News & Announcements

Recruiting Applicants for Graduate Research Assistant

We have an opening for a Graduate Assistantship for the Spring 2018-19 semester. The person in this position will focus on supporting the work of the Faculty Development Resources (FDR) working group, which is part of Penn State`s Transforming Education strategic goal.


  • Conduct semi-structured face-to-face or video interviews (using the FDR interview protocol) with faculty from multiple Penn State locations and varied disciplines.
  • Review interviews for accuracy (after processing by transcription service) and conduct qualitative analysis of interview transcript data.
  • Conduct a systematic, comprehensive literature review related to entry points and pathways faculty members take to improve and/or innovate teaching and students' learning (with and without technology and across multiple instructional modes).
  • Benchmark with other institutions, including our Big Ten peers, about whether and how they provide a centralized resource for faculty development information, people, services, and technology.
  • Support the work of the FDR working group, including attending and contributing to group meetings.

Required qualifications:

  • Status as a doctoral student who has completed all coursework and will have passed all aspects of comprehensive exams before January 1, 2019;
  • Experience with qualitative research methods, specifically semi-structured interviews
  • Experience with qualitative data analysis
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and with members of the FDR working group

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience in organizing, designing and conducting an online survey, a possible follow-on project to the interviews described above
  • Experience talking about university teaching across disciplinary boundaries
  • Ability to conduct a Zoom video conference meeting

To apply, visit Penn State's job site, Your application packet should include a cover letter describing your experience with conducting interviews and analyzing qualitative data; a CV; contact information only for two academic references familiar with your research skills; and the Institute's Conditions and Requirements Form.

Application review will begin November 19, 2018. We can only consider hiring graduate students who meet the Schreyer Institute’s Graduate Assistantship Conditions and Requirements and who sign and submit the form with their application.

Accepting Applications for Faculty Consultant

We have an opening for an experienced faculty developer on a continuing, full-time faculty appointment (non-tenure track). The successful candidate will be committed to teaching enhancement and its advocacy, have relevant teaching experience, and experience in faculty development. Salary and rank will be commensurate with experience.

Candidates with experience of student success initiatives that integrate how faculty can enhance student persistence, achievement, and graduation rates will receive priority.

The Institute is based at the University Park campus in State College, PA, but is responsible for working with over 5,800 faculty and graduate students teaching 90,000+ students at more than 20 different locations throughout Pennsylvania.


  • Work with faculty and TAs as they develop face-to-face, blended, and online courses
  • Collaborate with a variety of faculty and academic units design and develop curricula, learning activities, student feedback, quizzes, and exams
  • Design, present, and evaluate workshops, seminars, and other teaching and learning activities
  • Develop materials and resources that encourage use of effective and evidence-based teaching and evaluation strategies
  • Partner with other Penn State faculty to conduct and advance teaching and learning scholarship
  • Develop and provide leadership for projects related to the priorities of the university and the Institute
  • Extend the Institute’s outreach to and personal interactions with other faculty
  • Serve as the faculty liaison to designated academic departments and other teaching and learning support units

Academic Expectations:

  • Academic and scholarly competence and credibility
  • Teaching experience at the university level
  • Contributions to teaching and learning scholarship
  • Active participation in national organizations focused on post-secondary teaching and learning


  • Experience working in a teaching center or relevant consulting and workshop experience
  • Excellent interpersonal and consultative skills, oral and written communication skills, and team skills
  • Initiative and flexibility
  • Evidence of success in post-secondary teaching


  • Experience working with faculty from a variety of academic cultures and disciplines
  • Understanding of the variability in teaching missions across a multi-campus institution and the impact that has on faculty roles and teaching challenges
  • Knowledge of diverse student populations and issues faced by those from underrepresented groups
  • Knowledge of student learning and faculty development literatures

Degree qualifications: Ph.D. preferred, Master’s required. Applications should include a cover letter, CV, faculty development philosophy statement, and the names and contact information (only) for three references. Submit applicants through the Penn State Jobs website. Screening will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Sharing Diversity Work: Notes for White Faculty

In this Inside Higher Ed article, Jessica Welburn Paige outlines what faculty members who are not members of underrepresented groups can do to become more engaged in diversity and inclusion efforts.

Fifteen Years of Bringing Theory to Practice: An Infographic

Since its launch in 2003, Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) has awarded nearly 600 grants to 359 institutions, published seven books, and hosted nearly two dozen national convenings. In the process, they’ve brought together a remarkable community of educational innovators. They’re proud of the range of contributions that BTtoP has made to renewing the core purposes of undergraduate education.

Now on the cusp of a new chapter of work, as they develop new initiatives and strategies building on the achievements of their first fifteen years. Yet they’ve been struck that—even among our participants and friends—the extent of BTtoP’s contributions isn’t fully known. As they lean into their next chapter, they thought it would be helpful to look back and provide an infographic overview of what BTtoP has done. It offers a vivid snapshot of the grants, research, convenings, publications, innovation, and community building that Bringing Theory to Practice has supported.

