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For Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)?

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is a resource for both students and faculty in the College, providing a range of programs to enhance both instructional practices and approaches to study. Formerly known as Learning Assistance Services (LAS), CETL has now added services for instructors and graduate student teaching assistants in the College. All of the LAS programs for students have been incorporated within CETL.

Faculty Consultations

Who is eligible for CETL faculty services?

Instructors of any rank are eligible for CETL services if their courses are enrolling AS&E students.

How do I set up a consultation time at CETL?

There are a number of ways to do this:

Phone: 585-275-9049 (general inquiries)


Are my consultations at CETL confidential?

Absolutely. Our policy is to maintain confidentiality about all of our consultations with faculty. We want to create an environment that is conducive to professional growth, and we believe that this can only happen when faculty feel comfortable about consulting with us.

How long does each consultation last?

That depends on how much time you need. We will work around your specific situation.

What can I expect from a consultation at CETL?

During a consultation, we’ll start by getting to know you and to learn about your goals for the courses you teach. You may have a specific problem that you would like to address with us, or perhaps you would like to find out more about teaching innovations that might be appropriate for your courses. Some consultations might be complete within one session; others might take place across a number of conversations.

Does CETL only work with individual faculty members, or can it offer consultations for departments?

CETL is happy to consult with faculty members individually and/or with departments. Sometimes a mid-sized group would like to work with us as well. For instance, if several instructors teach different sections of the same course or a set of courses in a sequence, they may wish to work with us about the design (or re-design) of the course, or about some specific curricular component such as writing a good assignment or exam task.

Study Groups Course Support

I just found out that my course is being supported by the CETL Study Groups program. What does that mean? What do I have to do?

If your course is being supported by the CETL Study Groups program, that means that your course has been identified as a larger-enrollment course with a high tutoring demand and that a student leader has expressed interest in facilitating collaborative study time for a subset of the students enrolled in your course each week. Note that no action is necessary on your part related to the program; CETL organizes and supervises all Study Group sessions so that nothing is added to the already full workloads of large-course faculty.

How is a Study Group leader different from one of my TAs or PLTL Workshop leaders? Are they part of my course staff?

A Study Group leader differs from a TA or PLTL Workshop leader in that they are not presenting any course material or grading any course assignments. Instead, the student leader focus on building connections between the students who attend their sessions each week and encouraging them to study together outside of Study Group sessions, too. Study Group leaders are employed by CETL and are not part of the instructional staff of a course. In particular, because Study Group sessions are voluntary and ungraded (i.e., not part of the course they support), the students who attend can be fairly certain that the other attendees are committed to consistently studying for the course, which helps bring together students with similar academic goals who might not otherwise have met in the larger lecture sessions or even their recitations, labs, or PLTL Workshops. Study Group leaders are specifically trained NOT to answer homework questions, and they instead help students with things like synthesizing their course notes, quizzing one another, and other collaborative studying techniques. As such, having a Study Group leader does not replace the regular office hours offered as a part of your course or any review sessions you might organize before your exams.

I would like to add a blurb about CETL Study Groups to my course website. Where can I find more information about the program?

Information for undergraduate students about the Study Groups program can be found on the CETL website:

Additionally, students are automatically enrolled in any Study Groups supporting their courses each semester, and they can get in touch with their Study Group leaders directly through "My Organizations" in Blackboard. Study Group leaders generally make their sign-ups and other information about their sessions available within the first three weeks of the semester, so ask students to check back in a week or two if they do not see a particular Study Group in their list.

Are there any issues with adding a Study Group leader to the Blackboard site for my course so that they can see the course schedule and materials?

No, not at all! In fact, we encourage it! However, to ensure that the Study Group leader cannot view any grade information or use any administrative privileges in the course, we recommend adding them as a "Student" user rather than a Teaching Assistant or other user type unless you are sure that FERPA-protected information will remain hidden to them (e.g., if you do not input grades using Blackboard). For assistance adding users to your courses in Blackboard, please contact University IT at or (585) 275-2000.

I am concerned about Study Group leaders giving out incorrect information or facilitating unauthorized collaboration during their sessions for my course. How are SGLs trained regarding academic honesty?

We provide targeted training and instructions with regard to academic honesty for all of Study Group leaders, which includes familiarizing themselves with the resources specifically designed for TAs, tutors, and other student employees across campus. In particular, we explicitly discuss common violations such as providing homework solutions (unless expressly permitted by course instructors), sharing or distributing instructor-created/otherwise unauthorized course materials, offering their own work from a past semester as a resource, and allowing unauthorized collaboration on any type of coursework (including take-home exams or writing assignments). We find that our Study Group leaders are most effective and most clearly understand academic honesty expectations when the course instructor is a partner in their work; this includes providing them with clear guidance on course policies, access to the syllabus, and directions about which types of materials and collaboration you authorize your students to use. See the above question regarding adding Study Group leaders as "Student" users in your course's Blackboard site for an example of a quick, effective way to inform them regarding your course policies and authorized materials.

I would like to have a Study Group leader support my course. Whom do I contact?

We always welcome new courses and instructors to connect with the program! Please contact Kyle Trenshaw ( and include 1) the course you would like to be supported and 2) the semester during which you will be offering the course. Note that the CETL Study Groups program does not run during the summer sessions. While we cannot guarantee placement of a Study Group leader for your course in a particular semester, we prioritize courses for which the instructor has specifically requested support in our hiring processes.