The Faculty Peer Visits Program provides UNC-CH faculty members with an opportunity to see peers representing a variety of disciplines implementing interactive methods in a live classroom setting. Whether you are an instructor who has been using interactive methods for years or are trying to get ready to teach your first large class, you are likely to benefit from the visits by getting new ideas for effective practice and reflecting on your own practice.

The program is a collaboration between the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

When you go…

Go with an open mind. Most of the faculty members who have agreed to share their classrooms with peers have been using interactive methods for several years in ways that work for them. You may leave a class visit with very different ideas about how you would use and implement a particular activity or technique in your own course.

Go with a friend. In an ideal world, you would meet with the instructor teaching the class before and after the visit to discuss the course, your experience, and your questions. Due to busy schedules these conversations may not be possible. As an alternative we encourage you to invite a colleague to visit the class with you. This shared experience will provide you with a richer opportunity to discuss your observations. CFE staff members who are familiar with these courses will also follow up with you.

Go with a visitation form. We suggest you print out one or both of the peer visitation forms designed to help make you more aware of instructional decisions during your visit. You can use them to familiarize yourself with interactive methods or to take notes.
Note: Visits undertaken as part of this program have no bearing on the tenure and promotion of participating instructors.







Go down after class and say hello. If you have time, and the line of students waiting to talk to the instructor is not too deep, take a minute to introduce yourself. All of the participants appreciate meeting other faculty members who are interested, and you may also have an opportunity to follow up with a question or two.

New classes for Spring 2017!


Principles of Biology, BIOL 101

  • Enrollment: 450 students, mostly first-year non-biology majors
  • Instructional methods: Informal group work in a think-pair-share format, classroom response system (Learning Catalytics), problem solving, whole class discussions.
  • Course teaching philosophy: “I use a variety of methods to hold students accountable for their learning. I think of myself as a facilitator that sets up learning activities for a student, giving many opportunities to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. I believe in frequent assessments with feedback through homework and in-class activities and online quizzes. By the time a student sits for an exam, his/her thinking will have gone from foundational content/vocabulary to determining how concepts connect to each other.”
  • Biology 101 Syllabus
  • TTH 11:00-12:15 GSB G100

Request a time to visit Kelly Hogan’s classes


Michael Crimmins, Distinguished Professor, Chemistry

Organic Chemistry II, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, CHEM 262

  • Enrollment: 225 students
  • Instructional methods: Informal group work in a think-pair-share format (peer instruction), classroom response system (Turning Technologies or i-clicker), problem solving, class discussions, undergraduate class mentors.
  • Course teaching philosophy: “I think of myself as a facilitator that sets up learning opportunities for students to connect concepts and deepen their understanding of information they have already gained. I give opportunities for students to explore their understanding in the context of low-stakes in class quizzes and activities and online quizzes. Students can assimilate basic information on their own, but often need the “expert” to help them connect simpler concepts and grasp more challenging concepts. Opening class time for more problem solving and peer discussion allows students to see how their peers and the “expert” would approach more challenging concepts.”
  • CHEM 262 Syllabus
  • TTH 11:00-12:15, Murray G202

Request a time to visit Mike Crimmins’ class


Rita Balaban, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Introduction to Economics, ECON 101

  • Enrollment: 400 students
  • Instructional methods: Individual quiz, small group problem solving and discussion, classroom response system (Poll Everywhere)
  • Course description: “The purpose of this course is to introduce you to a new way of looking at the world. The course focuses on core economic concepts and provides opportunities to practice using them in contexts like you will encounter throughout your lives. It also introduces you to some basic models that economists use to make sense of what they observe around them. We will also explore how economists analyze the impact of different policies within the context of these models and determine whether the policy will have the intended, or an unintended, outcome. Foremost, the goal of the course is to help you think like an economist in ways that will help you make better decisions.”
  • Econ 101 Syllabus
  • MWF 9:05-9:55, GSB100

Request a time to visit Rita Balaban’s class

Amy Chambless, Senior Lecturer, Italian

Amy Chambless, Senior Lecturer, Italian

Elementary Italian I, ITAL 101

  • Enrollment: 20 students; often freshmen and sophomores take the course to fulfill the General Education requirement
  • Course Description: This is the first of two elementary Italian courses, ideal for someone with no prior knowledge of the language. This semester you will learn the basic skills of speaking, reading and understanding Italian. By the end of this course, you will be able to talk about student life, your interests, your family, shopping, and Italian. By the end of this course, you will be able to talk about student life, your interests, your family, shopping, and technology, with reference to both present and past experiences. You will develop a rich vocabulary, including phrases to use when studying or traveling in Italy. You will learn a lot about life in Italy, including the cultures of food, sports, education, and family. You will complete Chapters 1-4 of Sentieri, which you will continue to use in Ital 102 and Ital 203. The goal by the end of the course is to understand the logic of the language and to have simple conversations in Italian relating to basic themes of everyday life.
  • ITAL 101 Syllabus
  • MWF 10:10-11:00, Dey 209

