Skip to main content


Efficient and engaging presentations to spark instructor curiosity around topics relevant to contemporary teaching contexts.


Efficient and engaging, Sparkshops are 30-minute presentations meant to spark curiosity around topics relevant to contemporary teaching contexts. Each Sparkshop introduces instructors to leading-edge, evidence-driven teaching and learning techniques that have been empirically demonstrated to enhance learning for all students, with particularly positive effects for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education.  

For instructors who would like to deepen their engagement with a particular topic, each Sparkshop comes with a comprehensive Learning & Teaching Guide to enhance instructor knowledge of effective techniques as well as an invitation for a one-on-one consultation with Searle staff.

Our 2023–24 Sparkshop Series: Getting to Know Our Students focuses on three rising demographics of Northwestern students: first-generation college students (fall), gender expansive students (winter), and neurodiverse students (spring).

2023–24 Series: Getting to Know Our Students

The Getting to Know Our Students Series focuses on advancing instructor understanding of rising demographic groups in the Northwestern student body, outlining evidence-based practices to harness common assets and overcome common challenges so all students can thrive at Northwestern.

Fall 23 | Supporting First-Generation College Student Success

Honor national First-Generation College Celebration Day on November 8th with a Sparkshop to support first-generation college student success. This 30-minute virtual presentation provides instructors with insight and pedagogical tools for the classroom. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, from 3:00–3:30 pm CDT.

Winter 24 | Gender Expansive Guidelines

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, from 3:00–3:30 pm CST.

Spring 24 | Strengths-based Strategies for Neurodiverse Students

Based in the principles of Universal Design for Learning, this 30-minute virtual presentation offers evidence-driven teaching strategies to support neurodivergent student success at a broad level, breaking down barriers and building in choice to empower students to utilize and develop their own academic strengths.

Friday, May 3, 2024, from 11:00–11:30 am CDT.

Register Here

Contact Us

Please reach out to Laura Ferdinand, Postdoctoral Fellow, at