Consultations

Types of Consultation Services

You can choose to work with CETL Scholarly Teaching staff through any combination of the following consultation options. Please contact us by email at scholarlyteaching@kennesaw.edu or by phone at 470-578-6410 to arrange your consultation.

One-on-one meeting 

We are happy to discuss new ideas you would like to try, addressing any teaching concerns you may have, conducting and interpreting evaluations of your teaching effectiveness, a review of your syllabus, and more.

Classroom observation 

We are available to sit in your course (or review your online course), observe and collect data on individual behaviors (yours’s and your students’), offer our observations back to you as feedback, brainstorm possible solutions to any issues uncovered, and document the entire process within a written memo.  

Focus group with students 

Our focus groups use the Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) method. Sometimes it helps to speak directly with the students to ask follow-up questions and clarify issues. CETL staff can act as neutral third parties who can collect anonymous feedback and report it back to you. 

All Consultations - Our Philosophy

CETL Scholarly Teaching offers consultations around all aspects of teaching and learning. Our consultations are:

  • Confidential - Within the limits of the law, we do not disclose any information from our consultations, including people and courses we work with, information shared in that process, data collected, documentation produced, or any other element of the consultation. That decision is up to you.
  • Collaborative - We know pedagogy, but you know your disciplinary content, and you know your particular students. Together, we can leverage our knowledge and experience to explore opportunities that work for you.
  • Constructive - Our goal is to help you adapt and apply evidence-based practices matched to your own teaching and learning goals and appropriate to your own context

What CETL will NOT do: 

  • Be the teaching police. We only accept consultations if you come to us. We are not looking for bad teachers to fix. We believe everybody is on a personal and progressive improvement trajectory. We work with educators at all levels, from graduate teaching assistants to award-winning professors.
  • Evaluate your teaching. We adopt a research perspective to the consultation. We collect data, mirror it back to you, and discuss its what it means for potential next steps on your teaching journey. 
  • Come into your classroom uninvited. Consultations are voluntary, as requested by you (not your coordinator or your chair). 
  • Offer canned or basic tips, or be the all-knowing experts. We understand context is everything. We aim to inform you about generative, research-based learning principles, and then work with you to translate those principles into pedagogical strategies tailored to specific situations.
  • Tell on you. Within the limits of the law, our consultations are 100% confidential, as described above.  

One-on-one Meetings

One-on-one consultation meetings address any aspect of teaching and learning that you would like to work on, from selecting appropriate methods for assessment to selecting innovative pedagogical approaches to identifying a students' zone of proximal development. Teaching is a lifelong journey. It doesn't matter if you are an experienced teacher or new to the profession, there are always new things to try. Our one-on-one consultation meetings focus on implementing research-based practices to improve student learning as you move forward in your teaching journey. Meetings can be held at CETL or in your office, whichever you prefer.

Specialized one-on-one meetings - syllabus review

You may be interested in participating in this service because it will help you:

  • identify specific strategies to integrate learning-focused elements
  • re-examining learning objectives and goals
  • check for alignment with assessments and activities
  • articulate a clear and sequenced course schedule
  • create a positive learning environment with promise, tone, and inclusivity

We use Palmer's Learning-Focused Syllabus Rubric as the primary resource for our reviews. Although simply creating learning-focused syllabi does not make a direct impact on actual teaching, it is indicative of a more learning-focused classroom. Of course, required aspects of our KSU syllabi will be honored.

Specialized one-on-one meetings - evaluations of teaching effectiveness

CETL can help you evaluate your teaching effectiveness at different times during the semester, targeting the issues that interest you, then help you with interpreting the data collected and brainstorm possible ways to enhance your course. Our goal is always to improve student learning. Any of these services can be conducted in any modality (face-to-face, hybrid, or online).

Before semester begins

Request syllabus review - create a syllabus that motivates students to learn and makes clear the learning objectives and expectations of the instructor. Create and include an evaluation plan for the semester.


On or about 3-4 weeks into the semester

We can help you plan to conduct your own short evaluation focused on classroom management, overall course structure, or specific learning concepts and content. Conduct this anonymously through D2L, Qualtrics survey, or on paper.


On or about 6-10 weeks into the semester

Conduct your own mid-semester evaluation focused on classroom management, overall course structure, or specific learning concepts and content. Conduct this anonymously through D2L, Qualtrics survey, or on paper.
Schedule an SGID or classroom observation with CETL


During the last few weeks of the semester

Remind students to complete university student evaluation. Students receive an email from the university with the link to the evaluation.
Conduct your own evaluation focused on specific learning concepts and content, mapping back to objectives. Conduct this anonymously through D2L, Qualtrics survey, or on paper.

