Teaching Cafes

Our Teaching Cafe series features faculty giving short presentations and facilitating discussions. Recent topics include Ignatian Pedagogy, Teaching Global Immersion Courses, Re-Imagining Grading, and Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment.

*Please refer to the CTE newsletter or contact us for the most up-to-date information about the Cafes.

How Do They Work?

Over the course of no more than an hour, we'll have coffee and a light snack, a 15 to 20-minute presentation, and a lightly-facilitated Q & A and crosstalk exchange.

*The Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Teaching Cafes are offered exclusively on Zoom and use a flipped format, where participants have access to materials (short videos or readings) prior to the cafe; this will enable us to interact and discuss during the Zoom cafe hour.

When Are They Offered?

We usually offer one or two different Teaching Cafes each semester, depending on our programming (for example we may offer a mini-workshop in place of a cafe).

If you are interested in leading or collaborating on a Teaching Cafe, please complete the form below to schedule a conversation.  If you have a topic that you’d like to request for a Teaching Cafe, led by other faculty, let us know.

Teaching Cafe Request Form

Past Teaching Cafes Fall 2022

Teaching Rooted in Place: Partnering With Star Route Farms

Nov. 15  |  11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.  | McLaren Complex 250

Please join CTE for a faculty panel to discuss opportunities for partnering with SRF and its many resources for faculty teaching and research projects. Faculty panelists will include Calla Schmidt (Environmental Science), Sevan Suni (Biology), Naupaka Zimmerman (Biology), Adrienne Johnson (Biogeography and Environmental Studies), and David Silver (Environmental Studies) as well as Faculty Director April Randle and Vice Provost Anastasia Vrachnos. The panel discussion will review recent projects and SRF grant opportunities, with interactive Q&A.

Lunch will be served, and delicious produce from SRF will be available for attendees to take home. 


Teaching Cafe: Organizational Change Building From Ethical Leadership and Cultural Competency

Nov. 9  |  5–6:30 p.m.  |  McLaren Complex 251

Please join us for a Teaching Cafe led by our campus ROTC faculty. The presentations will center on developing leadership competencies in areas of cultural awareness, ethical decision-making frameworks, and conflict resolution principles, to enable sustainable positive long-term change in organizations. Connections to Jesuit values and institutions will be emphasized. The presentation will be followed by Q&A and discussion.

Light refreshments will be served. 


Past Teaching Cafes

CTE Winter Workshop - Trauma-Informed Teaching: Tips and Techniques for Creating a Resilient Classroom

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Speakers: Dana Zartner and Lindsay Gifford

2020 was a tough year with the pandemic, the move to remote instruction, the election, and the myriad of social justice issues that continue in our country and around the world. These issues impact all of us in different ways, and can impact all aspects of our lives, including our work – and our students’ work – in the classroom in various forms. For some, there is primary trauma, but for many of us the impacts fall under the umbrella of secondary trauma, which includes vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. This trauma, whether primary or secondary, can have a real and significant impact on us as educators and on our students as learners. But there are some tips and techniques that can facilitate trauma-informed teaching to make the classroom a more supportive and sustaining environment. This workshop explored the concepts of primary and secondary trauma and how these impact our classrooms, and then created space for sharing of ideas and discussion on tips and techniques for creating a trauma-informed, healing-centered classroom for the benefit of educators and students alike.

Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10 12:00 - 1:00 PM or THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM


Speaker: Osasere Evbuomwan 

An inclusive learning environment is one in which ALL students have equitable opportunity for academic success regardless of their identities, socioeconomic status, or learning preferences. The creation of such an environment requires an awareness of the different forms of diversity in the classroom, and an understanding of the various external and internal factors that can negatively impact student learning. This workshop explored two aspects of inclusive teaching: course design and classroom climate. Participants were encouraged to reflect on their pedagogical habits to determine if and how their teaching approaches favor both privileged and disadvantaged students. Inclusive teaching strategies that can be easily implemented were shared and additional resources provided.

Art Across the Disciplines - Incorporating the Thacher Gallery in your Teaching

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24 |12:00 - 1:00 PM or THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25 | 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM


Thacher Gallery Director Glori Simmons and Gallery Manager Nell Herbert spoke about the gallery, current and upcoming offerings, and ways to use Thacher as a resource in your teaching. Although the gallery’s physical space is currently closed, our 20-21 season features an array of online exhibitions, public programs, and opportunities for class tours and student engagement. During the time of remote learning, the opportunity to engage with multi-modal learning, diverse perspectives, and unique narratives is more important than ever.

Supporting The Success Of First-Generation College Students At USF

THURSDAY, APRIL 8 | 12–1 p.m. 


Roughly one-third of first-year students at USF are the first in their families to attend college. In this interactive Teaching Cafe led by Noriko Milman (Sociology) and Charlene Lobo Soriano (CASA) share how their 2019-20 Faculty Learning Community explored ways to make learning spaces more inclusive and equitable, especially for first-generation students. They collected data, discussed and experimented with best practices, and most importantly, listened to students themselves. 

They explored the following questions:

  • What did we learn about first-gen students at USF? What unique challenges do they face? How do they navigate the university?
  • What modifications can we make to our teaching and mentoring? What are some of the "little things" that seem to make a big difference? 

Ignatian Pedagogy for Distance Learning

Sept. 22 or 24, 2020 | 12–1 p.m. | Zoom Webinar

Building upon the Lane Center’s summer colloquia titled “Online Accompaniment,” our first fall 2020 Teaching Cafe led by Erin Brigham (Director of Joan and Ralph Lane Center) and Kimberly Connor (SOM; Faculty Chair for Mission Integration), applied principles of Ignatian pedagogy to the challenges and opportunities presented in online teaching. The conversation introduced foundational themes in Ignatian pedagogy, appropriate for faculty exploring the framework for the first time. It also invited creative engagement with the Ignatian tradition in a rapidly changing context, which is of interest to those who are familiar with this approach.

Please view the following two videos created by the presenters that share helpful background, context, and reflection prompts on how the elements of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm can inform our teaching.

"Doing it Digital": Assigning and Supporting Virtual Presentations 

Oct. 28, 2020 | 12–1 p.m. or Oct. 29, 2020 | 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. | Zoom Webinar

Distance learning provides a key opportunity to help students practice informing and persuading others online. Topics covered in this Teaching Cafe included designing presentation assignment prompts, class activities for building Zoom presentation skills, and tech tools for facilitating online planning, visual aids, and presentation grading. Led by Rhetoric and Language faculty trained in public speaking instruction Michelle Lavigne, Patrick McDonnell, Nicole Gonzales Howell, and Leigh Meredith, this workshop was designed to help faculty provide students with the training and practice needed to succeed in the mode of virtual teaching and learning. Tips given are practical, easily implemented, and designed for a classroom in which presentations are assigned but not the explicit focus of the class.  

Presentation Slides


Oct. 17 | 12–1 p.m. in UC 402/403

As knowledge, information, and even facts become more and more fluid in our world, how important is it for students to be able to assess what they know as well as what they don't know? How can we teach them to be problem solvers with the ability to identify the appropriate knowledge to bring to bear on a problem, and the skill to know how to learn what they don't know? Stephen Zavestoski (College of Arts and Sciences) will present on the exercise he assigns to the students in his capstone senior course to help them become more self-aware and self-regulated learners in an uncertain environment.

Wednesday, February 20 | 12–1 p.m. in UC 402/403
A syllabus is not just a plan of action or a course map, but an opportunity to interact with our students in a meaningful way. Join us for a teaching cafe dedicated to exploring this seminal pedagogical document. Susan Roberta Katz (Professor, International and Multicultural Education, Human Rights Education) will present tips for designing a well-constructed syllabus. Coffee and light snacks will be served.

Oct. 30 | 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. in Malloy 230
Oct. 31 | 12–1 p.m. in UC 402/403

Conflicts in the U.S. and abroad are making educators pay increasing attention to how we teach controversial issues in ways that cultivate inquiry, critical thinking, and political consciousness. This teaching cafe grows out of last year’s Faculty Learning Community on the same topic. The cafe will focus on how to frame controversies we want to explore with students, and how to choose pedagogical approaches to teach them. It will address questions such as the following: Is a particular issue open or is it settled? Is it empirical or normative? What kinds of questions will frame the issue so that students examine multiple perspectives on it? The cafe will also address how to choose pedagogical methods to use in class, for example, structured academic controversy, case study, role play, and more. On Oct. 30, the cafe will be led by Judy Pace (Teacher Education) and Karen Bouwer (Modern and Classical Languages). On Oct. 31, it will be led by Judy Pace and Michelle LaVigne (Rhetoric & Language). We hope faculty from various disciplines and departments will join us!

April 3 | 3:00 – 4:00 in UC 402
April 4 | 3:30 – 4:30 in UC 402

Small changes can make a big difference. In his book Small Teaching, James Lang shares practical, research-based teaching strategies involving minimal preparation and grading. Small teaching might mean a 5-minute activity repeated several times in the semester, a one-time event, or a subtle modification in how we communicate to students. In this one-hour workshop, Sarah Capitelli (Teacher Education) and Helen Maniates (Teacher Education) will share some of Lang’s small strategies for motivation and mastery. Bring your own “small teaching” examples to share! There will be coffee and some light snacks.

February 12 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm in UC 402
February 13 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm in UC 504

Join Dr. Emily A. Nusbaum (Learning & Instruction) and Dr. Nicole Gonzales Howell (Rhetoric & Language) for a CTE Teaching Cafe all about using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in your classroom. In this cafe, we will cover best practices for providing universal access for all students to support equitable learning opportunities. A discussion will follow a brief presentation. Coffee and light snacks will be served. Please RSVP for this event as space can be limited.

What is universal design for learning and why do you need to know? On April 6, 2017, the CTE Faculty Learning Community on Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning designed a half-day workshop from 9:30-2:00 focused on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for participants to explore ways to teach effectively to a broad audience of students. The day included a keynote from Dr. Beth Myers, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University, and breakout sessions, catered lunch, and a resource fair. This was a fragrance-free event for those with chemical sensitivities. Faculty, students and staff were welcome to attend the entire day or for a selected portion. 

Special Notes and Thanks

USF is committed to making its events accessible and inclusive. If you anticipate needing an accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us in advance of your participation by emailing mailto:cte@usfca.edu. 
This event was brought to you by the Faculty Learning Community on Accessible Pedagogy and UDL with support from The Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence and Gleeson Library and Geschke Center.

September 12 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm in UC 402
September 13 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm in UC 503
Small Teaching
October 10 | 3:00 – 4:00 in UC 503
October 11 | 3:30 – 4:30 in UC 504

This teaching cafe will provide a general profile of the today's college students including a look at the student population here at USF, with time for discussion. What are the particular needs of this generation of learners? What do changing quotas of accommodations mean for the learning experience? Charlene Lobo Soriano (CASA) will present with Barbara Thomas (CAPS) and Dominique Broussard (CAPS).

Wednesday, September 22 | 3:00-4:00 in UC 402/403
Thursday, September 22 | 3:00-4:00 in UC 504

How can we define, measure, assess, and increase student engagement in the classroom in order to enhance learning? This teaching cafe will feature the discoveries of seven faculty members from across the university who spent a year investigating why, how, and what to measure in terms of student engagement in the classroom. Join us for presentations and a discussion over coffee!