Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)


Contact Information
  • 570-389-4310 (student desk)
  • CTL Webpage

  • Director: Dr. Jennifer Demchak, Mansfield
    Associate Director: Dr. Denise Davidson, Bloomsburg 
    Associate Director: Dr. Regan Garey, Lock Haven
    Administrative Assistant: Cathy Martin, Mansfield

    BU Campus Center for Teaching and Learning 
    419-420 Andruss Library


Social Media
Office Hours

Fall 2023 Hours 
Email the director at
Or email your campus Director or Associate Director

The Center for Teaching and Learning, the new name representing the integration of campus teaching centers for Commonwealth University, facilitates dialogue among faculty on the art and science of university teaching; it provides support of teaching through center resources and seminars.

Programs and services are designed to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas, disseminate information, develop projects and conduct inquiries that enhance knowledge and practice of university instruction, stimulate and enable the development of effective strategies and technologies, provide new faculty with information and support, respond to faculty needs and promote a commitment to teaching excellence.

BU's CTL does have a Zoom Owl which allows colleagues to meet in-person and attend via Zoom. If faculty would like to use the OWL in 419 Andruss for meetings or to work, you are welcome to check out the key from the Andruss Library Circulation Desk. Priority will be given to CTL Seminars and faculty who make advanced arrangements. Consult the CTL Outlook Calendar to determine if events are occurring there or contact Associate Director, Denise Davidson.

How can you contribute?

  • Join in the conversation by participating in Center for Teaching and Learning events. 
  • Become a resource person who shares his/her expertise. Look for calls to present or contact us at
  • Make recommendations to Center for Teaching and Learning. Are there books, articles, websites or blogs that CTL might share with faculty?

Faculty Resources

Academic and Health Resources to Share with Students
Here is a list of comparable services offered on each campus that students might access for academic support as well as physical and mental well-being. We offer this as a Word Document so you can download, cut and paste what your students need into syllabi, Brightspace content modules, etc. If you have additions or corrections to make, please email at With the many changes that we can expect over the next few months of integration, always check that links are still live. The Center for Teaching and Learning will do its best to keep the list updated. 

Study Cycle
We think our students know how to study, yet many can benefit if we suggest structure. Today's student does not easily relate to the vague suggestion that for every hour in class, one should spend three hours outside of class studying. The Study Cycle can contribute to this goal. In the PowerPoint slide deck, you will be given four generic Study Cycles for in-person classes, online synchronous, and online asynchronous. Please feel free to download and adapt. In addition, I have provided a discipline-specific example "Power Hour" (pdf).
If you just want to download the generic versions as a PDF, here you go:
Study Cycle with Power Hour in the center (pdf)
Study Cycle with the Power Hour on the side (pdf)
Study Cycle for Synchronous Online (pdf)
Study Cycle for Asynchronous Online (pdf)

7 Free and Easy Ways to Better Engage Students in Face-to-Face and Online Classes
Adding Captions to Audio and Video in Brightspace and PDF Directions
Adding Interactivity in Asynchronous Lecture Recordings
Assessment of Faculty Well-Being at PASSHE
Best Practices in Academic Advising
Best Practices to Engage and Support College Students with Emotional Struggle
Creating and Sharing Google Forms for a Zoom Session
Creating and Sharing Office 365-Doc for a Zoom Session
Gallery Walk
Gamification in the Classroom
Get Organized for Yearly Evaluations (7-part series)
      Know Your Audience (4:48)
      Record Keeping (6:32)
      Teaching (9:44)
      Scholarly Growth (8:44)
      Service (4:11)
      SharePoint: Getting Started, Yearly Evals, Tenure, Promotion (8:06)
      SharePoint: Organizing Supporting Documents (9:35)
      PDF Tips and Tricks: Novice Help for SharePoint Uploads (PDF)
Immediate Feedback: In-Class Assessment Technique (IF-AT)
Nearpod for Instructional Design
Recording PowerPoint Lectures (using Zoom Screen Capture to demonstrate, 12 min)
Recording a PowerPoint Lecture (using only PPT and Screen Shots, 9 min)
Rubrics (4-part series)
      Rubrics for Efficient Grading and Transparency (6 min, 22 sec)
      Rubric Types (13 min, 42 sec)
      Rubrics: Building a Performance or Criteria-Based (13 min, 10 sec)
      Best Practices: Rubrics in Use (2 min, 7 sec)

Setting up Brightspace for Student (and Faculty) Success (41 min)
Supporting Our BIPOC Students (32:35)
Surviving Field Trips
Team Formation and Employability Skills (11:52)
TechSmith’s Capture (formerly Jing)
Tips for Those Who are New to Being an Online Learner
Tips for Those Who are New to Online Teaching
Using Nearpod to Increase Student Interactions in Online or In-Person
Utilizing Item Analysis to Improve Assessment and Instruction
Where Should I Publish my Article?
Zoom: Lively and Engaging Sessions (Mary Nicholson)

Saundra Yancy McGuire
    Metacognition, Mindset, and Motivation: The Keys to Inclusive Excellence!
    Teach Students How to Learn 2.0
If you would like Dr. McGuire's PowerPoint slides and additional resources, please email at with subject line McGuire Workshop.