Classroom Observations

Classroom observations generally consist of three parts:

  • Pre-observation discussion - First, we will schedule the observation along with a time to meet a few days before your class. Meeting before the observation by phone is fine if that is most convenient. We will talk about what you are trying to accomplish with your students, the pedagogical approaches you are using, 2 or 3 areas you would most like to receive feedback on, and answer any questions you may have.
  • Observation (possibly with SGID) - the instructor introduces the CETL staff member to the class and explains the purpose of the observation. We will generally sit in the back of class and take a variety of notes related to the areas on which you requested feedback during the pre-observation discussion. 
  • Debrief - we will need to schedule a time to debrief for 30-60 minutes. It works best if we can debrief shortly after class or as soon you as you are free that same day, but we can wait a day or two if scheduling necessitates. After the debrief, we then provide you a memo on CETL letterhead summarizing the major points from our discussion.

Student Focus Groups

A description of the focus group, or Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID), process:

  • The instructor and facilitator/s meet to review the SGID process, individualize the questions, and schedule a mutually convenient time to conduct the SGID, which requires approximately 30 minutes.
  • On the day of the SGID, the instructor introduces the facilitator to the class and explains the purpose of the process. The instructor leaves the room.
  • The facilitator/s then divide the students into small groups of 3 - 4, gives them a handout that include the questions (with space for concrete examples). There is usually a question about what the students think is working in the course and a question about what they would like to see change.
  • Students in each group must come to a consensus about what they like or do not like about a course and the suggestions for improving it.
  • After students have completed their lists, the facilitator leads a whole group discussion, inviting the students to share their group lists.
  • The facilitator develops consensus among groups about the most and least effective elements of the course, noting outliers or additional information that arises.
  • After the session (within a week or two), the facilitator meets with the instructor to report the results of the SGID.
  • The instructor reports back to the class, explaining how the students’ feedback informs the course design, activities, or assignments in that course or future courses. This step is one of the most important in the SGID process, since it demonstrates the instructor's commitment to improving teaching and learning and respect for the students' feedback.

Benefits of the SGID process:

  • Consultation between the facilitator and instructor leads to improved instruction. 
  • Student participation allows students to compare views.
  • Students can provide constructive suggestions.
  • Faculty and student communication improves.
  • Extremely divergent student views may be reconsidered or moderated.

References 

Brinko, K. T. (1993). The practice of giving feedback to improve teaching: What is effective? Journal of Higher Education, 64(5), 574-593. 
 
Brinko, K. T. (2012). The interactions of teaching improvement. In K. T. Brinko (Ed.) Practically speaking: A sourcebook for instructional consultants in higher education (2nd ed.). 
 
DiPietro, M, Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., Fay, A., Lovett, M., & Norman, M. (2009). Defeating the Developer’s Dilemma: An Online Tool for Individual Consultations” To Improve the Academy, vol. 27, 183-198. 
 
DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. (2014). Using learning principles as a theoretical framework for instructional consultations, International Journal for Academic Development, 19(4), 281-292. 

Herman, J.H., & Langridge, M., (2017). Using Small Group Individual Diagnoses to Improve Online Instruction, in Chapter 15, To Improve the Academy, Volume 31,  pp. 230 - 231.

McKeachie, B. (2014). McKeachie's Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, Fourteenth Edition, pp. 334-335.
 
Millis, B. J. (1992). Conducting effective peer classroom observations. In D. Wulff & J. Nyquist (Eds.), To improve the academy: Vol. 11. Resources for faculty, instructional and organizational development (pp. 189-201). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. 
 
Nyquist, J. D., & Wulff, D. H. (2001). Consultation using a research perspective. In K. Lewis & J. Povlacs (Eds.), Face to face: A sourcebook of individual consultation techniques for faculty/instructional developers (2nd ed.), (pp. 45-62). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. 

Palmer, M. S., Bach, D. J., & Streifer, A. C. (2014). Measuring the promise: A learning‐focused syllabus rubric, in To improve the Academy: A journal of Educational Development, 33 (1), 14-36.
 
Piccinin, S., Cristi, C., & McCoy, M. (1999). The impact of individual consultation on student ratings of teaching. International Journal of Academic Development, 4(2), 75-88. 

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