Blog Archive

After many months of preparation, U-M Student Life and the Educational Theater Program launched a major new initiative this fall to promote a welcoming campus climate for diverse students. If you’re teaching first-year undergraduates, your students will very likely attend a "Change It Up!" training this month, where they will learn about bystander intervention strategies to promote safe and respectful communities on campus. 

Based on a nationally recognized bystander intervention model, the Change It Up! program is organized around several key goals, including:

  • encouraging students to recognize themselves as members of a campus community where individual behaviors can collectively have a powerful effect upon broader campus climate 
  • increasing students' awareness of language and behavior that disrespects or excludes some campus community members based on their social identities 
  • building students' skills and confidence at intervening effectively in potentially harmful situations. 

Change It Up! informational flyer with contact information

The program highlights strategies a bystander can use to intervene in discrimination, disrespect, and even interpersonal violence. As highlighted in the image, these are represented by the “4 Ds” of Direct, Delay, Delegate, and Distract.

U-M teachers might be especially interested in the "Delegate" strategy. In this bystander intervention option, students are encouraged to turn to other people who can be resources or allies when they witness or feel targeted by language or behavior that insults or excludes members of the campus community. The workshop identifies instructors as one group of people to whom students might delegate and with whom they might strategize an effective intervention.

As a teacher, how might you prepare yourself to respond should such a request come your way? Read more »

The deadline for applications to the Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning is fast approaching. Applications are due at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21. Grants of $6000 (for individual faculty members or small faculty groups) or $10,000 (for departments, programs, or large faculty groups) are awarded for innovative projects to improve student learning at U-M.
You should consider applying for a Whitaker grant if:
  • You are involved in pedagogical innovation, whether piloting new technologies in the classroom, creating engaged learning opportunities, or building new opportunities for students to reflect on their learning across a curriculum. Grant funding can be used for needs assessment, program development, or instructional skill development.
  • You are involved in a curricular assessment project in your department or program. Grant funding can be used to fund survey development, focus groups, curricular mapping and more.
  • You are involved in educational development activities to increase instructional capacity in your program, whether for faculty or GSIs. Grant funding can be used to pay for workshops or other pedagogical training, or to support faculty retreats.  
Access full guidelines for the Whitaker grant here. For more information about all of CRLT's grants programs see our CRLT grants page. CRLT staff are always happy to answer questions about grant competitions and to consult on in-process applications. You can contact us at

UMS logoWith its world-class musical, theater, and dance performances, the University Musical Society (UMS) is often touted among faculty as a signal benefit of living in Ann Arbor. But did you know that UMS can also be a rich resource for your teaching? Thanks in large part to a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, UMS has been devoting significant resources toward the goal of infusing performing arts into the curriculum across campus. Their initiatives to support U-M teachers in connecting their courses to particular performances include:

  • The guide "Arts in Context: UMS in the Classroom" (this season's is available here in pdf) provides detailed guidance about each performance, including a list of disciplines with which it might intersect, some key topics or themes, resources for exploring and contextualizing the performance, and even reflection questions to guide student responses. The guide also highlights some themes that are shared across several performances, helping faculty think about clusters of events that might be incorporated into their syllabus.
  • Campus Engagement Specialist Shannon Fitzsimons is available to meet with faculty individually to design ways to incorporate one or more UMS performances into their courses. You can contact her at or 734-764-3903.
  • UMS's student ticket programs reduce the cost to students to attend performances; group discounts are available as well. 
  • The Arts at Michigan program provides $500 grants to support arts-related learning activities in courses across the curriculum. Funds can be used to buy student tickets to UMS performances integrated into a course. 
  • The Faculty Institute on Arts Academic Integration provides more extensive training and resources for faculty fellows who seek to incorporate performance and arts-based learning into their teaching.

How do our interactions with and through computers shape our experiences of teaching and learning? What new kinds of student work become possible with digital tools and environments that allow online collaboration, integration of text and video, or access to huge amounts of data? How might those tools reinforce or subvert social dynamics in and beyond the classroom?

GTC+ logoGraduate student participants in the new GTC+ certificate program are finding a place to explore such questions about the role of digital media in their college teaching. Developed collaboratively by CRLT, the Institute for the Humanities, and Rackham Graduate School, the certificate both structures and documents professional development in teaching with digital media for students already pursuing the Rackham-CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate.

The GTC+ program includes an online introductory workshop, opportunities to learn about digital pedagogies, and a consultation about course and assignment design. An electronic portfolio provides a space to gather and reflect upon those components. And a networking requirement facilitates interaction with other instructors about teaching with digital media. Read more »


Students and faculty return to campus this fall amidst significant turmoil around the world. Whether it’s protests against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, or the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, distressing events far from home and close to it are likely to be on students’ minds—and therefore to enter your classrooms, whether you anticipate them or not. Because these issues in so many ways relate to differences in social identity and power—and because so many of our students have personal or family connections to places experiencing crisis—these events may also influence ongoing conversations about the campus climate here in Ann Arbor. 

None of these are simple or easy topics to talk about. Over many years, CRLT has developed guidelines for discussing difficult topics to support teachers in facilitating such conversations in classrooms across the curriculum. If you want to raise such topics in your classes in order to explore connections between course material and contemporary events, you can find strategies for planned discussions of high-stakes topics. Other resources offer you ways to prepare for and respond to challenging conversations that emerge when you haven’t planned for them.

Some strategies highlighted on these pages--useful for either planned or spontaneous discussions--include:  Read more »