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Center for Educational Innovation


Cadets lined up

The Center for Educational Innovation is dedicated to providing faculty with the resources to succeed in their educational practice. Our programs support instructors in their mission to educate and inspire cadets through a variety of certifications, workshops, and discussion groups. We encourage faculty members to take advantage of the opportunities below.

  • New Faculty Orientation
    New Faculty Orientation

    The Center for Educational Innovation runs USAFA’s New Faculty Orientation program in July. This series of workshops, panels, and presentations is meant to help new faculty cultivate evidence-based, learning-focused teaching practices; it also provides faculty with strategies for creating respectful, inclusive, and engaging learning environments. Typically, more than 100 new faculty members participate in Orientation.

    Faculty participating in New Faculty Orientation will be able to…

    1. Describe the distinctive context of USAFA and analyze the ways in which that context shapes teaching and learning.
    2. Engage with a community of colleagues on topics of teaching and learning. ​
    3. Develop strategies for creating a respectful, inclusive, and engaging learning environment in their classroom. ​
    4. Adopt and adapt evidence-based, learning-focused teaching practices (supported by instructional technology) that faculty will subsequently apply in their classes. ​
    5. Align lessons, units, activities, and assessments based on the principles of instructional design. ​
    6. Cultivate a growth mindset in regard to teaching, and develop strategies for fostering a growth mindset in their students. ​

    NFO Lecture Hall

    Click to review the program for the most recent New Faculty Orientation

    New Faculty Orientation POC

    Dr. Marc Napolitano
    Director of Faculty Development

  • Dean's Teaching Certificate
    Dean's Teaching Certificate

    Founded in 2017, the Dean’s Teaching Certificate program is a comprehensive faculty development program that is open to all USAFA faculty and staff. The primary purpose of the DTC program is to start faculty on a path toward continuous development and growth regarding their teaching.

    To complete the Dean’s Teaching Certificate program, a faculty or staff member must:

    1. Complete five foundational workshops
    2. Complete five elective workshops
    3. Participate in a “professional development” class observation​
    4. Write a teaching philosophy statement​
    5. Submit an implementation retrospective
    Dean’s Teaching Certificate POC

    Dr. Marc Napolitano
    Director of Faculty Development​

  • Mastery of Teaching Certification Community (MTCC)
    Mastery of Teaching Certification Community (MTCC)

    Purpose & Overview

    The Mastery of Teaching Certification Community (MTCC) is a two-year faculty learning community  The program’s centerpiece is an independent personal project: either 1) a scholarly educational research project (SoTL research) or 2) the implementation of evidence-based pedagogy in the classroom.

    Though the pathways of individual members of this learning community diverge based on their personal projects, participants meet regularly, participate in peer observations of teaching, and engage in deliberate and sustained reflections and discussions so that they might further refine their targeted pedagogies and thus enhance their students’ learning.​​

    All members share their developing expertise through a series of dissemination events at USAFA (e.g. leading a discussion group, presenting a poster at the SoTL Forum, leading a workshop). ​

    By fully participating in this program, faculty can earn their Mastery of Teaching certificate signed by the Dean of the Faculty. Those who fully complete the program will also receive long-standing acknowledgement by being listed on a permanent plaque housed in the Center for Educational Innovation.

    Instructor in lecture hall

    MTC Community POCs

    Dr. Marc Napolitano
    Director of Faculty Development

    Dr. Lauren Scharff
    Director of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

  • Course Director Workshop Series
    Course Director Workshop Series

    At USAFA, Course Directors are responsible for the overall design and administration of a course which includes content from faculty and other subject matter experts.

    If you are a Course Director or will be a Course Director in the near future, we offer two opportunities a year (late fall and spring) to attend a workshop geared specifically towards the knowledge and tools you need to be an effective Course Director.

    Each two half-day workshop addresses such topics as inclusivity in the classroom, learning objectives, creating effective GRs, communicating effectively with instructors, and course alignment to name a few.

    Course Directors are welcome to browse the designated Blackboard cite which serves as a repository for workshop slides, articles and website links relevant to the role of course directing, best teaching practices and course design.

    EIW Hughes
    Course Directors’ Workshops POC

    Dr. Kim Hosler
    Director of Instructional Design

  • Teaching Café
    Teaching Café

    The teaching café is a new faculty development program organized and supported by CEI. This informal brownbag event consists of two or three tables where faculty members sit together to have lunch and share ideas about a particular topic, pedagogical practice, or challenge. A facilitator at each table helps run the discussion by introducing the topic, sharing a handout on the subject, and coordinating the discussion of the topic

    Recent Teaching Café Table Topics Have Included:

    Communities of Inquiry
    Creative Methods of Assessment
    Technologies that Impact Learning
    Motivation to Learn
    Worked Examples in Advanced Physics Courses
    Cognitive Apprenticeships
    Moments that Change the Way We Teach
    Personal Qualities that Teachers Should Foster
    The Importance of Love in Education
    Retrieval Practice
    The Benefits of Social Interactions to Learning
    Games and Gamification
    Teaching with Technology
    Preparing Students for the Flipped Classroom
    How Student-Response Systems Support Learning

    Teaching Café POC

    Dr. Marc Napolitano
    Director of Faculty Development

  • Tech Talk
    Web Conferences

    Tech Talk web conferences are 30-minutes with online trainers who demonstrate best practices and interact with faculty as they practice new skills.

    Tech Talk Videos

    Tech Talk videos are rapid-fire 5-7 minute videos designed to quickly develop faculty pedagogy using technology.

    Want to show others your tech skills? Do you know someone who may want to present a video or web conference?

    Contact Dr. Bryant to sign up for web conferences, access newly released training videos, or set up a Tech Talk presentation.

    Tech Talk POC

    Dr. Bob Bryant
    Director of Educational Technology

    Upcoming Tech Talks
    Apr 22 Where is USAFA Taking Technology?
    Status Report on Technology Innovations
    Co-hosts, CIO Col Doug Mellars, CTO Jeff Rhodes
    Video Release
    Apr 22 Help! I Need a New Course Shell:
    Explore What the New CEI Course Shell Can Do for Your Class
    Co-host, Dr. Kim Hosler
    Web Conference, 1530 – 1600