Strategic PrioritiesThe Center for Faculty Development regularly holds workshops, book groups and discussions for faculty, but in summer 2018, the center will expand its offerings. It’s preparing to introduce a comprehensive, year-long course where faculty immerse themselves in research-based teaching techniques that promote student success.

Forty faculty members will have a chance to participate in the course, designed by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). They will watch online lectures, participate in online discussion groups and meet in a Faculty Learning Community every month. Participants in the ACUE Course in Effective Teaching Practices will complete 25 modules and implement ideas from each model in their classrooms.

“We’ve gotten a great mix of people applying so far, from highly-accomplished, full professors who want to renew their teaching practices to new instructors with limited teaching experience,” said Margaret Wood, PhD, director of the Center for Faculty Development. “There is already very strong interest from faculty, and we are continuing to accept applications until April 13.”

An essential ingredient for student success

Teaching is at the heart of student success. That is why the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Roderick Nairn has funded the ACUE course as a special project.

To design the course, ACUE asked some of the country’s leading teaching experts to name the most important topics to address in a comprehensive teaching excellence course. Then, they sent the list to faculty across the country, who provided

their own input. With the structure finalized, experts created video presentations for each topic.

It is an intensive course that is carefully designed to address all aspects of teaching and help faculty create the best environment possible for student success.

“Faculty who are participating in this course are really going above and beyond, showing their commitment to our important mission as educators at this institution,” said Wood. “This is hard work. We do a lot at the university to enhance student success, but an essential ingredient for student success is what goes on in our classrooms and what instructors do on a daily basis.”

How the teaching course works

Margaret Wood
Center for Faculty Development Director Margaret Wood

Course participants watch online lectures, working through each module on their own time. Examples of course modules include facilitating engaging class discussions, developing fair grading practices and using active learning techniques. Participants complete two modules per week during the summer and one module every two weeks during the academic year.

“This is a significant undertaking by these instructors, who care deeply about their students,” Wood said.

For each module, faculty members implement one new idea into their own class and then discuss what worked and what did not through an online discussion forum and in the Faculty Learning Community. This process ensures that faculty have support and feedback while experimenting with new teaching methods.

Faculty who teach large-enrollment, introductory courses can participate in the course as a team, attending discussions together and collaborating on the implementation of different ideas. At the end of course, these teams will receive additional support in redesigning their shared course based on what they have learned together.

“At the end of the ACUE course, faculty will not just have new theoretical knowledge but also hands-on, practical experience implementing these ideas in a supportive environment,” Wood said. “And students will be the beneficiaries!”

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