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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting
Date: Thursday, April 24, 2003
Time: 11:00-12:00 noon
Location: Room 826 Cathedral of learning
Present: A. Blair (Chair), E. Cohn, D. Looney, B. Piraino, J. Samples, P. Siska, S. Smith, E. Talbott, and D. Davis (Staff Resource)

Best Practices Study: Excerpts; Summer Instructional Development Institute 2003; Agenda from the Learning Technology Consortium Spring 2003 Meeting

1. Approval of the Minutes:

The minutes of the February 11, 2003 meeting were distributed prior to the meeting. Council members subsequently approved these as written.

2. Announcements:

Dr. Blair reported that Dr. Sam Conte, Chair of the Classroom Management Team, will attend the May Council meeting to give an update on the Team’s work over the year. He also congratulated Prof. Peter Siska on his receiving one of this year’s Bellet Awards from the College of Arts & Sciences.

3. Best Practices Report (Planning and Best Practices Committee, Dennis Looney, Chair):

Instructional Grants Committee (A. Blair, Chair): Dr. Blair reported that the evaluation of the grants program is moving forward with the convening of the focus groups. Three groups have met so far and the Committee is receiving interesting, positive feedback regarding spin-offs from the award, such as grant proposals and published papers. There have been practical suggestions from the project directors regarding the overall grants process (and no major complaints), as well as agreement that the funded projects in many cases were the beginning of another project idea. Dr. Blair informed Council that all newly-funded Project Directors have been notified of their award, and unsuccessful submitters have been sent the reviewers’ comments as requested. In addition to recommending an extension of the deadline for receipt of proposals to January 31 next year, Dr. Blair would like Council to think of other strategies for increasing the number of proposals received.

Faculty Development Committee (D. Looney, Chair): Dr. Blair noted that Council needs to discuss the Best Practices report to determine agenda items for the coming year. Prof. Dennis Looney recently chaired the committee’s meeting, which began to discuss specific suggestions, and he distributed an excerpt of the Best Practices report, prepared by Dr. Davis. Prof. Susan Smith, at the earlier meeting, had a good suggestion that Council might want to think about addressing basic practices, particularly in the classroom, which would be complementary to best practices. A spirited discussion followed as to how this might be accomplished; suggestions ranged from an addendum to the Report to the development of a paper for possible publication; a compilation of fundamental documents and materials on teaching that could be available to faculty through the library; e.g., AAUP documents, discipline-specific guidelines promulgated by professional organizations, the “Seven Principles of Teaching,” etc. (CIDDE currently has such a library of information). Prof. Looney thought that Council should continue to discuss ways in which principles of teaching might underlie everything that Council undertakes, as well as to keep reminding faculty of basic principles. Dr. Davis noted that there is information on the internet and will send Council members specific URLs that relate to the discussion and which could also be linked from the ACIE website.

In returning to the discussion of specific future agenda items, Council agreed on the following additional topics: basic standards, faculty communities on teaching, and classroom management. Dr. Blair reminded the members that the Best Practices Report soon needs to be transmitted to the Provost, along with Council’s recommendations for future agenda items resulting from this Report.

4. Summer Instructional Development Institutes:

Dr. Davis circulated copies of the program that includes three topics this year. To date, enrollments are good and include faculty from across the Pittsburgh campus as well as the regional campuses. Prof. Looney suggested that advertising and registration for the Institutes could be done earlier to facilitate planning and accommodating the number of faculty interested in attending the workshops.

5. Spring 2003 Learning Technology Consortium Meeting:
  Drs. Blair and Davis attended the spring meeting, which was hosted by Wake Forest University. The meeting’s agenda was distributed to Council for information. Dr. Davis briefly reviewed the purpose of the LTC and its focus on technology for instruction. Dr. Davis’ presentation at the Consortium meeting was to update the group on the Best Practices exercise, as well as to report on a second study for the LTC that she has been involved in, entitled “Changes in the Classroom: Effects of Web-enhancement on Classroom Activities at Seven Universities” (see handout for full description). On completion, this study will be submitted for publication—most likely to The Educause Quarterly. Other issues discussed by LTC included online testing and a presentation by Wake Forest on its student-centered technology instructional support programs. Dr. Blair added that the LTC is developing its own website. Overall, it was an interesting and informative meeting, with the added benefit of being able to visit the member institutions’ facilities and view progress firsthand.



With no other business to conduct, the meeting adjourned at 12:05 pm.




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