Sandy Goss Lucas (left), director of introductory courses in the department of psychology, and Nan Goggin, associate director of curriculum development in the School of Art and Design and an Associate Provost Fellow, co-chair the Teaching Advancement Board. TAB is looking for ways to connect with other instructional organizations on campus to maximize their impact and achieve the goals in the Strategic Plan.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
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An awards program that honors outstanding instructors is being revamped as part of a broader effort aimed at synergizing teaching initiatives across campus and aligning them with the goals in Chancellor Richard Herman’s Strategic Plan.
The second and third goals of Herman’s Strategic Plan are the achievement of academic excellence and breakthrough knowledge and innovation – by positioning the academy to meet 21st-century opportunities, developing interdisciplinary programs in emerging areas of scholarship and maximizing the UI’s impact by stewarding and enhancing resources.
The ceremony for the Campus Awards for Excellence in Instruction (formerly the Instructional Awards) is undergoing a transformation. The Teaching Advancement Board comprises 12 distinguished faculty members who confer the awards annually to recognize excellence in undergraduate education, graduate and professional teaching, extramural teaching, advising and research.
This year, the awards will be presented May 2 during an evening reception at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Many of the people who nominated recipients will present the awards to them and offer comments to make the honorees the focus of the evening.
“One of the things that we really want to highlight is that teaching is of importance on this campus, that the campus values teaching and wants to celebrate teachers in much the same way that we celebrate excellent research,” said Sandy Goss Lucas, director of introductory courses in the department of psychology, who co-chairs TAB with Nan Goggin, associate director of curriculum development in the School of Art and Design and an Associate Provost Fellow.
Over the summer, a subcommittee of TAB will be re-evaluating the nomination process and perhaps changing the documentation requirements in the hopes that it will encourage more units to nominate their instructors. The current nomination process requires copies of the candidates’ Instructor and Course Evaluation System forms, letters from current and former students, and reports from classroom observers.
“We’re sort of disappointed that more teachers aren’t nominated because we know there are many excellent teachers out there but their departments tend not to go through the process of nominating them,” Goss Lucas said. “We’re trying to make the nomination package smaller, but still have the key components necessary to evaluate their teaching without being redundant.”
Provost Linda Katehi recently charged TAB members with re-examining the board’s mission, finding ways to direct its funding to support the strategic plan goals and fostering partnerships between the various teaching support and evaluation groups on campus, such as TAB, the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Teaching Academies.
“There are good things happening in various pockets around campus, but we’re trying to open that up and identify channels where we can support each other and find better ways of assessing and celebrating teaching and work along with campus regarding the strategic plan,” said Cheelan Bo-Linn, head of instructional development at the Center for Teaching Excellence, a campus unit that offers activities and funding that promote pedagogy and scholarly research on teaching and learning.
Various TAB subcommittees are re-examining the role of the Provost’s Initiative on Teaching Advancement, which offers grants to faculty members for testing and/or implementing innovative curricula; developing methods for supporting teaching advancement and evaluation for early- and mid-career faculty members and administrators; and investigating means for fostering partnerships among the Teaching Academies in units across campus, so they can share information and resources, identify key initiatives and work in concert.
In the fall, the Teaching and Learning Network, a consortium of the teaching academies on campus, plans to host an event, perhaps a seminar or workshop, about using games for pedagogy.