March 2021 Newsletter

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Welcome to our March newsletter!  As the days get longer and the first flowers appear, we hope you find time to read and enjoy this month’s newsletter, which includes updates, and multiple ways of staying connected with the Teaching Academy.

This monthPanelists from last month’s Teaching Academy Winter Retreat on supporting student mental health share written answers to questions posed to the panel. Our Clinical Corner highlights training for effective mentoring and ways of reducing unconscious bias when writing letters of recommendation. We highlight research from two Academy Fellows on the impact of a large blended faculty learning community. And we welcome new Fellows to the Academy!

Questions or comments about the newsletter? Contact Dan Pell, Editor

Trouble viewing this email? Open in Google Docs: Teaching Academy March Newsletter


These individuals have been recognized by the Academy for their outstanding commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. Welcome!

Fellows: Erika Bullock, Curriculum and Instruction / Afro-American Studies, Dave Dwyer, Nursing, Falina Enriquez, Anthropology, Emily Hall, Writing Center / English, John Hawks, Anthropology, Kristen Pecanac, Nursing, Devin Wixon, Delta program


Teaching & Learning Symposium Series
The symposium will be a series of presentations and discussions throughout the spring semester instead of the traditional one day event. All events are on Thursdays, 11:30 – 1:30.  View the full program and schedule.

MTLE (Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence)
Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE) is a two-semester professional development program in teaching designed to help early-career faculty apply evidence-based practices proven to enhance student learning. Throughout the program, Fellows gather evidence about teaching advancements and successes to use in their tenure dossiers. Program alumni report they are not only more effective teachers, but they are also more efficient, freeing up time for research, services, and outreach.

Delta Spring 2021 Courses – Now Registering
The Delta Program provides professional development in teaching, mentoring and outreach. Please share course opportunities with postdocs and graduate students who are eager to add evidence-based teaching strategies to their instructor toolkits. All courses are held remotely.

Active Teaching Labs are participant-driven explorations on a different theme each week with an Activity Sheet of resources to meet a variety of your needs. Lab Chats are personalized deeper dives into the week’s themes that aim to contextualize Lab themes to particular teaching environments — also great for folx who can’t attend Wednesday Labs!

Schedule: Held virtually in Microsoft Teams on Wednesdays (Labs) and Thursdays (Chats) from 1-2pm during the semester.

  • 3/24 & 3/25  Engage students with the internet — 10 ways: Engage students more actively during remote instruction by integrating student research and critical thinking into lessons and activities. RegisterJoin Mar 24 LabJoin Mar 25 Lab Chat.
  • 3/31 & 4/1  Improve synchronous student engagement — 10 ways: Feel like you’re speaking into a void? Activate students during this precious time together. RegisterJoin Mar 31 LabJoin Apr 1 Lab Chat.
  • 4/7 & 4/8  Support struggling students — 10 ways: It’s hard to keep track of the mental and emotional health of remote students, but they’ll be better learners if you do. RegisterJoin Apr 7 LabJoin Apr 8 Lab Chat.
  • 4/14 & 4/15  Improve asynchronous student engagement — 10 ways: Provide engaging and equitable opportunities that extend synchronous conversations with active asynchronous learning. RegisterJoin Apr 14 LabJoin Apr 15 Lab Chat.
  • 4/21 & 4/22  Improve Canvas navigation — 10 ways: Strategies and examples for clearer communication of expectations, simpler access to activities, and more welcoming design. RegisterJoin Apr 21 LabJoin Apr 22 Lab Chat.

Share events, workshops, news, or other notices for Teaching Academy members at 


The Teaching Academy 2021 Winter Retreat “Supporting Student Mental Health in Times of Covid and beyond” was held on February 5th, 2021.  Claire Barrett (Healthy Academics Specialist at UHS) and Val Donovan (Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention Specialist at UHS) share their responses to questions from the audience that were not addressed during the panel.   Read their answers here!

Missed the retreat? It’s never too late!   View the recorded event (1h23m), read the participant guide, and watch student videos (11m).


Teaching Academy Fellows Karen Skibba (Division of Continuing Studies, LDDI) and Maria Widmer (School of Education, MERIT) have been awarded the 2020 Robert J Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Development from the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network, for their exploration of the impact of a large blended faculty learning community (TeachOnline@UW) on instructors’ perceptions of and practices for online education. Their study “adds to the faculty development and Community of Inquiry (CoI) literature through a rich qualitative analysis of instructors’ reflections on the impact of a large blended faculty learning community.”

“This case study analysis supports the finding that all three CoI presences—social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence—contributed to a learning experience through which instructors reconsidered their perceptions and practices of online education. … The holistic learning experience that emerges from the interaction of teaching, social, and

cognitive presence supports instructors in transforming their perceptions and practices. This impact was most immediately salient in March 2020 when instruction was quickly moved to a remote format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants reported that their experience in the learning community allowed for a more rapid and effective transition to remote teaching.”

Read the announcement in the UW-Madison campus news.

View detailed description of their study and information about the award on the POD Network website.

View more details and a short video of their research on the TeachOnline@UW News Blog.


