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Click here to see this online

CATE Newsletter   |   Issue #003   |   March 31, 2021   |   teaching.uic.edu





Dear UIC community,

In this month’s newsletter, we’re showcasing resources and upcoming events supporting inclusive and accessible teaching. Additionally:

Acknowledging that these are by no means comprehensive lists of resources available to support our UIC community’s engagement in inclusive education and related social justice initiatives, we invite you to contribute additional materials for the CATE website by contacting us at teaching@uic.edu.  

Please also stay updated about upcoming teaching and learning events sponsored by CATE, UIC departments, and outside organizations by following our Events page: teaching.uic.edu/events-all. This month, we’d like to highlight an upcoming speaker for the CATE Scholars in Teaching & Learning Seminar Series:

  • Almaz Mesghina, M.A., who is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Human Development and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Education Sciences at the University of Chicago, will be joining us via Zoom on Friday, April 23, 2021, at 10:00am to give a talk entitled, “Anxiety and Undergraduates’ Learning Potential: A Cognitive Perspective”. Please RSVP (forms.gle/gmMryGUJRCGmjpfE9) for the seminar to receive a Zoom link.  Additional information about our speaker, including her bio and the abstract for her talk, is available on the CATE website:  teaching.uic.edu/events/anxiety-and-undergraduates-learning-potential-a-cognitive-perspective 

Thank you for your continued engagement with CATE. Please note that next month’s newsletter will focus on resources supporting online instruction, with particular emphasis on blended and hybrid modes that many UIC instructors are planning for fall 2021.  Stay tuned!

Sincerely yours,

Erin O’Leary
Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE)



Featured Resources



Inclusive Classrooms Initiative in Diversity at UIC

The Office of Diversity’s Inclusive Classroom Initiative (ICI) lives at the intersection of three key institutional priorities at UIC: diversity, equity, and inclusion; student success; and teaching excellence. The ICI consists of a series of modules developed by faculty content experts on topics that are relevant and specific to UIC. Each module focuses on building empathy, creating relevance and providing practical strategies faculty can use in their classrooms regardless of disciplines. Learn more:



Accessible Teaching at UIC

Facilitating accommodations in the classroom is more important now than ever, but instructors don’t need to wait to get a Letter of Accommodation to consider the accessibility of their online classrooms. The DRC/DCC are glad to support instructors as they develop skills and knowledge around accessible teaching. Resources are available for facilitating accommodations effectively; building accessibility measures into your courses proactively; and digging into more transformational accessibility practices for your teaching.  

  • NEW DCC/DRC Guide to Captions for Online Classes and Events: Following the recent addition of auto-transcription to UIC Zoom accounts, this guide breaks down the different types of captioning for live sessions and explains how to set up captions in Zoom. go.uic.edu/LiveCaptions

  • DRC Referral Resources: This page on the Disability Resource Center’s site offers tips for referring students to the DRC for accommodations, including a syllabus statement, flyer about DRC, and a slide to incorporate in initial course meetings. drc.uic.edu/drc-referral-materials

  • DRC Accommodations Guide: This guide explains reasonable accommodations and students’ rights, offering detailed information on some of the most common measures that may appear in students’ Letters of Accommodations. drc.uic.edu/guide-to-accommodations

  • DCC/DRC/AAAC Guide to Accommodations and Accessible Teaching: A one-stop resource for tips and concrete practices that will support instructors as they facilitate accommodations and proactively build accessibility into their courses. go.uic.edu/AccessibleDocs

  • DCC Resources for Accessible Teaching: This page on the Disability Cultural Center’s site includes a section on “Teaching Resources,” with a curated list of resources for access-centered pedagogy. dcc.uic.edu/resources/accessibility-resources-guides

  • DCC's "Interdependent UIC: Accessibility Considerations for Remote Access": Written in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, this document compiles the practical wisdom about accessible teaching and remote access that disability culture had been building for years. While some resources are focused on “the pivot,” the section titled “Best Practices for Accessible Remote Access” highlights a number of valuable articles and resource compilations. go.uic.edu/COVIDCommunityCare

  • Gin LE et al (2020) Is Active Learning Accessible? Exploring the Process of Providing Accommodations to Students with Disabilities. CBE-Life Sciences Education 19(4): es12.: We want to flag that the best sources of information on the disabled student experience are disabled students. With that said, this article usefully mines the familiarity that disability service providers have with accessibility issues that can crop up in the classroom. Focused on active learning strategies in science classrooms, this research lists common access barriers, suggesting ways to design into these practices from the start. lifescied.org/doi/10.1187/cbe.20-03-0049


Engage students in a small-group introductions activity. 

