with faculty through teaching possibilities.

Monday, August 9, 9:30 a.m.—noon

Transparent Design Invites ALL Students to Learn

Part 1: Transparent Assignment Design—9:30 a.m.

Research demonstrates that when college teachers incorporate transparent design into two course assignments, students report a significantly increased sense of belonging. 

This three-part workshop begins with a focus on the research, followed by participants applying transparent design to a specific assignment they are drafting for a fall course.

Break—10:30 a.m.

Part 2: Broaden the Impact of Transparent Design—11:00 a.m.           

In the second hour, we apply transparent design to other aspects of college courses that can cause confusion. Participants will choose a topic such as participation, office hours, course calendar, pandemic-related expectations, support for learning, group work and communication with faculty. They will join a virtual break-out group on their topic of choice and outline (1) the aspects that are hidden from (some) students and (2) outline 2-3 ideas for making it transparent.

Part 3:  Revise or Create Teaching Material Using the Transparency Model—Asynchronous

The first 20 people who register for this option and complete the requirements will receive a $250 stipend. Registrants commit to participating in Parts 1 and 2 and to submitting one revised or newly created document to CTLE by August 27. 

Tuesday, August 10, 9:30 a.m.—11 a.m.

Connecting for Learning Through Relationship-Rich Classes

“Relationships are the beating heart of the undergraduate experience … Decades of research demonstrate the transformative potential and the lasting legacies of a relationship-rich college experience” (Felten & Lambert, 2020).

In this workshop, participants will apply research findings on the power of relationship-rich higher education to their own fall 2021 re-entry teaching context. Each participant will examine one of their own syllabi to identify opportunities to increase the role of relationships in learning (e.g., faculty and students, students and students, and students and people outside the course). They will plan to implement a few small changes.

Wednesday, August 11, 9:30 a.m.—noon

Teaching with Art Across the Curriculum

Do you know that that the Syracuse University Art Museum has over 45,000 artworks and cultural artifacts from across time and the globe? In fact, it is among the top 10 largest academic museum collections in the country! Join Dr. Vanja V. Malloy, Director and Chief Curator, to discover easy strategies and approaches to teach with the collection in any discipline and provide your students with a memorable and rewarding experience!

Thursday, August 12, 9:30 a.m.—noon

Universal Design for Learning

Use research-based principles and strategies to create/update chosen course elements in a collegial environment. Move from foundational information to authentic application within one session, following the style of make-and-take workshops. Prior to the session, identify a course -OR- one aspect of multiple courses (e.g., syllabi) that you would like to work on. Breakout sessions optional, to accommodate individual needs and work ways (the “What I Need” or WIN model).

Friday, August 13, 9:30 a.m.—noon

Learning Technologies Re-Imagined

Meet the staff from the ITS Online Learning Services team as they share new features in and recent updates to teaching and learning technologies available at Syracuse University. Come and see new ways to enhance your face-to-face classes with updated features from technologies such as Blackboard, Zoom and Kaltura.

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