Teaching at Cornell Guide

The purpose of this guide is to introduce key aspects of teaching and learning at Cornell University through the lens of the five elements the CTI believes to be critical to instructor success.

Message from the Executive Director

At the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI), we understand that there is no one way to be an outstanding teacher. Whether you are new to teaching, or bring a robust array of prior experiences, our goal is to support your success. This guide, along with other CTI resources and services, is addressed to Cornell instructors across disciplines and career span, including graduate teaching assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lecturers, visiting professors and critics, and tenure system faculty members.

Our interests lie in promoting inclusive learning environments that, as broadly described by President Martha E. Pollack in her inaugural address, build upon, “...excitement, imagination, joy... [and] verve.” As President Pollack went on to declare, “This is what we must aspire to in education: a vitality that leads our students to a lifetime of discovery, a passion for ideas, and a commitment to seeking truth."

The CTI’s work is guided by five grand challenges in teaching and learning: innovation, diversity, evidence-based pedagogical strategies, assessment and evaluation, and technology.

Excellence in teaching is both interdisciplinary and discipline-specific. In this guide, we introduce strategies and resources anchored in evidence on how people learn as well as best practices developed through discipline-based education research. The guide is also part of a full complement of teaching and learning development opportunities the CTI offers for individuals, departments, and colleges.

Our hope is that this guide accelerates your success as an instructor at Cornell and beyond. It is intended to begin, not complete, a dialogue on excellence in teaching and learning. By design, our work with you is formative and confidential. We are here expressly to support you as you identify and pursue your teaching development goals, and we look forward to being in touch.

Dr. Mathew L. Ouellett,

Executive Director


Guide Modules

A group of students walking to class

Teaching at Cornell: Getting Started

Use this information to understand your role as an instructor, get to know your students and teaching environment, and learn strategies for a successful first day of class.

Socially distanced classroom

Inclusive Course Design

Learn strategies for developing learning outcomes, teaching activities, and assessments to create an inclusive learning environment where all students can thrive.

Instructor talking to a class

Instructional Strategies

Explore active learning techniques, learn to incorporate online teaching tools, and create an engaging classroom environment to motivate students and help them excel.

Ag Quad in Summer

Center for Teaching Innovation Services

Learn about the full range of opportunities we offer to support your teaching development, from individual consultations to broader programming and campus-wide initiatives.