quinebaug valley community college

Center for Teaching


Welcome to the QVCC Center For Teaching page!

cftThe Center for Teaching (CFT) is a program within the Connecticut Community College System that is meant to promote teaching excellence through the sharing of ideas, the interaction of faculty members on each campus, and the creation of coordinated professional development opportunities within and between colleges.

The system-wide Center For Teaching supports and develops all-college activities such as the annual Barnes Seminar, the Spirit of Teaching Workshop, the New Faculty Workshop, and the Schwab Institute for Academic Leadership. Annually, each college receives a budget to support and stimulate Center For Teaching activities on its campus.

At Quinebaug Valley Community College the current Center For Teaching contact is Jakob Spjut (CFT Chair and Teaching and Learning Consultant (TLC)), who works with the members of the CFT Committee to develop and provide a range of resources and activities for professional development for both full and part-time faculty

Kudzai Zvoma
Professor of Mathematics
QVCC Center for Teaching Committee Chair
Teaching and Learning Consultant

2020-2021 QVCC Center for Teaching (CFT) Committee

Jon Andersen, Cindi Brassington, Jodi Clark, Brian Donohue-Lynch, John Lewis (top row, left to right).
Erin Pagano, Cindy Shirshac, Eric Spencer, Jakob Spjut (bottom row, left to right).
Kudzai Zvoma (picture not available).

    CindyBrassington    jodi-clark    brian-lynch    JohnLewis


We’re on FaceBook – Click here to access the Connecticut Community Colleges Center for Teaching FaceBook page.

Congratulations on another successful academic year and thank you for all your work on behalf of students!



There are no events currently scheduled.

Please keep a lookout for programming during the summer.


There are no events currently scheduled.


Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210  please join QVCC yoga instructor Karla Desjardins for a Lunch & Learn & Breathe & Stretch session.  Bring your questions, bring your curiosity.  Come (RSVP) and learn more strategies to calm your mind, relax your body and find some balance and peace amidst the chaos.  Karla will take everyone through a series of chair Yoga asanas (poses) with a focus on unwinding and stretching your body as well as pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation to relieve stress. Slow down and take some time for yourself to re-center and refocus as we sprint to the end of the semester.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210  please join us for a Lunch & Learn discussion on The Challenge of Staying Engaged and open while teaching and meeting our various responsibilities in the face of frustration and fatigue in and around the classroom.  This Lunch & Learn will begin with a video to help us to set an aspirational goal and then the session will move to discussion of the kinds of challenges attendees are facing and how they themselves are responding to those challenges.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210. Karla Desjardins and Mark Lowe will present on the “Not Anymore” training program designed to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210 Debbie Rimkus and Matt Soucy will host a Lunch & Learn introducing the coming systemwide Achieving the Dream initiative.  Matt and Debbie recently attended Achieving the Dream’s national conference in Long Beach, CA.  They will talk about their experiences at the conference, and the steps going forward as a Campus Student Success Team (CSST) is assembled here at QVCC.  Come and get some lunch (RSVP) and learn more about the changes we can make to ensure equitable, accessible and relevant student experiences and how we define this.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 (after the Spring Recess) at 12:00pm in room W210 Pauline Clifford and Brian Lynch will host a Lunch & Learn serving as an Early Introduction to the 2021 NECHE Self-Study.  Join in on the discussion as we all learn more about what the initial steps of the Self-Study are and what the timeline actually looks like.

To lower the affective filter related to the accreditation process
To introduce the timeline for our self-study process
To review the importance of getting the data first
To provide resources relevant to the writing of the self-study narrative

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210, Nicole Marcoux-Bowen hosed a LUNCH & LEARN on FERPA and what we all as educators need to know.  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) information can seem confusing. This Lunch & Learn will shed some light on your responsibilities, clear up some misconceptions and provide information on how FERPA is applicable to you.

Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 12:00pm in room W210 in celebration of Black History Month I will be presenting a Lunch & Learn on my journey through 100 Years of Black History in Television & Cinema. A great deal has changed since America’s first popular cinematic release, D.W. Griffith’s 1915 “The Birth of A Nation”. Last year saw the release of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” a global cultural and financial record setting phenomenon. Which of the steps along the way do each us recognize? What were the landmark moments in our own lives learning about the black experience through television and cinema?

Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 12:00pm in room W101, in recognition of a semester well done and to give everyone an opportunity before final exams to connect with their colleagues the Center For Teaching will be hosting the final Lunch & Learn workshop of the semester.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 12:00pm in room W102, members of the Guided Pathways workgroup will host a second LUNCH & LEARN where they will share details about the proposed 21+ credit General Education core and First Year Experience class designed as part of Guided Pathways.  The planned 21+ credit curriculum competencies will include academic and career planning, information literacy, quantitative literacy, scientific reasoning, understanding of the social world, and written communication.

Thursday October 2, 2018 Jarrod Borek, Director of Information Technology, will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on Microsoft cloud computing and classroom collaboration, covering OneDrive,  MS Groups & Teams, Outlook for the web, and Office for the web.  There will be a focus on how we might increase our productivity both inside and outside the classroom.

Thursday November 8, 2018 Cindi Brassington, Professor of Allied Health, will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on her new book “My Perfect Family” completed during her sabbatical.  Cindi herself may have one or two copies to lend and the book is available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/My-Perfect-Family-Cindi-Brassington/dp/1980763186

Monday November 12, 2018 Jakob Spjut, Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Technology Studies and Manufacturing Program Coordinator, will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on his Summer experience as a Joule Fellow at the University of Connecticut.  Jakob may or may not have been building killer robots that may or may not rise up against humankind.  You’ll definitely want to attend this presentation!

Thursday, October 2, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Monarch Butterfly Garden project” 12:00-12:30 pm  12:00-12:30 pm Room W102.  Mark Szantyr, Joy Mark, and John Lewis will be presenting this session.  Recently, a small memorial garden, dedicated to Clarence Theriaque, which has been overtaken by Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, has become a nursery for Monarch Butterflies, Danaus plexippus.  Due to many recent environmental changes in this country and in Mexico, the numbers of Monarchs that survive to breed and make new Monarchs is decreasing.  Even small, local efforts like our garden help in the global scheme of Monarch success.  Join us for lunch and a brief talk about Monarch biology, see photos of all the fascinating stages this insect goes through as it moves from egg to caterpillar to butterfly and undergoes a complex mechanism for migration.  Learn also how you can enjoy this success in your own yards.

Thursday, September 20, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Smart Start Summer Workshops” 12:00-12:30 pm Room W102.  Kudzai Zvoma and Katie Gregory will be presenting this session on the Smart Start summer workshops we ran for students looking for a primer on math review and a change in perspective for learning.  Every semester some of our students that have gathered all their courage to continue or resume their educations run into a critical moment where their preparation and confidence will succeed or fail in helping them see beyond and push past a first setback.  Are we doing everything we can to help these students better prepare in the weeks leading up to the semester start?  Come and join this conversation while sharing ideas and lunch.

Wednesday, September 12th at 12:00pm in room W102, Pauline Clifford and Michelle Jones will host a Lunch and Learn sharing some tools and experiences from their SEED Training this summer.  What are the skills and structures we need for conversations in the workplace and classroom that are gender fair, multiculturally equitable, socioeconomically aware, and globally informed?  Come get some lunch and find out where you can begin to help our college continue to better serve a growing and changing community.  Please Note: The National SEED ProjectSM is a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity by training individuals to facilitate ongoing seminars within their own institutions and communities.

Thursday, September 9, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Q&A Session for Disability Services and Supportive Counseling” 12:00-12:30 pm Room W201.  John Lepore and Satina Salce will be hosting this session.  From the start of and throughout the semester, QVCC students are disclosing disabilities and/or mental health conditions that affect their academic performance. Nationwide across campuses, college students are balancing classes, homework, jobs, family and in some instances anxiety, depression, stress, family issues, academic challenges and relationship problems, see: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/numbers.aspx.  To help yourself be better prepared for those critical moments when you find a student in need of support come get some lunch (RSVP) and bring your questions, concerns and scenarios.

