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Communities of Practice


Communities of Practice are...

...groups of educators who work together to develop and implement a teaching and learning project over the course of two to three semesters. 

Fall 2013-14 Programs

Continuing Programs:

CETL Dollars Policy

Academic Motivation

"If I could only get my students more motivated, teaching and learning would be so much better!"

Motivation underlies student engagement in higher education and is among the most significant factors for meaningful learning. While some students enter classrooms eager to learn and willing to be challenged, many others appear less enthusiastic about learning. Fortunately, instructors have considerable influence on their students' motivation and through their teaching they can instill motivation in students.

During the Fall 2012 semester, educators met biweekly to explore the existing research on academic motivation with the intention of identifying and understanding the most important factors for student motivation. Readings focused on the motivation theories underlying common teaching/learning issues such as:

  • Whether or not extrinsic incentives such as grades, extra credit, and participation points enhance or detract from meaningful learning
  • Why some students seem to be "grade grubbers" and focused solely on the grade, while others actually want to learn the content
  • Why some students put a lot of emphasis on innate ability (i.e., "smartness") and don't seem to understand the role of trial and error and effort in learning
  • Why some students fail to understand that grades are not "given" by instructors, but rather, grades are earned by students
  • Dealing with students who lack confidence in their ability to learn or who underestimate their potential
  • Working with students who don't seem to understand the value of learning

During the Spring 2013 semester, educators continued to meet biweekly to incorporate what they have learned about motivation into their classes. Motivational methods addressed during this semester include:

  • Maximizing students' intrinsic motivation
  • How instructors' expectations affect motivation
  • Using extrinsic incentives effectively
  • Encouraging and requiring students to take more control of their learning
  • Rebuilding discouraged students' confidence and motivation to learn
  • Individual differences in student motivation (e.g., first-generational students, students with disabilities, multicultural students, non-traditional students)

Meetings: TBD

Stipend: TBD

Facilitator: Mary Beth Leibham, CETL Fellow/Psychology

Back to topTo register:  Contact CETL, call 836-2385 or drop in to OL 1142.

Student Writing in Content Courses

Educators from across disciplines are invited to participate in a five-part workshop on dealing effectively with student writing. The workshop will focus on strategies for saving time and energy in responding to student work. Other topics include designing effective writing assignments and ways to teach writing in large, lecture-based courses. The facilitator will be attuned to educators' specific issues and concerns while drawing from current research in pedagogy and composition studies. Educators will design or revise a writing component for one of their current or future courses.  Participants will also have to opportunity to be paired with another faculty mentor who has already undertaken some significant change to teaching writing in their courses.

Meetings: The group will meet four times during the fall semester, plus one or two individual consultations with the facilitator about your particular course and concerns.  Group meetings are scheduled for Wednesdays 12:00-1:30:

  • Sept. 18 in OL 1122
  • Oct. 2, OL 2131A
  • Oct. 16, OL 2131A
  • Oct.  30, OL 2131A

Please feel free to bring your lunch.  If these dates or times do not fit your schedule, please contact the facilitator, Shevaun Watson, directly. She may be able to reschedule or organize a second group with enough interested participants.

Stipend: $300 in CETL dollars for participants who complete the COP and their project during the fall semester.

Facilitator: Dr. Shevaun Watson is Associate Professor of English and Director of the University Writing Program. She has facilitated dozens of writing-in-the-disciplines workshops for faculty at several universities. To learn more about Dr. Watson's research and background, visit her Web site.

More information: Contact Prof. Watson at or 836-4630.Back to top

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.