Research Mentor Training

Explore UW-Madison’s own evidence-based training for research mentors. Developed by researchers, this training addresses themes such as: aligning expectations, enhancing work-life integration, promoting mentee research self-efficacy and my others.

Unconscious bias in providing student recommendations:

Take 5: reducing unconscious bias writing letters of recommendation (video)

Discover inadvertent oversights and biases which can prevent you from creating an accurate and fair portrayal of the individual you are recommending.


If you are interested in becoming a Fellow or Future Faculty Partner, click here to review requirements and learn how to get started.




Questions? Topics you would like to see? Announcements for the next issue? Email Sara Scott: ( )


The Academy Forum is a space waiting for YOU to fill it! 

This is a place to share ideas and inspiration with Fellows, FFPs, Affiliates & partners across campus! Why not take 5 minutes to share a few thoughts right now?

Contribute to the NEXT Academy Forum:

  • (NEW) How can you show your sense of care and the importance of well-being to your students or others you work with?
  • Student-to-Student and Student-to-Instructor interaction have emerged as significant concerns during remote instruction. What have you or your colleagues done to make either of these aspects of teaching more successful?
  • What’s baby, what’s bathwater?  Tell us about something you’ve started doing in remote instruction that you think you’d like to keep whenever the crisis has passed and we move into the new “normal”.
  • What is the most interesting virtual backdrop you have seen somebody use?

Submission Deadline: Please submit your answers by Monday, April 12, 2021

Responses included in the newsletter will typically be less than one paragraph, but in some cases we may include a longer response. Responses may be edited for brevity and to fit the format of the newsletter. 


  • TeachOnline@UW: This comprehensive faculty learning community offers two free courses: Plan & Design: and Facilitation & Management. Applications are also now being accepted for the spring Facilitation & Management course (March 22 to April 30) and both courses for summer 2021.
  • Preparing to Teach Online (Spring session: March 23-29,): This week-long, intensive course built for instructors teaching remotely or online.
  • Course Success Self-Review: Take this anonymous, quick survey to identify ways to strengthen the design and delivery of remote/hybrid courses, leading to better learning and student satisfaction. The Self-Review identifies six success factors and offers supporting recommendations, with relevant and actionable resources. Browse additional resources on the Course Success website.
  • Teaching in a Pandemic mini self-directed course: 1 hour, on remote student engagement strategies.
  • Classroom Assessment Strategies Workshop (5/10, 1:30 to 3pm & 5/12, 9 to 10:30am): During this interactive virtual workshop, you will learn how to create an online activity for your course to assess students’ learning progress using a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) of your choice.
  • Learning Analytics – explore how to use learning analytics to support student success by attending an upcoming Learning Analytics Community of Practice session or a Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) Demo and Discussion.

Additional professional development workshops and forums are also available on the Instructional Continuity website: (e.g. Remote Proctoring with Honorlock, Direct Evidence of Student Learning Training, Madison Teaching & Learning Excellence, and more).


The Teaching Academy welcomes nominees who work in traditional classrooms, clinical practice, field instruction, or instructional support with learners at any level.  Our mission is to promote, recognize and support excellence in teaching and learning among faculty, staff and students across campus and beyond.

There are three types of membership: Future Faculty Partner (FFP), Fellow, and Affiliate.  Read about how to Become a Member. Honor a colleague or nominate yourself!

Are you an FFP who has moved on to another position in the University?  Contact Sarah Hagedon to discuss changing your status from FFP to Fellow.


Active Teaching Labs   Improve campus teaching by helping to plan, organize, and facilitate instructor-to-instructor sharing of experiences using technology to teach better.
Newsletter & Academy Forum   

Join the planning committee, contribute to the forum, act as guest editor for the Academy newsletter
Fall Retrea​t | Winter Retreat  

Join the committee to plan, organize & facilitate campus-wide teaching development events 

Explore teaching and learning from the student perspective by attending our U-CLaSS sessions
Analytics Committee  

Help ensure that we are capturing the right information to determine who our programs are reaching, whether participants find them valuable and, most importantly, if there was something they learned through participation.
Affiliate/Clinical Affiliate  

Teaching experiential courses, from clinic to fieldwork? Become involved in growing the clinical affiliate or affiliate program 
Nomination Committee  

We are seeking Fellows (Faculty & Academic Staff) and FFPs to help review nominations.  Honor great campus educators & promote excellence by helping to review nominations to the Teaching Academy.   
Executive Committee seeks FFP Members 

The Executive Committee spearheads all major Teaching Academy events and activities throughout the course of the year, providing invaluable insight and experience to the larger Teaching & Learning community. 
Feedback on Teaching (FOT) Committee 

This joint effort between the Teaching Academy and the Collaborative for Advancing Learning & Teaching offers an opportunity for a graduate student to participate in scaling up and implementing a new peer observation program across campus. Email for more information.
Members-Only Roundtables (MOR) 

We are seeking Teaching Academy Fellows who are interested in organizing roundtable discussions among Teaching Academy members on issues surrounding teaching & learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These discussions take place once per semester.