Lead Teaching Fellows design and run teaching-related workshops, discussions, and other events in their home departments. CTL provides program models, individual consultations, documentation protocols, and oversight that helps LTFs and their peers get the most out of these events.

Designing Events LTF perspectives Sample Events Recent Event Index

Upcoming LTF Events

Browse the LTF Event Calendar to see LTF-led events running this semester. Contact an LTF if you’re interested in attending their event!

Designing Events

Every semester LTF events run in over 40 departments, attracting hundreds of graduate student participants. LTFs design these events in response to teaching development needs and interests among their peers, consulting with department representatives, their assigned Senior Lead Teaching Fellow mentor, and CTL.

In some departments, LTFs link their workshops to TA orientations and support. In others, LTF workshops are integrated into professional development series or colloquia in departments. In still other cases, LTFs offer workshops on topics determined to be of particular interest to peers on the basis of surveys. LTFs occasionally opt to create an interactive asynchronous resource in lieu of a live event.

LTF Perspectives

Kate Suffern

Lead Teaching Fellow in Theatre, 2020-21

“The peer composition of my LTF events made them a great opportunity for me to cast off any notion that I, as the facilitator, am an expert and to practice presence and active listening. Facilitating, in this way, resembles performance: you can tell a good actor by how they deliver their own lines, but a great actor by how they listen and react to their colleagues. In this vein, I am working as a facilitator always to put more energy into thinking about which questions to ask than how I might answer questions that arise. And, when the group conversation starts to flow in an event or in the classroom, I am challenging my impulse to shape or intervene too actively, instead carving out space for participants to speak directly and freely to one another.” 

Kate’s events: Designing Rubrics for Transparent and Efficient Essay Grading, User-friendly Online Whiteboard and Collaboration Tools

Nile Davies

Lead Teaching Fellow in Anthropology, 2021-22

“The sense of the classroom as a space of radical possibility was inspired by our pod’s reading of Teaching To Transgress by bell hooks early on in the Fall Semester. hooks’ insights here (in reference to Paolo Freire) were underscored for me in the aftermath of my second event in which, despite modest turnouts, I was struck by how each of us approached the statement from a different perspective (as object of anxiety, curiosity, translation). As I strove to convey a sense of the value inherent in the different positions from which we approach teaching, I also learned something about the importance of our experiences, not only as sources for pedagogical insights, but crucially, as a remedy for the alienating effect of the classroom as a “universal” space where individualism is diluted.”

Nile’s events: Anthropology TA Orientation: Introduction to the Center for Teaching & Learning, How to Craft a Teaching Portfolio

Laura DiNardo

Lead Teaching Fellow in Italian 2021-22, Senior Lead Teaching Fellow 2022-23

“I believe the most important thing that I learned through this process is that you do not need to be an “expert” on a topic to be able to discuss it in a group of your peers (or even with well-established lecturers!). While it is important to do research and to be able to synthesize what you have learned, I found it to be even more valuable to have a clear reason as to why a given topic was chosen, what I thought we might all get out of discussing it, and to leave a good amount of space for the group to share their opinions and experience and to investigate together further.” – need permission to post

Laura’s events: Growth Mindset in the Language Classroom: A Discussion on Metacognitive Strategies for Both Students and Instructors, Staying Nimble: Using Technology to Move Between the In-Person and Online Classroom 

Whitney Kite

Lead Teaching Fellow in Art History &  Archaeology, 2021-22

“In developing my LTF events, I realized that I have much more pedagogical knowledge and experience than I originally realized, and that years of teaching has resulted in a bank of situations to draw from. In planning my second event, I learned of the vast resources on pedagogy at the CTL and in the literature more broadly, and how to condense these into key themes to share with attendees.”  – need permission to post

Whitney’s events: Art History & Archaeology TA Orientation, Teaching Close Looking

Sample Events

Teaching Scientifically: Improving Your Teaching via the Scientific Method

Designed and run by Ryan Golant, 2022-23 Lead Teaching Fellow in Astronomy

Event description: In this workshop, we’ll be discussing the concept of “Teaching-as-Research,” or the rethinking of teaching and teaching development within the framework of scientific experimental design. We will draw from our experiences with research and the scientific process to devise concrete experiments to test (and to improve) the efficacy of our teaching. Throughout the workshop, participants will develop a teaching-related research question, devise a methodology for collecting and analyzing data, and consider how different outcomes may inform their teaching practice; by the end of the two sessions, participants will have completely formulated a Teaching-as-Research project that can be deployed in the classroom.

