Teaching Academy coaching

What our coaching is

Short-term relationships (1-2 semesters) centered around developing specific practices that include reflection and critical thought about teaching as an outcome.

  • Course development
  • Course management
  • Promotion materials
  • Ongoing coaching

Coaching offered

Coaching vs. mentoring

Why try it

Documenting effective teaching is critical to promotion and tenure. We partner with you to build a climate of confidence and create professional development teaching partnerships using data-driven pedagogy techniques that foster success.

  • Heightened teaching effectiveness
  • Greater sense of fit and job satisfaction
  • Greater comfort in voicing concerns and asking questions
  • More objective coaches without perceived agendas
  • Greater facilitation of a wider network

Mission and vision



As the instructor of record for your course, you are ultimately in control of your classroom. We seek to partner with you to build a climate of confidence—in your teaching philosophy, execution,  your classroom structure and in your interactions with your students. Your need for collaborative partnerships with our coaches may be specific and require only short-term interactions of practical advice, or it may be that you would prefer assistance in course building from start to finish.

Each coach (or coach, depending upon your desire) is committed to providing you with tools that will enhance the "match” your department found in you with their need and your skillset. We want your time spent preparing your course and delivering your course material to be empowering, collaborative, and creative – in short, we seek to create professional development teaching partnerships that foster your success. Coaching is one avenue through which to assist you as you progress.


Documentation of effective teaching is a critical component of promotion and tenure for many faculty. However, far less training on effective teaching is offered as compared to training on conducting effective research (Parsell & Bligh, 2001).

Whether you are a seasoned professional, already tenured or promoted, or newly hired, we would like to extend our commitment to you to offer tools to you that will create a more engaging, inclusive, enjoyable, classroom climate that fosters student success by employing data-driven pedagogy techniques.


Adapted from the University of Arizona "Faculty Coaching Handbook": Short-term, collaborative coaching partnerships, especially those with partners outside of ones’ home department,  have been shown to assist teaching faculty within several important teaching domains:

  • Heightened teaching effectiveness (Luna & Cullen, 1995);
  • Greater sense of fit, especially for women and faculty of color, and a self-reported increase in job satisfaction (Trower, 2012);
  • Greater comfort in voicing concerns, struggles, weaknesses and asking questions (Boice, 1992; Washburn & LaLopa, 2003)
  • Coaches who display more objective, less political agendas, less perception of any “agenda”, and greater facilitation of a wider network for faculty members (Lumpkin, 2011).

Coaching offered

Course development

  • Support in developing and utilizing effective pedagogical techniques through instruction and modeling: examples include
    • Active and collaborative learning strategies to promote interactive discussions between students
    • Creating early formative assignments, early feedback to establish partnerships,
    • Purposeful creation and use of  lesson objectives for each unit to  increase student success
    • Creating systematic, objectives-based exams
  • Feedback on syllabus planning and course design
  • Practices that facilitate instructor-student rapport to foster positive, collaborative, inclusive classroom climates

Course management

  • Identifying and addressing challenges in a particular class through an initial classroom observation at any time of the semester
  • Follow-up classroom observations, if desired
  • Post-observation guided reflection 
  • Assistance with post-observation goal setting
  • Support in developing and utilizing effective pedagogical techniques through instruction and modeling: examples include
    • Active and collaborative learning strategies to promote interactive discussions between students
    • Creating early formative assignments, early feedback to establish partnerships,
    • Purposeful creation and use of  lesson objectives for each unit to increase student success
    • Creating systematic, objectives-based exam creation
  • Conduct a mid-semester class interview to provide concrete suggestions for your course
  • Assistance with interpreting end-of-semester student evaluations

Promotion materials

  • Feedback on teaching philosophies, teaching statements
  • Feedback on teaching reflections for a specific course
  • Classroom Observations (coach/faculty member and/or faculty member/coach observation)
  • Letters of Support (Observations required for letters)

Suggested timeline

It is suggested that you and your coach collaborate for one semester, with a commitment to at least one semester reflection and progress evaluation (mid-semester, for example).