Thursday, May 3, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Focusing on Self-Awareness in Developmental Writing” 11:30-12:30pm Room W101.  Scott DeShong will discuss how he has revised his approach to teaching developmental writing. He has designed assignments in which students increase their self-awareness as they consider potential career choices and the social context of their careers. He’ll provide some background information from his sabbatical research, and tell about the results in his English 096 classes this year.

Monday, May 1, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Supporting Students when they Disclose Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking” 12-1pm Room W105.  What do I do if a student starts telling me that they are going through an abusive relationship?  Or what if they tell me that they have been stalked, raped or assaulted?  Managing this type of conversation with students is difficult. Complicating the conversation further is the responsibility under Federal and State laws to disclose these incidences.  Satina Salce and Karla Desjardins want to provide you with an experience that can make this conversation more comfortable.  They will provide mock demonstrations and be available to listen to your concerns.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: ” Prison Teaching: Success and Challenges” 12-1pm in Room W105.  Different classes, different students, and different teaching situations bring a variety of challenges.  Come hear from Alfred Williams, Amy Kacerik, and Bill Army about some of the challenges and success they have had teaching under unusual circumstances.

Tuesday April 3, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Not Anymore” 12-1 pm Room: W105.  Under Public Act 14-11 and a CSCU mandate, students must complete Not Anymore, an interactive online training program designed to raise awareness of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.  Securing compliance with this mandate on QVCC’s non-residential campus has proved challenging, even when a campus-wide incentive has been offered.  But as we all know, students love extra credit.  In this Lunch and Learn, we’ll review the mandate and the program, and go over a method of offering extra credit for completing the program, which instructors can easily implement and which has been shown to substantially increase the number of students who complete the program.  Organized by Mark Lowe and Karla Desjardins.

Thursday April 4, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “EBooks 101” 12-1 pm Room: W100.  You’ve heard the library has access to almost half a million ebooks, but how the heck do you get to them?  How do you tell if a title is available?  What if you want to read a book on your phone or tablet?  Jenn Cournoyer will demonstrate how to search for and download books from the library’s two big ebook collections.  Bring your laptop, phone, or tablet so you can download the necessary app and get reading before the end of the session!

Wednesday March 28, 2018 – Lunch and Learn: “Go #NoLo in Your Classroom!” 12-1 pm Room: W105.  NoLo stands for “No Cost, Low Cost” and is a term that we’re adopting system-wide to highlight classes with a total textbook cost lower than $50.  QVCC’s #NoLo Taskforce on campus will share ideas and strategies for reducing cost while maintaining quality.  Jayne Battye will share her experience using freely accessible web materials, Brian Donohue-Lynch will share his experience with an OER textbook, and Melissa Philion will talk about using custom tests and older editions.


CLASSROOM CONVERSATIONS – this series offered between 12:00 and 1:00 pm on alternate Tuesdays (in W210) and Wednesdays (in E239), convenes an informal group to discuss classroom teaching topics.  The following is a list of dates and topics.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018: What influences your exam writing?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018: What persistent blind spots do you experience in your teaching?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018: What teaching trends concern you most?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018: How do you think about rubrics?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018: When designing a new course, what is your process?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018: How do you manage teaching boredom?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018: How does class size influence your pedagogical decisions?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018: How do you know when you are having a bad teaching day? What do you do when your “bad teaching day” happens in the middle of class?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018: What does critical/analytical thinking mean in your field of study?  What kinds of assignments/assessments do you use to measure this skill/competency?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018: How do you respond to students who state, “I don’t understand?”

Wednesday, January 31, 2018: What does academic freedom mean to you and how does it shape what you do in the classroom?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018: How do you begin to create a classroom culture on the first day?