Learning and Teaching Consultations

Learning and Teaching Consultations

General learning and teaching consultations provide an opportunity for you to discuss questions, issues, or topics related to learning and teaching with an experienced CEE Specialist. CEE Specialists partner with instructors, departments, and programs to help you achieve your teaching and learning goals. For example, we can help you design a new course (or consider redesign options), create a syllabus and student learning outcomes, develop assessments and rubrics, explore effective hybrid and online teaching practices, integrate inclusive teaching practices, or develop projects related to educational research and learning analytics. You can make a request for a consultation on this page. Once you have made your request, a CEE Specialist will follow up with you via email to schedule an in-person, phone, or web meeting (e.g., Skype, Zoom). All consultations are free and confidential.

Consultations for graduate students and Postdoctoral Scholars are conducted by the TAC Fellows and cover teaching and learning topics commonly encountered by Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Associate Instructors (AIs). All consultations are free and confidential. (Learning and Teaching Consultation PDF)

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Mid-Quarter Inquiries

Mid-Quarter Inquiries (MQIs) provide you with formative student feedback that you can use to modify a course you are currently teaching. Here is our process: a CEE Specialist will gather anonymous feedback from your students during a class session. You will receive a complete, digital report 7-10 business days after the MQI was carried out. In an MQI follow-up meeting, you and the CEE Specialist will meet to discuss the student responses and identify teaching practices that support or limit your students’ learning. Instructors commonly find that MQIs can help enhance teaching methods, promote greater student participation, and improve instructor-student rapport. (MQI PDF)

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  • Mid-Quarter Inquiries (MQIs) provide you with formative feedback that you can use to modify a course you are currently teaching. MQIs are available to full- and part-time faculty, Teaching Assistants, graduate student Associate Instructors (AIs) and Postdoctoral Scholars.

    MQIs for faculty are conducted by CEE Specialists. After you have scheduled your MQI, a CEE Specialist will visit your classroom to gather anonymous feedback from your students during a class session. You will receive a complete, digital report 7-10 business days after the MQI was carried out. In a follow-up meeting, you and the CEE Specialist will meet to discuss the student responses and identify teaching practices that support or limit your students’ learning. Instructors commonly find that MQIs can help enhance teaching methods, promote greater student participation, and improve instructor-student rapport.

    MQIs for Teaching Assistants, graduate student Associate Instructors, and Postdoctoral Scholars are conducted by the TAC Fellows and follow the same process described above.

    Please note: As of Fall 2018, CEE has moved to an electronic MQI process as part of our effort to enhance our ability to provide access to this formative feedback process to a growing number of instructors in a timely manner. Please note the following changes to CEE’s MQI process:

    • MQIs are limited to one per instructor per academic year.
    • MQIs are now electronic only. In the electronic MQI, students provide feedback in the classroom via their electronic devices. Instructors who request an MQI should permit students to use web-enabled devices during the in-class portion of the MQI process. A CEE Specialist will prepare a digital report of your students’ responses and will email you a copy for your review and reflection before the MQI follow-up consultation.

    When should I schedule an MQI?
    To ensure that a CEE Specialist can attend your desired class session, you may wish to reserve your MQI near the beginning of the term or one to two terms in advance. Scheduling the MQI to take place during weeks 3 through 6 of the quarter is recommended to allow you to make any desired changes to your course before the end of the academic term. After you submit your request through the CEE website, a CEE Specialist will contact you to schedule the MQI and the MQI follow-up consultation.

    What happens during the MQI?
    MQIs take between 15 to 20 minutes of class time, depending on class size. Most MQIs are done at the beginning of class, although it is possible to schedule your MQI at the end of class, if necessary. With the instructor and TAs out of the room, the CEE Specialist asks students to respond to three prompts:

    •What helps you learn in this class:
    •What limits your learning in this class:
    •What suggestions do you have for your instructor:

    The CEE Specialist will send you a complete, digital report via email, along with reflection questions about your student learning goals and student responses to your teaching, that will help you prepare for the MQI follow-up consultation.

    Which types of classes are eligible for MQIs?
    Faculty and Instructors of Record: At this time, MQIs are available for the main lecture portion of the class only. We do not currently provide MQIs for discussion sections, labs, and studios for faculty and instructors of record.
    Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars: MQIs may be administered to sections, labs, and studios to obtain feedback for graduate student TAs and Postdoctoral Scholars who are responsible for the teaching in these settings.

    What is the timeline for MQIs?
    We will do our best to accommodate your dates for an MQI. However, should you wish to do your own MQI, here is a sample MQI Form used during the in-class visit. Feel free to administer these questions to your students yourself and request a general consultation with a CEE Specialist to discuss the results. Note: Instructors who elect to offer their own version of the MQI should supply results to the CEE Specialist they will meet with prior to the consultation, if possible.

    What happens during the follow-up consultation?
    The CEE Specialist will send you a complete, digital report via email, along with some reflection questions, before the MQI follow-up consultation. The report and the reflection questions  will help you prepare for the meeting. During the follow-up consultation, the CEE Specialist will discuss with you the student feedback and assist you in prioritizing any changes you would like to implement. Consultation topics range from general suggestions about how to increase student engagement to more targeted suggestions about how to incorporate specific, evidence-based teaching practices into your teaching. 

