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Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

The University established a Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at AUAF in July 2016 to commence operations during the fall semester. Dr. Zaher Wahab, Director of the AUAF MA in Education program, who has decades of experience as a full professor at Lewis and Clark College, leads this initiative that reassesses instruction, faculty evaluation student assessment, and curriculum development, as well as workshops on pedagogy and new classroom technology.

The goals and objectives of this initiative are:

Goal 1:  Improve instruction (teaching and learning) at AUAF that encompasses each area of the student experience by:

        I. Engaging faculty regarding the latest research on best practices in college teaching

       II. Convening regular workshops and seminars on college teaching

      III. Promoting peer collaboration and classroom observations for professional development purposes

Goal 2: Enhance curriculum development (course and syllabi design and revisions).

Goal 3:  Nurture a faculty culture that encourages research, writing, and collegiality.

Goal 4:  Strengthen the cognitive and ethical development of AUAF students by:

       I. Implementing new theories regarding college student cognitive, ethical and social development

      II. Creating and sustaining a civic-minded campus-wide culture by Introducing a first-year civic education course within the general education requirements to be offered during the Fall 2017 Semester.

     III.  Expanding student internship opportunities and voluntary work within the community

Goal 5: Reassess and improve the existing evaluation processes (student evaluation for each course and semester as well as the comprehensive annual faculty evaluation), including student feedback survey.

Goal 6: Introduce new technologies in the classroom and develop blended learning opportunities.

Goal 7: Train faculty on the use of library resources.

Goal 8: Establish critical pedagogy that identifies internal weaknesses and develops plans to solve them. Works with Department Chairs to ensure that the project stays on task. 

Schedule of Seminars

10/April - First meeting of CTL - Uniform academic standards

25/April - Strategies for Grade Inflation and Deflation

10/May - Writing Across the Curriculum with C Henderson, C Murray, and J Wall


Welcome Message for the 2017 Spring Semester (can be downloaded here).

Opening Lesson:

I hope you are having a great start with your classes and life in general. If the CTL can do anything so you can achieve even greater academic success, please write, call or visit room 200A in the Women’s Center. I am there 9-12 am and 1-4 pm daily. Starting April 11, we will be launching bi- monthly faculty meetings 10-11:30 am on Tuesdays so we can collectively address the CTL goals and functions.

I strongly believe that effective teaching is the most important aspect of academe, and that ultimately you are the university.  To that end, from time to time, I will be sending you suggestions, culled from various sources, on various aspects of teaching. I encourage and invite your feedback.    

Tips on Classroom Pedagogy:

  1.          You may ask them to read a partner’s write-up.
  2.          Or you can collect and glance at them later.
  3.          This encourages reading, studying, focusing.
  4.          And it gives you an idea how things are going.
  5.           Tell class these writings will figure in their grades.
  6.           This exercise helps reading, writing, engaging, thinking, and collaboration.


A.W. Chickering and S.C. Eehrmann state that good teaching practices encourage:

 Others have observed the importance of the following in teaching:

Less experienced and newer instructors will find Tom Drummond’s extensive “A brief summary of the best practices in the teaching” very helpful. PDF. Just Google him. 



Meeting for Monday, 10/April/2017

Dear Colleagues,                                                                                                           April 9, 2017

Our first CTL- sponsored faculty meeting will take place 12-1:20 in room 114 Women’s Center. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Full and part time faculty is invited, requested (dare I say, expected) to attend.  

The CTL is intended to work on the following:

  1.        Improve teaching and learning at AUAF.
  2.        Review and reform the curriculum.
  3.        Promote research and scholarship among faculty.
  4.        Work on professional development in general.
  5.        Discuss, design, and plan a required common “civic education” course to start this fall.
  6.        Foster a professional, collegial and academic culture at AUAF.
  7.        Faculty and students assessment.
  8.        Connect AUAF with other educational institution and Afghan society

 Agenda for Tomorrow’s Meeting:

  1.        Review the CTL goals and objectives in small groups. 40 minutes
  2.        Reflections on your classes thus far: 20 minutes
  3.       What is going well?
  4.       What needs to work on?
  5.         Mentor-mentee arrangements within the department. 10 minutes
  6.        Classroom observations. 10 minutes
  7.        Faculty presentations at our bi-monthly meetings. 5 minutes.
  8.        Your suggestions?

