Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning

Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning


Join us in welcoming Dan Sanford who will be joining the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) as its new director starting in late July.

Sanford has a doctorate in cognitive linguistics from the University of New Mexico. His work in the CTL at Boise State University will be built upon a broad foundation of working with faculty and other campus stakeholders to support student academic success.

Sanford spent ten years at the University of New Mexico in various capacities in the Center for Academic Program Support, including as its director.

Most recently, Sanford has been the director of Writing@Bates and the Academic Resource Commons at Bates College. In this role, he worked with faculty to support effective teaching and assessment across disciplines and to focus on learning outcomes at the course and curricular level.

Sanford played a key role in supporting the college’s transition to COVID teaching while maintaining an engaged, active, collaborative, and equitable approach to learning. He is excited to return to the environment of a large public university and to lead the Center for Teaching and Learning into the future. Sanford will also serve as an associated faculty member and teach in the undergraduate program in linguistics.

Congratulations to Shari Ellertson, director of Institutional Research, and Teresa Focarile, interim administrative director for the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning. They presented at the 2020 Assessment Institute hosted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). This year’s conference was held virtually, with more than 10,000 attendees from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. Martha Plascencia, management assistant in Institutional Research, moderated the session.

In their session, “Strengthening Program Assessment and Faculty Development through Faculty Review Teams,” Focarile and Ellertson shared details about the peer review process employed for Boise State University’s Program Assessment Reports (PARs).

Since the implementation of the PAR process in 2016-17, 65 faculty and staff representing every academic college have served as peer reviewers and over one-fourth of them have served in multiple years. The peer review process is intended to provide helpful feedback to programs that submitted PARs while fostering transparency, modeling collaboration, building community, and expanding faculty development.

Learn more at
Tasha Souza, associate director for inclusive excellence for the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning, was interviewed by Steve Freedland from the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) for their Teaching Social Justice podcast series. The episode was on microaggressions in the classroom and teaching social justice more broadly. SALT is a community of progressive law teachers working for justice, diversity and academic excellence. Listen at

Additionally, Souza presented an online workshop for faculty from Westfield State University (WSU) in Massachusetts. The workshop was entitled “Inclusive Courses at WSU: Creating an Environment that Values and Supports All Learners.”

Finally, Souza also presented to approximately 250 participants at the Blue Sky Institute Diversity and Inclusion Summit on the topic of “Microaggressions in the Workplace: What are They and What Can I do About Them.”

Boise State University

Our friends at the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning shared this blog post highlighting lessons learned and strategies undertaken by one of their faculty colleagues during Spring, 2020.
As they note, “These strategies are applicable to most disciplines and may be helpful for faculty preparing to teach remotely, going forward.”
Max Davis Johnson, Boise State University associate vice president and chief information officer, and Daniel Gold, director of IT programs, presented “Disruption to Transformation: Boise State’s Story of Perseverance During COVID-19” on May 26. The webinar was part of the HR Water Cooler series hosted by Oracle.

Davis-Johnson discussed the technology adjustments Boise State made to transition from in-person to virtual in a very short time, including quickly expanding the university’s infrastructure capacity to move fully online. He also talked about making the same available in-person technologies accessible in the virtual space. Part of Boise State’s success was being able to communicate all the changes being made in a coordinated and clear manner with the assistance of campus partners such as the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning and Division of Extended Studies.

Gold shared tips and techniques for keeping the university’s enterprise HCM Cloud implementation on-schedule while shifting from on-premise to remote implementation.

Boise State Office of Information Technology

Congratulations to Susan Shadle, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and executive director of the Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning, on being named vice provost for undergraduate studies, effective July 1, 2020.

She will succeed Andrew Finstuen, who has served in an interim capacity since 2016 while also holding the position of dean of the Honors College.

Shadle earned her doctorate in inorganic chemistry at Stanford University and held a two-year postdoctoral research fellow position at Johns Hopkins University prior to joining Boise State University in 1996. She was appointed the inaugural director of the Center for Teaching and Learning in 2006, named Carnegie Idaho Professor of the Year in 2015 and recognized as a Boise State Distinguished Professor in 2017, among numerous other honors and awards.

Learn more about Susan at

Boise State University College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning sponsors workshops and other events to provide the Boise State University community with opportunities to reinforce best-practices in teaching, learn from colleagues, and reflect upon the choices we make as teachers.

Find online workshops and webinars (new and archived) offered at

Congratulations to Susan Shadle, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, recently named vice provost for undergraduate studies, effective July 1, 2020.

Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning
Boise State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Hi! I really need some help! I am currently taking a Marketing Research Course. If you are a Current Boise State Student could take 5 minutes out of your day to complete a survey, I would be really grateful. Please share this with other Boise State students. Thank you so much!
Link to Survey:
Congratulations to the 5 nominees from for Idaho Business Review's Women of the Year 2017!

