Foundational Course Initiative

The Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning Foundational Course Initiative (FCI) aims to transform the UD first-year experience to better support and engage our undergraduates at scale. Our goal is to create foundational courses that utilize the most effective strategies for teaching and actively engage students in the learning process. In addition, these introductory courses are designed to teach UD students to be effective college-level learners within and beyond the course’s discipline.

    • Strategic Priority #1: Reimagine the way that content is delivered.
    • Strategic Priority #2: Foster student community and sense of belonging within courses.
    • Strategic Priority #3: Build real-world examples and assessments into courses.
    • Strategic Priority #4: Support instructors of foundational courses to develop instructional approaches that foster skills, strategies, and habits of mind that first- and second-year students need to become successful learners.

Provost Teaching Fellows

FCI faculty involved in the Spark or STRIDE programs are given the title of Provost Teaching Fellow, and participate in a two- or three-year, collaborative course design process, which includes a partnership between an individual faculty member and educational professionals from CTAL. The goals of each course in the initiative are driven by the vision of the faculty, program educational goals, disciplinary values, and are informed by relevant institutional data and research from evidence-based inclusive teaching practices. While during its first two years, FCI partnered with individual faculty– moving forward we will recruit departmental instructional teams to drastically scale the ability to improve student learning across all sections of a selected course and to ensure greater resiliency of instructional changes beyond the life of the grant.

Meet our current Provost Teaching Fellows

Kedron Thomas

Spark program 2021-2023, Course: Intro to Cultural & Social Anthropology

Haritha Malladi

Stride program 2021-2023, Course: Intro to Engineering

Jennifer Trivedi

Spark program 2021-2023, Course: Intro to Cultural & Social Anthropology

Bruce Hietbrink

Stride program 2021-2023, Course: Organic Chemistry I

Cresean Hughes

Spark program 2021-2023, Course: Intro to Criminal Justice

Lauren Genova

Stride program 2021-2023, Course: General Chemistry

FCI Programs


Anne McDuell headshot

CTAL’s STRIDE Program Lead: Anne McDuell

The STRIDE program is a unique opportunity for faculty teaching high-enrollment introductory STEM courses to collaborate with a CTAL Educational Development Specialist (EDS) in a 3-year commitment to course improvement (minimum of 3 semesters of iterative adaptations, data collection, and improvements). Participation in this program includes a commitment to sustainable, iterative, and well-documented changes to the design or delivery of a course that may include drafting of new/revised student learning outcomes, authentic assessments, student engagement strategies, and learning activities that are grounded in evidence-based teaching practices.


Stacie Larkin

CTAL’s Spark Program Lead: Stacie Larkin

Spark is a multi-year program designed for instructors from social sciences, humanities, and the arts interested in developing instructional approaches that foster knowledge, skills, strategies, and habits of mind that students need to become successful learners. This program aims to create discipline-specific understandings of life-long learning skills and attitudes by primarily focusing on foundational or introductory courses. Guided by the scholarship of UD faculty who specialize in learning, this program utilizes individual reflection, work in faculty-teams, CTAL’s Course Design Institute, and personalized instructional design support. Participation in Spark will result in courses that provide explicit attention to the learning process and support students as they become self-directed learners who better understand how they themselves learn.