Communicating in Italian: Media, Culture, and Society, ITAL 300

  • Enrollment: 20 students
  • Instructional methods: Pair and group work, interviews, role play, surveys, games, songs, film clips, debates.
  • Course Description: Italian 300 is an advanced language course aimed at improving communicative skills relevant to a variety of communicative settings, formats, and genres (professional correspondence, analytical papers, film reviews, business presentations, etc.). Students will explore Italy’s literature, media, recent history and contemporary culture as they review and deepen their knowledge of Italian syntax, morphology and vocabulary. Grammar review will be contextualized to support the principal focus of the course: building fluency. Topics include popular culture and habits, art, cinema, literature, music, television, food, and politics. This is the only course required for the Italian major and minor and serves as a preparatory course for the content courses of the 300 level.
  • ITAL 300 Syllabus
  • MWF 12:20-1:10, Dey 301

Request a time to visit one of Amy Chambless’ Italian classes


Colin Wallace, Lecturer, Physics and Astronomy

Alice Churukian, Senior Lecturer in Physics Education

General Physics II, PHYS 115

  • Enrollment: 150 in lecture, 40 in studio; students majoring in the life sciences, 50% juniors, 25% each seniors and sophomores
  • Instructional methods: All methods are based on extensive physics education research (a literature that goes back over 40 years) that shows them to be more effective than traditional lecturing.In the (50-min) lecture section the instructor briefly reviews concepts from the textbook reading assignment students have completed beforehand (they also complete a small on-line assignment) and then uses classroom response and peer instruction for students to answer conceptual questions and solve (relatively simple) quantitative problems. In the (110-min) studio section the students work in small groups on structured tutorial activities, experiments, and simulations while the instructor circulates and offers assistance as needed. There are two modules per week, each module consisting of a lecture followed by a studio. A follow-up homework assignment (“end-of-chapter problems”) finishes the weekly cycle.
  • Course Description: To gain a fundamental understanding of matter and its interactions; to be able to apply that fundamental understanding to analyze biological systems and processes; and to enhance skills in quantitative analysis of physical systems and phenomena.
  • PHYS 115 Syllabus
  • Lecture Sect 001 (co-taught): MW 8:00-8:50, Chapman 201
  • Lecture Sect 002 (co-taught): MW 9:05-9:55, Chapman 201

Request a time to visit a PHYS 115 lecture

Geoffrey Bell, Lecturer, Environment and Ecology

Geoffrey Bell, Lecturer, Environment and Ecology

Introduction to Environmental Science, ENEC 202

  • Enrollment: 50-70
  • Instructional methods: Prior to class students view instructor-prepared lecture videos and take an online quiz to prepare for in class activities including small group problem sets and discussions as well as individual quiz assessments using Poll Everywhere.
  • Rationale: After years of using a traditional lecture format I started to realize that for most students all I was doing during class was getting the material out to them; there was very little time for a critical look at concepts and applying them towards solving problems. I wanted to use my limited time to have a more profound impact on student learning by building a higher level of understanding of concepts. I was inspired to remodel my classroom structure based on the interactions I had with students during exam review sessions. Since the students had engaged in the material beforehand on their own with homework and study guides we could have in depth discussions that addressed the particular aspects of concepts that gave them trouble. With the flipped classroom structure I am much more of a facilitator that provides students with applied problem sets that specifically address the most difficult concepts and clears up common misconceptions.
  • Course Description: This is a general introduction to Earth systems that explores the environmental processes that transform matter and energy as well as how humans impact the way these systems work. The course satisfies the science w/ lab general education requirement and is required for our BA in environmental studies and minor in environmental studies/sciences. Therefore, the course is a mix of freshman through sophomores as well as science and non-science majors.
  • ENEC 202 Syllabus
  • MWF 9:05-9:55, Manning 307