ACUE Online Teaching Resources

The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) offers free resources that can be immediately put to use to benefit both faculty and students in the online and physical classroom.


EdX Courses (free MOOCs)

Towards the goal of increasing access to quality professional development for educators, EdX offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) covering a broad range of topics from educational policy and history, teaching with technology, and curriculum design and teaching techniques (edx.org/course/subject/education-teacher-training).

  • Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the College Classroom: Explore the principles of inclusive teaching and learn how to apply them in your classroom to support diverse learners. This asynchronous, self-paced online course is taught by pedagogy experts at Columbia University. edx.org/course/inclusive-teaching-supporting-all-students-in-the 
  • Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms: Learn how to create and sustain inclusive, student-centered learning environments. Also an asynchronous, self-paced online course, this MOOC is taught by experts in teaching innovation at Cornell University. edx.org/course/teaching-learning-in-the-diverse-classroom


EDUCAUSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources

EDUCAUSE is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and is compiling resources, drawn from a variety of external sources, as an entrée into DEI topics for higher education IT professionals who would like to elevate diversity and inclusion as a priority personally or for their organizations.

Matt Riley 
Matt Riley 

EDUCAUSE has invited all senior IT leaders in the higher education community to support the CIO Commitment Statement (educause.edu/about/cio-commitment), the goal of which is to build momentum for a set of practices that will foster greater diversity in the field of IT.  We are excited to highlight Matt Riley, whom we recently welcomed to UIC as our new CIO and who has added his signature to the list as a way to publicly underscore his personal commitment and that of the entire UIC IT Community to DEI and the benefits derived from working in diverse and inclusive environments.


 Social Change Ecosystem Map

Anti-Racism in Academia (ARiA)

In response to renewed dialogue across the higher education community denouncing racism and pledging to create more inclusive cultures, a small group of community leaders from several institutions developed a grassroots initiative to inspire transformative action in the workplace. The program, Anti-Racism in Academia (ARiA): A Learning Journey (aria.uga.edu), is a discussion series outlining an actionable approach to leading change. Participants engage in frank, small group facilitated discussions designed to better understand racism issues, examine their own biases, and think critically about effective ways to build a more inclusive culture in academia. This is a volunteer-led initiative open to all employees working within higher ed institutions.



CATE Events and Webinars


CATE Scholars in Teaching & Learning Seminar Series

Title: Anxiety and Undergraduates’ Learning Potential: A Cognitive Perspective

 Almaz Mesghina
 Almaz Mesghina

Speaker: Almaz Mesghina, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Human Development, Predoctoral Fellow, Institute for Education Sciences, University of Chicago

Abstract: A growing body of work shows that many undergraduates, particularly students of historically marginalized identities in academia, experience quite severe levels of anxiety during their college years. The pandemic has only exacerbated this. In this talk, I summarize the research on anxiety and performance, using my research on undergraduates’ COVID-19 anxiety as an illustration. I will share how anxiety can manifest cognitively, and explore student-level (emotion regulation) and teacher-level (instructional design) strategies that we can use to help promote all students’ learning, even while anxious. 

Bio: Almaz (pronounced all - mahz) is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, where she is a trained psychologist and a dedicated instructor. Almaz bridges these roles in her research by examining how insights from cognitive psychology can inform our pedagogical practices, and vice versa. She is particularly interested in understanding how anxiety can promote or hinder our capacity to learn. Almaz is the recipient of an Institute for Education Sciences predoctoral fellowship. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Child Development from Vanderbilt University.

