Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning

Instructor in math class
What We Do

Rhode Island College’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) promotes the professional growth and development of faculty as teachers and as scholars of teaching and learning.

Contact Information
Additional Information

Chris Marco, Director


Office Hours

Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


FCTL is by faculty, for faculty. We are devoted to the professional and personal growth of faculty and strive to foster a dynamic and committed campus community from across distances and disciplines while also supporting the college's strategic plan.



FCTL Professional Development Opportunities

FCTL offers a wide range of services from individual consultations to week-long course design retreats. FCTL offers professional development throughout the entire course development process including issues of pedagogy, course design, and assessment. FCTL provides support services on active and engaged learning, online and blended teaching, teaching technology, inclusive teaching, and more.​

To learn more, visit the FCTL Blackboard page

FCTL Advisory Board

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Resources for Faculty

Additional resources are available on the FCTL's Blackboard page. Log on to Blackboard and look for "FCTL Faculty Professional Development" under the "Courses" section to access materials.

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning was established with support from a generous grant from the Davis Educational Foundation.

The idea of a Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) at RIC had been under discussion for a number of years. Exploration of an FCTL was a stated goal in the college's Strategic Plan 2010, cited under Institutional Goal 1 "Ensure high-quality learning opportunities for all students," and Objective 1.9 "Explore the feasibility of creating a Center for Teaching and Learning for college faculty and submit a feasibility plan by 2009."

To achieve this objective, in fall 2008 a committee of the RIC governance council of faculty, staff, and administrators was asked by the Vice President for Academic Affairs to review the structure and function of centers at other schools, assess interest level among faculty at RIC, and make a recommendation to the administration. Committee members made site visits to six different centers at area colleges, ranging from Worcester State College to Connecticut College to Brown University. A report on these centers was disseminated to the faculty at large, and two faculty-wide forums were conducted at which about 80 faculty attended to voice their support. Many other faculty members wrote e-mails expressing approval for the idea.

The outcome of this effort was a well-endorsed proposal to establish an FCTL, submitted by the Mission and Goals Committee to President Nancy Carriuolo in May 2009. Establishment of the FCTL was included in the strategic plan developed for 2010-2015. Draft Goal #1 read, "Foster and sustain rigorous academic programs that demonstrate student-faculty collaboration, cultural inquiry and intellectual engagement," and draft Objective 8 read, "Establish a Center for Teaching and Learning to demonstrate and facilitate our systemic commitment to faculty development."

A number of factors led to the college's desire to establish an FCTL during this time:

The college experienced a surge in enrollment and a rising dependence on adjuncts. In 2008-09, 38% of the student credit hours were generated by part-time faculty, a percentage that increased due to a 6% rise in FTE undergraduate enrollment in fall 2009. With only 10 new full-time faculty members that fall, there was an urgent need to engage part-time faculty in college life and teaching development.

The demographics of the faculty changed due, in part, to retirements. At the time, 35% of the full-time faculty members were assistant professors.

The demographics of the students changed. RIC served a population of about 7,900 undergraduates and 1,400 graduate students. Of this group, 67% were women, 83% were white, and 87% were from Rhode Island. Over the next ten years, projections suggested the number of graduates from Rhode Island high schools would fall by about 25%, with the number of white students dropping by 40% but the number of Hispanic students rising by 36%. The college would need to reach a more ethnically-diverse population, non-traditionally-aged undergraduates, graduate students, and adults in need of continuing education. Success in understanding, reaching, and teaching these populations would benefit from the FCTL.

Student learning-outcomes assessment has been, and continues to be, a major focus of campus efforts. As a college-wide responsibility, the FCTL would facilitate sharing of assessment practices and findings across departments and schools.

While many faculty members were well versed in technology, the college lagged behind other institutions in online learning. Blackboard 9.0 was just becoming available after years of dependence on an older technology. A sustained faculty-development effort was needed to create a community of practice around online teaching and other emerging modes of pedagogy.

Several consecutive years of fiscal constraints created, more than ever before, the need to be effective in teaching and to use faculty resources to the greatest effect possible. Maintenance of the faculty's sense of freshness and engagement with new teaching practices required an investment in faculty development.​​​​

Rhode Island College’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) promotes the professional growth and development of faculty as teachers and as scholars of teaching and learning. The FCTL cultivates a public dialogue about teaching and learning across disciplinary lines and strives to build a professional community among teachers at Rhode Island College. The FCTL serves faculty at every stage of our professional lives in order to support a campus-wide culture committed to excellence in teaching and learning. The FCTL is by faculty, for faculty.

