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 Recent Event Index Sample Events LTF perspectives 

Upcoming LTF Events

As LTFs schedule events for the semester, we add them to the LTF Event Calendar.

Spring 2024 events are being designed and will be posted beginning in early February. Have a suggestion for LTF(s) in your department? Contact them!

Designing Events

Every semester LTF events run in schools and departments across Columbia University, 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.

Fall 2023 LTF Events

Arts & Sciences

Art History and Archaeology
Art History Orientation (Emma Leidy)

Biological Sciences
*Everyday topic* Explained (Grace Przybyl)

Teaching Chemistry for Beyond Chemistry (Paul Brown)

Classical Studies
Incorporating Student Interests in Course Discussion (Abby Breuker)

Writing and Teaching: Balancing Time and Informing Perspective between the Page and the Classroom (Brett Stine)

Earth and Environmental Science
How to Talk About Talking About Climate Change (Miriam Nielsen)

Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Grading – Can We Make It Painless? (Julie Gan)

English & Comparative Literature
Designing Equitable Groupwork in the Humanities Classroom (Margaret Banks)
Teaching Across Disciplines (Alina Shubina)

Germanic Languages
Pedagogies of Discomfort in the Language Classroom (Romney Walker Wood)

Learning to Teach through Community: Orientation (Claire Dwyer)

Latin American & Iberian Cultures
Balancing the Scales: Exploring Pros and Cons of AI in Second Language Learning (Mónica Ramírez Bernal)

Teaching the Fundamentals of Music Across Disciplines (Lauren Shepherd)

Holding Effective Office Hours (Noah Betz-Richman)
Delivering an Engaging Lecture (Joe Hamilton)

Physics Microteaching (Giancarlo Pereira)

Political Science
Efficient and Effective Comments on Student Writing (Hayley Cohen)
Teaching to All Levels: Dealing with Heterogeneity within the Classroom (Beatrice Bonini)

Assessments in the Time of ChatGPT (Christian Mott)

Slavic Languages
Teaching with a Supervisor: Best Practices for Humanities TAs and Graduate Instructors (Venya Gushchin)
Metalinguistic Practices in Language Instruction: Strategies for Discussing Language in the Language Classroom (Zachary Deming)

The Fun Factor: Turning Teaching into a Joyful Journey (Bonnie Siegler)

 Learning to Learn in STEM Programs (Kitty Girjau)


Enhancing the Fellow Experience​ (Michelle Smith)

Navigating the Mentor-Mentee Relationship as Mentor and Mentee Pt. 1 (Jess Burke)
Navigating the Mentor-Mentee Relationship as Mentor and Mentee Pt. 2 (Jasmine Stone)

CUSON TA Orientation (Sofia Rosenberg-Klainberg)

Systems Biology
Engaging Your Audience (Karin Isaev)


TA in Architecture Forum: Survey and Discussion to Establish Pedagogy Forum​ (Elena M’Bouroukounda)


Biomedical Engineering
Improving Feedback Strategies for TAs​​ (Darragh Kennedy)
Teach Outside the Box: Creativity in Science Learning (Abby Ayers)

Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics
Empowering Teaching Assistants: Building Confidence and Reducing Burnout (Gurpreet Sigh Hora)
Unlocking Synergy: Explore the benefits of Collaborative Teaching and Learning (Linda Teka)

Computer Science
Computer Science Teaching Town Hall (Tao Long)

Electrical Engineering
How to Create a Syllabus (Sinan Yilmaz)


Sustainable Development
Facilitating Active Learning: A Toolkit for Teaching Assistants​ (Sujoy Bhattacharyya)

Social Work

Social Work
CTL Sparknotes​ (Ashley Cole, Jr.)

School of the Arts

Constructive Criticism and the Four Agreements​ (Sarah Bedwell)

Visual Arts
Visual Arts TA Gathering​ (Tk Suh)

Learning Through Discussion (Sarah Wingerter)
Self-Reflection & Your Theory of Practice (Eunsun Whang)

Sample Events

Designing Equitable Groupwork in the Humanities Classroom

Designed and run by Margaret Banks, 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellow in English & Comparative Literature

Event description: This workshop will think through methods to create meaningful and equitable groupwork for students. We’ll address questions such as: When is it appropriate to introduce groupwork into the humanities classroom? How might I design groupwork equitably – to ensure all students have time to engage and access material, decrease frustration, and feel ownership over the process and product? What are the benefits of groupwork? Ultimately, we will aim to design activities that increase undergraduate collaboration, giving them a chance to learn from their peers, crystallize skills and information, and increase independence from instructors.

