Building Community for Enhanced Teaching and Learning

Open Classrooms

The TLC invites faculty to welcome other faculty into their classrooms for informal inspiration, idea-swapping, and mutual mentoring. Opening our classrooms provides a way for us to share teaching methods and techniques with each other, initiate new collaborations, discuss challenges and solutions, and learn about innovative pedagogies, inside and outside our home departments and disciplines. 

Please take time to visit the Open Classrooms of your colleagues Michael Berntsen and Scott Hicks (English, Theatre & Foreign Languages) and David Nikkel (Philosophy & Religion) . We welcome you into our classrooms for the purpose of sharing ideas and approaches in teaching and learning.

  • You may visit Michael’s classes, Laboratory in Writing I (ENG 1020 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:10 to 11 a.m. in 233 Dial Bldg.), Composition I (ENG 1050 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 8:50 a.m. in 153 Dial Bldg.), Literature and Film (ENG 2090 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 9:15 a.m. in 153 Dial Bldg. and from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in 238 Dial Bldg.), and Principles of Literary Studies (WE) (ENG 3040 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in 150 Dial Bldg.). Guided by Todd Zakrajsek and Jeannie H. Loeb’s The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, Michael aims to provide engaging classes that mix lectures, discussions, and writing or thinking exercises so students have time to learn, question, and process new material and concepts. He hopes faculty who observe his courses will learn new ways of blending various teaching styles in order to make class sessions interactive and beneficial for all students. Before you drop in, please contact him at
  • You may visit Scott's class, Composition I (Honors, Service-Learning) (ENG 1050 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:05 to 9:55 a.m. in 211 Education Bldg.) to observe in-class reading and writing activities and service-learning. You may visit my class, African American Literature (Service-Learning) (ENG 2100 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:10 to 11 a.m. in 201 Education Bldg.) to observe discussion and service-learning. You may visit my First-year Seminar (Honors, Service-Learning) (UNV 1000 on Tuesdays from 8:25 to 9:15 a.m. in 220 Business Administration Bldg.) to observe reflective discussion and service-learning. Before you drop in, please contact me at
  • You may visit David’s class, Religion, Art, and Culture (REL 2050 online), to observe and take part in Discussion Boards in Canvas, and you may visit his class, Introduction to Religion (Honors) (REL 1330 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in 237 Sampson Bldg.) to learn how to use clickers for reviewing course material. If you would like to be added to his Canvas class or before you drop in to his face to face class, please contact him at

If you are willing to open your classroom to your faculty colleagues, please contact TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or, noting (1) the course(s) to which you welcome observers and (2) whether they are face to face or online. Classes open for visitors will be posted to the TLC website. Would-be visitors to face to face classrooms will be expected to confirm their visit to your class at least two days in advance; visitors to online classrooms will be granted observer privileges.


The TLC offers individual and group consultation on strategies to enhance teaching and learning. For more information, contact TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or

Midsemester Class Check-ins

Student evaluations of instruction are helpful in understanding how students perceived a class—but because they take place at the end of the semester and are shared with faculty after final exams, they come too late to identify problems or miscommunications that otherwise could be easily corrected for the good of the class. A Midsemester Class Check-in conducted by a TLC consultant elicits students’ perceptions of your class before midterm and engages students in taking responsibility for the continued success of the class, all while maintaining student anonymity and faculty confidentiality.

Whether your class is face to face, hybrid, or online, check-in has two components: data-gathering and consultation.


For a face to face class, a TLC consultant visits your class for about 25 minutes, either at the start or before the end of your class. You leave the room, and the TLC consultant leads students in assessment and reflection:

  • Students are randomly assigned to small groups of three to five.
  • Each group works together to complete a brief questionnaire:
    • Together, students identify the primary learning objective of this course.
    • Next, students determine which aspects of the course are most helpful to their learning and discuss how these aspects of the course are helping them learn.
    • Finally, students brainstorm and discuss any adjustments to the course that they think would help them learn more effectively, reflecting on why they think these changes would help.
  • The consultant then leads the full class in a discussion of their responses, asking clarifying questions, identifying areas of consensus and disagreement among the students, eliciting further feedback as students consider each other’s input, and determining ways that students can take responsibility for the continued success of the class.
  • After her or his visit, the consultant compiles the feedback into a report, assuring student anonymity.

For an online class, a TLC consultant will email all class members a Qualtrics survey link active for 24 hours. The survey will solicit students’ understandings of class expectations, perceptions regarding how the class is helping them learn, advice for you as the class’s instructor, and reflections on how they can better contribute to the success of the class.


The second component, consultation, occurs at a confidential meeting between you and the TLC consultant. During your time together, your consultant will share with you the report resulting from her or his findings. Together, you will interpret student comments, identify successes and areas for improvement, and plan a course of action that makes use, as you see fit, of students’ feedback.

The purpose of this service to assist you in meeting students’ needs for deepened, enhanced, ongoing learning. The anonymity of the process makes students more comfortable sharing their feedback; the students’ feedback tells you which elements of your teaching methods are effective or could be more effective. What’s more, soliciting midsemester student feedback is valuable in helping you improve and refine your teaching because it allows you to hear your students’ successes and concerns while there is still time in the semester to make appropriate changes. Finally, all components of this process—data gathering, reporting, and consultation—remain completely confidential, for your use as you see fit.

For more information or to request a Midsemester Class Check-in for your class(es), please contact TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or Check-ins will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis as consultants are available.

Shared Interest Groups

A Shared Interest Group is a learning-and-doing community of faculty, staff, and students focused on a question, theme, or approach in teaching and learning that matters to its members. SIGs are established on the basis of demonstrated interest, in consultation with the TLC, to (1) identity the issue, problem, or approach on which it wishes to focus and (2) determine group expectations and outcomes. Upon establishment of the group, members of the SIG commit themselves to the success of the group until the completion of the expectations and outcomes determined at its charter. As funding allows, the TLC will support SIGs with refreshments, resources, stipends, and/or travel funds. Once the group has achieved its expectations and outcomes, it will share its accomplishments with the University community.

SIGs may undertake the following activities:

  • Reviewing and discussing current scholarship relevant to the SIG’s focus,
  • Sharing and reflecting on classroom experiences and successes,
  • Team-teaching or visiting SIG members’ classrooms,
  • Creating or redesigning classes or curricula by incorporating high-impact teaching practices,
  • Establishing and sharing best practices,
  • Exploring policies or programs to improve teaching and learning,
  • Traveling to conferences or professional development institutes,
  • Conducting and publishing research,
  • Leading workshops or webinars that promote professional and/or scholarly development, and/or
  • Undertaking other activities as desired.

During AY2018-2019, SIGs will address issues of cultural competence and responsiveness in teaching and learning, diversity and inclusion in General Education, food sovereignty, redesigning introductory biology classes, and writing and publishing in the humanities. All interested faculty, staff, and students are invited to join; to do so, contact the convener(s) of the group(s) in which you are interested:

To learn more about SIGs, join one of these groups, or launch a new one, please contact the conveners or TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or

Certificate in Accessibility and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning

The Accessibility Resource Center and TLC are pleased to announce the launch of a Certificate in Accessibility and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning in support of the University's commitment as a matter of mission to inclusion and excellence in teaching and learning: “The University … serves a diverse student body and encourages inclusion and appreciation for the values of all people … [and] exists to promote excellence in teaching and learning, at the master’s and undergraduate levels, in an environment of free inquiry, interdisciplinary collaboration, and rigorous intellectual standards.” Thus, this series aims to develop the skills and competencies of UNCP faculty in the areas of accessible course design and inclusive teaching, practices that operationalize and/or enhance inclusive and excellent teaching and learning.

All faculty, employed fulltime or part-time and in good standing at UNCP, are eligible to participate. Individuals interested in participation must inform the directors of ARC and TLC of their desire to participate, and eligible individuals shall be admitted to the program upon approval by the directors.

Upon admission, participants must complete successfully the certificate core (Fundamental Concepts) and a specialization of their choosing. The certificate core consists of two activities:

  • Accessibility in the Classroom (NCSU/UNC system Online Course)
  • Captioning: How We Do It and Why We Do It (On-campus Workshop)
  • The ADA: Non-discrimination of People with Disabilities (SkillSoft Online Compliance Module)

Participants may select their specialization from the following tracks:

  • Accommodations in Practice
  • Accessible and Inclusive Teaching and Learning for Students with Hearing Impairments
  • Universal Design for Accessible and Inclusive Teaching and Learning

Each specialization consists of three workshops, and successful completion of the specialization requires completion of all workshops.

