Initial Publication Date: October 19, 2006

Overview of the face-to-face workshop (Hamilton College)


participants at CMU course design workshop

At the workshop, participants will:

  • Develop a set of goals for students in the course and choose content that will enable students to achieve the goals.
  • Develop a course plan for a set of activities, assignments, and assessments that will help students achieve the goals set for the course.
  • Make progress toward developing at least one assignment or activity using one of the teaching strategies highlighted at the workshop.
  • Develop an action plan for implementing the new course.
  • Contribute to the Cutting Edge goals/syllabus database. Participants will also be invited to participate in a email list for workshop participants.

Workshop format

  • Goals-setting sessions during which participants will be guided in setting a series of goals for the course.
  • Discussion and feedback sessions during which participants can discuss course goals and plans with individual workshop leaders and with a group of particiipants who are designing similar courses.
  • Sessions on teaching strategies and assessment techniques that participants can choose to attend to familiarize themselves with effective and innovative teaching techniques and to give themselves practice in designing assignments and activities.
  • A final informal poster session to present course and assignment plans and receive feedback from the group.


The first workshop event will take place at noon on Sunday, July 8, and the last at noon on Thursday, July 12. Participants must attend all sessions. For those arriving on Saturday, an optional field trip will take place Sunday morning, July 8.

Eligibility and application instructions

Applicants for this workshop must hold a faculty position in geoscience at a two- or four-year college or university. We welcome applications from all academic ranks. The workshop is limited to 40 participants, and the final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group representing a wide range of experiences, educational environments, and specialties. Application must be made on line by April 19, 2007 and successful applicants will be notified by April 28, 2007.


On-site costs. On the Cutting Edge has funding from the National Science Foundation (DUE-0127310) that helps support our professional development program. However, we are moving toward a model where participants bear some of the operational costs of the workshop, and, this summer, participants must pay a $150 registration fee for the Course Design workshop. This fee will be paid after acceptance to the workshop at the time participants confirm their attendance. Because the workshop is still partially supported by NSF funds, participants must be either US citizens, permanent residents, or in the employ of US institutions. If you don't meet these requirements and are interested in participating in this workshop at your own expense, please contact the workshop conveners.

Travel. All participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. The workshop will be held at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Participants must make their own way to Hamilton College in time for the first workshop event at noon on Sunday, July 8. The nearest airport is Syracuse Airport, about 50 miles away. Syracuse Airport is served by Delta, United, JetBlue, USAirways, Northwest, and Continental. Albany Airport, located about 100 miles east of Clinton, is an alternative to Syracuse Airport for those who plan to fly.

We will be able to offer small travel stipends to participants from institutions unable to cover travel costs. The deadline for application for travel stipends is May 10, 2007.


Workshop sessions will take place in air-conditioned facilities on the Hamilton College campus. Workshop participants will be housed in single rooms in an air-conditioned dormitory on campus and will eat meals on campus.

Further Information

Contact Barbara Tewksbury (