CELT focuses on improving teaching at Iowa State


Courtesy of Iowa State University

Amy Powell is a 4-H animal science program specialist at Iowa State. In the past year, she helped create an interactive website to teach kids about animal care.

Logan Metzger

Almost every faculty member on campus interacts with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, though the common student may not know much about it.

The Iowa State Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) was established in 1993. Over the ensuing 25 years, the center has evolved in multiple ways, including a name change, an expansion of staff and, as a result, an increase in reach across campus.

“Skilled and dedicated educators who are committed to providing their students the best possible learning opportunities are a cornerstone of Iowa State University,” according to the CELT website. “CELT offers a variety of online and face-to-face resources for faculty, staff and graduate students who wish to practice effective teaching strategies and enhance student learning.”

CELT provides resources for instructors, faculty, staff, graduate students and postdocs interested in teaching. It offers face-to-face one-off workshops, longer-term teaching and learning circles on selected topics and facilitation of teaching and learning communities. It also has a set of online resources that support CELT’s mission and current initiatives available on its website.

CELT’s online resources are organized to help an instructor sequentially work through the teaching process and include a broad overview of effective educational practices grounded in educational theory to provide context for teaching in higher education, a comparison of different teaching formats, steps to take in preparing to teach a course and assessment and evaluation suggestions of both teaching and student learning.

The teaching section is divided into seven areas: Creating an Inclusive Classroom, Teaching Format, Preparing To Teach, Document Your Teaching, Assessment and Evaluation, Effective Teaching Practices and Facilitating Learning with Technology.

“Our programs are designed to support those teaching across the arc of their professional careers,” said Sara Marcketti, director of CELT and a professor in apparel, merchandising and design. “To achieve this, some programs are designed to assist new instructors, including term and tenure-track faculty members, to establish their teaching program and focus on effectiveness.”

Other programs through CELT assist instructors in designing or refining a course to implement a different teaching approach, while other programs help faculty transform scholarly teaching into scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research projects.

“Through all of our work, we collaborate with on-campus resources, including college instructional support units and other centrally-supported units such as the Dean of Students Office, Multicultural Student Affairs Office and the Academic Success Center,” Marcketti said. “We work to leverage existing resources and help faculty make these important connections across campus.”

The CELT staff are located in 3024 Morrill Hall and are able to consult with instructors on any teaching-related topic, such as those centered on inclusivity, best practices in online and hybrid teaching, course development and innovative teaching methods.

“Our vision is to position Iowa State University at the forefront of learning and teaching among land-grant universities,” according to the CELT website.