Welcome to the Center for Teaching at Asnuntuck Community College!  On this page, you will find practical resources for improving, reflecting on, and experimenting with your teaching.  The tabs below contain information about teaching-development activities at ACC as well as those sponsored by the larger statewide Center for Teaching in at the Connecticut community colleges.  You will also find a number of written and online resources below that focus on specific teaching and learning challenges that community college faculty face.

Whether you are a seasoned educator or a first-semester teacher, we want to support your continued growth and dedication to teaching as a faculty member at ACC.  We believe in the value and real benefits of reflective teaching, learner-centered instruction, and a community of educators dedicated to the success of our students.

There are two formal entities of the Center for Teaching at ACC:

Instructional Excellence Committee


Heather D’Orlando (Psychology) – HDOrlando@asnuntuck.edu

MaryBeth Rajczewski (Mathematics) – MRajczewski@asnuntuck.edu

Teaching and Learning Consultant (TLC)

Joe Finckel – JFinckel@asnuntuck.edu

If you have any questions about this page or any of the resources you find here, please e-mail Joe Finckel at the address above.



Instructional Excellence Committee

Instructional Excellence (IE) Committee

The Instructional Excellence Committee at ACC coordinates teaching-related discussions and events on campus.

Current IE Co-chairs:  Heather D’Orlando (Psychology) – HDOrlando@asnuntuck.edu, and MaryBeth Rajczewski (Mathematics) – MRajczewski@asnuntuck.edu.

Here are some examples of IE events that you will see announced throughout the year.  Watch your ACC e-mail for announcements!

Professional Development Day / Adjunct Night Workshops

Whenever possible, the IE committee coordinates teaching-focused workshops during professional days and adjunct nights at the start of each semester.  Workshops can take the form of concurrent sessions on different teaching topics or larger sessions with the full faculty in attendance.

New England Faculty Development Consortium

ACC is a member institution of the New England Faculty Development Consortium (NEFDC).  NEFDC holds two conferences per year, in November and June, in Worcester and Newton, MA, respectively.  ACC’s Teaching and Learning Consultant (TLC) coordinates a trip for a number of ACC faculty attend an NEFDC conference each year, with many of us riding together in the ACC van.

 Faculty Mingles

Informal opportunities for faculty to interact on campus outside of formal meetings.  These usually include coffee and snacks, and are often scheduled in late afternoon to maximize the number of both full-time and adjunct faculty who are able to attend.

Brown Bag Lunches

Discussions dedicated to specific teaching topics or teaching challenges that are scheduled during the noon hour so as to appeal to any faculty who wish to swing by and bring their lunch.

Open Classroom Days

IE has coordinated Open Classroom Days at ACC in the past, wherein faculty volunteer to “open” specific class meetings to any ACC faculty or students who would like to sit in on the class.

Center for Teaching

Center for Teaching

The statewide Center for Teaching is faculty-driven and coordinates workshops, events, resources, and people across the Connecticut community college system dedicated to faculty-development and learner-centered teaching.

The following programs comprise the major initiatives of the statewide Center for Teaching and its major events during each academic year:

Teaching and Learning Consultants

Each of the twelve Connecticut Community Colleges has a designated Teaching and Learning Consultant (TLC).  Each TLC serves as a resource for faculty on his or her home campus and a link between the campus and the larger statewide Center for Teaching.  Faculty can consult with and reach out to their TLC with any teaching questions they have or challenges they face, and TLCs communicate to their campuses about teaching development opportunities throughout the system sponsored by the statewide Center for Teaching.  Joe Finckel (JFinckel@asnuntuck.edu) is the TLC for ACC.

Barnes Seminar

Established in 1987, the Barnes Seminar is a two and a half day retreat-style teaching development experience based on the National Great Teachers Seminar (NGTS) model.  Barnes takes place each May, and faculty from all twelve community colleges apply to attend.  Barnes emphasizes a best-practices model in which teachers learn from other teachers.  There are no outside experts or presentations at Barnes.  Instead, in a natural retreat setting, Barnes allows faculty to learn from each other by reflecting on the teaching innovations and challenges of their peers.  Joe Finckel (JFinckel@asnuntuck.edu) is the Chair of the Barnes Seminar for CFT.

