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Initiatives

We collaborate with other University units on initiatives aimed at enhancing undergraduate learning and teaching in support of Northwestern University’s strategic priorities. Below you will find some examples of initiatives that Searle has and continues to work on as a member of the Northwestern community.

Northwestern currently participates in the HLC's Open Pathway for Reaffirmation of Accreditation process, which includes both improvement and assurance components. As part of the HLC quality initiative, Northwestern University focuses on Instructor Practica in Teaching and Learning, a series of practica designed to promote excellence in teaching by addressing significant topics related to teaching and learning in higher education. Over the course of four academic years, the practica has looked to build instructor capacities related to online teaching (2020-21), inclusive teaching (2021-22)Universal Design for Learning (2022-23), and reimagining assessment (2023-24). The aims of Northwestern’s Instructor Practica are threefold:

  1. Offer a unified institutional approach to enhancing teaching and learning at Northwestern
  2. Cultivate approaches to teaching that are responsive to institutional and broader societal priorities
  3. Support instructors as they translate their new and enhanced understandings of teaching and learning into action

The Searle Center plays a key role in the fulfillment of the HLC quality initiative by working collaboratively with many units across the institution, including Academic Support and Learning Advancement, AccessibleNU, Counseling and Psychological Services, School of Professional Studies Distance Learning, Teaching and Learning Technologies, and University Libraries, in the planning, staffing, management, and evaluation of the practica.

The Searle Center is currently supporting the delivery of the fourth practicum on Reimagining Assessment (RAP).

By participating in this program, participants will:

  • Explore grading practices that center learning, growth, and equity
  • Recognize the difference between learning assessment and grading
  • Identify teaching strategies that reduce barriers to learning
  • Uunderstand multiple methods for generating timely feedback about student learning progress
  • Select interventions that are meaningful for students and manageable for instructors

If you have any questions, please email practicum@northwestern.edu.

 

Image credit: Nick Tiemersma

Our popular Universal Design for Learning Practicum (UDLP) is now an Open Educational Resource!

This open resource was created by the Northwestern University Universal Design for Learning Practicum (UDLP) Faculty and Staff. It was designed to guide instructors of all levels, backgrounds, and teaching contexts to reflect on the evolving needs of students and to implement UDL principles to create more supportive, inclusive, and accessible learning environments. Through readings, videos, and recorded sessions, this resource introduces key UDL concepts and provides practical applications, tools, and discussion prompts.

Get started with UDLP

 

The Searle Fellows Program is a time-honored Northwestern professional development initiative that recognizes and supports the great promise of early career faculty members who will make significant and long-term contributions to Northwestern University. 

Since 1999, the Searle Fellows Program’s mission has been to cultivate a community of learning & teaching leaders at Northwestern who center equity/excellence through pedagogical experimentation, critical reflection, and joyful celebration. Over 300 faculty have completed the Searle Fellows Program since its inception. 

Participation in the Searle Fellows Program is viewed favorably in tenure and promotion decisions. This enriching professional development opportunity is designed to bolster faculty efforts to showcase outstanding credentials including evidence of effective and inclusive teaching.

Applications to join the 2022-23 AY cohort of Searle Fellows are due by June 15, 2023. Any early career faculty member with a minimum of two years at Northwestern who is working towards their next career milestone is eligible to apply.

Learn more about requirements, mentors and how to apply at the Searle Fellows program page.

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The recipients of the annual University Teaching Awards become Distinguished Fellows of the Searle Center for a three-year term. As professors who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in undergraduate teaching, these Distinguished Fellows are important partners to the Searle Center.

During their three years as Distinguished Fellows, these inspiring educators provide a valuable faculty perspective and advisory role in the Searle Center's development of initiatives, programs, events, and resources. In addition, they become integrated into Searle Center offerings through engagement in activities such as speaking on panels, collaborating in workshops, and amplifying the importance of teaching in public venues.