New workshop: Best Practices in University Teaching

Faculty known for teaching excellence will share their effective methods and strategies

At the start of their careers, many faculty members find themselves lacking experience in actual nuts-and-bolts teaching—leading a classroom of students and taking stock of all the lessons that come from that.

To address this common need, the Center for Educational Resources at Johns Hopkins is piloting this month a new workshop called Best Practices in University Teaching. The intent is for newer professors to gain exposure to the methods and wisdom of senior faculty members and other educational leaders at Johns Hopkins who are known for teaching excellence.

"You'll learn strategies that will make you a more effective and also a more efficient teacher," says Mike Reese, director of CER. "And you're going to be learning from the best at the institution."

The one-and-a-half-day workshop debuts Jan. 18 and 19 at Homewood. In the future, CER hopes to make the program a permanent offering, Reese says.

The workshop is designed as a "short, immersive experience," he says, with five sessions on topics that include the science of learning, evidence-based teaching practices, and learning through diversity. (More details are on the schedule below.)

The workshop leaders will share research on, and examples of, pedagogical best practices, while providing guidance on online course lectures and technologies such as clickers. The program will culminate with participants developing a lesson plan for a course they intend to teach, and getting feedback from their peers and mentors.

The concept has a direct inspiration: The three-day Teaching Institute that CER offers for doctoral students and postdocs.

"There's been huge demand and very positive feedback for the Teaching Institute," Reese says of that program, which accrues a waiting list for its two sessions a year at Homewood and in East Baltimore.

Last year, he says, three senior leaders at the university began brainstorming about creating a similar program for faculty members.

To stay updated on the new workshop as it develops, continue following CER's website at

The Best Practices in University Teaching pilot program still has a few spots available, and registration is available here.

The planned schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 18
Welcome and Introduction—Ed Scheinerman, vice dean for education in the Whiting School of Engineering, and Joel Schildbach, vice dean for undergraduate education in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Science of Learning—Mariale Hardiman, interim dean of the School of Education
Backwards Design—Mike Reese, associate dean of university libraries and director of the Center for Educational Resources
Assessment—Matthew Roller, vice dean for graduate education and for centers and programs in the Krieger School, and Janet Schreck, assistant vice provost for education
Evidence-based Teaching Practices—Kathryn Tifft, senior lecturer in the Krieger School's Biology Department, and Emily Fisher, director of undergraduate studies in the Krieger School and a senior lecturer in Biology

Thursday, Jan. 19
Learning Through Diversity—Karen Fleming, professor of biophysics in the Krieger School
Report Out and Conclusions
Lunch and Panel Session