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
- Center for Teaching
- Teaching Tips
- Teaching Squares
- Teaching & Learning Resources
- New Faculty
Instructional Excellence (IE) Committee
The Instructional Excellence Committee at ACC coordinates teaching-related discussions and events on campus.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Here’s all that a Teaching Square involves:
- An initial meeting with your group (20 min?)
- 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
- 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.
© 2019 Bill Searle Asnuntuck Community College
© 2019 Bill Searle and Joseph Finckel, Asnuntuck Community College, The Connecticut Center for Teaching
© 2019 Bill Searle (with Joe Finckel) Asnuntuck Community College