New Faculty Programs

The Center for Teaching Excellence places a particular emphasis on supporting faculty in their first years at Boston College. In addition to hosting programs created specifically for new faculty, the CTE welcomes new instructors in all of its faculty-specific and campus-wide programs.

New Faculty Orientation

In partnership with the Provost’s Office, the CTE hosts an afternoon of teaching-focused conversations as part of New Faculty Orientation each August. This year, the CTE hosted its teaching orientation on Wednesday, August 16 from 12:00 - 4:00 in 245 Beacon Street. Box lunches were available starting at 11:30, and participants were welcomed to eat outside if they preferred. 

Schedule Overview

11:30 - 12:00: (Optional) Box lunches available 

12:00 - 12:15: Teaching Support at BC: An Overview 

12:15 - 1:15: Opening Discussion: Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms 

1:30 - 2:30: Concurrent workshops

2:45 - 4:00: Faculty Panel (also livestreamed via Zoom)

Opening Discussion: Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms

Boston College is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn and thrive in their studies, so we began the afternoon with a discussion of inclusive teaching strategies that can support you in that work. Informed by scholarship out of disability studies and Universal Design for Learning, this discussion focused on small adjustments to your teaching that can lower barriers to student success in your courses.

Concurrent Workshops

Setting the Stage for Student Belonging

Research indicates that designing learning environments that support students’ sense of belonging is fundamental to student learning and that students from underrepresented groups disproportionately encounter barriers to belonging. In this session, we considered barriers different students might face to belonging and exchanged ideas about concrete, contextual strategies you can use to support student belonging in upcoming courses, with a focus on the first few weeks of the semester. 

ChatGPT and Generative AI 

Ever since ChatGPT was released in November 2022, faculty have responded with a variety of ethical and pedagogical concerns about the technology. In this session, we demonstrated how ChatGPT 3.5 works and its limitations. We addressed how you can prepare yourselves and your students for its use in class. The session included a significant Q&A period.

Planning for the First Day

Although it’s easy to think of the first day as a “throw away” class, that first encounter with your students can provide an important opportunity to set the stage for the rest of the semester. In this session, we discussed ideas for how to use that first class meeting to set expectations for the semester, get to know your students, see how they engage with course content, and create a positive learning environment.

Faculty Panel (also livestreamed via Zoom)

We concluded the day with a panel of three Boston College faculty sharing the advice they wish they had gotten in their first year. They talked about what they’ve learned about teaching Boston College students, how they’ve balanced the various demands on their time, and possible pitfalls to avoid in your first year. Featured panelists were:

  • Gerardo Blanco, Associate Professor of Higher Education; Academic Director of the Center for International Higher Education
  • David Burgess, Professor of Biology 
  • Cherie McGill, Associate Professor of the Practice, Philosophy

Accommodations Requests

The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to providing equal access to its events and programs. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact

New Faculty Seminars

New Faculty Seminars on Teaching are gatherings where faculty in their early years at BC can get to know each other across disciplines and discuss the fundamentals of teaching with colleagues. We gather at noon for lunch and informal conversation, followed by a seminar on a topic based on input from this year’s new faculty. These seminars are hybrid; please indicate when you register if you would like to participate in person or on Zoom.

Click the links below to register for the following Seminars:

Facilitating Discussions

Thursday, September 14th, 12:00 - 1:30

Whether you’re faced with a sea of silent students or trying to get a runaway conversation back on topic, leading class discussion can be one of the most challenging — and enjoyable — parts of your work as an instructor. In this seminar, we’ll talk about the components of a successful discussion and consider concrete strategies for getting a conversation started and keeping it on track. Join us for a chance to share ideas with colleagues about how to engage students in meaningful class discussions.

[Register for New Faculty Seminar on Teaching: Facilitating Discussions]

Exploring Innovative Approaches to Grading

Wednesday, October 11th, 12:00 - 1:30

For many faculty, grading can be the most challenging and fraught part of teaching. Pressure over grades can fuel student anxiety and stifle intellectual risk-taking, and poorly-designed grading systems are more likely to assess what students came into a class knowing rather than what they're newly learning in a class. Join us for an introduction to some innovative grading practices that can support learning for all students across disciplines and to hear how your colleagues are approaching this question in their own teaching.

[Register for New Faculty Seminar on Teaching: Exploring Innovative Approaches to Grading]

Transparent Assignment Design

Tuesday, January 30th, 12:00 - 1:30

Assignments serve as the building blocks of our courses. Ranging from low-stakes activities completed during class to complex semester-long projects, assignments provide students opportunities to practice what they’re learning at the same time they give instructors a window into students’ understanding. For this seminar, we’ll talk about how a focus on transparency in assignment design can help you develop more meaningful and effective assignments. You’ll have a chance to workshop an assignment of your own and share ideas for more creative assignment approaches with colleagues.

[Register for New Faculty Seminars on Teaching: Transparent Assignment Design]

Teaching for Transfer: Helping students apply knowledge across contexts

Wednesday, March 13th, 12:00 - 1:30

Instructors across disciplines share the common challenge of “teaching for transfer”: helping students translate what they’ve learned into novel contexts. However familiar concepts or skills may be, students can struggle when asked to apply them in unfamiliar settings, whether that’s putting theory into practice or applying principles from one context to another. This seminar will explore insights from learning sciences which explain this difficulty, as well as strategies to help students overcome it, and will also include time to share ideas with colleagues about helping students develop the depth of knowledge which supports transfer. 

[Register for New Faculty Seminars on Teaching: Teaching for Transfer]

Past Conversations