Faculty Development

Faculty Development

Performance Task Institute

The main goal of this institute is to help faculty design curricula and pedagogy to include the explicit teaching and learning of higher order thinking skills by helping faculty incorporate new opportunities for students to practice complex problem solving into their courses.

Performance Tasks are aimed at improving information literacy, developing critical thinking skills, and developing communication skills.

Invited participants of the Performance Task Institute meet during the Summer I semester for two half day information sessions. During these sessions the Office of Faculty Development explains why performance tasks are so valuable, what a performance task is, and develops and presents examples.  The goal of these meetings is to have each of the participants leave the workshop with ideas and skills that allow them to build a specific performance task for their classroom.

In addition to these sessions, there are several follow-up sessions during the summer designed to help participants discuss and complete their tasks to use in fall 2013. Stipends are available for those who complete and use their tasks in the classroom.

Participants 2013-2014

John Geiser
Susan Freeman
Mariam Konate
Heather Petcovic
Joan Conway
David Paul
Bob Dlouhy
Ron Miller
Toni Woolfork-Barnes

Participants 2012-2013

Donald Schreiber
Lofton Durham
Joetta Carr
David Paul
Michael Nassaney
Gayle Thompson
Carla Koretsky
Doris Ravotas

Examples of Performance Tasks

The Question of Shakespeare's Authorship

Psychological Perspectives on Gender

Ethical Pharmacist Decisions

Prompts to help you identify the essential questions(s):

  • What unifying theme or ideas help students make sense of all the content of your course, discipline, or the whole of their education?
  • What one idea do you hope students retain?
  • What about this topic is important yet difficult to understand?
  • What concepts do students need to really understand?
  • What seems logical to experts but is confusing to novices?
  • What prior knowledge do students have that gets in their way of understanding?
  • What aspect is not obvious -- perhaps counter-intuitive?
  • What do students often fail to understand?

Additional Questions:

  • What level student is the task aimed at? 
  • What is your scenario? 
  • What is the final product students need to develop?  
  • Are your supporting documents the appropriate depth for the student level?
  • Do supporting documents get at critical thinking? information literacy?



Office of Faculty Development
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5268 USA
(269) 387-0732