Susan Robison
    Peak Performance Practices of Faculty

Beth Dietz and Cathy Bishop-Clark
   Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

If Commonwealth faculty have any difficulty accessing, please

There are two models that you may follow: content coverage and backward design. The content coverage model will sound familiar. Determine what content must be covered, oftentimes the choices are shaped by discipline standards and textbooks, then decide how many assignments or exams will be given and fit the details into the school calendar. Backward design begins at the end in three stages. Stage 1: contemplate and compose what outcomes (significant learning experiences) you desire your students to achieve. Stage 2: decide what assessments the students will complete to demonstrate they have achieved the outcomes. Stage 3: develop learning (what the students do) and teaching (what the teacher does) activities and determine the calendar of what will be completed in and outside of class. If you are teaching online, Stage 4 involves making decisions about technology. This CTL Teaching Tip: Backward Design: a Powerful Course Design Method with Worksheet Stage 1 (word document), Worksheet Stage 2 (word document), and Worksheet Stage 3 (word document) are a good place to start.

In addition, you might read the short essay advocating a backward design approach entitled, "Integrated Course Design," Idea Paper No. 42, and written by L. Dee Fink. Another essay worth reading is Barbara Millis' explanation of deep learning and how it can be promoted in the classroom and in course design, "Promoting Deep Learning," IDEA Paper 47. Seeking additional inspiration? The open access, online journal, Syllabus, includes discussion and sample of syllabi in all disciplines. James Lang, a professor of English at Assumption College, identifies "The 3 Essential Functions of your Syllabus, Part 1, Part 2," which is worth the time to read. Upon completing your syllabus, analyze it to determine if it is student-centered. Susan Sangler offers suggestions in this Faculty Focus article (10 September 2021). You may also want to review your syllabus to evaluate if it is equity-minded. USC's Center for Urban Education offers a guide.

To delve into additional course design topics, check out these CTL Teaching Tips:


Teaching online?

You should first design your course according to the principles of backward design, then make decisions about technology. Will the course be hybrid (blended), hy-flex (or multi-modal), synchronous, or asynchronous? The Learning Management System for the Commonwealth is Brightspace. Faculty can use Brightspace as the foundation for communicating with students and teaching the course. The following Teaching Tips will be useful as you incorporate learner-centered design principles into your Brightspace course.

The academic calendar for each semester should be consulted for essential dates.

The schedule of courses for final exams differs from the regular semester.

Recommended Language for Syllabi

Commonwealth University's Provost recommends that faculty provide the following language in their syllabi and/or policies section of Brightspace content module. This recommendation is new to the Bloomsburg Campus, but has been a practice at Mansfield and Lock Haven.

Student-Friendly Syllabus

During the first week of classes, students may become easily overwhelmed with the variety of syllabi. Consider providing them with a quick reference infographic that offers an overview of the course goals and requirements. Share more details in the syllabus and calendar presented to your students as separate documents or as content items in our learning management system, Brightspace.

Suggested Checklist of Topics that You Might Include in your Syllabi

Information about you:

  • Office Location;
  • Office Hours;
  • Home Page URL;
  • Your Philosophy about Teaching and Learning;
  • Contact Information;
  • Your Response Time to e-mails;

Information about the Course:

  • Course Goals (e.g. student learning objectives, outcomes, competencies);
  • Course Description;
    How the Course will Fulfill General Education and Program Goals;
  • Explain Relevancy of Course Goals to Life-Long Learning;
    Required Prerequisites;
  • Required Laboratories;

Information about Course Materials:

  • Required Text(s);
  • Additional Required Materials;
  • Explanation of how the course material will be used;
  • Titles and Location of any Online Materials;

Grading Expectations and Assignment Guidelines:

  • Grading Expectations;
  • Grading Scale;
  • Grading Criteria;
  • Point Values for all Graded Assignments
  • List and Explanation of Assignments, Exams, Quizzes;

Information on the Schedule of In- and Out-of-Class Activities:

  • Weekly or Class-by-Class Course Schedule (i.e. Calendar of the Semester);
  • Explanation of How Changes in the Syllabus Will be Announced;

Guiding Students to Academic Support Services on Campus:

NOTE: As the university integrates, titles, names, locations, etc. of services that support students is changing. Here is a current list (18 July 2023) that provides comparable services on each campus with URLs. Copy and paste into your syllabus, but before the semester begins, make sure the links are still live.

