Faculty Cohort Program

T+LL Staff and the 2016-17 Facult Cohort (from left): Dipa Shah (TLL), Prof. Rodrigo Verdi (Sloan), Leann Dobranski (TLL), Prof. Sheila Kennedy (Arch), Prof. Katrina LaCurts (EECS), Prof. John Bush (Math), Janet Rankin (TLL). [missing from photo: Prof. Eric Klopfer (DUSP), Prof. Philipp Schmidt (Media Lab)]

TLL-Faculty Cohort Program will bring together MIT faculty and instructors to explore innovative approaches to significant teaching and learning questions and to study, plan, develop, implement, and evaluate innovative curricular and pedagogical solutions and ideas. Additionally, the Faculty Cohort Program will foster a collaborative and collegial teaching community, and provide a venue for broader dissemination of the evidence-based practices of MIT faculty. Details of the proposed program are provided below. Program Goals The TLL Faculty Cohort Program will provide opportunities for participants to:

In the fall of 2016, The Teaching and Learning Lab at MIT will launch the

  • Co-create solutions to teaching and learning challenges with TLL staff and faculty colleagues from across the Institute;
  • Cultivate and support a learning community of faculty leaders who are committed to integrating evidence-based principles and practices of engagement in their own research and teaching, and who will act as advocates of these practices to their colleagues and students;
  • Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of their solutions in addressing their teaching challenges;
  • Develop, along with faculty colleagues and TLL staff, appropriate and relevant dissemination and outreach strategies.

In recent years, Faculty Cohort Programs have been implemented across the US, at a wide-range of colleges and universities, from Ivy + institutions, to 2-year and community colleges*.  For example, Stanford has had a teaching cohort program since 2011, and, to-date, has funded 36 projects, and over 200 faculty (with faculty funded as project teams).

Cohorts at MIT will be created annually, and will meet as a group four times during the fall semester to discuss articulated teaching and learning problems and to brainstorm solutions. All full-time faculty and instructors at MIT will be eligible to participate. Each participating faculty member will spend the fall semester investigating new pedagogical approaches that they will then implement in a course taught during either the spring term of the Cohort year, or the fall term of the following year. Cohort participants will share their experiences and work at a year-end, Institute-wide showcase.

Fall semester meetings will be organized around relevant readings from the literature, and will include discussions of the particular teaching questions that participants are most interested in exploring, as they relate to the cohort’s theme. Because the MIT culture prides itself in problem solving, the faculty cohort will work collaboratively to brainstorm solutions to each others’ teaching challenges.

Participants will also receive individualized support and guidance from TLL pedagogy and assessment experts throughout the entire cohort-year: during both the planning and the implementation stages. Each cohort participant will receive $2000 in discretionary funds for professional development and course design activities.

We plan to support a minimum of 5 faculty in the inaugural cohort.


Inaugural Cohort (2016-2017)

The theme for the inaugural cohort will be Diversity & Inclusion in the Classroom.The cohort will meet four times during the fall semester and will discuss readings on diversity and inclusion in the classroom, as well as instructional practices and strategies to support inclusive teaching, and mitigate the effects of stereotype threat.Based on conversations with Institute Community and Equity Officer, Professor Ed Bertschinger, the initiatives of other Ivy+ institutions[1],[2], and the recent work of the AAUP around this topic, there is a clear and pressing need to create opportunities for faculty to discuss and grapple with both the theory and practice of the creation of inclusive classrooms. Themes for subsequent cohorts will be chosen with the advice of faculty and administration.


[1] Twenty-five faculty, 38 doctoral students, and 1 post-doc participated in Columbia’s Inclusive Teaching Forum last February.

[2] The University of Michigan hosted an Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan Series in May of 2016.  The series included 15 different sessions over 20 days.