Faculty Cohorts On Teaching

The CTE’s Faculty Cohorts on Teaching program seeks to bring faculty together to explore innovative approaches to significant teaching and learning questions. Participating faculty spend a year investigating a new pedagogical or course design approach to be implemented in at least one of the courses they teach. A late spring kick-off meeting sets the stage for the conversation, and then monthly seminar meetings during the academic year are organized around relevant readings in the pedagogical literature and case studies developed by cohort participants.

All Boston College faculty are eligible to participate. To learn more about the benefits and expectations of the cohort program, please see the tab below.

2024-25 Cohort Applications

Applications for our 2024-25 cohorts, “Exploring Alternative Grading Approaches” and “Applying Learning Sciences to our Teaching,” are now being accepted with a final deadline of March 15. Interested faculty will be asked to submit a brief online application that includes a project proposal explaining what they hope to gain from their cohort participation. 

Full cohort descriptions and links to their respective applications are below. Contact centerforteaching@bc.edu with any questions.

Participating faculty receive a $2,500 stipend and the opportunity to interact with an engaged group of colleagues. Please note that individuals who have administrative roles and teach are eligible to participate in a cohort but ineligible to receive the stipend, as per Boston College policy. Faculty who choose to participate can expect to:

  • attend a kick-off meeting the spring before the cohort launches;
  • participate in monthly cohort meetings during the academic year;
  • develop a short teaching case to be shared with other members of the cohort;
  • experiment with at least one significant revision to their teaching during the cohort year; and
  • submit a brief final report within one month of concluding the cohort, as well as participate in other assessments the CTE conducts of the cohort program.

Applying Learning Sciences to Our Teaching

As instructors have confronted pedagogical challenges from teaching in a pandemic to addressing GenAI, many have sought out findings from cognitive psychology and other learning sciences. These insights, valuable in any context, suggest ways to support student learning by focusing on their metacognition, motivation, reflection, and self-agency. The “Applying Learning Sciences to Our Teaching” cohort invites faculty to participate in a year-long collaborative inquiry into this fruitful intersection of theory and practice. 

There will be opportunities to explore how principles derived from learning sciences have been enacted in a range of disciplines, class types and sizes. Participants will each identify a learning problem common to the courses they teach, and then explore different pedagogical responses to that problem, informed by the learning science literature. Participants will explore a particular response in depth by making its implementation the subject of a case they develop and discuss with the group.

Exploring Alternative Approaches to Grading

Grades loom large in student-faculty relationships: when students focus more on their grades than on their own learning, faculty can find themselves devoting more energy to justifying grades rather than providing meaningful, learning-focused feedback. Over the years, the CTE has heard from faculty who are frustrated with that dynamic and who also worry that the grades they assign reflect students’ prior knowledge or skills rather than their learning in the course. In this context, faculty are looking for alternative approaches to grading that promote trust between students and instructors, de-emphasize competition between students, support student mental health, and cultivate curiosity and risk taking.

This cohort seeks to bring together faculty who are interested in better understanding how grading practices intersect with questions of equity. Participants will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the latest scholarly debates on these questions and explore a range of grading approaches within their specific teaching contexts. We welcome participants from varied disciplines and with varied questions: those who are new to the conversation and those who may have already experimented with alternative approaches to grading; those who are looking to revise their grading system for a major assignment or redesign their grading scheme for an entire course.

Our first meetings will provide an opportunity to dig into your pedagogical values and teaching contexts, analyze the challenges of traditional grading practices, and consider a variety of alternative grading models. During those discussions, we’ll keep an eye on the relationship between course-level pedagogical decisions and institutional expectations. If you are looking to advance equity in student learning and achievement, and think grading is one piece of that puzzle, this cohort could be for you.