If you are interested in delving deeper into their work, please contact And if you are interested in joining the conversation about the future goals, projects, and priorities of Bringing Theory to Practice, you're invited to fill out their feedback survey.

Graphical representation of data presented in the article.

Wise Instructional Choices in an Evidence-driven Era

Image of Thriving in Academe, Reflections on Helping Students Learn, Thriving in Academe is a joint project of NEA and the POD Network in Higher Education

Everywhere you turn, colleagues are talking about evidence-based teaching. But even when the evidence is convincing, it can be tough to choose a strategy and begin using it well. This navigational guide will help you get started.

This short article from the director of CalTech's teaching center provides practical advice for getting started with and sustaining the use of evidence-based practices in your course(s).

Say “Yes, and” to the new Improv & Pedagogy Faculty Learning Group!

Following the huge response to last year’s SITE-sponsored “Improving Pedagogy through Improv Theatre” seminar, we are pleased to continue supporting the organizer’s efforts through their Improv & Pedagogy Faculty Learning Group!

The group meets three times a semester in 102 Kern from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fall 2018 dates are:

  • Friday, September 14
  • Friday, October 19
  • Friday, December 7

At these lunches, participants will chat about improv & pedagogy, and you may be invited to perform! This is a no-pressure environment and is a ton of fun.

Lunch is included! Participants can come for all or part of the festivities!

We are pleased to offer funding to support groups of faculty who regularly engage in discussions of teaching and learning topics or issues. Funding is available for start-up or existing groups. Visit our Faculty Teaching Community (FTC) Grant page to learn how to start your own group!

To Teach is to Learn: Laurie Grobman, professor of English at Penn State Berks, talks about her "anything is possible" lesson

The mantra that "anything is possible" is the lesson that award-winning professor, Laurie Grobman, brings to her teaching. She encourages other educators to experiment as instructors, whether in the classroom or, especially by stepping outside of the classroom, as she so often does, by working with community partners.

Realizing the optimistic concept that anything is possible, is key for success in engaged scholarship, according to Grobman. This can be tricky, she admits, because students crave and have grown used to structure and predictability in the classroom. Sometimes, however, a greater lesson can come from ambiguity, Dr. Grobman has found.

Students at all levels can handle working outside of the classroom but it works better with upper level students when it is less structured, she notes.

In this podcast, Grobman describes how she keeps her "anything is possible" mantra in mind as she brings students on learning adventures that are likely to stay with them the rest of their lives.

Listen to the conversation with Grobman. This podcast is part of the To Teach is to Learn series produced by Nichola Gutgold. You can find the full collection by searching Gutgold in the Schreyer Institute's Tools & Resources Repository.

Five New Twists for Online Discussions

by Kristin Kowal and Laurie Berry

Online discussions become boring when they follow the same old routine. Logo for The Teaching ProfessorHere are five easy changes that promote student engagement and critical thinking.

Read More

Kindle Your Holiday Spirits with Dickens, Christmas, & Family Ties in Special Collections

December 3–6, 2018, Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno, University Park

In celebration of the 175th anniversary of the publication of A Christmas Carol, we are partnering with The Eberly Family Special Collections Library to present a week of events featuring three lectures by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, an exhibit, and a reading of A Christmas Carol by Ted Christopher.

A Christmas Carol may be the best known Christmas gift book ever published, and perhaps the most popular Christmas title to be found under the tree since its publication 175 years ago. In the pop-up exhibit, you’ll discover how this gift that we keep on giving came to be and see its evolution as evinced in Penn State’s Special Collections.

Author, art historian, public speaker, broadcaster, and award-winning travel writer, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, and a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London. Lucinda is the author of more than twenty books, including three titles about Charles Dickens and his world, and the biography of his artist daughter, Kate Perugini (Lucinda’s great-great-great aunt). She is currently writing a book on Dickens and Travel. A selection of her books will be available for purchase and signing.

Ted Christopher has been Artistic Director of Penn State Opera Theatre since 2008. He has directed or appeared in over 100 productions over a three-decade long career in the performing arts. He is also an Associate Professor of Music at Penn State. Previous faculty appointments include the University of Memphis and the Eastman School of Music.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, December 5

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley's Top 10 Picks from Penn State's Special Collections

12:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium

The Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State University Park is home to more than 200,000 printed volumes, more than 25 million archival records and manuscripts, and another million photographs, maps, prints, and audio-visual items. Discover the top 10 items selected by author and art historian Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and how she would incorporate them into her lectures.