Ryan’s reflection: “I thought that my workshop sparked some excellent discussions on teaching strategies and teaching development. I was very happy to see participants think critically about problems they’ve faced in the classroom and about methods they could employ to ameliorate these problems; a few of these conversations continued after the workshop, so I’m hoping that some of these ideas will be put to action.”

Boundaries and Well-Being: How to support your own wellness while also supporting your students

Designed and run by McKenzie Sup, 2022-23 Lead Teaching Fellow in Biomedical Engineering

Event description: Finals season will be upon us all too soon, and for many TAs, this may bring an onslaught of panicked emails and last-minute extension requests from stressed students. While we want to support them, it’s important to set boundaries that protect our own well-being and mental health during this time as well. At this workshop we will talk about potential challenges in pedagogy surrounding deadlines, preventative measures to avoid becoming overwhelmed by student needs, and how to balance our graduate study work with TA responsibilities. We will also discuss a few case studies to learn how to navigate the balance between support and boundaries. Finally, we will talk about general strategies for wellness and work-life balance in the TAship and beyond.

McKenzie’s reflection: “I learned from this event that teaching needs in our department vary a lot from course to course…. I think having a page where past TAs’ contact info is posted for each course would be really helpful. The page could also maybe include some feedback and advice for how to navigate each course from the past TAs.”

Conquering the Blank Page: Strategies for Inviting Student Writing

Event designed and run by Jessie Shohfi, Lead Teaching Fellow in Writing (School of the Arts)

Event description: The first–and sometimes most debilitating–obstacle we as writers must overcome is our fear of the blank page. That terrifying, looming white space can make even the staunchest of authors start shaking in their boots, so it’s certainly to be expected that our students, many of whom are just beginning their journey as creative writers, will feel anxiety when first putting pen to paper. In this event, we will interrogate how we can adapt our pedagogy as creative writing teachers to minimize anxiety and maximize inspiration when designing our writing prompts and exercises. We will examine the strategies for creating an inviting space for student writing, both on the page and in the classroom. We will leave with an arsenal of creative writing prompts that are crafted to best engage student participation.

Jessie’s reflection: “This event helped me to realize that my instincts in regards to structuring group discussions are reliable, especially in regards to thinking on my feet and changing the lesson plan as the event is going on, to best engage with the moments when the room’s enthusiasm seems to be at its highest.”

Teaching Humanities Research Skills in the Undergraduate Classroom: Some Recurring Challenges and Strategies to Address Them

Event designed and run by Anirbaan Banerjee, 2022-23 Lead Teaching Fellow in English and Comparative Literature

Event description: For undergraduate students in the humanities classroom, doing independent research can sometimes feel like having to construct an object with tools that are unfamiliar or even entirely unknown to them. Depending on their previous learning contexts, undergraduates do not always have a pre-existing knowledge of the methods and skills required to do research in the humanities or even of what doing research in the humanities context entails. Graduate instructors and TAs can help prevent research skills from becoming a “hidden curriculum” of the humanities classroom by creating time and space within the classroom for learning these skills. We will address two key questions for any instructor looking to equip their students with the skills to do rigorous independent research: what are the key research challenges that undergraduate researchers in the humanities face? How can I equip my students to better address these research challenges? In this session, we will be in dialogue with Meredith Levin, Western European Humanities Librarian at Butler Library, who will draw upon her many years’ experience of helping undergraduates at Columbia with their research projects. We will also explore some possible strategies and activities to help students develop these skills in our classrooms.

Anirbaan’s reflections: “The collaboration with Butler Library was extremely successful and I strongly encourage future LTFs to consider ways to collaborate with libraries and draw upon the expertise of the librarians across the university…. Following the advice of former LTFs, I had opted to focus on practical implementable strategies that instructors can take with them to their classroom and use when they are lesson-planning: I think this focus on translating principles into practical classroom activities was appreciated by attendees.”