  • Seminar date and time: Friday, April 23 | 10:00 – 11:00am CST
  • Follow-up Q&A with speaker: 11:00 – 11:30am CST
  • Zoom info: A Zoom link will be sent to those who RVSP for the seminar within 24 hours of the seminar date.

  RSVP: forms.gle/tNZL2xcH9NaVPSzu5


CATE Summer Institute for Online Teaching at UIC


Preparing for Flames Flex Instruction - Fall 2021 Kickoff Meeting

  • Dates and times: Thursday, May 13 - Friday, May 14, 2021 | 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM CST
  • Location: A Zoom link will be sent to those who register for this event within 24 hours of the kickoff date.

Register: forms.gle/Y73wHPUNUDhHEwg7A 

Please join us for the CATE Summer Institute for Online Teaching at UIC: Preparing for Flames Flex Instruction - Fall 2021 Kickoff Meeting on May 13-14, 2021. This professional learning opportunity is intended for UIC instructors who are preparing to teach this fall.  

Throughout the summer, CATE will release online resources to support four general modalities of instruction expected across courses and Colleges in fall 2021:

  • Online synchronous (SYNC): fully online course with live sessions at specified times
  • Online asynchronous (ASYNC): fully online course with no mandatory live sessions
  • On-campus blended (BLENDED): in-person students simultaneously meeting with synchronous online students via live streaming technology
  • On-campus hybrid (HYBRID): mix of in-person instruction with online content delivered synchronously or asynchronously

The Summer Institute will be delivered in a format analogous to a flipped course, with asynchronous learning modules available through Blackboard Ultra paired with optional online discussion forums and an optional synchronous session facilitated by CATE team to help instructors plan for fall 2021 instruction. These online discussions and synchronous sessions will enable instructors to apply the principles learned in the asynchronous modules and consider pedagogical questions and ideas that may be specific to a particular discipline, course level, class size, and/or modality of instruction.

Please register to attend the Kickoff Meeting to learn more about the Summer Institute.  Those interested will be able to self-enroll in a Blackboard course.  Enrollment information will be provided at the Kickoff Meeting and on the CATE website.

Stay tuned! If you are a graduate student teaching assistant (TA), there will be a separate event in August to help you with fall teaching preparations.



Regional & National Events
 and Webinars



Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment

UIC community members are invited to participated in this free, interactive, virtual Zoom workshop sponsored by UIC's Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, UIC's Honors College, and the Great Lakes Asian American Student Services (GLAASS), a network of representatives from colleges and universities in the Great Lakes region of the midwest focusing on Asian American student services issues. In this training, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, CAIR Chicago, and Hollaback! will share strategies that aim to help people identify hate incidents as they happen and learn how to intervene effectively as a bystander without compromising your safety.


Additional training dates and times:

  • Monday, April 5th | 12:00pm CST
  • Tuesday, April 6th | 1:00pm CST
  • Wednesday, April 7th | 2:00pm CST 
  • Thursday, April 8th | 12:00pm CST 
  • Wednesday, April 14th | 5:30pm CST 
  • Thursday, April 29th | 2:00pm CST

Registration: ihollaback.org/bystanderintervention


Faculty Summer Institute (FSI)

FSI: At the Intersection of Teaching, Learning, and Technology is an annual conference that brings educators and instructional-technology professionals together each May at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Attendees come from across Illinois and as far away as Canada. The conference features keynote presentations, networking, and hands-on training on the use of modern communication and information technologies in education. Registration is $15 and will take place via Zoom.

Registration: conferences.illinois.edu/fsi


EDUCAUSE Learning Labs - Facilitating Equitable and Inclusive Student Learning Online

Online courses can feel isolating, dry, and unengaging for both students and faculty. The distance inherent in polysynchronous formats raises barriers to meaningful interactions that foster effective learning. But we can create online courses in all formats that welcome and support all of our students, that exclude or marginalize no one, and that faculty find rewarding to teach as well. With a focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), culturally-responsive teaching, and social and emotional connections that promote a strong learning community, participants will explore ways of designing and facilitating online courses to promote rich and robust teaching and learning interactions. 

