Short Term Innovative Pedagogy Proposal Guidelines

Short term has always been a space in the Bates calendar for innovation, experimentation, and new opportunity, and the Short Term Curricular Innovation Project builds on that history as it intersects with several exciting new campus initiatives related to purposeful work and innovative pedagogy.

Short Term (Re)design courses will provide faculty with the time and support to explore the literature on teaching and learning as well as available models for pedagogical innovation within their fields, and integrate that exploration with a specific course design or re-design project.

This experiment seeks to support curricular renewal through the (re)design of specific courses and through the broader impact of enhancing faculty expertise on pedagogical innovation across the college. Participating faculty will be those interested in pedagogical innovation at the level of a course, but also interested in sharing insights from their work as a contribution to curricular renewal and innovations in teaching and learning at the institutional level.

The general guidelines and process for this set of one-time experimental courses were  approved by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC).  Under the updated governance structure, the AAC now approves the guidelines and process while the CRC will approve specific courses, based on recommendations made by other campus groups with relevant expertise and stake.

The pedagogical innovation/course (re)design courses will be assessed for their impact on their faculty instructors and the enrolled students, as well as their broader institutional impact (including assessment of the redesigned course once it is taught). Results of that assessment will inform future conversations about whether to refine and further institutionalize the practice of offering such courses.

Guidelines for Pedagogical Innovation/Course (Re)Design courses:

  • Range of courses: Courses are distributed across the academic divisions that organize the college’s departments and programs, with attention to current initiatives, institutional mission, and departmental and program needs as relevant.
  • Instructors: Courses are ordinarily taught by a single continuing member of the Bates faculty, as part of their normal teaching load; proposals for team-taught courses are also accepted.
  • Listing of Courses and Major/Minor/GEC Credit: Courses are listed within the department(s) and program(s) with which their instructors are affiliated, as relevant to the content of the course; relevant departments, programs and GECs are invited to count the courses toward their major, minor or concentration requirements if they consider it appropriate.
  • Enrollment, Meetings and Grading: Enrollment is ordinarily 3-5 students by permission of the instructor and with whatever pre-requisites the instructor deems appropriate to the content; meeting times and grading are at the discretion of the instructor within the normal guidelines for short term courses; students receive course credit for participating.
  • Faculty Workshop and Faculty/Student Workshops: To ensure adequate support to participants and enhance broader institutional impact through connections across the courses, all instructors participate in a stipended faculty workshop prior to short term and both instructors and students participate in separate weekly workshop meetings during short term.
  • Other Resources and Expectations:
    • Resources: Instructors receive a small fund to support expenses for materials and/or activities with their students;
    • Expectations:
      • instructors participate in three 1.5 hour  workshops on course designed in the month of March.
      • instructors and their students participate in a campus-wide event during the fourth week of Short Term, to celebrate and share the results of their work;
      • instructors submit a report and plan for the (re)designed course at the end of short term and commit to teach the (re)designed course during the 2020-21 academic year (with allowances for sabbaticals and curricular demands that may require offering the course in a different semester);
      • instructors submit a report on the (re)designed course after it is taught;
      • instructors and students participate in assessment as requested by the VPAA/DOF office and Institutional Research office.


Process for selection and approval of courses:

  • Proposals are brief, about 3 pages total, and include:
    • title and brief overview of the course to be designed or redesigned (including indication of whether it will be the design of a new course or re-design of an existing one)
    • brief explanation for the instructor’s interest in participating and a brief justification for that participation in terms of the role of the specific course in the college curriculum (at the department/program/GEC level and more broadly) and the opportunity for pedagogical innovation within the specific course; please include clearly-stated preliminary learning goals for the (re)designed course
    • brief explanation of the potential for broader institutional impact (i.e., how might sharing insights from this particular (re)design contribute to curricular renewal and innovations in teaching and learning elsewhere around the college?)
    • preliminary outline of the 5-week course schedule in terms of what instructor and students will do during short term 2020
  • Submission of proposals: Proposals should be submitted electronically to Margaret Imber ( the Short Term Curricular Innovation Project Coordinator; submissions can be in any format (Word, PDF, etc) and are due by November 15, 2019. Faculty who wish to have a decision on their proposals before the date that grids are due, may submit by October 21, 2019.
  • Review of Proposed Courses: Proposals are reviewed by the Short Term Curricular Innovation Project Coordinator and the Office of the VPAA/DOF, in consultation with the Faculty Commons for Teaching and Learning.
    • Factors Considered in the Review and Selection Process:
      • quality and feasibility of proposed course (re)design, including the degree to which innovative pedagogies will be incorporated into the (re)designed course
      • potential impact of the specific (re)designed course in relation to curricular and student needs
      • potential contribution to curricular renewal and innovation in teaching and learning beyond the specific course to be (re)designed
      • contribution to the institutional mission and institutional priorities/initiatives
      • distribution across the academic divisions
      • degree to which the specific (re)design could not be pursued without the resources provided by participation in this project
  • Approval of Courses: On the basis of this review, the Office of the VPAA/DOF recommends a set of courses to CRC; CRC reviews the recommended proposals and may request additional information, clarification, revision or reconsideration, as in its typical course approval process; because CRC is the faculty governance committee charged with the introduction of courses into the curriculum, it retains authority for final approval of the specific courses.
  • Support, Oversight, and Assessment: Once the courses are approved, support, oversight and assessment are the responsibility of the VPAA/DOF office and other units reporting to that office, as well as the Short Term Curricular Innovation Project Coordinator. The results of assessments are reported to AAC and CRC for consideration of future refinements and further institutionalization as warranted.