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Faculty Success Programs, Workshops, and Activities

The Provost’s Office coordinates professional and research development opportunities often in the form of discussion sessions and workshops. Occassionally, faculty across campus lead various pedagogical activities and those resources can be found here.

General Information

The Provost’s Office coordinates professional and research development opportunities often in the form of discussion sessions and workshops.

Will vary depending upon the workshop, but generally open to all Drake faculty and staff with interests or needs in the relevant area.

The Provost’s Office hosts a number of sessions and workshops devoted to specific topics on teaching and learning. These workshops are announced at the beginning of each semester and are open to all Drake faculty and staff, though some workshops will only allow for limited numbers of participants.

More formal workshops are also available, sometimes with limited available seats from May through August. Announcements about these workshops and development opportunities are sent to faculty and/or staff for whom they are most relevant, which is often all faculty and staff. These workshops focus on topics responding to particular faculty and staff needs. Topics for these workshops have included using writing effectively in the classroom; writing instruction in the FYS program; and developing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects.

Information about applying for and attending these workshops and about eligibility for supplemental stipendiary support for attendees is distributed via email shortly after spring break.

Learn More

Arthur Sanders, Associate Provost,

Remote Learning Exchange

Faculty of instruction engaged in online and remote teaching in spring and summer, 2020, are invited to connect with one another to share ideas, ask questions, and reflect on their experiences in unstructured, open conversations.

Every Thursday and Friday through the end August, any time from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, you can use this link to join a virtual Teams gathering. Feel free just to drop in or to contact others in advance and arrange to meet there together.

Please do not share this link with others outside Drake.
If you encounter disruptions during a meeting, please contact Craig Owens at

Faculty Writing Project

This project is designed to help faculty across the University make writing a more meaningful part of their teaching. Participating faculty collaborate over a semester with the coordinator of writing instruction on the development of a writing assignment or writing project and strategies for responding to student writing. Participants meet as a group three times a semester to discuss issues and concerns pertinent to the use and instruction of writing in their courses.

Fall Semester:  Priority to faculty teaching FYS courses, but all faculty are eligible.
Spring Semester: Priority is given to faculty who participated in the Writing Across the Curriculum or Writing in FYS workshops, but all faculty are eligible.

Faculty receive a stipend for participating in the writing project.  After the initial meeting(s) with the coordinator of writing instruction to develop a writing assignment or project, participants receive half of the stipend; the balance is provided after completing the pilot.

Call for applications for each program goes out during the prior semester.

Jody Swilky, Professor of English and Coordinator of Writing Instruction,, 271-2853

Teaching and Learning Consultations

The Center for Teaching Excellence offers confidential consultation and advice on an as-needed/as-requested basis to Drake faculty of instruction who think their pedagogy would benefit from conversations with experienced teachers or from course observation.


Consultations are focused, short-term interactions that offer advice on specific questions, issues, and questions that will help already successful instructors make meaningful improvements in their approach to teaching and learning.


Consultations on any of the following topics are available:

  • Facilitating engaged learning in the classroom
    • Are discussions flagging? Do only the same few students participate in collaborative exchange? Are you tired of relying on the same small-group activities to get students engaged in active learning? Do you hope to build a more mutually committed classroom community? Do you anticipate challenging conversations around sensitive or difficult topics?  Whatever the challenges you face in bringing students actively into the conversations in your classes, our Teaching and Learning Consultants are here to help.
  • Student motivation
    • Whether it’s a matter of encouraging careful completion of homework, in-class engagement with the material, or resilience and self-efficacy, Teaching and Learning Consultants can offer ideas about how to motivate students to take their learning seriously in your courses.
  • Course design and architecture
    • Teaching and Learning Consultants can help you articulate your big ideas for course topics and themes into specific goals and to craft course proposals, syllabi, policies, assignment sequences, and schedules of activities to help you and your students achieve those goals.
  • Designing and managing projects
    • If you’ve ever asked students in your class to take on large or complex problems—both within the boundaries of your course and beyond, as in community or global contexts—you know how messy project-management can be. Teaching and Learning Consultants are eager to advise you on managing projects, and equip students to manage their own work, efficiently and effectively.
  • Grading and assessment
    • From designing assignments and rubrics to articulating evaluation practices to evaluating and responding to student work, consultants can answer questions and offer perspectives on how to effectively and efficiently measure student performance in your courses.
  • Using educational technology effectively
    • What happens when a discussion forum begins to feel like busy-work? Should you think about “flipping” some components of your course? Are you trying to find ways to engage students through digital platforms or interfaces, but don’t know where to begin. Our Teaching and Learning Consultants can share their experiences and insights in using digital technology to advance student
  • Representing and reflecting on pedagogy
    • Are you composing a pedagogy statement or teaching philosophy? If so, our consultants can take a look at what you’ve written and offer their impressions of how well it succeeds in presenting a compelling picture of your teacherly identity.

Send your request for a consultation, including a brief description of the problem, issue, challenge, or opportunity you are seeking advice on, to You will receive a reply putting you in touch with a peer consultant well positioned to help you address your needs.


You and your consultant will work together to decide on the best way to approach your question together, whether that’s through document sharing, brainstorming sessions, a classroom observation, or something else.


Consultations are confidential and non-evaluative: They do not inform official performance reviews or reappointment, tenure, promotion, or award decisions. They are also purely advisory, meaning that the ultimate decision as to whether and to what extent to put consultants’ feedback into action is entirely a matter for faculty consultees to decide for themselves.