Upon successful completion of all requirements (or substitutions approved by the ARC and TLC directors), participants shall be certified in Accessibility and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning. Participants thus certified shall be recognized at the annual Faculty Awards Dinner and may be eligible for a stipend. Certification shall be valid for three years and is renewable thereafter.

For more information or to join the inaugural cohort, please contact ARC Director Nicolette Campos at (910) 521-6695 or and TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or

Book of the Month Club

The Book of the Month Club is a faculty, staff, and student learning circle of no more than 15 participants who meet to discuss, in person and online, a selected book, article, or dataset chosen by the TLC consistent with its mission. Facilitators, like participants, are learners; a guiding principle of the learning circle is that no one is, or need be, an expert. All members are encouraged to share, listen, and reflect, connecting with colleagues from all areas of campus. Together, participants will identify, explore, develop, and apply effective and impactful pedagogies and teaching techniques and collaborate with peers to advance and cultivate enhanced pedagogies and teaching techniques.

The TLC will purchase books or supply readings for participants, and Mary Livermore Library’s Café 641 will provide hot coffee and tea. The club will meet once a month throughout the academic year in person and online.

Readings selected for AY2018-2019 are as follow:

  • September: Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard UP, 2004)
  • October: Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (2017)
  • November: TBD (Dennis Swanson, facilitator)
  • January: TBD
  • February: TBD
  • March: TBD

The TLC welcomes your suggestions for future selections. For more information or to join a club, please contact TLC director Scott Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or

Grants for Syllabus Transformation

The University of North Carolina, Pembroke, is founded on excellence in teaching and learning as a matter of mission: “UNC Pembroke exists to promote excellence in teaching and learning, at the master’s and undergraduate levels, in an environment of free inquiry, interdisciplinary collaboration, and rigorous intellectual standards.” The University seeks to develop and support exceptional faculty, faculty who “show command of their subject, [are] creative and imaginative, [are] enthusiastic, promote critical thinking, stimulate their students to improved performance, engage in and use research, and [are] outstanding communicators.” In so doing, the University seeks to prepare graduates for “rewarding careers, postgraduate study, leadership roles, … fulfilling lives, … engagement in global society, and responsible stewards[hip] of the world."


The awarding of Grants for Syllabus Transformation aims to enhance and/or enrich pedagogy and instruction at UNCP through improvement in class construction and syllabus design.


All faculty, employed fulltime or part-time and in good standing at UNCP and scheduled to teach in AY 2018-2019, are eligible to apply.

Submission Procedures

In order to be considered for a Grant for Syllabus Transformation, eligible faculty must submit an application, consisting of an application form, a narrative explaining the applicant’s desired goals in transforming her or his syllabus, a copy of the syllabus currently used in the class, and a a c.v.

Applications are available via Qualtrics <> and are due April 30. Incomplete applications shall not be considered.

Preparation of Proposals

Proposals shall take the following format and consist of the following parts:

  1. Applicant information, including a copy of the syllabus proposed for transformation and selection of the University partner with whom the applicant wishes to partner in completing syllabus transformation
  2. A narrative that describes the following:
    • the class for which the applicant seeks to revise and transform a syllabus,
    • the goals of the applicant in transforming the syllabus, and
    • the expected and/or desired outcomes of the transformed syllabus in effecting excellence in teaching and learning.
  3. Curriculum vitae
Review, Evaluation, and Selection of Proposals

The Director of the Teaching & Learning Center, in consultation with appropriate University partners, will review and evaluate all eligible proposals according to the following criteria:

  1. The extent to which the proposal will enrich and/or enhance teaching and learning at UNCP and
  2. The value of the scholarly work to contribute to the applicant’s growth as a teacher-scholar.

The TLC Director shall select the proposals to be funded, and applicants shall be notified of the Director’s decision within five days of the deadline for application. The number of proposals funded will be determined by the availability of funds.

Grant Activities

Individuals awarded a Grant for Syllabus Transformation shall receive a stipend of $350 to be disbursed by June 30, in compensation for consulting with a University partner (by May 31) and submitting (by Aug. 1) a transformed syllabus. University partners supporting this effort will receive $100 in funding for resources to support each syllabus transformation they support.

Reporting Requirement

Individuals awarded a Grant for Syllabus Transformation shall (1) participate in the TLC’s Mid-semester Class Check-in and Open Classroom programs in fall 2018, (2) participate in a syllabus transformation workshop to be scheduled in fall 2018, and (3) allow their revised syllabi to be make publicly available to the University community via the TLC’s website and social media.