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Exploring Alternative Grading Systems

As this unconventional, disruption-filled, and, quite frankly, exhausting semester winds down, we encourage you to use the upcoming break to not only rest and recharge, but also reflect on your experiences. What are one or two small things you might do to improve your teaching and students' learning this spring?

Since we know in advance the two grading options available to students, you might spend some time reflecting on ways to design a grading system that reduces anxiety, improves transparency and equity, and encourages consistently high-quality work, regardless of whether students choose a traditional A-F grade or CR/GC/NC. To help you think through some possibilities, we highlight in this newsletter resources on alternative grading approaches. We also include information on our upcoming events and programs and the latest CTE team news.

Thank you for your continued resilience and commitment to improving your teaching and the academic lives of your students. Have a safe, happy holiday season, and we look forward to connecting with you in 2021!


CTE Winter Break Consultations

CTE faculty are available to consult during Winter Break to help you reflect on the fall semester and prepare for the spring. We're happy to meet one on one to discuss alternative grading methods, teaching with technology, making sense of end-of-semester evaluations, and a range of other topics. We're also able to conduct class observations and Engaging Students' Perspectives surveys during J-Term if requested ahead of the break. All consultations are confidential and will be remote.

Contact with any questions.
Schedule Consultation
Share Your Story: Teaching During the Pandemic

What has it been like to teach at UVA during the pandemic? Share your online, hybrid, or in-person teaching experiences, struggles and successes, or lessons learned.

By highlighting the hard and important work of teaching and supporting students in this current environment, we hope stories from instructors across Grounds will spark new ideas and inspire you. We will feature submissions on our website, on social media, and in newsletters.
Share Story


UVA Acts Spring Performances

We are offering multiple public performances in the Inclusive Teaching Toolkit series next semester. The program is designed to facilitate productive dialogue between instructors, with the goals of: recognizing harmful and marginalizing teaching practices, developing commonly shared concepts and vocabulary, and learning evidence-based practices shown to support equity in the classroom. Register to reserve your spot.
Inclusive Teaching Toolkit: First Days
Dr. Timmons and Dr. Erickson teach different sections of the same large-enrollment introductory course. Step into a student’s shoes to observe their course introductions and reflect upon your own teaching practices for the first day of class.
  • Wednesday, January 20
    10:00 to 11:30 AM
  • Monday, January 25
    12:00 to 1:30 PM
  • Wednesday, January 27
    3:00 to 4:30 PM
Inclusive Teaching Toolkit: Lectures
Hear stories from Gene, Vanessa, and Claire about their experiences with belonging and belonging uncertainty in their education. Consider how small changes and psychosocial interventions during lectures can help to cultivate a sense of belonging.
  • Tuesday, February 23
    11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
  • Friday, February 26
    12:00 to 1:30 PM
Register for Workshops
UVA Acts
You can also request a private performance for your department or school. Both the First Days and Lectures programs are available online. Submit a request below. Email with questions.
Request Performance

Applications for our CTE Faculty Fellows program will be accepted until the end of December. In this role, you'll share your teaching experiences and expertise with colleagues, expand your pedagogical knowledge, and contribute to fostering a culture of teaching and inclusive excellence at UVA. Fellows will receive $5,000 for working 4 hours/week or $10,000 for 8 hours/week.

Email Michael Palmer at with questions.
Learn More
Call for Proposals: Curriculum (Re)Design Grants

Any department, program, or school is invited to apply for a CTE grant to support significant curriculum design or redesign. We're especially interested in applications from units whose redesigns are motivated, in whole or in part, by a desire to address issues of racial equity and justice in their curricula. Successful applicants will receive personalized support from an experienced CTE-led team and up to $15,000 in funds.

Applications are due Monday, February 8. Email Elizabeth Dickens at with questions.
Learn More

New This Spring! Structuring and Sustaining a More Inclusive Classroom

We're delighted to offer a new, two-part workshop series focused on research-based inclusive teaching practices to address how social identities and power relationships operate in the classroom to engage or exclude students. The series can be booked by individual departments. More information on reserving these workshops is coming soon.

Workshop 1: Responding to Microaggressions and Conflict in the Classroom
This session is aimed at helping instructors develop and refine the skills needed to carefully respond to incidents of bias and racism and insensitive comments in the moment they occur.
Workshop 2: Designing Inclusive Classroom Infrastructure
This session equips instructors to collaborate with students to develop expectations and agreements for healthy learning communities.

Facilitated by Rose Buckelew, Assistant Professor, General Faculty (Sociology), and Cortney McEniry, UVA Acts Artistic Director and Program Manager


Seven new UVA learning technologies
Instructors Expanding Their Teaching Toolkits With New UVA Learning Technologies

Several faculty members share how they're improving assessment and evaluation processes and increasing student engagement and collaboration with the help of UVA's newest learning technologies.
Read Story
Call for Nominations: Building Meaningful Mentoring Relationships

With support of a Coalition for Life-Transformative Education grant, the CTE is seeking to identify instructors who are known for building meaningful mentoring relationships with undergraduate students. We are particularly interested in learning about instructors who actively support students in developing their identity, agency, and sense of purpose, both formally and informally.

Submit a nomination if this description fits you and you would be willing to participate in a CTE-led focus group. You can also nominate other faculty and graduate students.
Submit Nomination
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We welcome your feedback!
Please tell us what you think about ConneCTEd or if you have any ideas for future issues.
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