Janet Callahan, chair, professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

Vanessa Crossgrove Fry, assistant director, Idaho Policy Institute; assistant research professor, Boise State School of Public Service; doctoral candidate, Public Policy and Administration

Ann O. Hubbert, director, professor, Boise State University School of Nursing, Boise State University Health Services

Susan Shadle, director, Boise State Center for Teaching & Learning

Caile Spear, health education specialist, professor, Department of Community and Environmental Health

✨ 💫 🌟
Hi BSU Students! If you transferred to BSU from a community college would you please take this short survey for my research methods class? It only takes 3 minutes. I could really use your help!! Please share this post with your fellow BSU students!! Thanks!

BSU Students:
Ever had a wonderful professor at Boise State?? Nominate them for a Golden Apple Award. It takes less than 5 minutes and is a great way to give props to your profs:

The Center for Teaching and Learning supports and enhances teaching effectiveness for faculty

The Center for Teaching and Learning is the nucleus of a university culture that values teaching and learning. The center is a resource for all instructors who care about the learning environment they create for students. It fosters dialogue, scholarship, innovation, and excellence in learner-centered teaching.

Operating as usual


Is it difficult to prioritize your writing? Looking for a community of fellow faculty and staff to provide mutual support? The CTL will host virtual “writing cafés” almost every Tuesday this semester to assist you as a writer. Click here to register!


The Boise State Center for Research and Creative Activity (CRCA) invites all faculty to participate in their upcoming workshops and events. For information about topics and schedule, check out the CRCA Events website.


In a recent Faculty Focus article, Lauren Burrow addresses the importance of establishing and maintaining a classroom of care. Burrow frames the article around the “new-Covid-19-normal” but you may also think of it in light of other ongoing developments in higher education and society such as AI. The article outlines four quick activities to help educators frame their course, build relationships early, and encourage self-care. Read here:


This Learning Circle is designed for educators interested in developing their student coaching skills, in and out of the classroom. This four-part series will focus on value-based goal setting, reflective listening, and appreciative inquiry, as discussed in Elena Aguilar’s book "The Art of Coaching". The Learning Circle will culminate in participants envisioning their own student training workshop or class activity based on the principles and practices explored in the book. Participants will also receive a copy of "The Art of Coaching" so that they can continue fostering reflective practices in their teaching and leadership. The Learning Circle will be facilitated by Elizabeth Barnes and Nicole Brun-Mercer. It will meet in person from 12-12:45 pm on Oct 5, Oct. 19th, Nov. 2 and Nov. 16th (location TBD). To sign up, please complete this interest form:


The Advising and Academic Support Center (AASC) is excited to announce a new academic support resource hub available to all instructors at Boise State! AASC’s Academic Support team has developed a one-stop site specifically for instructors that houses academic support resources aimed to allow greater access to student success content and services provided by AASC including:

AASC Classroom Visit Requests,
Quick and Easy Classroom Activity Guide for Student Success,
Facilitated Study Groups, and more!
Check out all of the academic support options you and your students can take advantage of at Academic Support Resources for Instructors.

Please email [email protected] for questions or additional information.


Join us for our Designing and Facilitating Activities for the Classroom and Beyond: Microteaching for Graduate Students workshop series!
This series will offer graduate students the opportunity to engage with faculty and peers in a series of interactive workshops that demonstrate the effective facilitation of activities, offer valuable feedback on participants’ activity design, and provide a supportive space for students to facilitate their activities.
Register here:

These workshops will be offered on:
– Thursday, September 14, 9:30-11:30 AM

– Thursday, September 28, 9:30-11:30 AM

– Thursday, October 12, 9:30-11:30 AM

– Tuesday, October 26, 9:30-11:30 AM (may not be needed depending on enrollment)


This fall the CTL is offering a variety of faculty learning communities and a book circle, all great ways to engage with fellow educators with shared teaching and learning interests. Follow the link to learn more about programs offered:


As all of us in higher education work to understand the new landscape in which both students and educators have easy access to powerful AI tools, we encourage you to consider the ways you might change your syllabus and instructional methods as a response.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) 101 will be offered in one-hour workshops many times in the upcoming weeks and months (both in person and online) to provide a basic introduction to AI tools that generate text. You’ll learn what today’s tools can and can’t do, and you’ll have an opportunity to try them. Finally, you’ll consider how you might use them to support teaching and learning–including how to respond to students’ use of AI.
Follow the link to learn more:


Have you watched April's Teaching Spotlight? In this video, Paul Simmonds, Physics Associate Professor in the Micron School of Materials Science & Engineering talks about the Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) approach and how to implement it into your classroom. Simmonds has used this approach for many years, and in this video he shares tips and tricks about how you can incorporate JiTT into your teaching. Watch here!


