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Our Philosophy on Consultations

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

  • Confidential - Unless required to do so by KSU or BOR policy, federal or state law or regulations, 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.  

Types of Consultation Services

Consultations can take place as a one-on-one consultation, classroom observation, or student focus group. You can choose to work with CETL Scholarly Teaching staff through any combination of these consultation options. 

  • One-on-One Consultations

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

        • CETL can help faculty in all disciplines design and implement a research project investigating some aspect of teaching or learning in their courses. Support may include the development of a research question and design, grant proposal review, potential outlets for dissemination, and more. 

        • 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.

        • 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 Observation

CETL strives to accommodate all instructors who desire to receive feedback on their classroom instruction through our classroom observation service. We are pleased to work with instructors to meet your needs as closely as possible when scheduling an observation. Observations generally range from 50-75 minutes. Targeted observations for a portion of a class period may also be appropriate. We ask that you limit requests for observations to one course observation per semester. Selecting a single course creates a manageable action plan that allows you to be highly intentional and focused on documenting your scholarly approach to continuous improvement in your teaching; it also creates space for CETL to serve all instructors seeking support for their teaching development through our classroom observation program. This service is a scheduled service (as opposed to on-demand) that is responsive to limitations on CETL consultant availability and to the time at which courses are taught.

As part of the classroom observation process, we will sit in on 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.  

Classroom observations generally consist of three parts:

        • 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.

        • 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. 

        • 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

    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.

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis 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.


Submit a Observation/Consultation Request

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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.

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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.