As part of Doug Bafford’s Teaching Innovation Grant project, he is focusing on interdisciplinary writing. Throughout this academic year, Doug will orchestrate a workshop and will welcome a new speaker to each session. The next workshop will be held on November 3, and you can learn more general information here.

Here’s what you can expect on November 3:

Session Title: Workshop with Historian Ashley D. Farmer (Boston University)
Manuscript Title: “‘All the Progress to be Made Will Be Made by Maladjusted Negroes’: Mae Mallory, Black Women’s Activism, and the Making of the Black Radical Tradition”
November 3 at 2:00 in Mandel G12
Free and open to the public (no need to RSVP, although attendees are encouraged to read a precirculated draft available by emailing
Ashley D. Farmer is a historian of black women’s intellectual life and radical politics, particularly contributions to the Black Power movement in the twentieth century. She has published in peer-reviewed academic venues, including the Journal of African American History, but has also made her work available in popular media and blogs. Her first monograph, titled “Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era,” will be released in November 2017 from University of North Carolina Press. For this workshop, Professor Farmer will share a work-in-progress with the Brandeis community on the life and activism of Mae Mallory, who organized from the 1930s to the 1980s. More information about Farmer’s media appearances and forthcoming scholarship can be found on her website.

Davis Fellow Reflections

October 4th, 2017

This fall, the Center for Teaching and Learning will gather the Brandeis Teaching Fellows. These fellows will meet throughout the academic year and focus on various issues around teaching pedagogy and assessment. As we look to the work this new group will undertake, we pause to reflect on the work of the group’s predecessors, the Davis Teaching and Learning Fellows.

Charles Golden, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Davis Fellow from 2015-2016, highlights the challenges facing faculty in learning how to teach. You can read his reflection here.

A New Semester

August 30th, 2017

As Brandeis classes begin again for the fall, it’s important to pause and consider what you want the semester to look like. There are endless details to consider in shaping your classroom and the experience of your students.

Will you allow laptops or tablets in class? How will you treat student errors? Are there opportunities for students to earn participation credit outside of a classroom discussion? What strategies will you employ to be sure you create an inclusive space? Will current events play into your class sessions, even if they do not connect to your course materials directly? How will you protect your time away from teaching?

We’re here to help, and happy to discuss these questions with you in detail. For now, you may find these Quick Tips for Teaching, put together by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and let us know your thoughts.

We wish you the best for this fall and we look forward to working with you this year!

A reflection from Patricia Steiner, Ed. D., recipient of an Open and Affordable Educational Resource Grant. 


In November, 2016, I was asked to take on the redesign of this Masters level class.  I have been working on it for the past 4 months.  This is a class that provides students the opportunity to reflect on their own leadership style, their strengths and weaknesses and to explore challenges that have faced other leaders who have had varying degrees of success.  The objective of this class is an understanding self, awareness of self, and how we are perceived by others.

I started designing this class in December, 2016.   Through my discussions with my instructional designer Carol Damm, it became increasingly important to try and do without the costly books and case studies used in the course as it was previously designed.  Week after week, I added videos and other materials to make up for and replace the text book and the case studies.  I love the book for this class.   The thought of doing this class without the book was difficult for me to consider.  By the time I was offered the grant from the Open Source effort, I had gotten my issues down to a short list and I still had the book in the class. With the help of Jason Bernard, materials were located to make up for the few areas of concern that would have been lost without the book.

There are so many free resources available today that paying for comparable materials doesn’t seem warranted especially given the cost of tuition.  Any way we can save students money is important.   I’m glad I have taken the time to do this in my class.

It is interesting to note that sometimes an expert librarian/researcher can find materials that I wouldn’t otherwise locate.  I have often wished that I had an embedded librarian in every class that I teach.

The library is a critical resource.  This project was valuable.  I learned quite a bit about design and availability of free materials.  Two sessions of the class will pilot in May.  I am looking forward to experiencing this new classroom and the reactions of the students who attend.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is hosting a two-day Teaching and Learning Institute. The institute, now on its second day, is engaging over a dozen Brandeis faculty and two international faculty on how to:

  • Foster more student learning with a variety of in-class and out-of-class methods.
  • Incorporate issues of diversity into your courses and create inclusive classrooms.
  • Use a powerful design method to revise and strengthen courses and assignments.

This workshop is intended for both early-career and well-established faculty – and past institutes have included participants from across the University sharing their knowledge of learning and teaching with their colleagues. As one participant wrote, “All (or most) faculty should participate in sessions like this, especially since many faculty members have never been trained in teaching methods.” The institute runs for two full days; participants attend both days and receive books and readings to help them continue to revise their teaching. The ideas you gain from the two-day Institute in May will likely save you much more than two days next year.


Inclusive Classrooms

May 18th, 2017

We consistently hear from faculty members that they’re eager to create an inclusive classroom. They sometimes struggle with addressing challenging conversations in the classroom, making students feel safe, and respecting students as they make controversial statements.

Our Diversity and Inclusion webpage has been built to help faculty address some of these issues in their classrooms. We recognize that asking for help on these issues is not always easy, so we hope this collection of articles and resources can support you. As always, if you’d like to set up a time to discuss these issues one-on-one, please email


May 10th, 2017

As the semester nears its end, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. We encourage you to look back on this academic year. What worked well in your classroom? How was your work-life balance? What do you wish you could change?

While summer is often a well-deserved time for rest, it’s also a time for planning. How will you improve your teaching next year? You may want to review our online library to read up on articles on a variety of pedagogical issues.  Do you think you can incorporate any of these suggestions into your classroom and research projects?

We’ll be reflecting on this year right along with you. We’re always open to suggestions, too. If you think there are resources we should provide you with or programs we can offer, please let us know by emailing

Constructive Criticism

April 24th, 2017

Students are in your class to improve their knowledge – and sometimes that means they are in need of constructive criticism. With final assessments fast approaching, it may be time for you to refresh what it means to provide meaning feedback to your students. This article from The IDEA Center shares suggestions on how to structure your feedback.

Teaching Innovation Showcase

April 20th, 2017

The Teaching Innovation Showcase will serve as an opportunity for the Brandeis community to come together and learn from colleagues. Recipients of the Teaching Innovation Grants will present their projects, share their experiences, and highlight innovative practices they’ve instituted in their courses. Faculty retiring from Brandeis will reflect on their time teaching at Brandeis. The day’s agenda is below. You are welcome to attend for the full day, or attend individual sessions as you are able. Please be sure to RSVP here and let us know if you’ll be joining us for lunch. 

If you’re not already on multiple social media platforms, we’re sure you’re aware of how powerful they are. You may even notice that social media can be so powerful, students may become distracted while they should be paying attention during your class. While there are concerns when it comes to to using social media, The Tech Edvocate has put together strategies to make social media work to your advantage in the classroom. Read more here.