From its inception, the CTL offered a wide variety of programs for members of the Connecticut College faculty.
- Newly hired faculty members were offered the opportunity to participate in the Johnson Teaching Seminar, a year-long seminar on teaching
- Experienced faculty discussed and critically assessed their teaching in a variety of settings, both formal (ongoing seminars) and informal (discussions over lunch)
- In cooperation with information services, the CTL planned and offered innovative seminars on enhancing student-learning using technology
- Prominent educators from off-campus presented lectures and conducted workshops on such topics as course design, speaking across the curriculum, teaching portfolios, science education, and diversity in the classroom
The success of these programs was recognized by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with a $100,000 grant for three years of seminars on teaching for experienced faculty. The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation recognized the continuing importance of the CTL’s work by awarding grants of $375,000 in 1998 and, based on its successful track-record, an additional $480,000 in 2001.
Core Curriculum/General Education Discussions
In his inaugural address in May 2002, President Norman Fainstein stated that despite the faculty's many accomplishments as academics “we have been far less successful in answering the question of what is the best curriculum for a liberal arts college in the 21st century,” and noted a lost sense of curricular coherence. In response to that challenge and in cooperation with the Dean of the Faculty and the Educational Planning Committee, the CTL hosted a series of discussions during 2002-2003 that focused on specific proposals from members of the faculty for a new GE or Core Curriculum at Connecticut College. Faculty members were asked to provide specific written proposals in advance and to lead discussions.
The Faculty Teaching Seminar (nee Hewlett Teaching Seminar)
The Center's second major program was on hiatus for 2002-2003 after four successful years. The seminar offered bi-weekly meetings for continuing faculty to discuss various teaching issues and sponsors workshops with guest facilitators and presenters. Original groups of participants in the Hewlett Seminar developed and shared a pedagogical project, overseen by the then associate director and Dean of Freshmen Theresa Ammirati.
CTL - Teaching Grants
Begun in the 2002-2003 academic year, the CTL invites proposals from the faculty for projects designed to improve teaching and learning on campus. Projects funded in the past include:
- Curriculum development in art, sociology, history, Slavic Studies, Gender & Women's Studies, human development and dance
- Teaching Writing in the Sciences
- Coaching as Teaching/Teaching as Coaching (Department of Athletics)
- Critical Theory and the Teaching of Social Justice (workshop for faculty)
- Teaching Critical Thinking Skills (workshop for faculty)
- Ethnomathematics (mathematics department course development)
CTL - Johnson Innovative Teaching Awards
During the 2002-2003 year, these awards were designed to recognize publicly the innovative and effective teaching that took place at all levels of our faculty, from visiting faculty to named chairs. Awards were given to faculty for an effective and innovative teaching practice, method, assignment, or class. Criteria for the evaluation of the grants and awards included the innovative nature of the project, its potential or shown impact on student learning, and the transferability of the idea. At a CTL-sponsored discussion or workshop, the award-winning faculty then shared their innovations with other faculty.
"Teaching Matters" Faculty Teaching Initiative
During January and May 2005, the CTL sponsored two weeks of intensive teaching development opportunities meant to both build upon other programming and move forward Connecticut College’s new General Education curriculum, specifically the design of the new First Year/Freshman Seminars. Faculty were offered the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops — ranging from a day to a week — that addressed issues such as teaching critical thinking skills, designing effective presentations for students, using technology to enhance student learning, diversity and learning, advising first-year students, teaching information literacy skills, using writing to enhance student learning, and oral communication in the classroom. Teaching Matters has evolved into the CTL's current program, Camp Teach & Learn.
CTL Johnson Teaching Grants
Begun in the 2002-2003 academic year, the CTL invited proposals from the faculty for projects designed to improve teaching and learning on campus. Funded projects included “Curriculum Discussions and Workshops” (Gender and Women’s Studies Program); “Teaching Writing in the Sciences”; “Coaching as Teaching/Teaching as Coaching” (Department of Athletics); “Reinventing Teaching and Curriculum in the Foreign Languages”; “Teaching Critical Thinking Skills”; and “Ethnomathematics.”
CTL Target Grants
Since its inception, the CTL has supported teaching and learning activities as the opportunities arise, sponsoring or co-sponsoring a variety of activities to support faculty in their teaching, such as:
- a co-sponsored symposium with the Department of French: "Teaching the Text(s): the Future of Literary Studies,” which brought to campus leading literary scholars
- a discussion about “Teaching and Diversity” with former Harvard Law Professor and author Derek Bell
During the 2003-2004 school year the CTL helped sponsor the year-long “Faculty Seminar on Interdisciplinarity,” which included well-known scholars whose research and teaching crosses disciplinary boundaries. In addition to giving public talks, these scholars participated in a seminar discussion that addressed issues of research, writing, and teaching across disciplines.
During the 2004-2005 school year, the CTL supported a second faculty seminar, “Theory in Transition,” that addressed the status and continuing relevance of theory across the disciplines. In addition to bringing internationally-known theorists to campus to engage our students and faculty, there was a seminar and syllabus workshop about teaching theory across the disciplines. One of the end results was a planned team-taught, interdisciplinary course on theory that involved a variety of faculty and students from across the College.
Diversity Discussions & Dinners
In spring 2004, this series of discussions continued the work begun by the College's President’s Commission on a Pluralistic Community (PCPC) and addressed the issue of teaching and diversity. The first event featured faculty members who served on the PCPC reflecting upon their experience and sharing their ideas about what they learned on the Commission. They discussed how this knowledge has influenced the way they approach teaching, their own classroom practice, and their work with students both inside and outside of class. During the second event a group of faculty discussed their own approaches to teaching about diversity and reaching a diverse classroom.