Skip to main content
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Home >

Gateway Initiative

The Provost's Office, in collaboration with the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and Academic Computing, is excited to offer a new opportunity to support the redesign of certain courses.

Called the Gateway Initiative, this effort is aimed at enhancing learning and classroom pedagogy in 'gateway' courses, i. e. courses that are required for entry into the discipline and have large enrollments by necessity, but not by design.  In such classes, course content is very often delivered in a traditional lecture format.  Yet a growing body of research over the past decade, in particular from the fields of cognitive psychology and education, has shown that other pedagogical approaches, sometimes in combination with technological innovations, can be significantly more effective than the traditional lecture format, evidenced by improved learning outcomes, retention, and student satisfaction.
The goal of the Gateway Initiative is to enhance individualized learning and improved educational outcomes for students in A&S gateway courses by enabling faculty to redesign courses to resemble smaller, upper-division classes where students and faculty actively work together.  Strategies to enable more opportunities for active learning in large enrollment classes will vary depending on the targeted course and the goals for its redesign.  While some faculty may be interested in fundamentally shifting their teaching methods - like moving away from a lecture-based format to a flipped classroom - participation in this Initiative is not limited to proposals focused on such large changes.  Moreover, the Initiative is not designed to change the content of a course or alter the length of time students spend in the classroom. Some redesign elements may be common across courses, while the overall outcome will likely be unique to each redesigned course.  This Initiative is the beginning of a larger effort to invest resources and attention in learning, with a current focus on supporting faculty in course redesign by matching them with dedicated teams having expertise in project management, instructional design, analytics (to aid with assessment of the effectiveness of the redesign), library resources, and intellectual property issues.

Resources and references are available here.

Call for Proposals for 2015-2016 Course Redesign

In this next round, four proposals will be selected for courses taught in 2015-2016. Faculty selected to participate are eligible for up to $7500 per faculty member as a stipend or research funding.

Gateway funding might be used for the following:

  • Dedicated instructional design assistance
  • Graduate and/or undergraduate teaching assistants
  • Creation of innovative assignments or assessment tools
  • Development of online and in-class curricular components and activities
  • Professional development (training, workshops, conference attendance)
  • Videotaping of lectures or student activities
  • Purchase of hardware or software  
  • Funding for activities associated with the course

Proposals should include the following:

  1. A copy of the current syllabus
  2. Data on previous enrollment figures, median grades, and dates of future offerings of the course
  3. A 2-3 page statement describing:
    • Discussion of the educational rationale for redesigning the course
    • Description of what the redesign will entail
    • Explanation of how the revised course will enhance teaching and learning
    • Estimated budget
  4. A letter from your department chair indicating support for the proposal

We have heard feedback from faculty that the original Gateway Initiative proposal deadline for submission (March 2nd) was too short, and therefore we want everyone to know that we plan to be flexible as to when the proposals come in.

The initial deadline was driven by the need to start planning redesign efforts for any 2015 Summer Term courses, and we would encourage any faculty teaching larger enrollment Summer Term courses that they’d like considered for the Gateway program to submit a proposal as soon as possible.  For courses slated to run after the 2015 Summer Term we would like to extend the deadline out to Monday, March 30th.

Send proposals to For more information, please email Josh Kim (

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprised of faculty, staff from DCAL and staff from Educational Technology.

Faculty whose proposals are approved will be expected to participate in the evaluation and assessment of their course and its redesign process, in collaboration with staff from DCAL, Institutional Research, and Academic Computing to share course evaluations, conduct surveys of students and faculty, and classroom observation, as well as to present their work to the Dartmouth community.

2014-2015 Gateway courses

Math 3/Calculus, Scott Pauls

“Our redesign goal for Math 3 was to create a course structure that allows for instruction and interaction tailored to student learning needs, thus better accommodating a population with heterogeneous mathematical preparation. We redesigned the course using a flipped instructional methodology - combining a traditional text with Khan Academy video instruction, we enabled (and required) students to work through materials and make initial attempts at problems sets prior to coming to class. This freed up class time for coaching and mentoring on the areas where students needed the most attention, which instructors determined from feedback and data from the Khan Academy platform. An analysis of data we collected in the first instance of the new class gives a much clearer understanding of our student learning process than was previously possible using traditional teaching methods, and has provided us with a roadmap for further improvements in the course.”

Classics 1/Antiquity Today: An Introduction to Classical Studies, Paul Christesen

“Participation in the Gateway program enabled me to accomplish some of my teaching goals in CLST 1 that were previously out of reach. First, the Gateway Program provided a mechanism for dedicated access to instructional design assistance and collaboration.
I worked very closely, and over extended time periods, with the instructional design team to find new opportunities to create active and experiential learning opportunities in the course. The second big advantage of the Gateway Program was that it paid for a team of undergraduate Teaching Assistants. This team of highly motivated undergraduates (who had previously taken and excelled in the course) were instrumental in working with me to develop a tight-knit learning community within our entire class. The Gateway Program also provided a flexible budget that I could draw on for logistical, technical and operational needs that arose as I was teaching the course, a resource that allowed us to experiment with new techniques and methods in the course design and teaching.”

Bio 13/Gene Expression and Inheritance, Tom Jack, Patrick Dolph, and Erik Griffin

“The primary redesign goal for Biology 13, Gene Expression and Inheritance, has been to create and refine a student-centered active learning environment built around small group problem solving during class. In order to allow students more opportunities to apply the material they are learning at a deeper level, we developed new learning materials that students can access before and after class and created new in-class activities as well as refine prior activities from previous terms. New teaching strategies, technologies, and methods of collaboration with non-faculty educators in our teaching team were all utilized to meet our teaching and learning goals. The Biology 13 team consisted of 3 faculty, an instructional designer, a subject librarian, a gap-year ‘14 Dartmouth Teaching Fellow, and various consultations with other educators across the college.”



Last Updated: 3/2/15