Consultations

The Faculty Development Center provides one-on-one or group consultations upon request to support members of our learning community advance teaching, scholarship, or professional development goals.  

All consultations are voluntary, formative, confidential, and are not part of formal faculty evaluation processes. Our goal is to facilitate reflective and systematic engagement focused on your goals and objectives while offering informed perspectives and resources based on research on teaching and learning. Consultations are not designed to provide you with pre-packaged solutions or to tell you how to teach or conduct research. Instead, consultants will work with you to ask questions and explore possibilities in order to facilitate your objectives. 

Based on the scope and complexity of your request, consultations may involve a single discussion or more regular, ongoing meetings. Some of the most common consultations include those focused on:   

  • Instructional/Pedagogical Practice (evidence-based teaching strategies, inclusive design, classroom management, pedagogical content knowledge, new-to-you approaches 
  • Assessment Strategies (articulating and evaluating learning objectives) 
  • Syllabus/Course Design (re(designing) a current or future course) 
  • Instructional Materials (specific assignments, exams, class sessions, handouts, learning resources, instructional technologies) 
  • Student Evaluation Data & Feedback (student opinions of instruction, formative mid-semester feedback) 
  • Teaching Philosophy or Portfolios (articulating your educational identity and showcasing your work) 
  • Career Development and Pathways (exploring and establishing career goals and objectives, examining pathways for growth and advancement) 

Our consultation process begins with a conversation. These informal discussions are initiated by completing our online consultation request form, which will provide helpful information for us in preparing for our conversation and help us make the most efficient use of your time. Any materials generated in the course of consultations are considered the property of the individual instructor and will not be shared by FDC staff without your permission.  

Following an initial consultation conversation, Faculty Development Center staff can provide additional support should you request it. This might include: 

Teaching Observations

The Faculty Development Center utilizes a three-stage teaching observation process, whereby an FDC consultant will a) work with you before the observation occurs to articulate your goals for the observation, b) engage in a formative (non-evaluative) in-class observation over 1-2 sessions, and c) discuss observations of your pedagogical choices, patterns in student-to-student and faculty-to-student interactions, and overall session design and time allocation. The goal of these observations is to facilitate critical reflection of your teaching practices so that future areas of experimentation and refinement may be identified. Teaching observations are particularly useful in offering a different perspective on your teaching once you’ve engaged in personal reflection and analysis of your practice.  

Student Focus Groups

Research on a technique called Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) suggests that this focus group strategy, lasting no more than 30 minutes, can support greater student satisfaction and self-reported learning. Faculty Development Center consultants can facilitate a SGIF session with your group of learners (course or program participants) to examine, from the perspective of a neutral observer, student perceptions of group dynamics, approaches to learning, assignments or activities, and ideas to enhance student achievement and learning. During a follow-up conversation with you, results from the session will be analyzed together, with the goal of identifying potential strategies to respond to the range of comments generated by the activity. SGIF sessions are typically conducted around the mid-term of a course or program. As such, these sessions need to be scheduled well in advance with an FDC consultant. Find out more about SGIF here.  

Please note that if you have a technical question about Moodle or instructional technology, our colleagues in Learning Technology Services (LTS) can provide just-in-time, useful information about various tools and apps to utilize for teaching and learning. To learn more about the services offered through LTS, including interactive learning technologies, please visit here or contact Susan Dunnavant, Director of Learning Technology Services, for more information.