Ted Christopher Reads Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

4:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium (reception to follow in Mann Assembly Room)

Ted Christopher presents a reading of Charles Dickens’s beloved classic, A Christmas Carol. This book has become a staple of the holiday tradition. Come and listen to the story of the miserly old Scrooge as he is given one last chance at redemption on a memorable Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 6

Katey: The Artistic Dickens

11:00 a.m., Foster Auditorium

Author, art historian, public speaker, broadcaster, and award-winning travel writer, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, and a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London. Lucinda is the author of more than twenty books, including three titles about Charles Dickens and his world, and the biography of his artist daughter, Kate Perugini (Lucinda’s great-great-great aunt). She is currently writing a book on Dickens and Travel.

Dickens and Christmas – Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

4:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium (reception to follow in Mann Assembly Room)

Everybody knows about A Christmas Carol, but did you know that Charles Dickens wrote four other Christmas books and a whole host of Christmas stories? Come and hear Dickens’s great-great-great granddaughter talk about what it was really like to experience a Dickensian Christmas: how the Dickens family celebrated the festive season, how Charles Dickens helped to make the “Christmas story” into a festive phenomenon, the social campaigning behind his stories, and how his writing helped to shape the way in which we still celebrate Christmas today.

Direct questions to Mary Ann Tobin at (814) 865-7881 or

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Fall training sessions provide resources to optimize courses

This fall, IT Learning and Development is offering several training sessions for faculty and staff who are looking to enhance their course content in Canvas.

All training sessions listed below will be offered online via Zoom, enabling faculty and staff to attend from anywhere in the Penn State system. If a session is full, you may still request that session. If space becomes available, you may become enrolled in the workshop, or another session may be added based upon waitlist demand.

Canvas: Using the Gradebook
Monday, September 17, 1:00-3:30 p.m. EDT or Tuesday, September 18, 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants in using the Canvas Gradebook for recording and reporting student course grades. Participants will be guided through the steps for setting up and maintaining a gradebook, ensuring assignments appear in the gradebook as desired, and using the gradebook to record and modify grades. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Optimizing Canvas Courses for Accessibility
Tuesday, September 25 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants using Canvas to optimize their content for accessibility. Participants will be guided through the steps for identifying areas of content to optimize, optimizing content when using the Rich Content Editor, creating extended deadlines for quiz and assignment submissions, and utilizing recommended guidelines for optimizing quizzes for accessibility. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Creating & Delivering Effective Content
Tuesday, October 9, 1:00-3:30 p.m. EDT or Wednesday, October 10, 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will guide participants through the options for delivering course content through Canvas. Participants in this workshop will learn how to create and manage Modules and Pages through hands-on practice and facilitated exploration of Canvas’s related features and options. Register and learn more information

Canvas Brown Bag: Quizzes and Grading for Large Enrollment Classes
Wednesday, October 17 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT

In this brown bag, learn and discuss tips and tricks for addressing common issues. You will walk away with new ideas for assessing, grading, and providing feedback to your students in your large (more than 50 students) enrollment courses. Register and learn more information

Canvas: An Introduction
Wednesday, November 7 10:00-11:00 a.m. EDT

In this discussion-oriented seminar, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of Canvas at Penn State and will examine the best uses of the tool for teaching and learning. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Creating Assignments & Quizzes
Wednesday, November 14 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants to design and deliver assessments through Canvas. Participants will be guided through the steps to creating assignments and quizzes, selecting assignment and quiz settings, and adding questions to a quiz. Participants will also explore assessment options and settings within Canvas, including settings for question display, interaction, review, and feedback. Register and learn more information

Canvas Brown Bag: Transition Your Course to a New Semester
Thursday, November 29 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT

This one-hour demonstration will outline tasks to complete in your courses at the end of the current semester and the beginning of a new semester to make the transition to each new term as smooth as possible. You will review both essential and recommended tasks along with how-to resources and suggested timelines. Participants will leave with practical strategies to enhance their existing course management and organization strategies in Canvas. Register and learn more information

SRTEs Go Mobile!

This semester students can choose to submit SRTEs using the new mobile friendly web version for phones and tablets. No app download is necessary, upon sign-in students will see this option when they have active SRTEs to complete. Students may find it convenient to respond to open-ended questions using the voice-recognition built into their mobile devices.

Screen shot of mobile icon from SRTE tool. 
Screen shot of Mobile SRTE icon.

When students choose the mobile option, they will see only one question at a time, rather than the entire SRTE form on their screens.

The regular web version SRTE is still available for students with laptops or without mobile devices.

Faculty will also be able to use the mobile version to check response rates for courses with active SRTEs. Those faculty who are concerned about response rates will be interested in taking advantage of this new functionality by asking students with mobile devices to complete their SRTEs during class.

Faculty: please remember that if you set aside class time for students to complete the SRTE, you need to leave the room.

Workshops & Seminars