Teaching advancement board members announced

By David Porreca

Thirteen senior professors will serve as inaugural members of the UI's
Teaching Advancement Board, a faculty panel created to enhance teaching at
the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The board will provide guidance and focus to campuswide efforts to
strengthen the UI's commitment to teaching, said Provost and Vice
Chancellor for Academic Affairs Larry R. Faulkner.

According to Faulkner, the board will serve three main functions: to think
creatively about ways to improve teaching; to institute a grants program
for innovative course development and an awards program for excellence in
teaching; and to attract funding from outside sources to support further
instructional development and innovation.

"This campus has had a successful Research Board for decades aimed at
enhancing research," Faulkner said. "The Teaching Advancement Board is
envisioned as a teaching analogue to the Research Board."

The board, which grew out of a proposal in the UI's recently published
strategic plan, "A Framework for the Future," will be chaired by Hassan
Aref, head of the theoretical and applied mechanics department.

"It could be the place that nurtures teaching on the campus," Aref said.
"Our task is to be visionary, to think about teaching, to develop good
ideas about how to make teaching a more integral part of the life of the
faculty member and not just an assignment."

In Aref's view, the board's creation has come at just the right time, given
public concerns about the place of teaching at major universities.

"The research university is increasingly coming under fire for
concentrating on research and having teaching done by second-string help,"
he said. "I think that's less true here than elsewhere, but we need to
think about that. We have for a long time assumed that excellence in
research implied excellence in teaching. It's clear that the correlation is
not always perfect. These are things we have to wrestle with."

The board is expected to hold its first meeting before the end of the
spring semester. When the new academic year begins in the fall, the board
will meet monthly, Faulkner said.

Its activities during the coming year will include establishing an
inventory of teaching development activities on campus; reviewing the
programs used to train teaching assistants; examining methods for
evaluating teaching; overseeing existing programs that recognize teaching
excellence; developing a grant program for instructional development
projects; and establishing a policy on the size of large classes.

In addition to Aref, the board members are May R. Berenbaum, entomology;
James A. Gentry, finance; David C. Grove, anthropology; Achsah Guibbory,
English; Violet J. Harris, curriculum and instruction; Steven J. Helle,
journalism; Joanna H. Maclay, speech communication; Burks Oakley II,
electrical and computer engineering; Allan J. Paul, veterinary
pathobiology; Shelly J. Schmidt, food science and human nutrition; Ira
Solomon, accountancy; and Christopher D. Wickens, aviation.

UIUC -- Inside Illinois -- 1996/04-18-96