Reflective Teaching Community | Webster University

Reflective Teaching Community

reflective teaching community

Are you looking for new ways to deliver your course content that move beyond the traditional lecture? Are you curious about exploring new techniques for determining if your students truly understand the course material? Perhaps you are just simply looking for a way to “shake things up” and increase student engagement? Do you wish there was a forum where you could share your teaching experiences and learn from others? Join your fellow Webster faculty members at the Reflective Teaching Community to discuss these issues and much more.

The Reflective Teaching Community (RTC) meets monthly to discuss topics in teaching and learning in a supportive environment of like-minded colleagues. We invite all full-time and part-time faculty and academic partners to join us as we share teaching perspectives and experiences across disciplines.

As teachers dedicated to engaged learning, how do we know that our efforts make a difference? This year’s Reflective Teaching Community will focus on assessing how well we’re helping our students learn. Articles and discussions will feature several recurring topics, including creating opportunities for change in our teaching, understanding our students’ perceptions of teaching effectiveness, helping our students grow through meaningful assessment, and practical advice for increasing our own motivation to develop as teachers and scholars.

Meeting dates for 2018-19:

  • Friday, September 7, 2018
  • Friday, October 5, 2018
  • Friday, November 2, 2018
  • Friday, December 7, 2018
  • Friday, February 1, 2019
  • Friday, March 1, 2019
  • Friday, April 5, 2019

RTC Schedule 2018-19

Friday, September 7, 2018
Topic: Knowing We Matter As Teachers
Facilitator: Molly Stehn, Department of Professional Counseling

Topic Description: The past few years of RTC have focused on engaged learning techniques that support our students’ agency, motivation, and success. Our group remains highly dedicated to supporting student engagement, but how do we know whether our efforts are making a real difference in our students’ learning? This first session of the RTC will address how both students and teachers define teaching effectiveness as we begin our year-long exploration of assessing our impact.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
*Yoo, J. H., Schallert, D. L., & Svinicki, M. D. (2013). Effective teaching in an age of accountability: Mapping the views of college students and instructors. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 24(4), 107-131. ^
Chapter 5 (155-195…it’s pretty long for RTC), “Changing the Way We Teach” in Fink, D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Friday, October 5, 2018
Topic: How Do I Know Whether My Students Are Getting It?
Facilitator: Carla Colletti, Music Department

Topic Description: This session of RTC will be dedicated to sharing how we create opportunities to assess our students’ learning as we teach. What sorts of classroom assessment techniques do Webster instructors like to use, and what do we think works? How do we build skills such as self-reflection, resilience, and metacognition into such assessments? And how do we close the loop by using our students’ feedback to inform our teaching?

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- Fabry, V. J., Eisenbach, R., Curry, R. R., & Golich, V. L. (1997). Thank you for asking: Classroom assessment techniques and students’ perceptions of learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 8(1), 3-21. ^
- Pelletier, K. L. (2017). Keeping students “on their toes and on their game”: Serendipitous findings in students’ assessments and reactions. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 28(2), 167-192. ^
- Simpson-Beck, V. (2011). Assessing classroom assessment techniques. Active Learning in Higher Education 12(2), 125-132. Use only as counterpoint to a positive article; this study shows no significant difference between a control group of students and a group that used the Muddiest Point CAT. ^
- Perhaps have them do the Teaching Goals Inventory, pp. 20-22 of Classroom Assessment Techniques?
- Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S., Bruna, D., Bruna, C., & Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(5), 840-854. ^

Friday, November 2, 2018
Topic: Is What I’m Doing in the Classroom Working?
Facilitator: Bruce Umbaugh, Department of Philosophy

Topic Description: When we implement new (or tried-and-true) active-learning strategies in our classes, we’re usually looking for increased levels of engagement and better learning. This session of the RTC will discuss ways that we can be more self-reflective about the methods we use in class, and assess the impact of our active-learning strategies.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- Lang, J. M. (2018). How to Prepare for Class Without Overpreparing - The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 30, 2018, from
- *Eddy, S. L. (2015). PORTALL: A classroom observation tool assessing evidence-based teaching practices for active learning in large science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes. Life Sciences Education 14(2), 1-16. ^, along with associated resources
- *Use the PORTALL observation instrument to construct a self-assessment that participants can do during the session.