You should work together to establish, minimally, these structured meetings.

August - September
Coach/Faculty member matching and orientation, goal setting

October - November
Mid-semester classroom observation, student interviews, data collection, reflection and goal setting

End of semester data collection, reflection; discussion continuing coaching or pairing with a new coach

Ongoing coaching

Ongoing coaching and collaborative goal setting if long-term collaboration is desired beyond the single semester of classroom observation.

Confidential and safe

Only your peer coach and the Chair of the CAS Teaching Academy are included in these non-threatening, non-evaluative partnerships.

Coaching not offered

  • SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) project design and implementation—we will refer and partner with CTT
  • Guarantee of promotion or tenure—collaboration and execution is key


“I notice to tend to look more at the right side of the room when you are speaking to your class.”

“Be sure to begin with a strong start that orients your students to your day’s objectives.”


“Let’s go over your course evaluations together and see what we can learn.”

“Help me understand what is going on in your class that creates this challenge for you.”


“Where do you think you will go for that information?”

“Would you now like to observe a veteran teacher in your subject area?”


Manda Williamson

Manda Williamson
Chair of the CAS Teaching Academy
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Psychology

June Griffin

June Griffin
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Background on teaching coaching and coaching

The idea behind the Teaching Academy Coaching/Coaching Program is not novel; it is based upon several successful models that employed empirically-driven perspectives through which successful partnerships emerged. Pleschova and McAlpine (2015) offer three theoretical bases for successful coaching partnerships that draw from classic perspectives within Psychology and Education:

  • Humanism: Maslow (1970) indicates that we seek out teaching relationships and, once found, use them to increase our competence within a particular context
  • Social-Learning: Bandura (1977) indicates that a less experienced teacher collaborates with a more skilled colleague and becomes more competent through modeling and identification
  • Modeling: Dewey (1910) indicates that partnerships between a less and more experienced colleague who encourages reflection fosters the reflective independence of the less experienced colleague

The goal of modeling is to promote a deeper understanding of the less experienced colleague’s classroom actions as well as of the relationship between his/her pedagogical practice and its outcomes3. Reflection originated from an experience that resulted in doubt, puzzlement or hesitation, and made the individual seek possible reasons for this perception as well as possible solutions2. However, in order to engage in such a reflective process people often need the help of others3. This is a primary reason why coaches are frequently engaged as facilitators of teachers’ reflection.

Hence, successful partnerships tend to be those that are created with one or more dyads that consist of an invested expert capable of modeling techniques and encouraging reflection with the less experienced colleague. The goal is to promote independent, critical evaluation within a teaching context so that the less experienced colleague can exit the partnership with confidence in his/her ability to problem solve across teaching-related contexts.

Coaching vs. mentoring

In educational development, mentoring refers to cooperation between a more advanced and a less advanced colleague which is aimed at enhancing pedagogic knowledge and practice in order to enable teachers to become more reflective and employ critical thinking about their teaching (Pleschova & McAlpine, 2015). It typically involves a long-term commitment between two individuals where once teaches other broad-based professional development.

Coaching consists of short-term relationships (1-2 semesters) that are centered around the development of specific practices. It always includes reflection and critical thought about teaching as an outcome.


  • Bandura, A. (1977), Social Learning Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
  • Dewey, J. (1910), How We Think, Heath, Boston, MA.
  • Maslow, A.H. (1970), Motivation and Personality, 2nd ed., Harper and Row, New York, NY.
  • Parsell, V. & Bligh, J. (2001), Recent perspectives on clinical teaching, Medical Education, 35(4), 409-14.
  • Pleschová, G., & McAlpine, L. (2015). "Enhancing university teaching and learning through coaching: A systematic review of the literature", International Journal of Coaching and Coaching in Education, 4 (2), 107-125, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-06-2014-0020
  • Truijen, K.J.P. and Van Woerkom, M. (2008), “The pitfalls of collegial coaching: an analysis of collegial coaching in medical education and its influence on stimulating reflection and performance of novice clinical teachers”, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 316-326.