University Learning Center

Here is some potential language that you may use:

Academic Support. If you feel you need help to improve your academic performance in this course or any of your courses, please consider requesting a tutor through the University Learning Center. The Learning Center offers peer tutoring at no charge to [name of campus] students. The Learning Center office is located in [campus location]. Information on scheduling  tutoring and other services can be found on their website

Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio (WALES)

Each fall and spring semester the WALES Director, Dr. Ted Roggenbuck, sends out language comparable to what is below:

"The Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio (WALES), supports students’ growth as writers and readers.  We enjoy easing the writing process for all students from any background working in any major.  We also enjoy helping students develop strategies for reading and making sense of research and course material. Students set the agenda for each appointment—whether they’re concerned about their reading material, about getting started on a writing project, about improving clarity, grammar, organization, or citations, or about any other aspect of reading, writing, or the English language. Our diverse group of WALES Consultants represent a variety of majors and share the common goal of working with students to develop skills and strategies that help them grow as readers and writers. 

WALES will be open in BAKELESS 206 and also available online via ZOOM. During the COVID pandemic, it will still be possible to come to WALES in the Bakeless Center for the Humanities (room 206), but you must be able to share your document on a screen. WALES will also maintain a virtual space in Zoom during our regular hours.

To make a WALES appointment, either come to BCH 206 or use your Huskies email to contact  You can also just drop in to WALES and work with the first available consultant, often immediately. Because BU's Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio (WALES) has more extended hours, students on any campus can schedule an appointment with WALES, though they should first seek support at their local campus. 

Please see the WALES website for more information.

Accommodations for Students is managed through University Disability Services. They suggest the following language for your syllabus:

Commonwealth University at Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield is committed to providing equitable access to educational experiences, campus facilities, and university related opportunities for all students. Disability Services supports these requests for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have or believe that you have a disability, please contact the following offices based on home campus:
Bloomsburg - Warren Student Services Room 043, or call 570-389-4491 for an appointment to discuss your requests
Lock Haven - 205 Ulmer Hall, or call 570-484-2665
Mansfield - 570-484-2665 or 570-389-4491
It is recommended that students contact the Disability Services office during the first two weeks of classes or immediately upon diagnosis to ensure accommodations are met in an efficient, appropriate, and timely manner for the best student learning outcome.  Upon qualification, the disability professional will arrange to provide an accommodation letter to the professor for the identification of academic or accessibility adjustments. You must contact the Disability Services office to renew accommodation letters at the start of each semester.

Student Well-Being Support Statement

[Campus name] cares about your personal health and well-being. Experiencing difficulties associated with your health and well-being can promote an unhealthy level of stress which can adversely affect many facets of your life, such as your relationships, self-care, learning and academic success. Throughout your time at BU you or someone you know may experience a range of stressful situations… some of which may even create impediments to your success. Stressful circumstances such as illness, strained relationships, trauma, anxiety, alcohol or drug problems, and feeling down or depressed should not be ignored. The Student Counseling Center, as well as the Student Health Center, are available to help you navigate these difficult situations in order to help mitigate their impact.

To learn about or access the free, confidential mental health services available on campus simply call .., email ... or visit the website. 

To learn about or access the services of the [Campus] Health Center call ... or visit the website.

Help is available…please reach out as needed.

Library Research Help Information

The Commonwealth University Library faculty and staff provide many useful links, research guides for a variety of disciplines and courses, and library research tutorials. 

Relevant Policies and Procedures:

All student-facing policies can be found in the Student Handbook. You should contemplate and articulate policies on the following topics:

  • Instructional Technology Requirements;
    Policies on Cell Phone and Laptop Usage;
  • Civility in the Classroom
  • Tardiness Policies;
    Policies on Late or Missed Assignments and Exams;
    Syllabus Copyright Statement;
  • Some faculty participate in Safe Zone or Military Green Zone Training and you might include language suggested by them;
  • Legal Caveat or Disclaimer Indicating the Syllabus is Subject to Change;
  • Privacy Rights (FERPA)

To learn more about the university’s policies and procedures, consult the complete list at:

Some essential policies to know that have been adopted by the University that directly impact the classroom:

Copyright Your Syllabus

If you have concerns about commercial note-taking and its impact on student learning, or if you want to protect the intellectual property rights of your course content, then you should consider making a policy statement and copyrighting your syllabus. The university does not have a policy prohibiting students selling notes, yet the "Acceptable Use of Technology Policy" (PRP 2550) does prohibit the use of the university network (e.g. eMail, Brightspace, etc) for personal financial gain. Kansas State University suggests the following language: "Copyright 20xx ([your name here]) as to this syllabus and all lectures. During this course students are prohibited from selling notes to or being paid for taking notes by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course." By the way, exceptions should be made for Students with Disabilities Center and other note-taking assistance provided to students by the university.

List of Books on CTL/TALE's Library Shelf in 419 Andruss

To borrow books email

Tale Awards

The TALE Teacher-Scholar Awards Call for Proposals has been made. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of their value to the enhancement of teaching and learning in the classroom at Bloomsburg University. Six awards are being offered as a component of the Faculty Professional Development Program opportunities. The maximum funding for each is $2,000 and must be spent in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Three awards are dedicated to tenure-track faculty; three are open competition to all tenured faculty. The funding will be granted to support the following categories: Workshop related to teaching; Non-Aligned Faculty Workshop/Conference; Faculty endeavors in developing and implementing new classroom strategies; Pedagogy-related research; and Service learning classroom components. Applications are submitted through InfoReady. Awards have been decided for 2022-2023. The next cycle, if we expect funding, will be announced late fall 2022.

The faculty are nominated by graduating seniors and selected by a committee of the Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TALE) Center Tenure-track and tenured faculty are eligible for the awards; faculty who have won the award in the last ten years are not eligible. The awards are announced near the end of each spring semester.

2021 BU Outstanding faculty award winners

2022: Kerrie DeVries, Psychology; Christian Grandzol, Management and International Business; Scott Inch, Mathematical and Digital Sciences
2021: Brett McLaurin, Environmental, Geographical, and Geologic Sciences; Abby Hare-Harris, Biological and Allied Health Sciences; Michael Huben, Marketing and Professional Sales
2020: Carolyn LaMacchia, Information and Technology Management; Erin Brummett, Communication Studies
2019: Michael Hickey, History; Monica Favia, Marketing and Professional Sales; Jeff Brunskill, Meteorology and GIS
2018: David Fazzino, Anthropology; Victoria Geyfman, Finance; Claire Lawrence, English; Steven Welch, Management
2017: Jessy Defenderfer, Political Science; Biswajit Ray, Physics and Engineering, Craig Young; Teaching and Learning
2016: Kristie Byrum, Mass Communications; Mike Shapeero, Accounting
2015: Shiloh Erdley, Social Work; Darrin Kass, Management; Mary Katherine Waibel-Duncan, Psychology
2014: Jodi Ackerman, Instructor of Interpreting; Denise Klinger, Counseling & Student Affairs; Babak Mohassel, Criminal Justice
2013: Denise Davidson, Counseling & College Student Affairs; John Grandzol, Management; Jennifer Johnson, Psychology
2012: Thomas Starmack, Educational Studies & Secondary Education; Nathaniel Greene, Physics & Engineering
2011: Christian Grandzol, Management; Pamela Smith, Audiology & Speech Pathology
2010: Peter Bohling, Economics; Cynthia Surmacz, Biological & Allied Health
2009: Barbara A. Wilson, Exceptionality Programs; Michael J. Karpinski, Exceptionality Programs
2008: Margie Eckroth-Bucher, Nursing; Jennifer Scotter, Social Work
2007: Janet Reynolds Bodenman, Communication Studies; Frank D' Angelo, Early Childhood & Elementary Education
2006: Steven Hales, Philosophy; William Hudon, History
2005: Laura Davis, Finance & Legal Studies; Stephen Whitworth, English
2004: Darrin Kass, Management; Kevin Ferland, Mathematics
2003: Yvette Samson, Sociology; Michael Shapeero, Accounting
2001: Robert Gates, Educational Studies; John Grandzol, Management; Andrea Pearson, Art History
2000: Chuck Laudermilch, Sociology; Peter Bohling, Economics

Whitney Robenolt and Minday Andino, "Suicide Prevention Education Trainings"

Dina Clark, "Intensive Data and Analytics Summer Workshop"

Pamela Cook and Rebecca Toothaker, "Stress Reduction Strategies and Nursing Student Retention"

Michael McFarland, "Athletics Faculty - Return on Inclusion Leadership Certificate"

David Miller, "Voice Over Training for Actors"

Debra Minzola, "Point of Care ultrasound (POCUS) Workshop Implementation"


Contact Information