Workshops, Conferences, & Webinars

The Academy for Teaching Excellence provides professional development opportunities for faculty every semester. Below are descriptions for upcoming workshops, webinars, conferences, and special events. Scroll to the bottom of the page for archives with links to more information about previous opportunities.

The Academy also offers Graduate Equivalency Courses (GECs). Learn more.

Questions? Please contact the Academy at 847.925.6174,


Lunch & Learn: How Do I Build Community in My Classroom?

Community is an essential ingredient in the educational experience. Studies show that community building can increase retention, improve students’ cognitive intellectual development, and promote contributions to society. Find out why it’s important for you to know how to create community, and hear ideas on how to build community from presenter Dr. Milton Cox, Lilly Conference director at Miami University and editor-in-chief of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. Our Harper faculty facilitator for the January Lunch & Learn with the 20-Minute Mentor workshop is Margaret Bilos, Speech. Come join Margaret and the Academy for a great discussion. A lunch of finger sandwiches and salad bar will be served.

  • Date: Monday, January 27, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist; Margaret Bilos, Speech; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.1

Conducting Peer Observations of Teaching for Professional Development

We all have blind spots in our work. For instructors, one way to shed light on these blind spots is to invite a colleague into our classroom for a collaborative peer observation. This non-evaluative, non-judgmental approach creates shared ownership of the challenges we face as practitioners. The use of a structured protocol for observing instructor actions, student actions, and instructor/student interactions serves to hold up a mirror so that we can see our teaching in a different light and have autonomy in making changes that align with our values. In this workshop, participants will develop skills to help them conduct a formative classroom observation using a peer review model in which goals for the observation are established, an in-class observation is performed, and data from the observation is discussed during a follow-up feedback session. Multiple observation instruments will be introduced so that faculty can select the instrument that they feel aligns best with their classroom characteristics, instructional approach, and goals for the observation. Each faculty participant in the workshop will partner with a peer to experience the process both as a teacher and observer.

  • Two sessions to choose from:
    • Thursday, January 30, 2020, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Friday, January 31, 2020, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Michael Bates, Dean, Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.5 (awarded after workshop attendance and completion of observations as both observer and teacher)

Launch of the Equity Literacy Project Resource

The Art of Teaching for Equity Community of Practice would like to invite you to attend the launch of the Equity Literacy Project as an online resource created by Harper faculty and staff and partners from Districts 211, 214, and 220. Join contributors from the project for an overview of the project, time to peruse the research and narratives related to six equity themes, and an opportunity to contribute feedback from which we will plan our upcoming collaborative workshop. Appetizers and beverages will be provided. Learn more.

  • Date: Monday, February 3, 2020
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F220
  • Facilitators: The Art of Teaching for Equity Community of Practice
  • CEUs: 0.15

Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF)

Pioneered at the University of Washington, Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) is a voluntary, non-evaluative process for collecting feedback from your students on their experiences and perceptions of your course mid-way through the semester. In SGIF, a faculty peer conducts a 30-minute session in your classroom in which they ask your students to respond individually, in small groups, and as a whole class, to four questions about your course: 1) What helps your learning? 2) What hinders your learning? 3) What can the instructor do to improve your learning? and 4) What can you to do improve your learning? The faculty peer provides you with a confidential, written report shortly following the feedback session, allowing you and your students an opportunity to make positive changes. After receiving training on the SGIF process, workshop participants will work in pairs to schedule and conduct an SGIF in-class feedback session in one another’s classes. CEUs will be awarded for completing the workshop plus all post-workshop activities. Learn more about the SGIF process and what Harper faculty and students are saying about it.

  • Three sessions to choose from:
    • Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Thursday, February 6, 2020, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Friday, February 7, 2020, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Michael Bates, Dean, Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education; Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.4 (CEUs will be awarded to all faculty that participate in the workshop, all post-workshop activities, and complete a survey by April 17, 2020)

Choosing Technology Without Losing Your Mind

In the ever-expanding EdTech market, how do you choose from all of the cool, new tools without feeling overwhelmed? This session will focus on the thoughtful application of easy-to-use tech tools that can be used to complement your teaching practice and increase student engagement. You will leave this session with an idea of practical tools and ideas that can be implemented in time for your next lesson or activity. You will also learn how the Academy for Teaching Excellence can support the integration of technologies into courses to improve the learning experience for both you and students.

  • Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Time: 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F319
  • Facilitator: Janet Woods, Instructional Technology Specialist
  • CEUs: 0.15

Lunch & Learn: How Can I Get Students to Engage With Course Content Before Class?

This video addresses how student misconceptions about course content can become barriers to learning and offers several techniques to help teachers facilitate the adoption of alternative viewpoints in their students. The video presenters are Dr. Sarah Lovern, Associate Professor, Physiology and Dr. Tom Saleska, Professor, Biology, both of Concordia University Wisconsin. Our Harper faculty facilitator for the February Lunch & Learn with the 20-Minute Mentor workshop is Paul Peterson, English. Come join Paul and the Academy for a great discussion. A lunch of soup, salad and sandwiches will be provided.

  • Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist; Paul Peterson, English; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.1

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Your Online Meeting Space

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a real-time video conferencing tool designed specifically for education. With its comprehensive tools and capabilities, you can engage in a virtual classroom as if it were face-to-face. Faculty and students meet in an online space using features such as video and/or audio chat, whiteboard, slideshow, and screen sharing. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is accessible from a desktop, laptop, and iOS/Android phones and tablets. In this workshop you will get an opportunity to explore the tool and see how you can use it in your classroom.

  • Two sessions to choose from:
    • Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Thursday, April 16, 2020, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F319
  • Facilitator: Karen Herold, Learning Management System Administrator
  • CEUs: 0.2

SAFEzone Training

A SAFEzone is a confidential place (or person) where all people can bring their authentic selves and feel safe, welcomed, and included. The SAFEzone Training at Harper College aims to increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills for individuals to address the challenges that exist when one wants to advocate for their LGBTQIA+, inclusive of gender identity and gender expression, peers, family members, friends, coworkers, and for themselves. At the completion of the training, each attendee will receive a certificate with a SAFEzone ally logo that identifies you as a trained advocate. You will also receive exclusive Harper branding SAFEzone pins and a magnet. Refreshments will be served.

  • Date: Thursday, March 5, 2020
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Building D, Room D178
  • Facilitator: SAFE @ Harper Employee Resource Group
  • CEUs: 0.4

Lunch & Learn: What Are the Secrets to Providing Highly Effective Feedback to Students?

Through watching this video, you’ll learn ways to give substantive feedback and recycle comments to save time and effort. You’ll see the type of questions that help or hinder student achievement and acquire tips to ignite students’ curiosity, respect their thinking, and stoke their engagement. The video presenter is Dr. John Orlando, Associate Director of Faculty Support, Northcentral University and Editor, Online Classroom. Our Harper faculty facilitator for the March Lunch & Learn with the 20-Minute Mentor workshop is Karen Patterson, Art. Come join Karen and the Academy for a great discussion. A lunch of subs and chips will be provided.

  • Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist; Karen Patterson, Art; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.1

Lunch & Learn: What 5 Play-Based Activities Can I Use to Create an Active, Learning-Centered Class?

This informative program brings to life college classroom-tested games that work to build student rapport, inject new life into lecture-heavy teaching, and increase success rates among students. The video presenter is Dr. Susan Wehling, Professor of Spanish at Valdosta State University. Our Harper faculty facilitator for the April Lunch & Learn with the 20-Minute Mentor workshop is Kevin Long, Speech and Theater. Come join Kevin and the Academy for a great discussion. A lunch of pizza and salad will be provided.

  • Date: Thursday, April 23, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist; Kevin Long, Speech and Theater; Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair
  • CEUs: 0.1

Conferences & Special Events

Faculty Retreat 2020: Full TILT: Transparency in Learning and Teaching to Increase Student, Faculty, and Institutional Success

All Harper College faculty are cordially invited to attend the Faculty Retreat 2020. The Transparency in Learning and Teaching Framework (Winkelmes, Boyne, & Tapp, 2019) is centered on teaching students about more than just the subject matter by illuminating your rationale for how and why you’ve chosen to shape their learning experiences. At Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) research institutions, students are persisting at 13-15% higher rates through increased confidence, belonging, and metacognitive awareness (Winkelmes, 2019). Further, application of TILT principles to teaching and institutional processes serves as a social justice initiative as it produces the greatest gains for systemically non-dominant student groups.

Join us at the Faculty Retreat in March when Angela Rasmussen from Spokane Community College will guide us through the research, principles, and applications of TILT-ing our work. Our efforts to increase transparency from the course to institutional level can demystify the college experience to provide underserved students with more equitable engagement. These evidence-based strategies will make clear the value of course content and support positive outcome expectancies. Approaching our work through TILT-ed lenses can also enhance communications, meetings, and initiatives to streamline and enrich our collaborative efforts across campus. Faculty examples of “TILT-ed” materials for teaching and work with colleagues will be shared, and participants will generate ideas for how they can TILT their work.

Learn more and view the program.

  • Dates: Friday, March 13 – Saturday, March 14, 2020
  • Location: Eaglewood Resort, Itasca
  • CEUs: 0.4 (Friday) and 0.8 (Friday & Saturday)
  • Cost: The retreat will be fully funded; no individual professional development funds will be required.
  • Rooms are limited; please register by January 24, 2020 to guarantee your reservation. We are required to send the final list of attendees well in advance of the event, so please submit any changes in registration no later than February 10, 2020.


There are no upcoming webinars scheduled at this time.

Workshop Archives

Conference & Special Event Archives

Webinar Archives


Individuals with disabilities who would like to request an accommodation or who have questions about physical access may contact the event host or Access and Disability Services at, 847.925.6266, at least two weeks in advance of the event date.

Academy for Teaching Excellence Workshop Cancellation Policy

Occasionally, the Academy for Teaching Excellence may have to cancel a workshop due to circumstances beyond our control. With the exception of instructor illness and inclement weather, the decision to cancel a workshop will be made 48 hours prior to the scheduled date of the workshop. In the event of a cancellation, the Academy will make every effort to notify registered participants via their Harper College email account. If you have a concern about a workshop you have registered for being cancelled, please contact or call 847.925.6174.