Creating a culture of reflectors

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

As a CPREE campus partner, Georgia Tech’s CPREE efforts are based out of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). This characteristic means that the Georgia Tech CPREE team brings a unique perspective to the consortium—supporting different groups of educators in reflection activities. For example, when an educator engages with a CETL education developer the consultation is led as a reflection activity—asking the educator to look back at a past teaching experiences in service of improving future teaching activities. On my visit to Georgia Tech, this culture of reflection was evident in every CETL activity. From my visit, I would like to highlight two memorable moments from my trip: (1) hosting a brown bag with graduate students and (2) co-facilitating a workshop about reflection for educators.

On my visit to Georgia Tech, I had the exciting opportunity to meet with a passionate group of graduate students. In this brown bag, I talked about work from my dissertation, specifically “Becoming self-authoring: Navigating your graduate career” (see Sattler and Turns, 2015 for more information about self-authorship). What I found promising from this conversation was the fact that graduate students resonated to the idea of becoming self-authoring in their graduate education. Not only did they resonate to the idea, they also brainstormed a number of ways they could start being self-authoring. While they were already strongly aware of their socialization to graduate school—the “should’s”—most of them were struggling with stepping outside of their graduate school experiences and observing them. This conversation provided these graduate students with powerful concepts that will help them navigate their graduate career and even their future career.

The second thing that stood out to me on my trip to Georgia Tech was the workshop I co-facilitated with Dr. Esther Jordan and Dr. Alexandra Coso. In this workshop, 20 engaged educators (and a few graduate students) grappled with what reflection means, discussed how reflection can support significant learning that endures, and brainstormed ways to incorporate reflection activities into their classroom. In these conversations, it was evident that these educators valued students’ engagement in reflection and many of them already incorporate reflection into their teaching. In this workshop, many educators were making connections they hadn’t thought about before—“oh, I do exam wrappers a little different, but that piece of it is really interesting.”

Reflection is already a significant part of CETL’s mission at Georgia Tech. It will be interesting to see how they more purposefully talk about and support reflection.


Sattler, B. and Turns, J. (2015). Preparedness Portfolios and Portfolio Studios: Supporting Self-Authoring Engineers. International Journal of ePortfolio, 5(1), 1-3.