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,


GIFTS: Great Ideas for Teaching Speech

As we end the fall semester and begin our preparations for the spring, consider attending the “Communication Arts Holiday GIFTS Session” and share your favorite idea, exercise, rubric, or teaching-technique. This will also be a great opportunity for us to celebrate the holidays and a great semester. Each participant should come prepared to present their “GIFT” in 10 minutes or less. Handouts are always appreciated.

  • Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019
  • Time: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F325
  • Facilitator: Jeff Przybylo, Chairperson for Communication Arts & Director of Forensics
  • CEUs: 0.2

Adversity, Trauma, and Microaggressions: Learn to Boost Your Students’ (and Your!) Emotional and Cognitive Bandwidth

Several national studies (Frazier, 2016; Smyth, 2008; Winterman, 2017) reveal that the majority of college students (66%) have exposure to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and exposure to at least one major traumatic event (89%). Increasingly, students report struggles with anxiety (61%) and depression (41%). What is more, these students are more likely to also experience bandwidth zappers: identity-based macroaggressions, poverty, food or housing insecurity—all of which severely diminish students’ cognitive resources for learning (Verschelden). This workshop provides participants with an opportunity to examine their encounters with students (whether in person or via teaching materials) in order to maximize “bandwidth boosters” for student success.

  • Date: Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitator: Andrew Anastasia, English
  • CEUs: 0.3

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)

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

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

Conferences & Special Events

Faculty Retreat Spring 2020

Registration information and details will be announced at a later date, but for now, please save the date on your calendar!

  • Dates: Friday, March 13 – Saturday, March 14, 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.