Reading Groups

Reading groups, offered several times each semester, provide up-to-date information on topics in effective teaching and give participants valuable experience in leading group discussions. For each session, readings are assigned in advance, and one to two PFF students guide the discussion, which generally lasts about 90 minutes (for the WebEx groups).

Participation in a reading group is worth five activity points. Leading a reading group is worth ten activity points. Please register 48 hours prior to the scheduled reading group; if within the 48 hours you are still interested, please email PFF directly at

In order for points to be added to your PFF record, you must complete an activity log and email the completed log to within one month of completing the group. 

Reading Group Schedule, Spring 2022

The reading group assigned readings are posted on the SharePoint page under the "Readings" tab, which is located in the left-hand navigation.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Date: Monday, January 24th

Time: 11:00am-12:30pm

Culturally Responsive Teaching is "an approach that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes" (Ladson-Billings). Culturally responsive teaching can be utilized in higher education settings in addition to cultural humility, especially while enrollment demographics continue to change. Join this reading group to discuss the 8 competences of CRT and incorporating it into your classroom a faculty member.

This reading group will be held virtuallyRegister to receive further instructions. 


Dates: February 7th-11th

Maintaining a healthy and respectful classroom environment is necessary for productive academic learning. Depending on the severity and frequency of incivility in the classroom (which can include behaviors from disruptive conversation to sleeping in class) it can impact student morale and how they perceive the effectiveness of the course. Share and gain insights through this discussion on what incivility looks like in classrooms today, how to challenge social norms, and how faculty can approach concerns about incivility in a way avoids escalation.  

This reading group will be held asynchronously via Google ClassroomRegister to receive further instructions. 

Mental Health in Academia

Date: Thursday, February 17th

Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm

The emphasis on mental health has become more prominent in higher academia spheres, not only in responses to crises, but having healthy practices in your regular routine. Join this reading group to discuss the importance of emotional well-being and potential ways to incorporate practices that encourage mental health care into our programs and classes. We encourage participants to also reflect on how accessible mental health resources are for different populations, the feasibility of mental health advice, and how mental health awareness impacts both students and faculty in higher academia.   

This reading group will be held virtuallyRegister to receive further instructions. 

Retaining Diverse Students

Date: Monday, March 21st

Time: 11:00am-12:30pm

Recruiting and maintaining a diverse student population is important to DEI initiatives at universities, but what does it mean to retain those diverse students as a faculty member? Join this reading group to explore ways that faculty can impact retention rates of underrepresented minorities, whether that is through support, mentorship, or other strategies.  

This reading group will be held virtuallyRegister to receive further instructions. 

Navigating Students' Fear of Failure 

Date: Tuesday, April 5th

Time: 3:00-4:30pm

The drive for success is powerful in academic settings, and while the fear of failure may push students towards positive results, it can also be debilitating and contribute to procrastination and avoidance. Navigating students’ fear of failure can have implications on student self-perceptions, family expectations, and academic stress. How do attitudes towards failure differ among different cultural backgrounds, and who in academic institutions are allowed more forgiveness for failure? Is purposeful failure a beneficial experience or does it have negative impacts? Join this reading group to explore this topic with other UC community members. 

This reading group will be held virtuallyRegister to receive further instructions. 

Reading Group Discussion Guidelines

Leaders should download these guidelines and consider them carefully as they plan to lead a reading group.

Guidelines for Leading In-Person Discussion Groups (PDF)

To view this document, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.

Examples of Reading Group Topics

  • The Balance between Teaching and Research
  • Being an International Student on the Academic Job Market
  • The Biology of Learning
  • Cheating
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Creating Significant Learning Experiences
  • Evaluations and Assessment
  • Grading Strategies
  • Incivility: Classroom Management Techniques
  • Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Ed
  • Issues of Ethics for College Teachers
  • Learner-Centered Teaching
  • Motivating Culturally Diverse Students
  • New Faculty: Helpful Tips, Unexpected Challenges, and Gaining Tenure
  • Non-Tenure Track Teaching
  • Online Learning
  • Setting Up your own Program of Research
  • Silent Students: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Teaching Critical Thinking
  • Teaching Nonmajors
  • Teaching Strategies for Large Enrollment Classes
  • Teaching Unprepared Students
  • Teaching What You Don't Know
  • To Tech or Not to Tech
  • What the Best College Teachers Do