Center for Academic Innovation and Faculty Support

Faculty Development at USC Upstate

Meet the CAIFS Team

Resources for Innovative Course Design 

Faculty Mentoring Program

Faculty Toolkit

Teaching Online

Peer Observation of Teaching

Service Learning and Community Engagement

Additional Resources

The Center for Academic Innovation and Faculty Support (CAIFS) offers a broad, holistic approach to faculty development that fosters and rewards academic innovation, in the classroom and beyond, and that includes support for such endeavors as peer mentorship and developing academic leadership.

CAIFS coordinates the university's initiatives in active learning, learning technologies, inclusive pedagogy, distance education and hybrid learning, and service learning and community engagement. Our units include the Office of Distance Education, the Office of Transformative and Inclusive Pedagogy, and the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement, as well as a staff of Learning Experience Designers who can help with a range of instructional design projects.

The Center for Academic Innovation and Faculty Support also provides a centralized hub for faculty development needs, from adjunct faculty members and new faculty to leaders in faculty governance and academic units. 

Visit us in the Media Building, Room 248, 864-503-5850. Email us at

Our Services
  • Instructional design support for faculty and staff projects provided by Learning Experience Designers
  • Online Teaching certification and online course and program development support provided by the Director of Distance Education and Learning Experience Designers
  • Service Learning Teaching certification and service learning course development support provided by the Director of Service Learning and Community Engagement
  • New Faculty Professional Development Institute and New Faculty Online Learning Community
  • Adjunct Faculty Orientation, Adjunct Faculty Professional Development Institute and Adjunct Faculty Online Learning Community
  • USC Upstate Academic Leadership Institute and Academic Leadership Online Learning Community for academic unit and faculty governance leadership
  • Teaching observations and teaching evaluation consultations
  • Media support and guidance for faculty and staff wishing to integrate video and audio into their projects
  • Customized workshops and consultations for program and curricular development, assessment, and academic innovation project design
  • Workshops and consultations for faculty on preparing for promotion, tenure, post-tenure, and developing/fulfilling your research agenda
  • Co-sponsored workshops on retention, advising, assessment, curriculum mapping, public scholarship, and seeking grants
Workshops and Programs
  • Facilitator-Led Online Teaching Certification Course, next course begins September 28: REGISTER
  • This facilitator-led course is delivered through the Blackboard LMS in a fully asynchronous format, with weekly tasks and deadlines for regular feedback and support. Faculty work in the online teaching certification course as students while working as instructors in a "Sandbox" course where they can apply new skills and best practices. Most faculty complete the course in 12 to 15 hours, though faculty members who need additional one-on-one technology support may require more time. The course outcomes include understanding and applying best practices for online course design, organization and navigation, accessibility, instructor presence, student engagement, communication, and feedback. By the end of the course, faculty members will create course outcomes and related online assessments, course content areas, menu items, assignments, discussions, rubrics, and a self-introduction video in their own online Sandbox course.
    • About a week before the course starts, look for the course in your Blackboard Courses. Search for "Online Teaching" and click the star icon to favorite this course.
    • Check your email for a welcome announcement on the first day of your course.
    • Be sure to check your Junk Email and/or disable "Clutter" in your USC Upstate email if you have not received a message on the first day of class. Or call/email the facilitator listed for your course to ensure that you are receiving all course messages.
  • Self-Guided Course: Teaching Online @ USC Upstate. Alternative Certification for Online Teaching. Rolling Enrollment: SELF-ENROLL or email to request to join the course. Do you need online teaching certification, but you feel comfortable enough with Blackboard tools that you do not need to practice building a course with the support of a course facilitator? By the completion of this 6- to 8-hour self-guided course, you will be able to
    • Describe the different types of online learning
    • Identify best practices for online courses
    • Compare the different types of presences needed in an online course
    • Select and use tools to support your curriculum
    • Organize your course content on Blackboard in a clear, consistent manner
    • Create engaging course content
    • Access information about support services for students at USC Upstate

  • Self-Guided Course: Remote and Online Communication Principles for Teaching and Learning Success. Rolling Enrollment: SELF-ENROLL or email to request to join the course.
    This 3- to 4-hour self-guided course aims to prepare you with best practices, tips, and tools to help you communicate more effectively and efficiently in remote and online course settings. The course is self-guided, meaning you schedule work at your own pace and complete application exercises with automatic feedback or rubrics for self-assessment. By the end of this course, you will be able to 
    • Design a welcoming course environment, 
    • Maintain an engaging instructor presence,
    • Foster an interactive learning community,
    • Provide meaningful feedback to promote growth mindset, and
    • Deliver an inclusive, accessible, and equitable course.

For an archive of recordings of previous workshops, please visit Webinars and Virtual Office Hours.

Consultation/Service Request Form