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Faculty Resources

Fall 2021 Food for Thought Discussions

Hosted by the Offices of the Sr. Associate Dean for Instruction & Curricula

Center for Excellence in Science Education

Office of Digital Learning


Checking In – What is Working? What is not Working? How Can We Help?

Open discussion with faculty and staff

September 9, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Facilitators: Jackie Bortiatynski, CESE and Melissa Hicks, ODL Registration link:


SPEC Grading in a Course (curriculum discussion)

September 23, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Russ deForest, Department of Mathematics Registration link:


Why do Students Become Learning Assistants (LAs)? Exploring Participation Through Qualitative Data

Two-part series (pedagogical and curriculum discussions)

October 14, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Jennelle Malcos, Department of Biology, Center for Excellence in Science Education

  • Part 1: Many of us recognize Learning Assistants (LAs) as a valuable resource in courses. They are instrumental in improving student engagement and course climate especially in large, introductory courses. With over 800 LAs in our program each academic year, a question remains as to “Why?". Why do students apply to be LAs? What do they hope to gain from the experience? And what hesitations do they have? In this Food for Thought, we will explore qualitative data from a research project lead by former LA Katie Schietroma asking what goals first-time LAs bring to the program. Communication skills may immediately come to mind, but there are some surprising reasons that emerged. We hope to use this data session as a springboard to conversations in Part 2.

Registration link:


October 28, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Jennelle Malcos, Department of Biology, Center for Excellence in Science Education

  • Part 2: Based on the data presented in Part 1, our discussion will focus on current or future practices that help LAs reach major goals in the program while supporting students as a peer education resource. We will also consider how these goals align with college and department student learning outcomes. Ultimately, thinking about both sides of LA program with collectively strengthen the success for students, LAs and faculty members.

Registration link:


EBTA Reunion

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 8:30 - 11:30 am

Location TBD


Resources Used in Foundational Courses (pedagogical discussion)

November 11, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenters: Joe Houck, Department of Chemistry and Melissa Hicks, Office of Digital Learning Registration link:


CHEM B Series (curriculum discussion)

December 9, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenters: Aaron Garner, Department of Chemistry and Linlin Jensen, Department of Chemistry Registration link:


End of Semester Reflection & Brainstorming Session

Open discussion with faculty and staff

December 16, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Facilitators: Jackie Bortiatynski, CESE and Melissa Hicks, ODL Registration link:

By the end of this workshop, faculty should be able to….

  • describe the Eberly College of Science’s (ECoS) mission to provide a quality education for all students and how the Center for Excellence in Science Education (CESE) supports that mission
  • explain the importance of introducing themselves to their students and building a positive classroom community
  • explain the importance of student motivation when leading student-centered learning activities and the factors that may impact motivation.
  • discuss what student-centered learning is and be able to list the types of active learning activities commonly used by faculty in ECoS
  • summarize the importance of alignment between course components
  • Faculty will be able to discuss challenges faced by many ECoS students and how inclusive practices can reduce achievement gaps
  • Faculty will be able to describe methods to increase inclusivity as well as to assess student expectations
  • list the essential components of a syllabus, know where to find resources to help with developing a syllabus, and will be able to identify what an effective syllabus looks like.
  • locate educational resources within the university, including communities of scholars focused on teaching and learning

The objective of the Evidence-Based Teaching Academy  is to offer faculty training so they can implement effective evidenced-based teach and active learning in their courses. The objectives of each workshop are to:

• Explore research-proven methods for guiding student learning
• Consider their teaching from a student-centered perspective
• Use a Scientific Approach to design a unit of their course by
• Writing learning objectives
• Building learning activities to accomplish objectives
• Developing assessments that build and assess student mastery of objectives
• Leave the workshop with a redesigned course unit, ready for delivery using best

Remote Teaching Resources

Following is a compilation of resources related to COVID-19 on teaching remotely and responses by the federal agencies to the federal funding of research during the pandemic:

Crowd-Sourced List of Resources to Support Remote Teaching

Visit to view an expansive, crowd-sourced list of resources to support remote teaching that includes links to many institutional websites dedicated to the topic. If you notice that your institutional website is missing from the spreadsheet you may add it by using the following online form:

Disciplinary resources on teaching remotely

Disciplinary societies have been crowd-sourcing resources on teaching remotely. These documents are not necessarily comprehensive or best practices, but they are being generated by communities of faculty developers and discipline-based education researchers and represent some of the best thinking around teaching effectively remotely:


Other Resources

Tombros Fellows of the CESE develop and implement innovative teaching methodologies, assessment techniques and new courses in ECOS courses.

