Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning (C-TEL)

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Email:, location: Mabee Library 206A, phone: 785.670.2835 (CTEL), hours: 9-4 Mon-Fri

Student in sculpture class

Teaching Circles

Teaching Circles (TC) are short-term focused book clubs. Browse through the list below and choose a TC that interests you.  Once you have registered to participate in a TC, please, stop by the C-TEL Office (206A Mabee Library) to pick up your book.  Participants will meet over coffee and snacks three times during a one-month period to discuss insights or challenges that emerge from the work.  This is a great, low-key opportunity to meet new colleagues and share ideas.  Please join us!

Space is limited to 15 participants per Teaching Circle, so please REGISTER TODAY!

 If you have ideas or suggestions for next year please let us know.

2015-2016 Schedule


Teaching Circle 1 - Engaging Ideas

Book: Bean J.C., 2011. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, 2nd edition. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Monday, September 14, 21, & 28, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

This book is a practical nuts-and-bolts guide for teachers from any discipline and will help you learn to design interest-provoking writing and critical thinking activities. You will learn how to incorporate these activities into your courses in a way that encourage inquiry, exploration, discussion, and debate.  The book features material dealing with genre and discourse community theory, quantitative/scientific literacy, blended and online learning and other current issues.


Teaching Circle 2 - Assessing and Improving your Teaching

Book: Blumberg, P. 2013. Assessing and Improving Your Teaching: Strategies and Rubrics for Faculty Growth and Student Learning, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, October 13, 20, & 27, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

This practical evidence-based guide promotes excellence in teaching and improved student learning through self-reflection and self-assessment of one’s teaching. Phyllis Blumberg presents a new model of assessing teaching that builds upon a broader base of evidence and sources of support. This new model leads to self-assessment rubrics. The book includes case studies of completed critical reflection rubrics from a variety of disciplines, including the performing and visual arts and the hard sciences, to show how they can be used in different ways and how to explore the richness of the data you’ll uncover.


Teaching Circle 3 - Going Public: Civic and Community Engagement

Book: Fitzgerald H.E., 2013. Going Public: Civic and Community Engagement, Michigan State University Press.

Monday, November 9, 16, & 23, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

Going Public examines programs related to civic engagement and the ways in which faculty and students participate in communities in order to improve them. Engagement scholarship is a scholarship of action, a scholarship of practice that takes place both in and with the community. Within the framework of this new scholarship, the mission of the academy does not begin and end with intellectual discovery and fact-finding. Rather, the academy joins forces with the community, and together they use their knowledge and resources to address pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems. Each chapter in this book tells a unique story of community engagement and the scholarship of practice in a diverse range of settings, documenting successes and failures, the unintended consequences, and the questions yet to be answered.  This Teaching Circle will be led by C-TEL Teaching Fellow, Dr. Melanie Burdick (CAS, English).


Teaching Circle 4 - Continuing to Engage the Online Learner

Book: Conrad R. & Donaldson J., 2012. Continuing to Engage the Online Learner: More Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction, Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, February 9, 16, & 23, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

This book includes a definitive model for engaged learning that can be applied in a wide range of on-line learning environments and across learning levels.  It also addresses current topics such as engaging in a blended learning environment, social networking, and using related technology tools. Continuing to Engage the Online Learner provides an introduction to the theory of engaged learning and its design, assessment, and management in online and blended learning environments. In addition, the book describes the types of activities that engage the online learner in each phase of engagement and provides 50 new examples of activities.


Teaching Circle 5 - Teaching to Transgress

Book: hooks, b., 1994. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Routledge.

Monday, March 7, 21, & 28, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

In Teaching to Transgress,bell hooks--writer, teacher, and insurgent black intellectual--writes about a new kind of education, education as the practice of freedom.  Teaching students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher's most important goal.  bell hooks speakes to the heart of education today: how can we rethink teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism? What do we do about teachers who do not want to teach, and students who do not want to learn? How should we deal with racism and sexism in the classroom? Full of passion and politics, Teaching to Transgress combines a practical knowledge of the classroom with a deeply felt connection to the world of emotions and feelings.  This is the rare book about teachers and students that dares to raise questions about eros and rage, grief and reconciliation, and the future of teaching itself.


Teaching Circle 6 - Learner Centered Teaching

Book: Doyle, T., 2011. Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice, Stylus Publishing.

Tuesday, April 5, 12, & 19, 3:15-4:15 pm
Memorial Union Thomas Room
Register Here

Learner-centered teaching focuses attention on what the student is learning, how the student is learning, the conditions under which the student is learning, whether the student is retaining and applying the learning, and how current learning positions the student for future learning. To help educators accomplish the goals of learner-centered teaching, this important book presents the meaning, practice, and ramifications of the learner-centered approach, and how this approach transforms the college classroom environment. Learner-Centered Teaching shows how to tie teaching and curriculum to the process and objectives of learning rather than to the content delivery alone.