Center for Faculty Innovation

CFI (Small) Teaching "Gift Exchange"

Thu, 30 Nov 2023 9:30 AM - Fri, 1 Dec 2023 12:30 PM

As we near the end of the semester, join us for a “teaching gift exchange.” The idea is simple: bring a small teaching “gift” to share with your colleagues—something that has helped make your teaching easier, more enjoyable, or more effective. Plan for one that could be shared briefly (in less than 5 minutes) in any form you like (with handouts, with digital notes, or just verbally). During the exchange, we’ll capture notes for a shared list so that we all indeed leave with a pile of gifts! We want this to be a fun, and non-intimidating, opportunity to connect; so, no pressure—we’re not asking for “excellent,” “best,” or super broad or revolutionary teaching strategies, and no one’s going to offer critiques. Just offer up one small idea, based on something you’ve tried or read about or want to try, to share with others. Strategies that increase efficiency and enjoyment, making faculty lives easier, while also fostering learning and benefiting students, are especially welcome.

The CFI teaching team draws some inspiration for this exchange from James Lang’s Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Teaching (2016), which offers small, manageable, and modest ideas for the college classroom. Now, we’re interested in what “small teaching” strategies have worked for JMU faculty. What are some simple-to-implement techniques, syllabus statements, quotes about teaching, effective questions, learning activities, assignments, or other ideas you’ve tried that have had a positive impact on you and your students? Can’t think of anything? Send us an email to explore possibilities. Or, come anyway, to soak up the gifts from others (and maybe something offered will inspire you to share).

We welcome your presence, no matter what stage of your career, or what your primary role at JMU might be; we know a lot of people at JMU teach in many settings beyond the classroom. Our goals are to build community, crowdsource ideas, and most of all, support and care for each other.

Program Dates and Times:

  • Thursday, 11/30, from 9:30-11am (Rose Library 5211, light refreshments provided)
  • Friday, 12/1, from 11:15am-12:30pm (Online via Zoom, BYO lunch)


Program Outcomes:

  • Sharing simple, practical, and easy-to-implement ideas to increase teaching and learning efficiency and enjoyment
  • Building community around teaching, and to offer support and care for each other

Attendance & Registration Information

Our programs are intended for JMU faculty or staff only! If you are a student or administrator and would like to attend, please email with your request.

If this is your first time visiting the registration page this semester, be sure to complete your profile information (including updating your college/division and department) for our records and clear your browser cache/cookies! You should also add comments about your dietary needs at the bottom of the profile form. This information is collected and stored with your online account for all future programs you may attend.

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, 11/28 by 11:59pm


If you find that you are unable to attend a scheduled event prior to the registration deadline, please return to your account and cancel your registration. If it is after the event registration deadline, please email as early as possible.

CFI programs will be canceled automatically if JMU is closed for inclement weather.

We want this program to be welcoming, accessible, and inclusive for all of our participants. Please describe any considerations or accommodations (e.g., dietary, disability, wellness, cultural, etc.) you want us to know about in your account profile. You may also reach out to us at or (540) 568-4846.


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