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Course Design Institute

The 2015 Course Design Institute is intended to provide early-career faculty with a collaborative and immersive environment in which to design a new course or modify an existing course that is optimized for student engagement and learning.

The institute is open to Stanford assistant professors from all academic disciplines. It is led by faculty colleagues, as well as staff from the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL).  The institute’s seminars take place over four days. Additional time investment is required to maximize its benefits. An application is required. 

2015 Institute

This year’s institute will take place August 31 - September 3, 2015.
Monday, Aug. 31st, Tuesday, Sept. 1st, and Wednesday, Sept. 2nd meets 8:30 am -1:30 pm
Thursday, Sept. 3rd meets 8:30am - 3:30pm
Location:  Building 550, Room 200


Participating faculty will apply current research on teaching and learning to the development of a syllabus or selected class material for their own Stanford course. Topics are designed to support both teaching efficiency and learning effectiveness, and will be tailored to the needs of the faculty participants. Topics may include: making course content decisions, selecting effective and innovative teaching strategies, creating assignments that solidify learning, teaching with technology, grading and other assessments of student learning, understanding and engaging students, leveraging resources to support teaching and learning, and integrating early course feedback, learning analytics, and iterative design.

The book How Learning Works (Ambrose et al., 2010) will serve as a primary resource, to be enriched by more specific, disciplinary-based readings. A copy of the book and all readings will be provided to each faculty participant.

Time commitment

Much of the actual course and teaching development work will take place during the 22 hours of seminars on Aug. 31 - September 3.  In addition, each participant can expect to invest:

  • 10-15 additional hours of reading and other preparation prior to and during the week of the institute;
  • One lunch meeting per quarter in AY 15-16 during which participants will share ideas about their teaching and course progress; and
  • One teaching consultation (with VPTL staff or a faculty colleague) during the term in which teaching is taking place.

What past participants have said

Past participants have noted that the program helped reduced teaching stress and enabled them to focus on teaching efficacy. As one assistant professor noted, “It really was a transformative event for how I think about and approach teaching.”

Who should apply

Assistant professors, with preference given to those in their first three years of teaching at Stanford. Approximately 20 applicants are selected based on program capacity. 


Applicants should identify the specific course that will be designed or redesigned during “boot camp” and complete the brief application form. The application deadline was June 10, 2015. For more information, contact Gloriana Trujillo.

Each participant will receive $2500 in discretionary funds in recognition of the significant time investment prior to the start of autumn quarter and commitment to the events of the following academic year.  Of this amount, $1800 will be awarded upon successful completion of the four days in September, with the remaining $700 awarded after completion of the quarterly commitments.

This program is supported through funding from the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and has additional endorsement from the Vice Provosts for Undergraduate Education, Graduate Education, and Faculty Development and Diversity. Program funding has also been made possible by the deans, including of Humanities and Sciences; Engineering; and Earth, Energy & Environmental Science.

For more information: