The CATL offers a variety of sponsored programs to implement best practices and innovate new practices in teaching and learning. Whether you want to attend a peer-to-peer workshop to refine a single assessment, join a learning community to reflect on your practice, or embark on an entire course redesign, you’ll find an overview of opportunities below.

Course Design Academy

The Course Design Academy (CDA) represents a multi-term community of practice to support faculty to redesign entire courses to advance institutional core themes and initiatives. A small group of select faculty are awarded the opportunity to work with each other and Center staff to implement evidence-based practices designed to meet significant learning objectives. Successful applicants will create a new course or redesign an existing course using significant learning experiences as a foundation. Participants will play a significant role in disseminating their lessons learned to the broader University community. Read about CDA details for 2023-24, apply to make a proposal, or check out the project history.

Innovation Communities 

The CATL sponsors Innovation Communities (ICs) in pursuit of SOU Strategic Direction 1, “SOU will transform its pedagogy and curriculum (how and what it teaches) to enhance the success of its learners and graduates.” ICs are intended for small groups (~4-16 faculty) who wish to create a community of practice on a short term basis (~4-16 weeks) to solve a student learning challenge through innovative curriculum or pedagogy. These communities of practice are distinct from Professional Development Awards and grants currently available: proposed initiatives must align with the Strategic Plan or institutional core themes and be scalable to the broader community. Within those limits, proposals could take many directions—sustainability in the curriculum, digital storytelling and professional preparation, inclusive pedagogy, virtual reality and student creativity, mindfulness and lives of purpose, etc. Funds awarded may be used for faculty stipends and/or expertise, events, travel or materials. The Center provides Innovation Communities with expertise and administrative support as practicable. Key takeaways from these groups are disseminated to the broader University community. Learn more and apply to participate.

Transparent Assignment Design Workshops

Transparent Assignment Design (TAD) holds the promise of increasing student success. In these morning or afternoon workshops, faculty from diverse disciplines engage in a reflective dialogue about a key course assignment. Open to any faculty and offered throughout the year, attendees will revise a key assignment to make sure that the rationale, instructions, and criteria for success are clearly designed to optimize student success. Look for workshop dates and sign-up forms on the Commons page.

Learning Circles

Learning Circles are groups of around 10 participants who meet to discuss topics or books consistent with the mission of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Open to all faculty and staff, groups typically meet on a regular schedule for three to six sessions. Sessions meet face-to-face and are live-streamed on Zoom for those who wish to attend remotely. Session summaries are posted on the Commons. Learn about the Fall 2023 Learning Circle and see what we were up to in the Learning Circles held Fall 2022, Winter/Spring 2022, Fall 2021, and Spring 2020.

Program Archives

Course Design Academy beginning in 2016, select faculty engage in a year-long effort to redesign an entire course with significant learning goals and aligned assessment and activities to support student success. 

Instructional Institutes provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to come together and share their practices, both innovative and tried and true. This event website offers programs from Institutes beginning with 2012.