The vision of the Schreyer Institute is for all Penn State students to be engaged in and responsible for their own learning by means of excellent teaching. The Institute aims to advance and inspire excellence in Penn State’s teaching and learning community.

Academic and Administrative Policies and Procedures manual - Answers questions on issues such as grading and course scheduling

CIRTL Diversity Resources - Resources for inclusive teaching practices in science, technology, engineering and math

Center for Excellence in Writing - Promotes a writing-intensive philosophy of student-centered teaching and collaborative learning through integrated programs; the Center for Excellence in Writing is in the process of blending its undergraduate programs with Penn State Learning.

Classroom and Lab Computing - Information about the Technology Classrooms and Student Computing Labs on the University Park Campus and related services

Copyright Clearance Office - Official University resource for obtaining copyright approvals for course packets and other publications

Counseling and Psychological Services - Worrisome Student Behaviors: Minimizing Risk

Educational Planning Survey - Background information about the Educational Planning Survey and summaries of the data collected from the FTCAP [First-Year Testing, Counseling and Advising Program] surveys

General Purpose Classrooms - Shows number of seats, type of seating, technology category, and photographs for most classrooms at University Park

Multicultural Enhanced Learning for Diversity (MELD) - Resource database providing a rich mix of cultural, international, gender, and lifestyle perspectives that can be integrated into any course

Office for Disability Services - Services for Penn State students with disabilities, includes link to faculty handbook for working with students with disabilities

Penn State Learning - Peer tutoring for many different courses and assistance in multiple skill areas, such as technology, writing, learning skills, etc. for students

Penn State PULSE - Information about student attitudes and opinions on issues relevant to learning

SCOLA - Free resources for instructors of foreign languages at Penn State, including television programming from around the world in native languages

Testing Center - Scanning Operations for the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, e-Testing Facility and ITS computer lab

University Libraries' Services - Library service for faculty, instructors and staff

The Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education was established in 1990 by an endowment from William and Wyllis Leonhard. The Center strives to enable the key changes that are required to maintain a world-class engineering education at Penn State. Leonhard Center initiatives focus on the enhancement of courses and curricula as well as assessment of the effectiveness of innovations.

Technology Tools and Resources

Research on Teaching and Learning and Technology - From Penn State Information Technology Services

Tools for Teaching and Learning - Compiled by the Schreyer Institute

"7 Things You Should Know" Series - Provides concise information on emerging learning technologies

iStudy - Modules for Freshmen and skill building support

iTunes U - Post lectures and podcasts on iTunes

Teach Act Information - Information and FAQ on the Teach Act and U.S. copyright law - Preventing plagiarism in your classroom

e-Portfolio - Developmental spaces for representing your professional self on the web

ANGEL - Penn State's course management system

Educational Technology Services - Support in the appropriate use of technology for teaching, learning, and research

ITS Training Services - Provides access to information technology training at Penn State

Media and Technology Support Services - Services include media collection of more than 23,000 films, videos, and DVDs, media duplication, video editing labs, and video taping of class presentations.

Web Learning at Penn State - The official Web presence of the Penn State Online initiative

The Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTEs) are Penn State's locally developed instrument for gathering feedback from students at the end of the term. The SRTEs were approved by the University Faculty Senate in 1985 and are administered by the Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. The Schreyer Institute manages the SRTE process and helps facilitate appropriate use of SRTE data.

The Summer Experience in the Eberly College of Science (SEECoS) is a program that is a collaborative effort between ECOS and the Penn State Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Program.  The mission of the SEECoS Progam is to provide first generation, economically challenged students from the state of Pennsylvania with the opportunity to participate in a summer science research project.  The SEECoS Program has hosted 163 UBMS students in summer research experiences from Summer 2007-2012.  Participating faculty help plan and supervise a five-week long research project for groups of 3 or 4 students that can be completed in twice-weekly, 3-hour laboratory sessions. Graduate and undergraduate students are usually the direct supervisors of the research project and help the SEECoS students prepare a PowerPoint presentation about their results.  The project mentors are prepared for the experience by attending a science pedagogy course that focuses on the communication of science and learning, a project development workshop, and best practices for motivating group work and anticipating road blocks in motivation and participation.  The pedagogy course is taught in the spring semester in 3 sessions on Saturday mornings so it does not disrupt regular course schedules.

Center for Excellence in Science Education

View some of the previous workshops organized or coordinated by the Center for Excellence in Science Education.

Past workshops