The Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment (CIIA) is a resource for faculty at Western Washington University who wish to consider new ways of teaching, modifying their existing courses to better serve their student learning objectives, or to link them to colleagues in other disciplines who share their values about teaching and learning in today’s complex world of higher education.

Using evidence gathered about a course's or a program's effectiveness can directly affect and improve student learning. According to Bill Moore of the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, "Good teachers are continually gathering evidence and providing feedback about how well students are performing—but for many teachers this work is not considered 'assessment'—it's just good teaching." In the years to come, the CIIA will be working with faculty, departments, and programs to use assessment with the goal of improving student learning. In this capacity, the CIIA offers academic consultation and instructional design and development services to all instructors.

The CIIA fosters effective teaching practices that contribute to the advancement of student success and engagement. New and continuing faculty may work with the CIIA to:

  • Discuss ideas for classroom facilitation or assessment
  • Brainstorm solutions to concerns or innovations
  • Develop a plan for a new class or a new plan for an old class
  • Attend or participate in workshops or webinars
  • Browse instructional resources–either the online collection of teaching and learning videos and websites or the “Lending Library” books in HH154 (catalogued in Western Libraries)
  • Explore opportunities for collegial interaction

Instructional Consultation

The CIIA and ATUS staff in the Teaching, Learning, and Technology office work to consult with instructors both via workshops and one-on-one settings. We can provide ideas or feedback on tools, methods, and course design. Consultations can focus entirely on setting up materials in Canvas, or can be a more involved process for working through instructional strategies, assignments, and assessments.

Professional Development Opportunities

The CIIA and Teaching, Learning, & Technology areas of ATUS offer between 6-10 professional development offerings each quarter, exploring issues related to instructional technologies and strategies. Current and archived events may be viewed on ATUS Events with links to several Canvas sites where materials from these events are archived. Offerings generally include:

  • Monday Morning Mentor
  • Workshops and Panels
  • Webinars

Grant-based Workshops

The CIIA works with ATUS, Western Libraries, and Outreach and Continuing Education--with generous support from the Provost and matching funds from departments and colleges--to offer stipend-based professional development opportunities for faculty.

Online Instructional Resources

The CIIA has worked, since its inception in 1999, to develop enduring collections of best practices to inspire and support teaching. Two such collections are described here.

Innovative Teaching Showcase

The Innovative Teaching Showcase is an online publication created by the CIIA to highlight exceptional teaching practices by WWU faculty. Each year, several instructors are nominated to participate, and then work with the CIIA to create this in-depth resource. The Showcase is published on the CIIA's website at the end of each academic year.

Each Showcase includes three parts:

  • A portfolio (like a recipe or a road map) which is written by the instructor;
  • Video interviews with the instructor with more detail, depth, and perspective on the innovative approach; and
  • An institutional goals section that links the approach to specific student learning outcomes, or alternatively, a profiles page.

The "showcased" instructors meet with the CIIA staff to discuss the approach for which they were nominated. Staff members describe what is involved in the process, and work with the instructor's schedule to set a date for the portfolio, as written by the instructor, to be drafted. CIIA staff then draw out key questions from the portfolio that the instructor will answer during a videotaped interview. The interview is edited into short movies that are accessible on the Showcase website. The last part of the process involves working with the instructor to align his or her innovative approach to one or more rubrics for student learning outcomes as identified by Washington State.

Instructors who have been showcased often find that taking the time to reflect on their teaching in this way is a rewarding and enlightening process. They especially enjoy having the online record of their innovation.

Teaching Handbook

The Teaching Handbook, is an extensive guide to teaching resources, ideas and, direction to support your teaching endeavors.

Faculty Drop-in Center

Those who have visited our "Faculty Drop-in Center" are often surprised by how friendly and comfortable an environment it is. At the Center, faculty can work on course materials independently with "on-demand" support for instructional technologies and design, arrange for small group trainings, or get individualized instruction on technologies provided by Western, including the Canvas LMS, lecture capture software, web conferencing options, and student response systems. Instructional designers and technologists are available to help with course design, assessment, or online teaching strategies. Adjuncts or faculty with offices from distant campus locations may find this space especially useful. Faculty may use the space by using the drop-in hours or by appointment.

In addition to consulting with CIIA/ATUS staff members and exploring the small teaching and learning library, faculty can also go to the Teaching Handbook for an impressive array of information and resources.

Further questions about the CIIA or the CIIA's representatives, please contact the office at 360-650-7210,, or by stopping by our office (Haggard Hall 154).