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Faculty Teaching Retreat

The Center for Teaching Excellence is now accepting applications for its second Teaching Retreat, to be held June 3-7, 2019 at Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod. This retreat will build on the successes of last year's inaugural event, providing time and support for faculty members to address student learning challenges in conversation with other instructors and in light of recent developments in learning science and pedagogical practice.

See below for how to apply for the retreat; application deadline is January 22, 2019 (application form is located at the bottom of the page). Those accepted for the retreat will be notified by the end of February 2019.

Retreatants include full-time faculty, either as individuals or in teams of up to three members. Each individual or team is asked to anchor their work either in the development of a new course or the revision of an existing course. Faculty teams might be instructors from a single department commissioned to re-think the department's core offering(s), or they might be faculty from different departments working together on an interdisciplinary course.

Interested faculty are encouraged to attend one of the following information sessions to learn more about the retreat and the application process (click on one of the links below to register for a workshop):

Tuesday, Dec 4, at 4:00pm in the CTE Innovation Lab located at O'Neill 250.
Monday, Dec 10, at 3:00pm in the CTE Innovation Lab located at O'Neill 250.

Benefits And Expectations

Accommodations and all meals will be provided for participants at the retreat. Accepted applicants should expect to:

  • Converse with colleagues about teaching and learning;
  • Participate in sessions led by fellow faculty members and CTE staff; and
  • Work individually on their own class projects.

In addition, all attendees will be responsible for reporting on their progress toward meeting a learning challenge after the retreat, including:

  • A one-page description of their progress during the week of the retreat, to be submitted at the end of the retreat;
  • A syllabus for the course (and, if a revised course, a description of revisions) to be submitted at the beginning of the semester in which the new or revised course is taught; and
  • A reflection on the success of the project, including discussion of relevant evidence, at the end of the semester in which the revised course is taught.

Application Process

To apply for the retreat, write a brief essay in which you respond to each of the prompts below. Your task here is not to write a sustained pedagogical essay, but rather to describe your course, identify a particular part of the course on which you would like to focus your reflection during the retreat, and then describe that project in terms of the skills and/or knowledge you hope students will develop in that part of the course. We recognize that what you're able to say about this will vary depending on how far along you are now in thinking about the new or revised course – and that your plans could change as you think about the course between now and next spring.

Describe the course. You can choose to develop a new course or to revise an existing course.

  • If you're proposing to develop a new course, explain how this course fits in with already existing offerings. For example, is it to fill a gap in the department’s curriculum or to focus on topics previously covered in other courses?
  • If you propose to revise an existing course, explain why you are revising it. For example, are you changing the learning goals of the course, or do you hope to introduce a different pedagogical strategy? If you've taught the existing class before, please attach a syllabus for an earlier offering and refer to this earlier syllabus in your account of changes you're considering.

Focus your retreat project. We recognize that you will not have time during the week to complete the course that you propose to revise or develop. Therefore, we ask that you identify a particular element of the course on which you will focus your efforts during the week. To identify this element, you might consider the following questions:

  • If you are revising a course that you've already taught, what's one thing that your students aren't learning as well or as efficiently as you'd like, and how might you revise the course to help them do better?
  • If you are developing a new course, what do you anticipate will be a particular challenge to students who take the course?
  • In either case,
    • What resources might you provide to the students to help them meet the challenge that you have identified?
    • What will you accept as evidence that students have met this challenge?

Describe what you hope to get from the retreat. What sorts of support would you hope to get from CTE staff (and your faculty colleagues) during the retreat? Examples might include consultation with CTE staff, recommendations for books or articles relating to a particular sort of assignment or pedagogical strategy, or assistance learning to use a particular learning technology.

Application Form

To be considered for the Teaching Retreat please submit your essay through the Teaching Retreat Application Form by January 22, 2019.  

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on several criteria:

  • Thoughtful articulation of learning challenge;
  • Feasibility of the project for a weeklong retreat;
  • Thematic fit with other applications;
  • Impact of the proposed project on department or program offerings; and
  • Available CTE resources to assist the instructor’s response to the learning challenge.


Funding for this retreat has been generously provided by the University Council on Teaching and Intersections.

Accommodation 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