Cross-Disciplinary Learning and Teaching Initiative (CDLTI)

Purpose of Initiative

Funded by the Advancing Excellence in Teaching Endowment, the purpose of this initiative is to enable faculty members to develop and participate in cross-disciplinary workshops that enhance the quality of the academic program of Whitman College.


In 2010, the Committee of Division Chairs prepared the academic planning document, Building on Excellence, in which it was noted that "the capacity to draw connections between apparently discrete domains of knowledge and experience" is one of the distinguishing features of a liberal arts education. Cultivating "webs of connections among established departments and other key elements of the academic program" is central to this goal. The CDLTI initiative is intended to facilitate this effort.


Proposals for workshops to be conducted in accordance with the Cross-Disciplinary Learning and Teaching Initiative should be submitted by the faculty member who has agreed to coordinate it, but on behalf of all who have agreed to participate in it.

Proposals for Spring 2019 are DUE October 19, 2018. Proposals for Summer or Fall of 2019 are due March 15, 2019.

All proposals must be submitted by the faculty member who has agreed to coordinate, but on behalf of all who have agreed to participate in it. Using the template provided here, please submit proposals in electronic form to Qi (Chee) Jia ( in the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. Proposals must include the following:

1.     The name of the workshop coordinator.

2.     A title for the workshop.

3.     A brief statement of the theme or topic that will form the subject-matter of the workshop as well as an indication of why or how this theme or topic lends itself to cross-disciplinary treatment.

4.     A brief statement about the questions the group anticipates exploring regarding how one might teach this theme from a cross-disciplinary perspective or how it will enhance courses the faculty are already teaching. When possible, readings that expressly address this question should be included among the workshop assignments. Where appropriate, participants are encouraged to include elements (e.g., lab sessions, field trips, local speakers) that assist in exploring ways of teaching the topic at hand.

5.     A list of the faculty members who will participate in any given workshop as well as a current curriculum vitae for each participant.

6.     A preliminary syllabus for the workshop, indicating the major topics to be covered as well as the principal readings to be assigned.

7.     A tentative schedule indicating when the sessions of the workshop will be conducted.

8.     A budget indicating any expenses that the conduct of a workshop will require over and above those required for stipends (see below for more information about stipends and other funds that may be requested).

Additional Requirements and Expectations

1.     Workshops should consist of approximately five members (but not less than three and never more than ten), including their coordinators, and must include representation from at least two, but preferably, a larger number of academic departments. Although not required, preference will be given to proposals that involve faculty from two or more academic divisions.

2.     Regardless of whether scheduled to take place during the fall or spring semester, workshops must meet at least five times over the course of the semester for a total of not less than 15 hours. If workshops are scheduled to meet during the summer, they must also meet at least five times for a total of not less than 15 hours.  

3.     While each coordinator will assume principal responsibility for the logistical details of any given workshop, every participant is expected to be a fully engaged member (e.g., by suggesting readings, by organizing activities aimed to supplement readings, by active involvement in each session, etc.).  

4.     Within a month following completion of any given workshop, each coordinator must secure from every participant a brief statement indicating:   
a) the workshop's success (or lack thereof) in meeting the goal of encouraging creative inquiry into the possibilities of cross-disciplinary teaching and learning;    
b) how each member anticipates incorporating the results of the workshop into his or her instruction-e.g., by altering the content or pedagogical framework of currently-offered courses or by developing new courses.    
c) any concerns each member has about how this workshop was designed, organized, and led as well as suggestions about how these concerns might be addressed in future workshops.   The responses to a) and b) will be posted on the PDF website, along with the coordinator's synopsis (see below). The responses to c) will only be shared with the workshop coordinator as well as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development. These comments will be used in order to improve the conduct of subsequent workshops.

  5.     Within a month of receipt of the workshop assessments submitted by each participant, the coordinator must prepare a written synopsis indicating the topic or theme that was explored; how the workshop was conducted; what its participants learned about cross-disciplinary teaching and learning; and how future iterations of such workshops might better accomplish their purposes. These synopses should be submitted to the Associate Dean for Faculty Development; and they, along with the responses to a) and b) above, will then be posted on the website of the Center for Teaching and Learning so that all faculty members can secure access to and learn from them.


The funding made available in conjunction with this initiative will be employed: 1) to defray the costs of the materials required to conduct these workshops; and 2) to provide remuneration to faculty members who participate in cross-disciplinary workshops.

With respect to remuneration, each participant in a faculty workshop will receive a stipend of $1,000 (taxable revenue). The coordinator of any given faculty workshop will receive an additional $500 stipend (taxable revenue). Funds may be requested for books for participants if needed. Requests should not exceed $250/participant and faculty are encouraged, when possible, to make use of the library's collections and to share copies to reduce expenses. Groups can ask for up to $50/participant for refreshments and this request will be considered if funds are available.  

Stipends will be issued following completion of any given workshop as well as post-workshop requirements as indicated above; including submission of the final report to the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, c/o Qi (Chee) Jia (  

Proposals will be reviewed by the Steering Committee of the Center for Teaching and Learning, which is chaired by the Associate Dean for Faculty Development.  

Preference in selection will be given to workshops whose members are tenured and tenure-track faculty, Senior Lecturers, or Senior Adjunct faculty. If funding is limited, preference will also be given to workshops whose members have not previously participated in a CDLTI workshop, but previous participants are certainly encouraged to apply. Participation by other members of the instructional staff may also be appropriate but the application should include a specific justification for how the participation of that person will enhance the ongoing academic program of the College.

CDLTI Application Cover Page