In our new CTL blog column “What We’re Reading”, we want to share all those intriguing articles we come across during our research. You know, the ones that we stumble upon, that get saved in a folder, are read and enjoyed, but potentially disappear in said folder. Let’s break the cycle!
In a recent Chronicle article, authors Jeremy Murphy and Meira Levinson invite us to experiment with helping students learn and to be curious by embracing imperfection in the classroom.
Read more here:


The CTL is actively recruiting faculty mentors for our Interdisciplinary Mentoring Program. We need a broader range of faculty—from all career tracks—to support faculty in their first or second year at Boise State.
Read more here:


Check out the Spring Service-Learning Exhibition, Thursday, April 27, 2023 from 4:00-6:00 pm in the Simplot Ballroom in the SUB! Student posters and videos will also be displayed online from April 27 - May 4, 2023. Students will showcase their service-learning experience demonstrating how these projects provide authentic real-world learning and make a valuable impact in the community.


Early in my first semester of grad school, a mentor introduced what was then a counterintuitive teaching strategy: Activity Before Content, or ABC. The strategy is simple: have students explore concepts and ideas before presenting them with new content. For example, before introducing a new concept, ask students to define it, drawing from their experiences and expectations: What do they think it means? What does it remind them of? How have they encountered it in previous situations?

Read more here:


Join us on May 3rd to hear from a panel of Boise State faculty from across the disciplines, who will lead a discussion of how Artificial Intelligence will affect the landscape of higher education. Read more here:


Are you feeling adventurous and ready to take on some new practices? Have you thought about including social media, such as TikTok or a YouTube channel, in your course? Are you interested in co-creating a course with students via social media? The appropriate use of social media platforms, which most students are already more than familiar with, can light a new flame of interest in the course and, thus, can help facilitate the content in an exciting way.

Follow the link to read about some ways you can use popular social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) in your classroom:


Director of Music Education in Boise State’s Music Department, Lori Gray, celebrated a successful service-learning partnership with Maple Grove Elementary. Lori’s students from MUS 372 General Music Methods and Materials, created and conducted music lessons with second graders, leading to an applauded concert for families. This was Lori’s fifth year teaching with service-learning (SL) and she is eager to share why she feels strongly about SL experiences for her students, even when it adds complexity to the class. Read more here:


In a recent Talking Teaching session, Boise State faculty and their secondary education colleagues shared about their process for creating a series of Open Educational Resource (OER) texts that are used in both college and high school classrooms. The goal of this project is to address both the perceived equity gap in access to courses due to economic disparities and to improve student representation in the course materials. The project team shares advice and tips for educators who would like to update existing OER, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and consider how to apply what they learned to their own course content. To see a summary of the main takeaways from this session, you can check out this resource:


Hundreds of Boise State students and twenty faculty and staff joined community members at the annual Idaho Refugee Conference at Boise State last month. The conference brought together diverse perspectives providing opportunities to learn and engage with people from around the country and the world. Faculty from the departments of Psychological Sciences, Communication, Social Work, and Sociology brought their classes, providing unique experiential learning opportunities as part of students’ class activities and learning goals on topics such as immigration, language acquisition, and the refugee experience. Follow the link to read more:


Each one of us is unique as an instructor; we bring different strengths, interests, and approaches to our teaching. And while a teaching portfolio can be a useful tool for evaluative purposes (e.g., annual review, tenure and promotion decisions), it is also a way to showcase what makes you unique – and effective – as a teacher. Read more about how to use your teaching portfolio as a tool for telling your teaching story here!


Many students have experienced COVID era trauma, including losing loved ones, being sick themselves, long COVID repercussions, uncertainty, lack of structure and security, and missing out on educational and social experiences. As instructors, how do we teach and facilitate the learning of students who are suffering from the after effects of the pandemic and may have shorter attention spans and decreased engagement with learning? In this post we highlighted a few strategies to support your students and their attendance, interaction, and attention that have been published in recent articles. Read here:


Students may think that the discomfort and struggle of hard thinking is actually not learning, so they perceive active learning as inferior because the “feeling of learning” isn’t positive. However, the lesson here isn't to stop using active learning in the class, but instead to correct students' misconceptions about active learning. Read more here:


The Framework of “growth mindset”, as built on the work of Carol Dweck (1999, 2007) and others, emphasizes that learning and abilities are not “fixed”, but, rather, that we can develop and improve our knowledgeThis idea is a powerful tool that can help students keep an open mind toward their learning process when things get difficult. However, not every student in every situation will benefit from a growth mindset in the same way. Rather, the practice of growth mindset offers motivational tools that are personal and apply in specific circumstances, including when experiencing failure, frustration, and anxiety. Want to learn more? Follow this link:


Now Accepting Applications for Course Design Institute!
This May 22-26th the CTL will again offer our annual Course Design Institute (CDI). Participants will write learning outcomes, develop assessments that are transparent and provide students with multiple means of expression, and plan activities that will support all students in their learning.

