Skip to main content
Photo by Viji Sathy

The UNC Summer Institute on College Teaching is a five-day professional development experience that provides instructors with effective strategies for improving student learning. Participants will learn how to

  • foster diverse and inclusive classroom environments;
  • optimally implement active learning techniques;
  • assess the quality of their instruction; and
  • design learning goals and effectively use class time to help students achieve those goals.
Photo by Kristen Chavez

The principles and techniques taught during the course of the week have been shown by decades of research to improve student learning, increase the number of students who complete their major, and close achievement gaps between demographic groups. Participants will also have the opportunity to provide input to university leadership on how to improve the quality of and reward exemplary teaching.

If you teach a college-level course (at any level), then please consider applying.

The UNC Summer Institute for College Teaching is an initiative of the National Academies and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  It is supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and UNC’s Summer School.


2021 Summer Institute

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not run our traditional week-long, in-person Summer Institute this year.  Instead, we are offering a summer workshop series designed to introduce and/or reiterate best practices for teaching.  The workshops are open to everyone, regardless of your level of experience.  Please attend as many as you like!

Questions?  Please contact the director of the summer institute, Colin Wallace.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How much does this cost? Nothing!  These workshops are 100% free.  All we ask is that you sign up for the workshops you plan to attend so we know how many people to expect.
  • Do I have to attend all of the workshops?   While we hope you attend as many workshops as possible, we also understand the need for flexibility.  Feel free to sign up for as many workshops as you wish.  Attendees who come to all sessions will earn a certificate as an Education Fellow.
  • I attended the Summer Institute in the past. Can I still come to these workshops?  Absolutely!
  • I haven’t been to a Summer Institute before, but I think I’d like to go to one in the future. If I attend these workshops, will that preclude me from attending the Summer Institute in the future?  Not at all.  You may come to these workshops and still attend a Summer Institute in a future year, once the pandemic is over.
  • Are these workshops open to postdocs and graduate students?   Everyone is welcome.
  • Will I feel connected to a community like in other Summer Institutes? All of our sessions will be interactive and include breakout time. However, for participants interested in more community building, we’ll be forming groups for participants that want to continue to talk through the series as a more free-flowing conversation.


Wednesday, June 9, 3:00-5:00 pm: Inclusive Teaching for a Diverse Student Population

  • Presenters: Kelly Hogan (Dept. of Biology) and Viji Sathy (Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience)

Research shows that active learning techniques reduce achievement gaps between different demographic groups.  In this workshop, we will discuss important issues instructors must consider when trying to teach in a way that is inclusive for all students.  Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, June 16, 3:00-5:00 pm: A Day in an Active Learning Class

  • Presenter: Colin Wallace (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy)

You know active learning is more effective (and fun!) than traditional lecture-only instruction.  But how can you put multiple active learning strategies together to create a single, engaging 50-minute lesson?  In this workshop, you will experience, from a students’ perspective, a day in an active learning class, followed by a discussion of how the lesson was constructed.  Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, June 23, 3:00-5:00 pm: Backwards Design – The Key to Linking Goals, Teaching, and Assessment

  • Presenter: Kelly Hogan (Dept. of Biology)

Backwards design is perhaps the most important principle for designing a class.  It allows you to create learning goals, in-class activities, and assessments that are tightly linked and mutually reinforcing.  If you are designing a new class, redesigning a current class, or even just curious as to whether your class can benefit from a reimagining, then consider signing up for this workshop.  Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, June 30, 3:00-5:00 pm: Implementing Think-Pair-Share

  • Presenter: Colin Wallace (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy)

Think-pair-share is a powerful engagement strategy that combines questions posed by an instructor with simultaneous, whole-class, student-student discussions. Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, July 7, 3:00-5:00 pm: Effectively Using In-Class Writing

  • Presenters: Jennifer Larson (Dept. of English and Comparative Literature) and Courtney Rivard (Dept. of English and Comparative Literature)

Writing is a critical form of communication in almost every discipline which is why many instructors require students to demonstrate their content mastery and critical thinking skills through writing.  But how do you get students to engage in meaningful writing activities during class time throughout the course of the semester?  If writing is a critical component of your teaching and assessment practices, or if you are interested in incorporating more writing into your class, then this is the workshop for you.  Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, July 14, 3:00-5:00 pm: Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

  • Presenters: Courtney Rivard (Dept. of English and Comparative Literature) and Kelly Hogan (Dept. of Biology)

Do you want your students to engage in authentic research experiences while they are in your class? A research experience can expose students to the intellectual challenges of collecting and analyzing data.  It also gives them the opportunity to engage with the ideas and practices of your discipline.  Sign-up for this workshop to learn about the best practices for implementing CUREs in your class.  Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, July 21, 3:00-5:00 pm: Teaching Research with Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Presenter: Brian Hogan (Dept. of Chemistry)

The ability to read and interpret a scholarly, peer-reviewed article is a key skill for many disciplines.  Yet many students struggle to develop this skill.  In this workshop, you will learn how to use authentic journal papers in your class and how to help students develop the ability to understanding their claims and findings. Sign up for this workshop here.

Wednesday, July 28, 3:00-5:00 pm: Assessing and Evaluating Your Teaching

  • Presenter: Colin Wallace (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy)

How do I know if I’m doing a good job teaching?  For many faculty, end-of-semester student evaluations are the only form of feedback they receive.  But there are alternatives.  In this workshop, we will learn about various research-supported ways of evaluating your teaching and documenting your growth as an instructor over time.  You will also learn how to provide effective feedback to a colleague about their teaching.  Sign up for this workshop here.