Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence presents free workshops in October

September 27, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence will present the following free workshops during the first week of October.

Registration is free for all events at

"Feeling like a fake: Overcoming the impostor phenomenon"

Noon-1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in 315 Rider Building, University Park campus

Impostor Phenomenon (also sometimes called Impostor Syndrome) is the belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that one is inadequate, unworthy, and does not belong in a particular role or position. One attributes one's success to luck, luck that will soon run out. "I am a fraud," that little voice inside says, "and it's only a matter of time before everyone else knows it. I don't belong here."

Impostor Phenomenon is quite common in academia, and both teachers and students suffer in secret. In this workshop, facilitated by Michael Murphy and Sara Cavallo, we will talk more about what Imposter Phenomenon is and how to recover a well-deserved sense of confidence, enjoyment and satisfaction in our teaching, learning and research. We will also explore ways to support those students in our classrooms with similar thoughts and feelings.

This workshop satisfies a requirement for the Instructional Foundations Series for new instructors.

"Creating the path to success in the classroom: Improve learning for diverse students in the context of high expectations"

1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3.

This event will be presented Online via Zoom. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

In this presentation, Kathleen Gabriel, associate professor at California State University, Chico, will discuss evidence-based practices that foster student success. Participants will gain ideas on how to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all your students have the opportunity to succeed, including students from groups that traditionally have had low rates of representation and success in higher education. Recognizing that there are no easy answers, Gabriel will offer ideas and methods that can be incorporated in, or modified to align with, faculty’s existing teaching methods and that will promote learning. Effective ways for increasing student engagement with each other and with course material, and ways to reinforce their self-efficacy with growth mindset techniques will be included in this presentation.

Gabriel is the author of two books: "Teaching Underprepared Students: Strategies for Promoting Success and Retention in Higher Education" and "Creating the Path To Success in the Classroom: Teaching to Close the Graduation Gap for Minority, First-Generation, and Academically Unprepared Students." She began extensive teaching career as a high school social science teacher before she became a Resource Specialist teacher for students with learning disabilities. When moving to the university setting, she first developed an academic support program for at-risk and unprepared college students which had tremendous success. She also became a faculty development specialist at the University of Arizona, specializing in student engagement, retention and success. She then served as the director of disabled student services at a community college in Northern California before joining the School of Education at CSU, Chico, where she has received two teaching awards.

"Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Part 1: Theory and Principles"

Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3. This webinar will be presented online via Zoom. To join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: (You may be asked to enter Meeting ID # 788 367 1959.)

Facilitated by Allison Posey, curriculum and design specialist, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), and Mary Ann Tobin.

In the built environment, Universal Design enables each of us to gain unimpeded access to a particular place, whether or not we require some form of accommodation. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) applies a similar set of brain-based, research-backed principles to the learning environment. In this session, we will discuss the core UDL theory, including topics of learner variability and design. 

Allison Posey participates in curricular design, online course instruction, and leads professional learning programs, including the CAST UDL Symposium. She works with educators to integrate and apply current understandings from brain research about learning into instructional practices so that all learners are able to access, integrate, and become expert learners. She also coordinates the CAST free webinar series and free resources, and focuses on the central role of emotions in learning. Posey received a degree in mind, brain and education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also worked as a teaching fellow for courses such as Educational Neuroscience and Framing Scientific Research for Public Understanding. She also holds a Certificate in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute of Art.

This presentation will take place via Zoom and will be recorded for future viewing.

"Skills for Effective Teaching in the U.S.: EPPIC-SITE Teaching Seminar Series"

4-5:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, 215 Thomas Building, University Park campus.

Facilitated by Chas Brua, Schreyer Institute consultant, and Meredith Doran and Elvin He from EPPIC (English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center).

This three-part seminar will equip international instructors at Penn State with helpful strategies and insights for teaching in the U.S. university classroom. Topics include understanding cultural expectations, communicating clearly and teaching interactively. The first 20 registrants will receive a copy of Ellen Sarkisian’s book "Teaching American Students" (Harvard University Press).

Participants who attend all three sessions — Oct. 4, Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 — and complete the capstone project will receive a completion certificate.

"Creation of Math 140/1B for Life Science Majors"

12:05-1:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, Mann Assembly Room, Paterno Library, University Park campus

This workshop is part of the Innovative Teaching at Penn State (ITAP) Brown Bag Lunch series. This series of talks will highlight interesting teaching innovations at Penn State, with a goal of helping to further build a community of instructors who are interested in improving learning by their students. All are welcome. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch.

The creation of Math 140B and 141B (biocalculus) has seen dramatic increases in student success and preparedness for later coursework. Prior to the establishment of the B-sequence, the standard 140/141 sequence regularly had a DFW (students earning a D, F, or withdrawing) rate of 45 percent and one of 56 percent for life science majors. The B-sequence has lowered that DFW to 15 percent without sacrificing the quality of the students' preparedness, while the standard sequence has maintained a similar DFW rate. These data include many other positive effects when the populations are analyzed by gender, by race, and by success in later courses. This biocalculus sequence is not a diluted version of Math 140/141, but rather a more obviously applicable version that would motivate students' engagement more than a traditional course. In-class assignments and assessments prioritized sense-making and interpreting results over memorizing formulas and executing intricate computations quickly. Peer Learning Assistants and other evidence-based teaching methods were used.

For those unable to attend in person, the talk will be available via zoom at

This event is co-sponsored by Innovative Teaching at Penn State (ITAP), University Libraries, and the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence.

To join the ITAP listserv, email with “Add me” in the subject line and a few characters in the email. 

To see other available SITE events, visit


Last Updated October 03, 2018