The Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE) uses a colleague-to-colleague model to promote excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. Through one-time and multi-part workshops, professional development events, and special opportunities, we help faculty network with others in collegial settings to develop strategies that promote student success and cross-disciplinary understanding. CAFE is a resource that serves and supports all faculty (part-time, term, tenure track) on all five UAA campuses.

Learn More about CAFE


Faculty Development Calendar


Midterm Assessment Strategies Improve Teaching and Learning

Provost Gingerich recently called for faculty teaching 000- and 100- credit-bearing courses to submit midterm grades via UAOnline. Assigning midterm grades and engaging in mid-semester assessment need not be limited to 000- and 100-level courses, though. Seeing how things are going at this point in the term is instructive for students and faculty alike. For faculty, it enables us to reach out to students individually, route struggling students to additional resources and, potentially, determine learning outcomes that may need additional attention. For students, on the other hand, benefit from having time to reflect and develop their metacognition skills. Here are a two simple strategies that are fairly easy to incorporate into your course:

  • Provide a list of learning outcomes addressed thus far in the term. Ask students to identify the outcome where they believe they’ve made the most progress, as well as one where they have room for growth. Have them offer a brief reflection essay on each of the two.
  • Ask students to reflect on the class as a community of learners. Have them reflect on the contributions that classmates have made to their learning, as well as things they’ve done to help others master concepts or skills. 
  • Have them explore their own study skills. Ask for them to identify a practice that has been helpful or productive, as well as something that might improve their work as they continue to move through the term.

There are a number of great resources and approaches available. We’d love to hear strategies you’re using to engage in this type of mid-semester reflection on teaching and learning. We’re building a list of resources for the CAFE website; please contact us to contribute ( 

 Faculty Mixers – two opportunities this month

Faculty MixersCredit via Flickr/Creative Commons

These faculty mixers are designed as opportunities to help faculty network and connect across disciplinary lines.  These have been well attended and many people have written us to express their appreciation for this chance to gather together without the pressure of a specific agenda.  In response to feedback from folks who said that it was difficult to make it on Friday afternoon, we’re offering a mid-week morning.  Hope to see you there!  No need to register.

  • Morning Mixer, Tues 10/11, 8:00-9:45am, GHH 105  
    Start your day with a cup of coffee or tea while connecting with colleagues.

  • Afternoon Mixer, Fri 10/14, 4-6pm, Varsity Sports Grill, Alaska Airlines Center Mixers at the Varsity Sports Grill are co-sponsored by Varsity Sports Grill and Catering and Conference Services.  They sponsor a round of appetizers.  Beverages and other items from the menu are available for purchase.

Proactively Addressing Accessibility for Students with Disabilities at UAA

A presentation with Karen Andrews, Director of UAA's Disability Support Services
Friday, October 28, 11:30-1:00pm, LIB 302A


Karen AndrewsPhoto credit: Philip Roth, UAA Advancement

Are you sure your assignments are appropriately adapted to a wide variety of learners? Do you follow principles of Universal Design for Learning? Improve accessibility in the learning environments where you lead students by joining us for this Lunch and Learn event co-sponsored by DSS and in observation of Disabilities Awareness Month. A light lunch will be provided with registration; space is limited. If you're unable to attend in person, contact us to attend via distance.


  • Teaching Tips
  • Difficult Dialogues
    Difficult Dialogues is a national program designed to promote and protect academic freedom and religious, cultural, and political pluralism on university campuses. Originally launched by two UAA/APU Ford Foundation grants, this project equips UAA faculty with the skills, knowledge and support to proactively and effectively introduce controversial topics into the classroom and, where necessary, field unanticipated controversy that arises.
  • SoTL/Making Learning Visible
    SoTL is scholarly inquiry into student learning which advances the practice of teaching by making research findings public and open to critique and evaluation. The intent is to create a community of “scholarly teachers” who add to the body of knowledge about teaching and learning as well as benefiting from the SoTL research of others. Check out UAA's version of SoTL - Making Learning Visible.
  • Team-Based Learning TBL
    Team-Based Learning™ (TBL) is a highly interactive, results-based educational strategy developed in the business school environment which has spread to other academic disciplines over the last decade. TBL can be used in classes as large as 200 and as small as 12. It transforms instruction into active learning and promotes the development of professional competencies in interpersonal skills, teamwork and peer feedback.  

Career Support

Teaching Tip

Strategies for holding "office hours" 

The benefits of "outside of class communication" (OOC) are well documented. Faculty/student interactions positively influence student learning and student persistence (Halawah, 2006; Kuh &Hu, 2001; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). The online newsletter Faculty Focus recommends several strategies for improving office hours: 1) Schedule office hours at times that are convenient for you AND your students. 2) Solicit student input to determine their best times by circulating a calendar and asking them to initial days/times that don't work for them. 3) Use tools like Doodle or an online scheduling tool like YouCanBook.Me. 4) Make yourself available in alternate locations like a Google Hangout or a table near a campus coffee stand. For more suggestions, check out the February 18, 2015, issue of Faculty Focus. We'd love to hear about your creative strategies for increasing "outside of class communication" (OOC) with students.

CAFE shares announcements and brief items of interest on best practices in teaching and learning via FACEBOOK.  We'd love to see you there.  


Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence