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,


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

How We Argue: A Workshop in Argument Mapping for College Faculty

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to argument mapping, the visual representation of reasoning and evidence in box-and-line diagrams. A growing body of research shows that argument mapping significantly improves critical thinking skills. In fact, meta-analyses find that courses that use argument mapping yield five or six times the gains of a standard semester at college!

Do you assign argumentative essays to your students? Must students write position papers or deliver argumentative speeches in your classes? Are discussion or debate central features of your classes? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this workshop is tailor-made for you!

Workshop participants will develop the fundamentals of argument mapping: both as a tool for analyzing existing and creating one’s own arguments. Special emphasis will be given to strategies for teaching argument mapping to students. Participants will leave this workshop with classroom activities, lesson plans, assessments, and other resources to improve the rigor and precision of students’ thinking, and written and oral communication!

  • Date: Friday, April 17, 2020
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m, includes morning session (9 a.m. – 12 p.m.), lunch (12 p.m. – 1 p.m.), and afternoon session (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Location: Building F, Room F319
  • Facilitator: Nathan Otey, COO and Lead Instructor, ThinkerAnalytix; Fellow in Philosophy, Harvard University
  • CEUs: 0.3 morning session; 0.2 afternoon session; or 0.5 both sessions

Plant-Based Eating to Sustain Our Health and Our Environment

Join us for a session focused on how what we eat can have a positive impact on sustaining our health and our environment. Enjoy a whole food, plant-based meal, explore the research, and engage in a discussion about the benefits of a plant-based diet. You will have the opportunity to share a plant-based recipe or other environmentally friendly tips of your own and will leave with some meal plans and other strategies for a more sustainable lifestyle. Ideas contributed in the workshop will become part of an online resource shared by the Sustainability in the Classroom Community of Practice.

  • Date: Monday, April 20, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F315
  • Facilitators: Julie Ellefson, Chemistry and the Sustainability in the Classroom Community of Practice
  • CEUs: 0.15

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

TILT-A-Course Luau

The TILT-A-Course Luau is an intensive three-day workshop based on the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework and Harper’s overall commitment to course quality. The Luau is an opportunity for faculty to focus on redesigning a specific, currently running course either on an individual basis, or as a departmental team. Each day will include sessions based on TILT principles as well as customized topics designed to meet the needs of the participants; each micro-TILT presentation will be followed by ample work time with Academy staff support as individuals and groups apply the principles in ways that are most meaningful in their courses. Learn more.

  • Dates: Wednesday, May 27 – Friday, May 29, 2020
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Building F, Room F317
  • Facilitator: Academy for Teaching Excellence
  • CEUs: 3.0

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.