FCTL Mission

The FCTL is devoted to the professional and personal growth of faculty and has, as a central tenet of its mission, the goal of fostering a dynamic and committed campus community from across distances and disciplines while also supporting the college's strategic plan. As described by faculty members themselves, the FCTL at RIC: 

  • Provides much-needed faculty support in a rapidly evolving profession and teaching/learning environment. The FCTL fosters a safe space for honest, productive dialogue informed by scholarship and experience from all disciplines, ranks, and full-time and part-time status.
  • Promotes communication and collaboration across disciplines. The FCTL serves as an institutional hub that fosters a dynamic and committed campus community across disciplines.
  • Creates an ongoing, coherent discussion of pedagogical practices in and out of the classroom. The FCTL serves as a central source of support for faculty development programs and collaboratively coordinates professional development activities, resources, and information.
  • Responds to new ideas and trends in teaching and learning. With faculty members bringing in ideas from outside contacts and the Center monitoring trends in higher education, the FCTL ensures that the campus as a whole remains up to date in current pedagogical thinking.
  • Has a broad impact beyond the campus. Over 90% of K-12 teachers in Rhode Island have a degree from Rhode Island College. Across all fields, the majority of our graduates remain in the state for their professional careers. Thus, the FCTL has a wide impact on the professional population and on K-12 students across the entire state.​

Student Research & Creative Activity

The Center for Research and Creative Activity (CRCA) strives to identify and provide resources in the form of funds, services, and materials to faculty, students, and the RIC Community to broaden participation in mentored research and creative activity. To learn more about CRCA’s events and resources for designing new courses or revising existing courses that will further integrate student research and creative activity into the curriculum, see the CRCA website.

Teaching Writing

Solid writing skills are essential for students no matter what course of study they pursue. Equipping students to write clearly, concisely, and for an intended audience will serve them for the duration of their college experience and on into professional working environments. The Rhode Island College Writing Board offers a number of resources to support writing across the disciplines, from getting started with writing in the classroom to designing effective writing assignments to practical approaches to grammar and errors. Access the Writing Board’s complete resource list and guidelines for student success in college-level writing.

The HELIN Library Consortium is composed of eleven academic libraries and twelve health sciences libraries. The academic libraries are represented by Brown University, Bryant University, the Community College of Rhode Island, the Dominican House of Studies, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, University of Rhode Island, and Wheaton College.

Use the HELIN Catalog to find books and other materials in the library. The HELIN libraries share this union catalog, so you will see holdings for all other HELIN libraries in the catalog. The InRhode catalog allows you to search both Brown and the HELIN catalog. Your RIC ID card will allow you to borrow books from all these institutions either electronically through HELIN request or in person.

Books Available in HELIN Libraries

  • Enhancing Learning Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling - Kathleen McKinney
    Call Number: J&W-Prov. Harborside Grad Ed. LB2326.3 .M36 2007
    ISBN: 1933371293
    This book offers advice on how to do, share, and apply SoTL work to improve student learning and development. Written for college-level faculty members as well as faculty developers, administrators, academic staff, and graduate students, this book will also help undergraduate students collaborating with faculty on SoTL projects. Though targeted at those new to the field of SoTL, more seasoned SoTL researchers and those attempting to support SoTL efforts will find the book valuable.

  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Perspective - Raymond P. Perry, John C. Smart, editors
    Call Number: J&W-Prov. Harborside Grad Ed. LB2331 .S3564 2007
    ISBN: 1402049447
    Pivotal to the transformation of higher education in the 21st Century is the nature of pedagogy and its role in advancing the aims of various stakeholders. This book brings together pre-eminent scholars to critically assess teaching and learning issues that cut across most disciplines. Systematically explored throughout the book is the avowed linkage between classroom teaching and motivation, learning, and performance outcomes in students.

  • Into the Classroom: Developing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - Thomas Hatch, with Melissa Eiler White ... [et al.]
    Call Number: Salve Curriculum & RWU Main Library LB1027 .H348 2006
    ISBN: 0787981087
    Teachers are the "lone rangers" of education. They are sequestered in their classrooms, unable to see what their colleagues are doing. All too often, good teachers have few, if any, opportunities to share their teaching techniques with others in their profession.

    Based on the development of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Into the Classroom clearly shows the advantages of bringing teaching into the public arena and making it possible for many people to see the nature and quality of the teaching that goes on inside schools. Once teaching is more public we can create unprecedented opportunities for teachers to learn from one another and for others to participate constructively in supporting and improving schools. Into the Classroom outlines the myriad issues that must be addressed in order for the teaching profession to become a true learning profession.​

  • Disciplinary Styles in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Exploring Common Ground - Mary Taylor Huber and Sherwyn P. Morreale, editors
    Call Number: URI LB2331 D57 2002
    ISBN: 1563770520
    Ten sets of disciplinary scholars respond to an orienting essay that raises questions about the history of discourse about teaching and learning in the disciplines, the ways in which disciplinary "styles" influence inquiry into teaching and learning, and the nature and roles of interdisciplinary exchange. The authors hope to "contribute to a common language for trading ideas, enlarging our pedagogical imaginations, and strengthening our scholarly work." Disciplines represented: chemistry; communication studies, engineering, English studies, history, management sciences, mathematics, psychology, and sociology

  • Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate - Charles E. Glassick, Mary Taylor Huber, and Gene I. Maeroff
    Call Number: PC, RWU, Wheaton, URI LB2331 G63 1997
    ISBN: 0787910910
    Scholarship Assessed continues the exploration begun by Scholarship Reconsidered. It examines the changing nature of scholarship in today's colleges and universities and proposes new standards with a special emphasis on methods for assessment and documentation.

  • Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - Pat Hutchings, editor
    Call Number: URI LB2331 O58 2000
    ISBN: 0931050685
    The cases that constitute this volume represent work in progress by faculty selected as Carnegie Scholars with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Each of the eight authors tells the story of her or his efforts at "opening lines" of inquiry into significant issues in the teaching and learning of the field. In particular, their accounts focus on the doing of this kind of investigative work – that is, on methods and approaches for undertaking the scholarship of teaching and learning.

  • Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate - Ernest L. Boyer
    Call Number: LA227.3 .B694 1990 2 copies
    ISBN: 0787940690
    Ernest L. Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered offers a new paradigm that recognizes the full range of scholarly activity by college and university faculty and questions the existence of a reward system that pushed faculty toward research and publication and away from teaching.

  • The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons - Mary Taylor Huber, Pat Hutchings
    Call Number: LB2331 .H85 2005
    ISBN: 078798115X
    A publication of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, this book explores the premise that the scholarship of teaching and learning holds the key to improving the quality of higher education.

  • Learning Communities: Reforming Undergraduate Education - Barbara Leigh Smith ... [et al.]
    Call Number: LB2331 .L392 2004
    ISBN: 0787910368
    Learning Communities is a groundbreaking book that shows how learning communities can be a flexible and effective approach to enhancing student learning, promoting curricular coherence, and revitalizing faculty. Written by Barbara Leigh Smith, Jean MacGregor, Roberta S. Matthews, and Faith Gabelnick, acclaimed national leaders in the learning communities movement, this important book provides the historical, conceptual, and philosophical context for learning communities and clearly demonstrates that they can be a key element in institutional transformation.

  • Building Faculty Learning Communities - Milton D. Cox, Laurie Richlin, editors
    Call Number: LB2331.7 .B83 2004
    ISBN: 0787975680
    Changing our colleges and universities into learning institutions has become increasingly important at the same time it has become more difficult. Faculty learning communities have proven to be effective for addressing institutional challenges, from preparing the faculty of the future and reinvigorating senior faculty, to implementing new courses, curricula, and campus initiatives on diversity and technology. The results of faculty learning community programs parallel for faculty members the results of student learning communities for students, such as retention, deeper learning, respect for other cultures, and greater civic participation.

Backward Design/Understanding by Design

Backward design is a strategic planning framework whereby faculty identify and establish desired results, build an assessment approach, and then determine how best to present course materials for student success. By first identifying learning outcomes for a course, faculty determine how best to assess student learning through exams, essays, presentations, and other activities. This thoughtful, proactive approach engages student learners while supporting faculty members with both the short-term planning and long-term goals of their course content and performance. Backward design should provide opportunities for students’ self-assessment and encourage critical and creative thinking.


Overview of Designing Backward

Resources from the co-authors of Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design Overview

Understanding by Design Whitepaper

Understanding by Design Templates

What is Understanding by Design? Interview with Jay McTighe 

Writing Learning Outcomes

Learning outcome statements play a vital role in student success. Learning outcomes describe academic expectations through a clear, student-centered presentation of course requirements, highlighting the skills and knowledge students should demonstrate by the end of the semester. Outcome statements offer students a fuller understanding of assignments and projects, influence course design, and provide faculty members a means to assess student success in the classroom.


Overview of Learning Outcomes 

The Effective Use of Performance Objectives for Learning and Assessment (covers both Fink’s and Bloom’s Taxonomies) 

Online Learning Outcome Generator

Additional resources on Bloom’s Taxonomy

Iowa State University — Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy 

Bloom's Taxonomy

Additional resources on Fink’s Taxonomy

L. Dee Fink, Ph.D.: A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning 

Fink's Taxonomy

Video series on using visual thinking to plan out your curriculum 

Curriculum Design Part 1: The High-Level Planning

Curriculum Design Part 2: The Clothesline Method

Curriculum Design Part 3: Producing the Material

Curriculum Design Part 4: Iterate Over Time

  • Bender, E. (2005). CASTLs in the Air. Change37(5), 40-49.

  • Bernstein, D., & Bass, R. (2005). The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Academe, 91(4), 37-43.

  • Boshier, R. (2009). Why is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Such a Hard Sell? Higher Education Research & Development, 28(1), 1-15.

  • Brew, A., & Ginns, P. (2008). The Relationship between Engagement in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Students' Course Experiences. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education33(5), 535-545.

  • Huber, M. (2001). Balancing Acts: Designing Careers around the Scholarship of Teaching. Change33(4), 21-29.

  • Hutchings, P., & Shulman, L. (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching. Change31(5), 10-15.

  • Lieberman, D. (2005). Beyond Faculty Development: How Centers for Teaching and Learning Can be Laboratories for Learning. New Directions for Higher Education, (131), 87-98.

  • Shulman, L. (1999). Taking Learning Seriously. Change31(4), 11-17.