The Drake Open-Course Network

The Drake Open-Course Network comprises instructors who wish to learn from one another through informal conversation and observation. The Center maintains a list of instructors who have joined the network and periodically shares that list with its members. Network members are free to reach out to other colleagues on the list with questions, invitations to observe courses, or requests for advice and insight.

To join the network, please send a brief email to with “Open-Course Network” in the subject line.

The Center will provide on-campus lunch vouchers to members of the network who wish to meet and discuss teaching-and-learning-related issues over a midday meal at Hubbell dining hall. Lunch vouchers can be obtained from Sandra Harris.  Her office is located at 320 Old Main and vouchers can be picked up during working hours.

The Embodied and Co-Present Learning Working Group

Part of Drake’s “distinctive learning environment” is a commitment to in-person, co-present, and collaborative learning. The Embodied and Co-Present Learning Working Group will investigate Drake’s culture of in-person teaching and learning in the hopes of articulating highly effective practices and capturing students’ and instructors’ sense of the benefits of learning in person. Drake professors Cristina Wildermuth (SOE), Kevin Carlson (A&S), Eliza Dy-Boarman (CPHS), Rachel Allen-McHugh (CPHS), and Chinatsu Sazawa (A&S) will spend three semesters (Spring 2020 to Spring 2021) observing, interviewing, and analyzing findings to provide insights into the way students and faculty experience co-present and embodied learning at Drake.

New Faculty Mentorship

Drake’s Office of Campus Equity and Inclusion and the Associate Provost for Faculty Success, in partnership with The Center for Teaching Excellence, sponsor new faculty mentorships, pairing recently appointed Drake faculty with experienced colleagues who can offer advice and answer questions about how to thrive at Drake. Mentorships complement—but do not replace—the coaching and development offered in faculty members’ home departments with input on navigating the general university culture in non-evaluative, confidential partnerships.

Program Pedagogy Development Consultations

In partnership with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment and the Drake Curriculum Analysis Committee, the Center for Teaching Excellence offers up to five program-level pedagogy development consultations each semester. Credential-granting academic program directors or chairs are invited to contact the Center’s director at, with “Program Consultation” in the subject line, to request consultation on matters pertaining to pedagogical and didactic challenges and opportunities.

Before requesting consultations, program faculty should have engaged in sustained, focused assessment whose findings support the request for consultation on a particular topic or should have consulted findings disseminated by the Drake Curriculum Analysis Committee. 

Faculty Writing Group - Spring 2020

Faculty Writing Group, Spring 2020

Drake faculty members are invited to participate in a Faculty Writing Group (FWG) focused on working effectively on our scholarship. We will meet from 11-12:30 monthly on Fridays. The FWG will be co-facilitated by Nate Holdren (LPS) and En Li (History). Our goal will be to help set ourselves up to make progress on our scholarship over the semester. We will read Joli Jensens book Write No Matter What;and discuss it to the degree that participants find it useful. The session will also include discussion/workshop of the faculty members own scholarship and on-site writing time.

This writing group is generously supported by the Provost's Office. There are spots for ten faculty participants. Should more than ten individuals express interest, priority shall be given to 1) Those who actively participated in the previous Faculty Writing Groups, 2) Tenure-track faculty who are not yet tenured, 3) Faculty who are members of groups under-represented. 

Participants who attend all five sessions will receive a stipend of $150. Light lunches will be provided for four sessions (exclude the introductory meeting in August).

If you have questions, please contact the co-facilitators of the FWG, Nate Holdren ( and En Li (

Contemplative Practices Learning Community 2019-2020

Contemplative Practices Learning Community is in its 3rd year. The learning community is open to faculty and staff (although discussions may be around teaching and faculty experiences, there is something for everyone, and all are welcome). There might be small stipend for participation depending on the funding. The learning community will meet every other week depending on the participants’ availability (we will do our best to find a common time!)

We learn, practice, and explore together and support one another as we tip into practicing to be more still, more accepting, more non-attached, and more mindful.

This group is facilitated by Bengu E. Tekinalp, PhD

Below is some more information about the contemplative practices in higher education:

Contemplative pedagogy and inquiry have gained momentum in higher education.

A growing body of research demonstrates that secular contemplative practices such as mindfulness meditation have a positive impact on student learning, achievement, and these methods help build a sense community. Contemplative practices support learning through increasing the capacity to concentrate even in the presence of internal and external distractions and help reducing stress and anxiety. Contemplative methods are shown to improve in interracial, intercultural relationships as well as help minority students to cope with pressures associated with stereotype threat. Contemplative practices focus on direct experience, values individual’s inner wisdom through facilitating deep connection with and concentration on complex ideas. These practices help individuals stay focused on complex ideas and broaden one’s awareness. Contemplative practices allow individuals to go in and out of different perspectives without being dogmatized by any. In summary, contemplative practices quiet the mind to cultivate a personal capacity for deep concentration and insight. Contemplative practices help to bring different aspects of one’s self into focus, hence developing trust in one’s inner knowledge and wisdom, help to clarify personal values and compassion and therefore help stimulate an awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings. Using contemplative practices in college classes facilitate developing the capacity for deeper concentration, quieting and calming the mind and cultivating a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Ultimately, contemplative practices help to build a sense of community and interconnectedness.