    Instructors can use the comments to guide decisions about the course and their teaching both in the near and long term. Noting the consultation and describing your student feedback can also be a useful item to include in your teaching portfolio or professional dossier.


Classroom Observation

Classroom observations can help you see your classroom from a new perspective and give you ideas about how to enhance learning for your students. A CEE Specialist will observe your teaching and collect observational data about aspects of your teaching that will be most useful in helping you increase your teaching effectiveness. Common aspects include the use of classroom activities, the use of time and space, and methods for facilitating learning for all students.  In a follow-up consultation, you and the CEE Specialist will discuss new techniques and strategies you may want to use in the classroom going forward, framed within the unique context of your teaching. Observations for faculty are conducted by CEE Specialists, and observations for graduate students and Postdoctoral Scholars are conducted by the TAC Fellows. (Classroom Observation PDF)

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  • When should I schedule a classroom observation?
    Schedule your classroom observation near the beginning of the term to ensure that a CEE Specialist can attend your preferred class session. After you submit your request, a CEE Specialist will contact you to schedule a pre-classroom observation meeting and will then schedule your classroom observation and follow-up consultation dates.

    What happens during the observation?
    A CEE Specialist with expertise in teaching will observe your class session for 20 to 30 minutes. The CEE Specialist will gather data about your teaching and can pay particular attention to aspects of teaching effectiveness that you are interested in receiving feedback on, for example, the types of activities students are most engaged in, and the distribution of participation among students. To put your students at ease, we advise that you explain to your class that the CEE Specialist is there to gather information about your teaching and is primarily observing you, not them.

    What happens during the classroom observation follow-up consultation?
    You and the CEE Specialist will meet to review and discuss the observation data, typically 7 business days after the classroom visit. By reviewing the observation data, you and the CEE  consultant will be able to plan strategies that will lead to improved learning for your students in the specific context of your class.


Video Recording (Graduate students and Postdoctoral Scholars only)

A video recording consultation can help you analyze your teaching and reflect on your students’ learning experience. For example, analysis of a video recording can provide insights into how you communicate with students, how you use space on the board and in the classroom, and how you help students engage with material. Meet with an experienced CEE consultant to deconstruct a recording of a class session as data into effective teaching, rather than viewing it as a performance, making process much less intimidating, and more useful, for instructors. Video consultations are currently only available to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Our TAC Fellows’ collegial and helpful consultation style make the process easy and useful.

 If you are requesting a video consultation as part of a departmental or program requirement, please ask the supervising instructor, instructor of record, or program coordinator/director to contact CEE directly to coordinate (cee@ucdavis.edu) with “Video Consultation for [insert course, department or program]” in the subject line. (Video Consultation PDF)

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  • How do I prepare for my video consultation? Do I need to have my own camera?
    Prepare for your consultation by recording a full class session using a device of your choosing. You do not need to use a camera as most smart phones allow you to record, and some classrooms also run classroom capture technology. Please inform students in the class that you will be recording the session for your own professional development and encouraging those who do not wish to be filmed to sit outside of the camera’s view. We then ask that you review your recording and select a ten to fifteen minute clip that you wish to review with your consultant. Bring a copy of said video clip to your consultation. If you do not have access to a recording device, or cannot record your class by yourself for any other reason, please contact CEE for assistance.

    How do I schedule a video consultation?
    Use this form to request a video consultation.

    What happens during the video consultation?
    A consultant will meet with you to review and discuss your recording. The consultant will help you interpret the “data” provided, and together you will discuss new techniques and strategies you may want to use in the classroom going forward.


Statement of Teaching Philosophy (Graduate students and Postdoctoral Scholars only)

Articulating your statement of teaching philosophy is useful to guide your teaching practice, to communicate how you teach, and to prepare for the academic job market. Graduate students and Postdoctoral Scholars can work with a TAC Fellow to develop or refine their written Statement of Teaching Philosophy as a key part of career development. (Statement of Teaching Philosophy PDF)

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  • What happens after I schedule a teaching philosophy consultation?
    A TA Consultant will contact you to schedule a meeting to discuss your teaching philosophy statement and will ask you to share your draft statement. Instructors often find it is most helpful to meet with a consultant once they have a complete draft, although the consultants are available to meet with you at earlier stages in the process as well. You will typically be able to meet with a consultant within 5 to 7 days of when you submit your request.

    Are there any workshops or resources to help get me started?
    CEE and the Internship and Career Center (ICC) offer workshops several times a year on preparing statements of teaching philosophy and teaching portfolios, among other topics. View upcoming workshops through the ICC and CEE. Recordings and materials from past workshops are also available. For more information, the University of Michigan has compiled excellent resources and advice on the teaching philosophy statement. Graduate students and postdocs who participate in the Seminar on College Teaching also develop a statement of teaching philosophy as part of the course.

    Where can I get help with the quality of my writing, but not the content?
    The Graduate Writing Fellows offer free writing consultations with all graduate students. Schedule a consultation for help organizing your ideas, improving your grammar and syntax, and overall strengthening of your writing skills.

    Where can I get help with preparing other academic job materials?
    The Internship and Career Center offers workshops, consultations, and resources related to the academic job search. Visit their website to learn about career options, research statements, CVs, cover letters, and more.