If you are interested in participating please fill out the application form by 9am on April 14th.
For more information about the benefits and expectations for the CDI please see our website.


In a recent Talking Teaching session, co-facilitators Dr. Morales and Dr. Pakala discussed Scholarship of Teaching and Learning projects they had conducted in their courses and then answered questions from participants. Several takeaways emerged through the discussions which are shared here:


Submit a Lightning Talk proposal for the 2023 Great Ideas for Teaching and Learning Symposium on Monday, May 8th! This year’s Great Ideas Symposium theme is “Learning By Doing”, and will highlight the ways in which Boise State educators are integrating experiential learning into the classroom. We invite Lightning Talk proposals that showcase examples, both big and small, of experiential learning use across campus and teaching modalities. Submit your proposal via this proposal form.


Case studies have a positive reputation to help students expand their learning. A recent Faculty Focus article, ‘Using Case Studies to Develop Questioning Skills’, calls for another critical skill that is enhanced through case studies: questioning skills. The article offers action steps for faculty to guide students through the process of creating effective questions through case studies, focusing on evaluation, categorization, and ideation.
Follow the link to learn more:


What kind of feedback on writing is best for multilingual students who may still be acquiring English? Feedback that reflects the purpose of a given writing assignment helps all students grow as writers. For multilingual learners of English, it’s especially important to support their continued learning of academic language by focusing on developing ideas and understanding course content. Learn more here:


Are your students struggling with time management, reading comprehension, and other important study skills? The Advising and Academic Support Center (AASC) is offering a new peer-lead program to support students with such skills. Students can improve their comprehension and long-term retention of course content by working with a Peer Academic Consultant (PAC) and learn about more effective study habits and learning skills. Learn more here:

Integrated Service Learning with Mari Rice 03/01/2023

Mari Rice uses Service-Learning in her courses to engage students experientially by working with a community partner to apply course concepts and address challenges within the community. Watch the video here:

Integrated Service Learning with Mari Rice Mari Rice discusses how to implement integrated service learning in your classroom to facilitate student learning.


How can we, as educators, respond to the immediate challenges (and opportunities!) of ChatGPT, while also preparing ourselves for this shift? A series of March workshops, organized by the newly formed AI in Education Taskforce, will explore the ways that we as educators can respond to the availability of these tools, both strategizing how we can maintain the role of writing in helping students to learn, and preparing students for a world in which AI tools are a fundamental part of the writing process. Follow this link to learn more:


Although podcasting has been around for some time, educators are just now discovering creative ways to integrate podcasts into their teaching. For starters, some faculty are using podcasts to help deliver the content in their courses. Instead of a reading, they’ll assign students a short podcast to listen to, and then follow it up with an activity or a discussion. Podcasts really help break up the monotony of reading assignments, and by using them, you’re practicing good Universal Design for Learning (UDL). If you're thinking about trying your hand at podcasting, follow the link for tips!


Mark May 8th, 2023 on your calendar for this year’s Great Ideas for Teaching and Learning Symposium, organized by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). This year’s theme is “Learning By Doing”. Sessions will highlight ways in which Boise State educators are bringing experiential learning opportunities into their classrooms to provide students with rich, realistic, and hands-on learning.


Traditionally, emotions have been labeled as distracting or hindering when it comes to classroom learning, but recent scholars have called for embracing the power of emotions in the learning process. Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s book “The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion” outlines key points and practical suggestions for how instructors can promote and elevate relevant emotions that support learning in their classrooms. Read more here:


Come join us on February 9th at 10:30am to learn about Service-Learning (SL). This is a type of experiential learning where students apply course concepts to a community issue, engage with a community organization, and learn by doing. Facilitators will share examples, scenarios, and steps to success, as well as tools and tips that are relevant to all forms of experiential learning. Register here:


In the book “Rewriting Partnerships: Community Perspectives on Community-Based Learning (Utah State University Press, 2022), Shah challenges community-engaged university staff, faculty, and students to practice a new form of knowledge construction within a partnership. Universities have the opportunity to highlight the assets/knowledge of the community and work towards “a space where answers can be explored collaboratively”(pg 172). Follow the link to read more:


Applications for the spring 2023 Mid-semester Assessment Process are now open! The Mid-semester Assessment Process (MAP) allows instructors to assess their teaching and gauge how and what students are learning in a particular course while the semester is still in progress. If you are interested in learning more information, follow the link below!

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