ACUE Effective Teaching Practices Program

All students deserve an extraordinary education and faculty play a critical role in their success.

ACUEAs part of a new initiative to support innovative pedagogy, faculty members at NIU now have the opportunity to participate in an Association of College and University Educators’ (ACUE) course on effective teaching.

Faculty members who participate will explore and implement research-based approaches to teaching designed to improve student engagement and persistence and promote deeper learning.

This initiative aligns with NIU’s mission, vision and values to provide students from diverse backgrounds a classroom experience that supports their success. The ACUE course incorporates culturally responsive teaching techniques and encourages those involved to engage in thought-provoking discussions and self-reflection around how to promote an inclusive class experience.

NIU Participants

Faculty Participants


A Typical Faculty Member Credentialed by ACUE

Learns

55

new practices

Implements

28

new practices

Learns more about

71

practices


Learn More

Build your teaching skills across these five core teaching competencies:

  • 1

    Designing an Effective Course and Class

    • Establishing Powerful Learning Outcomes
    • Aligning Assessments With Course Outcomes
    • Aligning Activities and Assignments With Course Outcomes
    • Preparing an Effective Syllabus
    • Planning an Effective Class Session
  • 2

    Establishing an Inclusive Learning Environment

    • Leading the First Day of Class
    • Promoting a Civil Learning Environment
    • Connecting With Your Students
    • Motivating Your Students
    • Engaging Underprepared Students
    • Helping Students Persist in Their Studies
    • Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom
  • 3

    Using Active Learning Techniques

    • Using Active Learning Techniques in Small Groups
    • Using Active Learning Techniques in Large Classes
    • Delivering an Effective Lecture
    • Planning Effective Class Discussions
    • Facilitating Engaging Class Discussions
    • Integrating Civic Learning Into Your Course
  • 4

    Promoting Higher Order Thinking

    • Providing Clear Directions and Explanations
    • Using Concept Maps and Other Visualization Tools
    • Teaching Powerful Note-Taking Skills
    • Using Advanced Questioning Techniques
    • Developing Self-Directed Learners
  • 5

    Assessing to Inform Instruction and Promote Learning

    • Developing Fair, Consistent, and Transparent Grading Practices
    • Developing and Using Rubrics and Checklists
    • Providing Useful Feedback
    • Checking for Student Understanding
    • Using Student Achievement and Feedback to Improve Your Teaching
  • 25 modules build to full certificate
  • high-quality user experience
  • video-rich - over 180 demonstration lessons
  • collaborative - faculty engage in cohorts
  • facilitated by a teaching expert
  • implementation is required
  • assignments and reflections are required
  • evaluated by ACUE national readers
  • two cohorts per year, one in fall and another in spring, limited to 30 faculty participants each
  • 25 online modules, one completed per week (2-3 hours online content and engagement per week)
  • faculty apply new strategies in their teaching, then share reflections on the implementation and receive feedback from
  • co-facilitated by faculty and teaching experts
  • periodic in-person meetings with cohort and facilitators
  • earn nationally-recognized Certificate in Effective College Instruction, endorsed by American Council on Education (ACE)
  • become an NIU ACUE Teaching Fellow
  • be recognized by the Provost's Office in a ceremony at the end of the program
  • have opportunity to share your teaching expertise with your peers
  • Total of 60 available slots per year (30 in the fall and 30 in spring). Colleges allotted number of faculty slots proportionate to college size.
  • All faculty (tenured/tenure-track and full-time instructors) are eligible to participate. Those who are interested can contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) to be added to the interest list for the upcoming cohort.
  • All participants should be teaching a class where they can try new approaches. Priority is given to new faculty, coordinators of general education courses, and those teaching courses with high D/F/W or equity gap rates.
  • In collaboration with CITL, colleges put forward nominations to the Provost's Office for final selection and invitation by the Provost.

"One of the most important aspects of the course is that faculty have agreed to use the techniques they are learning in their current classes. This is an active course that covers all aspects of a pedagogically-sound course, from design to implementation to assessment. Faculty learn and develop a technique and then they put it into practice immediately.” - Provost Beth Ingram


"The cohort enables faculty to promote and implement the quality teaching and learning NIU is known for and represents an investment by the university in professional development. It’s a holistic course that takes the approach good teaching is inclusive teaching. Through the course, they will learn the types of practices that support student success for everyone.” - Stephanie Richter, Director of Faculty Development and Instructional Support, CITL


"Faculty are sharing their insights and challenges and building connections. It is wonderful to see those relationships building. I believe they will be long-lasting relationships that will continue well beyond the course.” - Yvonne Johnson, Multimodal Teaching Coordinator and ACUE Course Facilitator, CITL


"I have used the online weekly schedule to help students stay on track every week, built a stronger online community with syllabus activities, icebreakers and online question parking lots. These activities have significantly increased the online communication amongst students. Although I have been teaching online for 8 years, the ACUE course is providing me with an arsenal of ideas to continuously improve my teaching which in turn would enhance the student learning experience.” - Shanthi Muthuswami, Associate Professor and Fall 2020 Cohort Member, Engineering Technology

Gyurko, J. & Snow, M. (2020) Our “directive”: Quality teaching and learning. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(5), 6-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2020.1807873

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the next cohort launch?
The spring 2021 cohort will launch January 6, 2021 with a synchronous online event from 1:00–2:30 pm CST. The event will be recorded for those who are unable to attend.
What does the course consist of?

Course consists of four blocks and each block includes six modules (each module focuses on specific aspects of the broader topic of the block).

The focus of the four blocks are:

  • Creating and Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environment
  • Promoting Active Learning
  • Designing a Student-Centered Course
  • Inspiring Inquiry and Preparing Lifelong Learners
Can I get a taste for what the course experience is like?

The ACUE course is designed according to best practices in course design and delivery. There are weekly readings, technique talks that provide examples of instructional practices in action, assignments, due dates, and reflections. Basically, participants in the cohort learn about best practices for teaching and develop a way to use a technique in their course, and apply these practices in their courses. Reflections on how the activity went in the course are a part of most of the modules.

You can additionally find previews of course modules here.

What is the time commitment to complete the course?

The course consists of 25 online modules (on average, one completed per week) involving 2-3 hours of online content and engagement per week, as well as time spent on application of instructional practices in your classroom.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-797-2477
Email: citl@niu.edu

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