See you then and there.

Kind regards,

Zaher Wahab, Ph.D.



Lesson on Getting Students to Read!


Odds Against Reading:                                                                                                      April 16, 2017

This is not a reading society. 85% of the women and 65% of the men are illiterate. There are very few libraries and access to them is limited. Even university libraries are small, obsolete and close at 4pm. Most schools have no library.  Half have no buildings! Schooling is seen as training, not to get an education. Throughout the education system, instruction largely consists of dictation, memorization and regurgitation. Print media is limited and declining. Most people cannot afford newspapers. Mosques, which used to be centers of reading, have mostly lost that function.  Television and radio are for the most part, trivialized, vulgarized, and commercialized. Students have a utilitarian approach to reading so they cram and read for recall and regurgitation, not comprehension, depth, critical analysis or wisdom. Other than occasional lip service to the   printed word, public figures give no indication of reading or having respect for learnedness. It is abundantly clear that the way to achieve statues, wealth, power and privilege in this society, is NOT by straining the mind and reading.  So why read?

Furthermore, our students have other things on their mind too such as family, money, health, security, as well as social and psychological issues to deal with. There are very few ideal students among them. Unless the students are convinced that not studying the required reading will have serious consequences, they won’t read. At the same time, assigned readings are the foundation most college courses. But it is hard to get students to study the reading in a timely manner and make good use of them. We need to understand our students’ lives and go from there, if we are to get them to study and produce autonomous, life-long learners, critical thinkers, and good citizens.

Tips on Getting Your Students to do the Required Reading:



With a purpose

Recognizing the main point?


Use activities that will motivate students to read:

Achieving the learning goals/objectives

Completing course assignments and projects

Student assessment

Student’s careers, being a professional and a citizen

Other considerations:

Student readiness and time. Are students prepared to read academic texts? Do they know the difference between skimming, scanning, directed and deep reading? Do they have the prior knowledge- the schema to process the current material? We should take the time telling them how to read.


Good luck with getting students to do the required reading!


01/May Meeting: PDI instructor training. Second training session. 

10/May Meeting:

We are pleased to announce that Professors C.Henderson, C.Murry and J.Wall will lead a presentation on 'Writing Across the Curriculum' 12:20-1:30 pm Wednesday May 10th. You are invited/encouraged to attend. Pastries will be provided. 

24/May Meeting: Re-Assessing the Evaluation Processes

The CTL convened its fourth faculty meeting on Wednesday, 24 May, 2017. The agenda was to discuss the following:

Soft copies of these instruments were sent to the faculty in advance of the meeting, and hard copies were distributed in the meeting. The fifteen attendees discussed the templates in small groups and noted their comments in writing and submitted these to the CTL director at the end of the meeting.

13/June Meeting: The Importance of Accreditation

The Center for Teaching and Learning convened its sixth faculty development meeting 12;20-1:20 pm today Wednesday, June 13. The meeting was attended by 15 faculty members. Professor R. Monger and the Provost Office discussed the topic of 'Why Accreditation Matters." The Provost Office discussed the history of accreditation in Afghanistan as well as AUAF participation in the accreditation process. He reported on the preliminary results of the most recent visit by the MoHE accreditation team and what AUAF needs to do to keep improving. Professor Monger reported on his recent participation in an international conference in Bangkok. A good comprehensive discussion ensued as to the implication for AUAF planning, pedagogy, decision-making and related matters. 

05/July Meeting: The Quality of Education at AUAF

The Center for Teaching and Learning convened the eighth faculty meeting this semester. The meeting was announced by the president on Tuesday and reminders were emailed by the CTL. The meeting lasted for 75 minutes. Dr. Saffary, the provost made a presentation about 'The quality of education at AUAF: challenges and possibilities'. An interesting and lively discussion ensued following Dr. Saffary's  presentation.