Investing in Faculty: Supporting Teaching Enhancements

In spring 2020, faculty across campus responded heroically to online teaching. Still, even strong emergency teaching doesn’t represent the best that professors can achieve with planning and resources.

To support expert teaching in complex times, the University of Denver has committed $2.2 million dollars over the next year to help a strong teaching faculty create innovative learning environments. Much of this investment will come in the form of stipends to professors. In addition, DU has invested heavily in experts to provide advice and consulting, Classroom Assistants to support professors in HyFlex or large online classes, course materials production, and so on.

Below, we outline six initiatives. Each is open to ALL faculty, including benefited professors (tenure line, teaching professor series, etc.) and adjunct professors.

Six Paths to Teaching Innovation

Click an item here for more information and information about how to apply for/access funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive financial and expert help in these programs?

The initiative is intended to support everyone who teaches courses for credit at DU, both appointed faculty (tenure line, teaching professor series, etc.) and adjuncts.

When is funding and help available?

Funding will be available beginning in August 2020, with specific proposal and awards deadlines established by individual colleges. Some programs (such as those through OTL) are already under way. Funding and support are budgeted for two stages, one for summer and fall, the other for winter and spring.

How do I apply for/access the kind of support I’d like?

For Classroom Assistant support, we are working to prioritize the most high-need courses. Please talk to your Dean or Associate Dean if you believe your course should be considered for this support. For Office of Teaching and Learning programming, see the OTL website. For Enhanced Teaching Materials Production (including video production), please contact Digital Media Services. For support  to work on a specific teaching need/or interest, please contact your dean’s office. Your dean’s office will have information about available funding and how to apply.

Can I receive a grant to support specific teaching needs/interests that I have?

Very likely yes. As part of their funding allocation, many Academic Units (colleges, schools, etc) will provide grants to individual professors to work on course materials or teaching projects they originate. Please contact your dean’s office to learn what is available and how to apply.

Can I get advice, ideas, or specific suggestions on my course from campus experts?

Yes. The Office of Teaching and Learning is working to increase the number of instructional designers to provide individual consulting on course design. OTL also will continue to offer institutes and workshops, and it will serve as a campus clearinghouse for specific kinds of teaching expertise.

Is there specific help for teaching FSEM, ASEM, Community Engaged Courses, etc?

Yes. Directors of the FSEM and ASEM courses and Directors of CCESL and the Writing Center will contact faculty in August about initiatives available through those programs.

1. Direct support from the Office of Teaching and Learning ($530,000)

Trainings & Workshops
Instructional Design Support
Grants and Stipends to Participants
One-on-One Instruction/Mentorship
Graduate Teaching Assistant Training

Professors will be able to access increased resources and expertise through OTL. OTL offers short classes, institutes and workshops directly related to teaching online or teaching in hybrid/hyflex situations. Many of them come with stipends for faculty who complete a project. The OTL will also offer an asynchronous “Foundations in Teaching and Learning” training for Graduate Teaching Assistants to better prepare these students for effective classroom support. Additionally, the OTL will hire five instructional designers, experts who can help you one-on-one to create an effective course. Beyond that, OTL will serve as a clearinghouse for faculty teaching expertise across campus, connecting professors with particular needs to those with particular expertise.

To access OTL resources, go to

2. Peer Teaching Mentors and Consultants ($46,000)

Grants and Stipends to Participants
One-on-One Instruction/Mentorship

A group of 25 faculty, recruited from across the university who are expert in one or more teaching strategies, techniques, or situations, will provide individual consultations. Each receiving stipends, these faculty will supplement the help available through OTL, including with expertise more closely tied to subject areas or disciplinary perspectives. PTM’s will be available for relatively brief individual consultations or short workshops/seminars.

3. Bolstered Resources for Existing Faculty Teaching Support ($100,000)

Trainings & Workshops
Grants and Stipends to Participants

There have been four longstanding teaching support efforts that have reached faculty members across campus, each reaching faculty across multiple departments, with a long tradition of formal and informal training: FSEM, ASEM, CCESL, and The Writing Center. Faculty teaching in these programs or using the resources help they provide should expect a communication from the program’s director about programming and support. That support may take the form of special workshops or seminars, some with stipends for completion.

4. IT Campus Partnerships: Enhanced Video Production ($90,000)

Trainings & Workshops
One-on-One Instruction/Mentorship
Tech Support
Resources to Individuals for Design & Innovation

Professors will benefit from extensive pre- and post-production support as they develop teaching videos and other forms of media. Up to 1500 hours of expert help will be available. In addition, DU will furnish an additional Video Creation Studio as well as numerous portable “Studios in a Box,” kits containing a camera, lights, trip, microphones, etc. This program will be directed by the classroom support area of ITS, in collaboration with OTL. To get access to equipment please contact Digital Media Services.

5. Classroom Assistants for HyFlex and Large Courses ($216,000)

Classroom Assistant Staffing

At least 60 professors per quarter will have a Classroom Assistant to facilitate Hyflex courses or large online sections. The CAs will attend class meetings, monitor online class activities, bring questions/contributions to the instructor’s attention, and be available as an extra resource in the event of technology or other issues.

Funds will be allocated to unit deans so that classroom assistants can be hired, supervised, and assigned at the unit level. Training for these assistants will be provided by IT Campus Partnerships and the OTL. See the OTL calendar for more details about training dates and times.

6. Funds Distributed through Deans’ Offices ($1.2 million)

Grants and Stipends to Participants
Resources to Individuals and Groups for Design & Innovation

Significant funding was distributed to individual academic units (colleges, schools, etc) to support instructors and teaching. The ultimate allocation of those funds will be determined by individual deans. Very likely, in many units, these allocations will include some grants to faculty for projects they determine, as well as other purposes.