Friday, December 7, 2018
Topic: I Have No Time! Creating Change Amidst the Hustle
Facilitator: David Werfelmann, Music Department

Topic Description: With diverse demands on our attention and time, we often feel as if we don’t have the personal resources to invest in our growth as teachers; we’re simply doing the best we can for our students. This session will address manageable ways that we can support our own growth as teachers and scholars, recover from burnout, and continue to feel motivated to enhance our teaching.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- Hunzicker, J., & Lukowiak, T. (2012). Effective teaching and student engagement in the college classroom: Using the Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI) as a tool for peer observation and self-reflection. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 23 (1), 99-132. ^
- *Sproles, K. Z. (2018). The emotional balancing act of teaching: A burnout recovery plan. New Directions in Teaching and Learning no. 153, 99-107. ^
- Reynolds, H. L., & Kearns, K. D. (2017). A Planning Tool for Incorporating Backward Design, Active Learning, and Authentic Assessment in the College Classroom. College Teaching, 65(1), 17-27. ^

Friday, February 1, 2019
Topic: Please Read My Comments!
Facilitator: Morgan Grotewiel, Department of Psychology

Topic Description: Most of us believe that instructor feedback is an essential component of our students’ learning. But experience tells us that our students may not read or absorb our feedback, or that they simply don’t know how to make the changes we’re suggesting. This session suggests that if we see assessment and feedback as a two-way street, we can help our students become more adept at using our feedback to enhance their learning.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- *Schwartz, H. L. (2017). Sometimes it’s about more than the paper: Assessment as relational practice. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 28(2), 5-28. ^
- Jonsson, A. (2012). Facilitating productive use of feedback in higher education. Active Learning in Higher Education 14(1), 63-76. ^
- Jones, O., & Gorra, A. (2013). Assessment feedback only on demand: Supporting the few, not supplying the many. Active Learning in Higher Education 14(2), 149-161. ^
- Shafi, A., Hatley, J., Middleton, T., Millican, R., & Templeton, S. (2017). The role of assessment feedback in developing academic buoyancy. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(3), 415-427. ^
- Price, M., Handley, K., Millar, J., & O'Donovan, B. (2010). Feedback: All that effort, but what is the effect? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(3), 277-289. ^

Friday, March 1, 2019
Topic: Teaching with Empathy and Analyzing My Implicit Biases 
Facilitator: Muthoni Musangali, Department of Professional Counseling

Topic Description: As we assess our impact in the classroom, we also see the value in assessing how our implicit biases affect how we interact with students and how we conceive of their motivations. This session will focus on how self-reflection of our conscious and unconscious biases can lead us to greater empathy as teachers, helping to give us confidence that we can better serve all of our students.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- *Jordan, J. V., & Schwartz, H. L. (2018). Radical empathy in teaching. New Directions in Teaching and Learning no. 153, 25-35. ^
- Jones, S. R., & Wijeyesinghe, C. L. (2011). The promises and challenges of teaching from an intersectional perspective: Core components and applied strategies. New Directions in Teaching and Learning no. 125, 11-20. ^
- *Have them do one of the tests at Project Implicit:

Friday, April 5, 2019
Topic: Becoming a Scholarly Teacher

Facilitator: Victoria McMullen, Department of Teacher Education

Topic Description: How do we move from being reflective teachers to being scholarly teachers? By shifting our thinking and with a little planning, we can all begin to see ourselves as producers and disseminators of knowledge about pedagogy. In this final session of the RTC, we will bring together the various threads from throughout the year in order to discuss how assessment practices and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) can support our students’ success. In doing so, we’ll discover small, simple ways that we can take strides toward producing SoTL work.

Potential Reading (* indicates my strong suggestion, ^ = have PDF in shared drive)
- *Dickson, K. L., & Treml, M. M. (2013). Using assessment and SoTL to enhance student learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning no. 136, 7-33. ^

All of our meetings are held on Fridays from 12 to 1 pm in the Faculty Development Center Suite (Emerson Library 420), and a pizza lunch is served. Join us!

To RSVP for any of the meetings, or for more information about engaged learning at Webster, please contact Liza Dister, Faculty Development Coordinator, at or (314) 246-7602.

Click here for RTC's Principles of Engaged Learning at Webster.

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FDC Contact Info
Phone: 314-246-8243
Toll-free: 1-866-963-8243

Emerson Library Suite 420
Office Hours: M-F
8:30 am - 4:30 pm CT