Instructional Skills Workshops

Instructional Skills Workshops (ISWs) are intensive, three and a half day teaching development workshops limited to five participants.  ISWs lead participating faculty through a series of 10-minute mini-lessons in which each participant teaches their fellow participants and receives feedback on their teaching in a supportive, confidential, and structured format led by two trained facilitators.  Joe Finckel (JFinckel@asnuntuck.edu) is a certified Trainer and ISW facilitator and serves on the Steering Committee of the International ISW Network: https://iswnetwork.ca/

Pathways to Teaching Success

The Pathways to Teaching Success series consists of single-day workshops focusing on specific, practical topics related to teaching.  There is often an annual theme chosen by the CFT Steering Committee, and there are usually 3 – 4 Pathways workshops per year that rotate to different campuses around the system. Tara Jo Holmberg (THolmberg@nwcc.commnet.edu) at NWCC serves as the Chair of the Pathways workshops for CFT.

Schwab Institute for Academic Leadership

An annual event that occurs in March or April, Schwab is a single-day conference-style event that focuses on trending topics related to leadership in higher education, with a particular emphasis on faculty leadership.  Nancy LaGuardia (NLaguardia@ccc.commnet.edu) at CCC serves as Chair of the Schwab Institute for CFT.

The Spirit of Teaching

The Spirit of Teaching is a single-day, retreat-style event that focus on the individual teacher.  Whereas the Barnes Seminar emphasizes a community of educators, Spirit dedicates itself to the growth, wellness, and self-awareness of the individual person who is teaching.  Spirit has traditionally been held each September, but, due to high demand, the Center for Teaching has begun offering a second Spirit event in March, as well.  James Gentile (JGentile@mcc.commnet.edu) at MCC serves as Chair of the Spirit of Teaching for CFT.


