The Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research provides confidential one-on-one consulting to faculty who want to reflect on their teaching and the effect that it has on the learning in their classes, design a new course, develop an existing course into a new format, assess student learning, or make their teaching a subject of inquiry. Answers to these common questions about consultation can help you decide if and when a consultation is right for you.
Why should I consider a consultation?
I benefitted tremendously from interacting with (a CATLR consultant) who helped me improve the language in my syllabi, develop rubrics and be more conscious of making links when going from material in the class to the knowledge base which is clearly linked to me but not necessarily to the students.Northeastern faculty member
CATLR’s consultation services provide opportunities for faculty to explore and reflect on their teaching practice and/or course design in a safe, supportive atmosphere with a knowledgeable colleague. Since our consultations are tailored to individual faculty needs, they provide focused attention on your specific areas of concern. CATLR views teaching skill as a process of continuous refinement, and therefore believes that faculty at any level can benefit from consultation. Our approach is to work with you as an expert peer, hoping to offer a fresh perspective on your teaching that can guide you to reach your goals.
What is involved?
CATLR consultations are tailored to your individual interests and concerns, and will likely involve a number of activities described in this section. Your initial meeting with your consultant will include discussing your goals and mapping an initial plan for the consultation. Consultations may range from a few meetings to an ongoing relationship over a semester or more.
Who can request it?
Our consultation services are available to all individuals who teach at Northeastern University. This includes faculty (in all ranks), as well as teaching graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
Who will my consultant be?
Each member of the CATLR team is a consultant and colleague with a broad understanding of research-based principles of learning and is also an experienced teacher in higher education. Based on your particular interest, you may be assigned a consultant with a related focus or relevant expertise.
When should I consider it?
The semester often presents challenges that need immediate attention, as well as opportunities to reflect more broadly and anticipate future semesters. We are therefore available year-round to assist you in all phases of course development and instruction, whether for the current term or a future one.
Consultation is beneficial any time you are able to devote time to it, though some topics lend themselves to consultation at specific points of the semester. It’s best to think about course and syllabus design well before the semester begins, for example.
Contact us early in the semester, for example—or even before it begins—if you are interested in gathering student feedback in the first few weeks. A well-crafted student survey of a Small-Group Student Analysis can give you information that you can then respond to in the subsequent weeks of the class.
Likewise, we can help you make sense of your TRACE evaluations if you contact us at the end of the term.
Other topics for consultation are less tied to the academic schedule. Contact us any time if you would like to talk about experimenting with a new pedagogy, documenting your teaching, conducting research in teaching and learning, or any other subject of concern or interest.
While we provide feedback on teaching and work with faculty to design courses and reflect on their teaching, we do not evaluate faculty and do not share information that is discussed during our consultations with those who do evaluate.
CATLR will not provide any information about feedback and consultation services, or even that such a service was provided, without the express consent of the instructor who has used these services, or except as mandated by law. Likewise, video recordings of class sessions will be released only to the instructor, and CATLR will not retain or duplicate such recordings without the consent of the instructor.
In short, we do not:
- release the names of individuals who seek feedback services on their teaching except when authorized to do so by the individual seeking the services;
- release information about a feedback service or even that a service was provided;
- make or keep copies of tapes except when someone voluntarily donates a tape to CATLR. All recordings of classes become the property of the instructor who has complete control over it thereafter.
To request a confidential consultation, please contact the director of the center, Dr. Kathy Takayama by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617.373.3833.