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Learning Innovation Fellowship

Initiated and driven by Noah Pickus, Dean for Academic Strategy and Learning Innovation, Duke Kunshan University, the Learning Innovation Fellowship (LIF) is designed, implemented, and amended each year by the Center for Teaching and Learning in close collaboration with Duke Learning Innovation.

The program goal is to prepare new faculty for teaching at DKU. It helps them gain a deeper understanding of the DKU liberal arts curriculum, teaching culture, and student characteristics, and facilitates them to communicate with faculty mentors and each other to build up social bonds. In addition, faculty (re)design their syllabi by applying backward course design principles and what they have learned about DKU from this program.

174 faculty members graduated from the program in the past 6 iterations, and nearly 60 faculty mentors provided significant support.

The LIF program lasts approximately 11 weeks with online modules, asynchronous discussions, workshops, student and leadership panel discussions, and syllabus feedback sessions facilitated by faculty mentors. A number of faculty, students, and offices have contributed to the content and community-building activities.

The sixth iteration of the LIF concluded in June 2023, see this news for details. 

Topics and activities

Module 1 Teaching at DKU

  • Liberal arts context & overall curriculum

  • Characteristics and growth of DKU Students

  • DKU’s unique teaching environment

  • Positioning your course in the DKU context

Module 2 Designing Your DKU Course

  • Backward course design and learning objectives

  • Assessment design

  • Course activities

  • Inclusive course design

Module 3 Creating and Submitting Syllabi

  • Submit a draft syllabus and receive feedback from faculty mentors and CTL

  • Interact with faculty in similar disciplines

  • Finalize syllabi

What LIF participants say about this program

“My overall feeling is that LIF program contributes a lot to my understanding about teaching at DKU. Data on class size and grade distribution may further help my understanding about teaching at DKU.” 

“Through this program, I have learned many methodologies and concepts that were novel to me. In particular, I am really glad to have learned about the backward design approach.”

“The LIF program, especially the live sessions and feedback help tremendously to my development of course syllabus.”

“I think Student Panel and Workshop on Active Learning Techniques and Inclusive Syllabi, co-facilitated by three DKU faculty mentors are the most helpful live sessions. Through Student Panel, I have much better understanding of the students at DKU from those representatives, while the workshop has better prepared me for teaching at DKU. Generally, I have learnt a lot from both LIF peers and mentors, such as active learning techniques/skills/tricks, and how to prepare more inclusive syllabi to serve more and wider students community.” 

Photos of previous LIF sessions

LIF 2023 Kick-off Session in March 2023
LIF 2022 Q&A with Leadership Session
A Group of LIF 2021 Participants
LIF 2020 Faculty and Student Panel
LIF 2019 Group Discussion at Duke
The very first LIF program at Duke in 2018
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