This four-part series is facilitated by Flower Darby, a scholar in equitable and inclusive teaching and lead author for Small Teaching Online.

  • Part 1: April 5 | 2:00 - 3:00pm CST
  • Part 2: April 7 | 2:00 - 3:15pm CST
  • Part 3: April 14 | 2:00 - 3:15pm CST
  • Part 4: April 21 | 2:00 - 3:15pm CST




CORA Learning 

The mission of the Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA) is to support the development of educators in advancing their capacity to serve historically underrepresented and underserved students. CORA’s fully online programs bring decades of research and experience in advancing the education of minoritized students in K-12 and postsecondary education. All programs are accredited by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) for Continuing Education Units (CEUs). 

Coming Soon! Upcoming courses are intentionally focused on antiracist design principles and practices. Each course is $200. 

Current Courses in Racial Equity Education Series. Also $200 per course.

CORA also offers webinars on salient topics. These are free to the public and all are recorded and posted following the live session. 

  • Current schedule of previous and upcoming webinars, including links to view recordings and register for upcoming events: coralearning.org/webinars/ 

In particular, we’d like to draw your attention to the Black Minds Matter webinar series, which is designed to raise the national consciousness about issues facing Black students in education. The series intentionally addresses the pervasive undervaluing and criminalization of Black minds. Tangible solutions for promoting the learning, development, and success of Black students are offered.






In support of our Asian and Asian American community (UIC Today 3/28/2021)

Chancellor Michael Amiridis and Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost for Diversity Amalia Pallares reach out to the UIC campus with a statement of solidarity following the acts of hate and violence against those in the Asian and Asian American community. go.uic.edu/in-support-of-asian-american-community

Racelighting in the normal realities of being Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The authors conceptualize “racelighting” as a form of gaslighting affecting the daily, normalized experiences and realities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). They define racelighting as “the process whereby People of Color question their own thoughts and actions due to systematically delivered racialized messages that make them second guess their own lived experiences [and realities] with racism."


George McLaurin and the Ongoing Fight Against Systemic Racism in Higher Education. EdSurge article by Every Learner Everywhere Director, Jessica Rowland Williams, PhD, highlighting the story of George McLaurin, a trailblazer and unsung hero in higher education. In 1948, George McLaurin applied to the University of Oklahoma for his graduate degree and, like many African American students at that time, he was denied admission on the basis of his race. He took his issue to federal court and won admission to OU. His battle was far from over, however. edsurge.com/news/2020-06-02-george-mclaurin-and-the-ongoing-fight-against-systemic-racism-in-higher-education

Syllabus Tone, More than Mental Health Statements, Influence Intentions to Seek Help, a research article by R. Gurung and N. Galardi published on February 11, 2021, in Teaching of Psychology (doi.org/10.1177/0098628321994632), examines factors affecting student help-seeking behaviors in the classroom.  Findings show that both the tone of the syllabus (warm tone) and the presence of statements normalizing the act of reaching out for help (mental health statements) can reduce stigma and positively influence students’ intentions to ask instructors for help with wellness and academic success.


National Academy of Sciences Response of Higher Education to COVID-19: Virtual Workshops on Graduate and Undergraduate Education

A series of virtual workshops explored the impact of higher education's immediate response to COVID-19 on undergraduate and graduate students. Titles, agendas, slides, speaker bios, and recordings of the four sessions can be found using the links at the bottom of this page. The workshops provided an opportunity to share strategies and lessons learned from a range of institutions and explore impacts to the education, well-being, and academic progression of STEM students.


 Retaining Underserved Students

Supporting Underserved Students

Administrators and professors committed to student success are thinking from all angles about how to retain their students before it’s too late. Stagnant wages and increasing tuition costs have created a widening class division in higher education, causing leaders to address the persistent attendance and graduation gaps for students who are first-generation or from low-income backgrounds. The American college student population is becoming more diverse, and this Chronicle report is a critical resource for strategies, tips, and advice on how institutions can best support and retain struggling students.



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