Faculty-to-Faculty Consulting Program

How to Request a Consultation

Send an Email to Nicole Phelps nicole.phelps@uvm.edu (email) or laura.hill@uvm.edu (email).

Many faculty value conversations with colleagues about teaching challenges and creative ways to handle them. As part of the CTL Faculty-to-Faculty Consulting Program, Nicole Phelps and Laura Hill (See bios below) are available to meet with fellow faculty talk confidentially about teaching.

Professors Phelps and Hill are available to consult on a variety of topics, including:

  • Course and syllabus design
  • Designing inclusive classrooms
  • Integrating information literacy and library instruction
  • Active learning and discussion
  • Classroom climate
  • Controversial topics in the classroom
  • Effective use of iClickers
  • Effective use of PowerPoint
  • Assessment and grading strategies
  • Teaching non-majors
  • Teaching TAP, HCOL 086, and sophomore seminars
  • Teaching large enrollment classes e.g. effective lecture and management strategies
  • Peer observations to evaluate teaching effectiveness
  • Managing and mentoring undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants
  • Developing exhibits of student research (on-campus exhibits, posters, Student Research Conference presentations)

Goals of the Faculty Associates Program

  • Increase faculty-to-faculty support networks for teaching and learning
  • Expand the availability of peer teaching consultations tailored to individual needs
  • Increase the institutional capacity for developing faculty leadership and skills in the peer consultation process

Faculty Bios

Laura Hill, Senior Lecturer, Plant Biology

Professor Hill teaches within the Plant Biology and Biological Sciences programs at UVM. Her classes include large-enrollment and upper-level undergraduate courses in botany, biology, and genetics, and include a number of sustainability (SU) courses in the sciences. In 2013, Prof. Hill was the recipient of the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Joseph E. Carrigan Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, student advising, and undergraduate education.

Prof. Hill regularly works with graduate teaching assistants and also mentors undergraduate student research projects with a focus on sustainable solutions using plants. She is published in journals related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, sustainability in higher education, plant biology, and ecology.

Prof. Hill’s administrative experiences includes co-directing the Biological Sciences program, serving as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Assessment Coordinator, and co-chairing UVM’s New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE) Educational Effectiveness Standard 8 committee. Prof. Hill also helped lead the charge for UVM’s General Education Sustainability requirement in 2015 and co-chaired the Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee. She was awarded the EPA Environmental Merit Award in 2016 for her efforts leading the sustainability initiative at UVM.

Prof. Hill is currently developing an interdisciplinary faculty learning community for contemplative pedagogy in collaboration with CTL. We will recruit our first faculty cohort in Fall 2020. A variety of contemplative pedagogies may be used to shift the focus of teaching and learning that connect students to their lived, embodied experience of their unique learning process. In the classroom, Prof. Hill uses a variety of contemplative practices including breath- and centering techniques to arrive and quiet the mind and reflective writing. She also uses iClickers coupled with peer instruction, Just-in-Time teaching pedagogy to enhance classroom feedback, community and interaction. She has also developed a variety of formative assessments to enhance critical thinking.

Prof. Hill has hosted workshops on learning outcomes development and assessment, interactive teaching, and engagement in large-enrollment courses. Prof. Hill also facilitates teaching retreats for faculty in higher education. She enjoys discussing all aspects of teaching with colleagues in all disciplines. Some specific topics of interest include backwards design, learning outcome development and assessment, assignments for critical thinking skills, contemplative pedagogy, strategies for engagement in large-enrollment classes (e.g., peer instruction and Just-in-Time teaching), and sustainability (SU) general education course development.

Nicole Phelps, Associate Professor of History

Professor Phelps’s teaching at UVM has included a variety of diplomatic history courses that cover the eighteenth century through the near-present, courses on the Gilded Age & Progressive Era (the 1893 World’s Fair is a favorite topic), both halves of the introductory US history survey, and an introductory D1 class on “Race and Nation in the US” from 1776 to the near-present. With some frequency, she also teaches HST 101, a required course for History majors (aimed at sophomores), and HST 301, a required course for incoming History MA students, both of which focus on skills acquisition, rather than specific historical content. She’s also taught TAP, HCOL 086, and several HCOL sophomore seminars.

Class sizes have ranged from independent studies to 180 students. Professor Phelps has used clickers, worked closely with a variety of library staff and faculty, integrated technology skills workshops, employed WID Mentors and graduate TAs, had students present at the Student Research Conference, and worked with a class to mount an exhibit of Gilded Age political cartoons in the Bailey/Howe Library.

She has been chair of the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee and a member of the Honors College Curriculum Committee since 2014. She has also served on the Teaching Committee of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations; her work there included collecting syllabi for posting online and presenting on several teaching-related panels at the society’s annual conference.