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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • CTE Infographic 2016-2017


The Center for Teaching Excellence inspires excellence and innovation in teaching. We create and provide programming, resources, and opportunities that foster innovative and effective pedagogical practices among all who teach at USC.


  • Enhance the pedagogical knowledge and effectiveness of all who teach at USC in the classroom, online, and beyond. 
  • Support the design and development of high-quality distributed learning courses and fosters best practices in online teaching.
  • Increase faculty knowledge, skills and dispositions related to developing and assessing students’ integrative learning abilities.
  • Plan and implement professional development programs for graduate teaching assistants.
  • Fosters partnerships and leverages support for programs that enhance conditions for teaching and learning at the university.
  • Engage in ongoing communication, planning and evaluation processes that result in the continuous improvement of CTE programs and services.


During fiscal year 2016-2017:

  • CTE events provided 8,759 countable in-person hours of professional development for faculty and graduate students
  • CTE sponsored or co-sponsored 98 seminars and workshops, the university’s New Faculty Orientation, and the annual Oktoberbest: A Symposium on Teaching conference.
  • We offered a New Faculty Academy certificate program, and facilitated 18 additional faculty learning groups, consisting of 5 grant cohorts, 8 communities of practice and 5 short courses.
  • The CTE facilitated programs for graduate students, including 6 TA Orientation workshops, the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) certificate program, and the university course, GRAD 701-Teaching Assistant Development.  
  • CTE directors and senior staff also conducted 98 hours of individual faculty consultations.

All of these offerings were successful and well-received, and attendee evaluation ratings were consistently positive.

Among our FY17 offerings were several new programs focused on innovative teaching approaches:

  • Our Flipped and Active Learning Initiative supported two flipped classroom grantee cohorts to complete the redesign of 7 courses, as well as a new team-based Course Transformation grant program that will transform a large Carolina Core Physics course that serves 300+ students per semester.
  • We launched a successful new Workshop for One program designed to provide individual mentoring to faculty seeking to apply evidence-based active learning strategies to their courses and conducted dozens of general flipped/active learning presentations.
  • We continued to co-sponsor FLIP (Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy), a faculty reading group and listserv (with 100 subscribers), who among other activities, conducted an active learning workshop for 63 science educators from the local community.
  • After piloting a limited series of offerings last year, we fully launched our Diversity and Inclusive Teaching Initiative. We collaborated with several campus offices to offer a series of 14 workshops, including 3 interactive theatre sessions led by CTE Faculty Fellows and a troupe of student actors from the Theatre Education program.
  • To raise the visibility of innovative, high-quality teaching at the university, we successfully completed the first cycle of our new university-wide award to recognize innovative teaching, the Garnet Apple. We collaborated with the Office of Communications to produce a booklet in conjunction with the announcement of the inaugural Garnet Apple awardees in August 2016. Entitled VIP: Vision, Innovation, Practice, this publication featured profiles of the winners of all the university’s most prestigious teaching awards and was distributed to USC faculty, administrators, and the Board of Trustees, as well as local and statewide elected officials and prospective university donors. We also oversaw the selection of the second awardee cohort, which will be announced in early Fall 2017.

Our instructional design team:

  • Helped faculty develop 516 distributed learning courses to date, including courses for the Academic Partnerships online graduate programs, Palmetto College, the Provost’s Distributed Learning Grantees, and the Provost’s Distributed Learning Quality Review.
  • CTE instructional designers also conducted 374 hours of individual course-design consultations, presented 42 technology-training workshops, presented at 13 conferences and professional meetings, and published 3 refereed journal articles.

We led and continued to enhance the university’s TA training program, including 6 full-day GTA Orientation workshops attended by 466 students and a teaching-assistant preparation course (GRAD 701) enrolling 365 students.

For advanced graduate students and post-docs, CTE offered 17 teaching and professional development workshops designed especially for TAs and a Preparing Future Faculty certificate program with 167 participants (up 7.8% over FY16). 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.