Margaret’s reflection: “The event included a brief reflection on participants’ experiences with group work, a mini discussion with “what’s, when’s and how’s,” and then closed with a case study from one of my old lesson plans based on criteria I provided from Rachel Lotan and Elizabeth Cohen’s Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogenous Classroom (2014). This structure seemed to work well for the participants as it provided a nice balance of discussion, mini group work, and reflection. Additionally, by using a case study from my own classroom, I attempted to encourage a culture that normalizes sharing pedagogical challenges. Rather than approach problems in the classroom individually, we can rely on each other to think through solutions and consider new perspectives — one of the main benefits of groupwork. I thought using groupwork to approach our teaching offered room for metacognitive reflection and gave me an opportunity to model some of the strategies presented in the text.”

Teaching Chemistry for Beyond Chemistry

Designed and run by Paul Brown, 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellow in Chemistry

Event description: In this collaborative workshop, we will come together to collectively think about what we want our students in the General and Chemistry sequences (many of whom are not going to continue studying Chemistry for their major) to take away from their learning experiences in large introductory classes. Is there something in addition to chemical knowledge that our students can leave the course with, and can we structure our teaching around that? This workshop is intended primarily for chemistry department TAs, but relevant to all TAs of generally-required STEM courses such as Physics or Biology.

Paul’s reflection: “I was very pleased that, in our discussion, we organically covered both fundamental chemical knowledge as well as more transferable general skills. Fundamental chemical knowledge that we discussed included the chemical bond, fundamental atomic theory, the basic principle that things happen spontaneously to lower free energy, and the fact related to pre-med students that it is important to have some understanding of medicine in order to use it best. For more general skills, we talked about mathematical problem-solving, dimensional analysis, the ability to talk through and explain experimental results, scientific literacy in an ecosystem of misinformation, and the confidence that anyone is capable of doing chemistry. One participant even brought up the question of why we needed to frame chemistry as having a need to be ‘useful,’ which I thought was interesting….”

Microteaching in Physics

Designed and run by Giancarlo Pereira, 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellow in Physics

Event description: This session, to be held during a TA meeting in Physics, will adapt the CTL service of  Practice Teaching (Microteaching) to the specific needs and context of current Physics graduate TAs. Microteaching is a low-stake opportunity to practice some element of your teaching in an environment in which growth and formative peer feedback is encouraged. Participants will take turns delivering a short sample of teaching (picking from a handful of physics topics we might encounter during our time as TAs in this department) and will let the other participants and the facilitator know beforehand one area on which they would like feedback (in addition to organization and engagement!). Participants will give formative feedback to each other. Ultimately, by the end of this event, I hope TAs feel more confident and take away several points to improve their teaching this year.

Giancarlo’s reflection: “Running this event during a TA meeting ensured a successful event: we had very high attendance! If future Physics LTFs are worried about running their first event, I would strongly recommend reaching out to the preceptors and taking advantage of the already-established structure of our TA meetings. The week after the event, I collected feedback from both participants and moderators. I noted the following outcomes of this event: (1) it was helpful notice patterns on their own teaching (examples: TA looks exclusively at the blackboard while talking/giving lectures, TA digresses to other concepts not meant to be covered in the five-minute lecture, TA does not give students enough time to write down notes); (2) it was helpful to watch other TAs teach, since we often don’t get the chance to see what our peers are doing in their classrooms; and (3) it was helpful to get ideas for other styles and approaches to teaching.”

Teaching Through Discussion

Designed and run by Sarah Wingerter, 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellow in Writing (SOA)

Event description: In this workshop, we’ll use our own in-the-moment discussion as a vehicle for learning about and modeling effective use of discussion in the classroom. We’ll start with open-ended questions that will lead us through the framework of planning and executing a classroom discussion. This workshop will help lay the foundation for classroom discussions that foster learning, encourage student participation, and bolster self-confidence. Participants will learn each of the steps necessary to ensure an effective discussion and will learn techniques to extend the conversation beyond the classroom and into asynchronous modalities. Participants will leave with increased confidence in their ability to lead a discussion in the creative-writing classroom, and they’ll receive a handout with key concepts and additional resources and references.

Sarah’s reflection: “By putting on this event, I learned that graduate students in the School of the Arts are hungry for opportunities to discuss teaching. Some have had no teaching experience and are curious to learn more about it. Others have had a bit of teaching experience but no formal instruction in teaching and, therefore, no feedback on their teaching. Still others have had quite a bit of teaching experience but felt they had never quite mastered the art of the classroom discussion.”

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