Teaching Tips

The Teaching Top 10 No. 1 – First Day of Class

The Teaching Top 10 No. 2 – Making Your Teaching Life Easier

The Teaching Top 10 No. 3 – Second and Third Classes

The Teaching Top 10 No. 4 – Show Students You Respect Them

The Teaching Top 10 No. 5 – Promoting Basic Student Study Skills

The Teaching Top 10 No. 6 – Planning a Class

The Teaching Top 10 No. 7 – Observe Your Teaching Tendencies

The Teaching Top 10 No. 8 – Ways to Keep Your Students Learning

The Teaching Top 10 No. 9 – Getting Feedback on Teaching from Students

The Teaching Top 10 No. 10 – Using Short Writing to Assess Learning

The Teaching Top 10 No. 11 – Getting More and Better Student Questions

The Teaching Top 10 No. 12 – Mixing Things Up Mid-Semester

The Teaching Top 10 No. 13 – Engaging Different Input Preferences

The Teaching Top 10 No. 14 – Helping Students Stay the Journey

The Teaching Top 10 No. 15 – Ending Your Course

The Teaching Top 10 No. 16 – Resources for Learning and Teaching

The Teaching Top 10 No. 17 – Create a Memorable and Functional Syllabus

The Teaching Top 10 No. 18 – Ways to Build Your Students’ Self-Efficacy

The Teaching Top 10 No. 19 – Study Tips to Share with Your Students

The Teaching Top 10 No. 20 – Laddering Thinking Skills

The Teaching Top 10 No. 21 – Ways to End Lessons

The Teaching Top 10 No. 22 – Ways and Reasons to Be Vulnerable

The Teaching Top 10 No. 23 – Using Student Groups

The Teaching Top 10 No 24 – Components of a Complete Learning Experience

The Teaching Top 10 No 25 – Ways to Use Visuals for Learning

The Teaching Top 10 No 26 – Locus of Control

The Teaching Top 10 No 27 – Help Students with Rigorous Writing Assignments

The Teaching Top 10 No 28 – Shake Up Your Teaching

The Teaching Top 10 No 29 – Teaching to Inspire

The Teaching Top 10 No 30 – Mindfulness 

The Practical Professor No. 1 – Tip – First Day of Class

The Practical Professor No. 2 – SFT – Some Strengths I Have

The Practical Professor No. 3 – RP – Who Are You As A Teacher

The Practical Professor No. 4 – Ask – Class Participation

The Practical Professor No. 5 – SFT – Student Confidence

The Practical Professor No. 6 – Tip – Question Roulette

The Practical Professor No. 7 – RP – Your Teaching Goals

The Practical Professor No. 8 – Ask – Why Aren’t Students Reading

The Practical Professor No. 9 – SFT – Getting Significant Feedback on Teaching

The Practical Professor No. 10 – Tip – Helping Students Understand

The Practical Professor No. 11 – RP – From Good to Great

The Practical Professor No. 12 – Ask – Bad Teaching Advice

The Practical Professor No. 13 – SFT – The 5 Most Important Topics

The Practical Professor No. 14 – Tip – Ending Your Course

The Practical Professor No. 15 – RP – How Do You Thrive

The Practical Professor No. 16 – SFT – What Do They Know

The Practical Professor No. 17 – Tip – Transparent Assignments

The Practical Professor No. 18 – Reflective – Zero-Based Evaluation

The Practical Professor No. 19 – Ask – Change a Student’s Life

The Practical Professor No. 20 – SFT – Closing the Learning Loop

The Practical Professor No. 21 – Tip – The Single-Point Rubric

The Practical Professor No. 22 – Reflective – Creativity and Innovative Thinking

The Practical Professor No. 23 – Ask – The Silent Class

The Practical Professor No. 24 – SFT – Lesson Beginnings and Endings

The Practical Professor No. 25 – Tip – The Power of the Recap

The Practical Professor No. 26 – Reflective – The Teacher You’re Becoming

Teaching Squares

Coordinated by ACC’s Teaching and Learning Consultant, Teaching Squares is a peer-based teaching development model based on groups of four faculty who volunteer to participate during a given semester.  Teaching Squares offers faculty a non-evaluative, peer-supported opportunity to both receive feedback about their teaching and also to experience being a learner again.  Each group member visits one each of their groupmates’ class meetings over a period of a month, and the Teaching Square concludes with a final, informal meeting during which group members share their experiences and observations of each other’s teaching and classrooms.

Depending on the guidelines and objectives that each group establishes for itself, some class visitors participate as part of the class while others decide to remain observers.  Teaching Squares also offers faculty the great benefit of having “another set of eyes in the room.”  A visiting faculty peer can often observe aspects of student dynamics that the instructor may overlook while teaching or while writing on a board.  Some faculty ask their groups in advance for feedback about a specific aspect of their teaching, while other groups focus more on the experience of the visitor, discussing later what the visitors learned about teaching from the classes that they visited.  The Teaching Squares model is voluntary, supportive, and flexible to the varying needs of different faculty.

Time Commitment

Here’s all that a Teaching Square involves:

  1. An initial meeting with your group (20 min?)
  2. Visit one class taught by each of your (3) groupmates (note: the entire group does not have to visit the same class meeting).  Keep notes about your experience as it is happening and review those notes before the final meeting (Square Share
  3. Group meets for a final “Square Share” (preferably over a meal or coffee off campus!) to discuss and reflect on your experiences in each other’s classes!

For this program, ACC uses a model developed at Stonehill College (see handbook) and Leeward Community College. Teaching Squares has also been adopted for teaching development by Tufts University and has been discussed in The Teaching Professor.  Faculty first meet as groups to review the structure and objectives of the Teaching Squares program, coordinate their teaching schedules and class visits, and establish their own guidelines and objectives that guided both their experiences as learners in each other’s classrooms and the kinds of feedback they intended to share during their final meeting at the end of the program.

Teaching Squares at ACC is open to any faculty member full or part-time, on-ground or online.

For more information, click here to read the Teaching Squares handbook.



Teaching & Learning Resources

Classroom Assessment:  A Manual for Faculty Developers

 © 2019 Bill Searle Asnuntuck Community College

Faculty Compendium of Online Teaching Tips

Stocking Your Teaching Toolbox

 © 2019 Bill Searle and Joseph Finckel, Asnuntuck Community College, The Connecticut Center for Teaching

New Faculty

Teaching:  A Crash Course for New Part-Time Community College Faculty

 © 2019 Bill Searle (with Joe Finckel) Asnuntuck Community College