Learning Innovation Welcomes Faculty to Course Design Institute

Duke Learning Innovation recently welcomed a group of faculty to the Course Design Institute (CDI), a 3-day program consisting of interactive seminars, discussions, and presentations, where faculty learned and applied a best-practice approach to designing dynamic, learning-focused courses in any discipline. Now in its second year, the institute was held May 21 – 23, and faculty worked collaboratively over the 3-day period to draft their course plan and syllabus for a course they plan to teach in the upcoming academic year.

Each participant received a copy of the book Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses by L. Dee Fink, and a set of course design resources for use after the Institute, as well as information on technology and academic support resources available at Duke.


A highlight of the institute is the connections participants build with other Duke faculty across disciplines who share similar teaching interests. Faculty receive feedback from their peers throughout the institute. A follow-up roundtable discussion event is held each fall, building a faculty community centered on best practices in course design.

photo of the course design institute participants

Below is a list of participants and their department affiliation:

  • Shaobo Han, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Statistical Science
  • Bridgette Hard, Associate Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Elizabeth Long, Lecturing Fellow of The Graduate School- English for International Students
  • Timothy L. Johnson, Associate Professor of the Practice in Energy and the Environment
  • Kim McNally, Lecturing Fellow, Director of Undergraduate Studies, HWPE
  • Karen Murphy, Lecturing Fellow of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Leslie Nambo, Chaplain, Pastoral Services, Duke Health
  • Thomas Newpher, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Daniel Vermeer, Associate Professor of the Practice and Executive Director, Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE), Fuqua School of Business
  • Dean L. Urban, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Lillian Zwemer, Special Programs Faculty

Faculty Feedback

Lillian Zwemer shared the following feedback on how the CDI provided value and impact to her course design and development:

It has been an incredible experience and one for which I am deeply grateful. I loved the variety of the exercises, the iterative development of our own courses, the development of supportive working relationships with the other participants, the unique styles of each of the instructors. It ran so smoothly, it is clear that a tremendous amount of thought went into making sure the time was spent both pleasantly and efficiently.

faculty participants doing a group activity at whiteboards

Guest Speakers

On all three days, participants heard from guest speakers on effective teaching pedagogies, such as inclusive teaching and active learning. Guest speakers included:

  • Alyssa Perz, Assistant Dean of Trinity College, and lecturer in Biology presented a workshop on teaching strategies to cultivate classroom equity and inclusion, titled “Student heterogeneity:  What do you need to consider as you design your course?”
  • Cary Moskovitz, Associate Professor of the Practice, Thompson Writing Program presented on “Student Writing as a Rhetorical Activity.”
  • Denise Comer, Associate Professor of the Practice, Thompson Writing Program, and Steve Wallace, Instructor, Biomedical Engineering spoke on effective teaching activities they have found successful in meeting learning outcomes for their students.

The CDI was led by Sophia Stone, Elise Mueller and Seth Anderson. We look forward to connecting with faculty participants from both institutes again in a follow-up event in October 2018. (View highlights from the 2017 Course Design Institute)

For additional information on future Course Design Institutes, contact Learning Innovation.

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