Spring 2023 LTF Events

Arts & Sciences

Art History and Archaeology
Take Five! Strategies for the First & Last Five Minutes of Class (Isabel Biascoechea)
TA-ing Beyond Your Area of Expertise (Sarah Cohen)

Inquiry-based Learning: Teaching Students to Think Like Scientists (Ryan Golant)
Grading for Growth in STEM (Jennifer Mead)

Asynchronous resource: Scientific Mentoring Guidebook (Iris Sybesma)

Approaching Sexual and Gendered Violence in the Classroom: An Instructors’ Roundtable (Izzy Levy)
Speaking Latin? Challenges and Opportunities (José Antonio Cancino Alfaro)

Earth and Environmental Science
Play! (Garima Raheja)

East Asian Languages and Cultures
Become a Teaching Scholar: Design and Teaching Your Own Course (Yingchuan Yang)

Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology 
Art of the Science Graphic (Elissa Sorojsrisom)

English & Comparative Literature
Pedagogies of the Archive: Teaching the Theory and Practice of Archives through Classroom Assessment (Anirbaan Banerjee)
Teaching with Columbia’s Oral History Archives (Sophia Pedatella)

Leading Class Discussion(s) (Elie Grabowski)

Germanic Languages
Asynchronous resource: Resources for Teaching Difficult Topics in the German and Yiddish Language Classroom (Didi Tal)

Metacognition and Inclusive Learning: How to Think, Not What to Think (Jilian Pizzi)

Latin American & Iberian Cultures
Teaching Experiences in LAIC: Lunch & Conversation (Javiera Irribarren-Ortiz)
Avoiding Bad Practices when Writing Responses and Papers (Ramón Flores Pinedo)

Musical Microteaching (Anya Wilkening)
Teaching Music in the Age of ChatGPT (Grant Woods)

Using Rubrics to Assess Philosophical Writing (Samara Burns)
Self-Assessment and Fairness in Grading Class Participation (Tahlia Pajaczkowska-Russell)

Asynchronous resource: Alternative Assessment Frameworks in STEM (Adithya Gungi)

Political Science
The Basics of Inclusive Teaching (Sam Houskeeper)

Asynchronous resource: Psych Resources for Teaching and TA-ships(Manasi Jayakumar)

Religion Department Syllabus Design Workshop (Connor Martini)

Slavic Languages
Slavic Languages Teaching Orientation (Yulia Kim)


Epidemiology Teaching Lunch & Chat (Stephen Uong)

Teaching in the Age of ChatGPT: Friend or Foe? (Abhi Shah)
Asynchronous resource: Lesson planning for quantitative courses (Zhenrui Liao)

Population & Family Health
Learning and Teaching Collective Leadership Competencies in Public Health: An Interactive Resource (Nour Audi)


Negotiating Pedagogical Conundrums (Javairia Shahid)


Biomedical Engineering
Inclusive Teaching in STEM​ (Tamara Gedankien)
Mentorship Strategies for PhD Students: From the Classroom to the Lab (McKenzie Sup)

Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics
Academic Integrity: How to Define Plagiarism and Avoid Unintentional Academic Misconduct (Diandian Zhao)

Earth and Environmental Engineering
Creating Inclusive Learning Environments (Kinnari Shah)

Industrial Engineering & Operations Research
Let’s talk about grading (Matías Villagra)

Mechanical Engineering
How to be a TA: Imparting Wisdom (Fitsum Petros)

Social Work

Social Work
Teaching When You’re Struggling: Paradigms of Care Ethics for Yourself and Your Students (Kelsey Reeder)

School of the Arts

Feedback Workshop Models, Part 2: Practical Applications​ (Emily Everett)
Asynchronous resource: Resource for Self-Reflection and Feedback in Workshop Courses (Megan Rivkin)

The Art of Giving Feedback: Moderating Workshop Discussion in Sensitive Situations (Jessie Shohfi)
SOA Practice Teaching (Selden Cummings)