Request a time to visit Geoffrey Bell’s class

Linda Green

Linda Green, Lecturer, Mathematics

Calculus of Functions of One Variable II, MATH 232

  • Enrollments: 120-150; mostly first- and second-year students, mostly science majors
  • Instructional methods: Before class, students watch a 10 minute video and complete short online assignments. A typical class includes some lecture and demonstrations, some clicker questions using Poll Everywhere, and some problem solving while undergraduate assistants circulate. I use clicker questions to push students to think deeply about concepts and to make conjectures. I use problem solving in class so that students learn to approach new and unfamiliar problems in productive ways. Alternatively, I sometimes use clicker questions and problem solving to reinforce material that was previously presented or to assess levels of understanding and identify possible misconceptions. These methods also serve to keep students engaged with the material and with each other during class time.
  • Course Description / Learning goals: Math 232 exposes students to techniques and applications of integration. In addition, students construct logical arguments to prove that series converge and diverge and use Taylor series to approximate functions.
  • MATH 232 Syllabus
  • TTH 9:30-10:45, Phillips 215

Request a time to visit Linda Green’s class

JD DeFreese

J.D. DeFreese, Clinical Assistant Professor, Exercise and Sports Science

Sport Psychology, EXSS 181

  • Enrollment: 85-90
  • Instructional methods: Traditional lecture; pair and share/individual reflection activities; group discussion assignments/activities (often case study based); aesthetics and technology of Greenlaw 101 to elicit teacher-student and student-student interaction
  • Teaching Philosophy/Rationale: My first objective is to make each student feel comfortable participating in group dialogue. This is accomplished by first starting with pair and small group discussions about case study scenarios driven by course content. These discussions help students to build relationships and receive feedback on their critical thinking ideas. These discussions then progress into individual students providing a summary of these discussions to the class. Through continued use of these techniques over time, interpersonal relationships among students, oral communication skills and knowledge and critical thinking related to course content develop. I also aim to develop written communication in my courses via writing assignments which emphasize critical thinking as the content objective. Group writing assignments give students additional opportunities to develop working relationships, share ideas, and interact cohesively to create a polished final product. These group experiences are applicable to a variety of professional goals and are meant to encourage students to tackle questions they may encounter as young professionals.
  • Course description: This is an introduction to sport & exercise psychology concepts. This is a popular elective for Exercise and Science students in all of our tracks (general track, sport administration, fitness professional, athletic training). It will become a required course for the general track beginning fall 2016. Students will: 1. Develop an understanding of how psychological factors influence involvement and performance in sport and physical activity settings. 2. Develop on understanding of how participation in sport and physical activity may impact the psychological and outcomes of those who chose to participate. 3. Acquire skills and knowledge about sport psychology theory and research that you can apply as a participant, coach, teacher, athletic trainer, sport administrator, or parent within relevant sport and physical activity settings. 4. Develop the ability to think critically about issues in sport and physical activity.
  • Section 001: MWF: 9:05-9:55, Greenlaw 101
  • Section 002: MWF 10:10-11:00, Greenlaw 101

Request a time to visit J.D. DeFreese’s class

Laura Halperin, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature and Program in Latina/o Studies

Introduction to Latina/o Studies, ENGL 364

  • Enrollment: 35 students
  • Instructional methods: The instructional methods vary from one class to the next because students have different ways of learning. I include lectures, large group discussions, and small group work. I organize debates, free writes, and student presentations. I also write on the board when discussing information that is packed with a lot of details or when defining key terms, and I occasionally use PowerPoint presentations.
  • Course description:
    This discussion course introduces students to the transdisciplinary field of Latina/o/x studies, a field that generally combines the humanities and social sciences. Given this transdisciplinarity, the course contents will draw from histories, memoirs, theoretical essays, fiction, films and documentaries, music, and media. The course will begin by contextualizing the historical experiences of different Latina/o/x groups. It will then investigate what it means to be Latina/o/x in the United States, critically examining the formation of and differentiation among group labels like Hispanic, Latina/o, and Latinx. Subsequently, it will explore the racial heterogeneity of Latinas/os/xs. It will conclude by focusing on Latina/o/x migration and labor.
  • ENGL 364 Syllabus
  • TTH 3:30-4:45, Greenlaw 319

Request a time to visit Laura Halperin’s class


Colin Wallace, Lecturer, Physics and Astronomy

Introduction to Astronomy – The Solar System, ASTR 101

  • Enrollment: 280; This is a first course in college-level astronomy. It is taken both by STEM-majors and non-STEM majors. Approximately 75% of the enrolled students are freshmen.
  • Instructional methods: I make heavy use of in-class voting, Lecture-Tutorials, ranking tasks, and call-and-response interactive lecture techniques.
  • All methods that are used are validated or inspired-by decades of science education research. They are meant to engage students in peer discourse, build upon students’ intuitions, and help students realize when certain pre-instructional ideas are incorrect.
  • This course has three primary goals: 1) To enhance your understanding of the science of astronomy in general and the Solar System in particular; 2) To help you develop your quantitative literacy and problem solving skills; and 3) To enable you to understand the process of science and science’s role in society
  • Course description:
  • ASTR 101 Syllabus
  • MWF 12:20-1:10, Carroll 111

Request a time to visit Colin Wallace’s Class


Michelle Sheran-Andrews, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Intermediate Theory: Price and Distribution, Econ 410

  • Enrollment: 240
  • Instructional methods: Lecture, informal group work, classroom response system (Turning Technologies), problem solving
  • Rationale: Economics is a discipline that many find difficult to grasp. My role is to break down the material in a clear and structured way while emphasizing how it relates to the “big picture.” I teach each concept intuitively, graphically and mathematically to appeal to different learning styles. Furthermore, I believe that true understanding comes through active learning and support this by incorporating practice problems and clicker questions into lectures that promote discussion and illustrate the application of the material.
  • ECON 410 Syllabus
  • Section 001: TTH 12:30-1:45, Global 1015
  • Section 002: TTH 2:00-3:15, Global 1015

Request a time to visit Michelle Sheran-Andrews’ Class



Neal Caren, Associate Professor, Sociology

Social and Economic Justice, SOCI 274

  • Enrollment: 40
  • Instructional methods: This class uses the Reacting to the Past (RTTP) pedagogical technique. Students learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in elaborate games set in the past. Students learn speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. A typical class involves a series of student advocacy speeches followed by a question and answer period. Speeches, and questions, are from the point of view of a specific historical figure, such as Margaret Sanger or WEB DuBois. Students attempt to convince their classmates that their position is both correct and important. After days of speeches and freewheeling debate, the specific issue is resolved, either through a vote or other means. I’m pro RTTP for a couple of reasons. First, since students are uniquely assigned a role and readings, they take a great deal of ownership over the material. Since they all are giving speeches, there’s also a degree of public accountability that also encourages them to fully engage with the ideas. Second, forcing students to adopt a point allows us to debate issues like church-state relations in way that wouldn’t happen normally in the classroom. Finally, because students are assigned to advocate, they talk with and debate each other in fairly substantive ways. After things get going, the 75 minute class periods often feel way too short.
  • Course Description: This course covers the theory and practice of social and economic justice, including analyses of racial-gender-sexual class-national and other forms of justice, the history of influential movements for justice, and strategies of struggles for justice. We will primarily accomplish this by looking at two cases: Greenwich Village in 1913 and India in 1945. Social and Economic Justice is a core course in the Social and Economic Justice minor. Approximately 1/3 of the students are SEJ minors or sociology majors. The remainder are an eclectic mix. Almost all students are Juniors or Seniors. The course satisfies the Philosophical and/or Moral Reasoning (PH) requirement.
  • SOCI 274 Syllabus
  • TTH 11:00-12:15, Peabody 203
  • TTH 12:30-1:45, Peabody 203

Request a time to visit Neal Caren’s Class


William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor; Department Chair

Fitz Brundage, William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor; Department Chair

Social History of American Popular Music, HIST 125

  • Enrollment: 140-165
  • Instructional methods: Lecture, q&a, collective analysis of “text” (source).
  • Teaching Philosophy/Rationale: My goal has been to use a familiar form of culture (popular music) with which are comfortable to teach the method of historical analysis. Over the course of the semester I encourage students to think about the production, dissemination, and consumption of popular music as a way to discuss topics, such as race, gender, class, consumerism, etc., in 20th century America. I have been seeking, in sum, a mixture of “content” and “method” pedagogy.
  • Course description:Mainly students satisfying gen ed requirements or as an elective for students. To teach the methods of historical analysis AND a broad social history of 20th century United States. The course is as heavy as possible on careful historical analysis of texts (eg., muisc) for an introductory course.
  • TTh 9:30-10:45, Genome 104

Request a time to visit Fitz Brundage’s class


We’re Recruiting!

Are you open to having other faculty members visit one of your classes? Please contact Molly Sutphen, CFE Associate Director, or Kelly Hogan, Director of Instructional Innovation for the College of Arts and Sciences, if you are interested.