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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

Friday, January 9, 2004


10:00-11:00 am 826 C.L.


Room 826 Cathedral of learning




A. Blair (Chair), B. Bidanda, K. Etzel, J. Grabowski, S. Husted, H. Lawson (via telephone), S. Smith, R. Wasserman, P. Wright and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)


Project Idea: Course Redesign and Enrichment


Approval of the Minutes:


It was noted that there was one error in the December minutes that should be corrected: in Item #4, the committee name should be Best Practices—not Faculty Development. Subsequently, a motion was made for approval of the corrected December 3, 2003 minutes and accepted by members present.


Report of the Chair:


Dr. Blair commented that there are action items in the December minutes for all three committees. He suggested that committees should meet soon and be prepared to make a report at the February meeting. Members were informed that e-mails were sent to deans, directors, and departments chairs (for forwarding to faculty) to remind them of the deadline for submission of proposals to the Innovation in Education awards program. To date, no proposals have been received. At the next Council meeting, the main agenda item will be an open discussion of the proposal review process in preparation for the March meeting.


Report of the CIDDE Staff Liaison:


Dr. Davis reported on committee activities: (a) The Best Practices Committee, at its last meeting, agreed to conduct a survey of TA/TF resources around campus with the purpose of assembling an inventory of services, which will then be reviewed to determine if additional services are needed; and (b) the Faculty Development Committee recommended that CIDDE pull together campus information about faculty development services and subsequently produce a brochure. As follow-up to this recommendation, CIDDE is considering three separate publications: a major publication that describes the services and programs that are always available, and two additional brochures, one for Fall Term and one for Spring Term, that would focus on offerings and events that would occur during each term; for example, the Spring Term brochure might include ACIE winners who would be willing to do speaking engagements in individual schools. Professor Bidanda commented that these brochures would be particularly helpful to part-time faculty. Dr. Davis also reported that Teaching Excellence Fair 2004 has been tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 27 (earlier in the year and a change in the day of the week as recommended previously by Council). She and her staff are also looking at the possibility of adding a new topic to the popular “Conversations on Teaching” which would be focus on part-time faculty issues; however, she noted that part-time faculty teaching in the evening probably would not be able to attend.


Report of the Committee Chairs:


Dr. Blair prefaced the discussion by indicating that this proposal is a draft for discussion only and does not carry the Provost’s Office endorsement. If Council recommends going forward with this idea, it would require the Provost’s approval as it would change the Council’s current activities as charged. Dr. Davis began by indicating that this proposal idea originated after conversations with faculty that their interest in revising and/or developing existing materials is hampered by the amount of time available to them for course revision. Faculty do routinely revise courses by updating texts, adding assignments, etc.; but where a major redesign is needed, a larger time commitment than current schedules may not be able to accommodate is required. One way to assist faculty in doing this might be to establish a pool of resources from outside funding sources that could provide funding for faculty to buy out course time, thereby providing them with the opportunity to work with CIDDE resource people to investigate good ideas for revising courses and making them more dynamic, exciting and motivating for student learning. Dr. Davis said the goal of this proposal is general: to try to help to establish resources for faculty to conduct a major revision of courses, and the impact would be on student learning. Thus, she is seeking Council’s advice, suggestions, and comments on her draft proposal.

Professor Etzel asked if this would be for faculty who are looking for advice regarding innovative changes or only for course revision. Dr. Blair noted that the Innovation in Education awards program funds innovative course revisions. Professor Bidanda suggested that course release might be an option to explore. Dr. Davis replied that there would be a difference in the two programs as no release time is given in current awards program, and this program would be for significant course revisions. Professor Wright said that this a worthwhile and intriguing idea, but the current draft does not express this. She then suggested that this is idea needs more discussion, maybe by a separate Council committee.

Dr. Blair inquired about what kind of review or evaluation of proposals could be applied, and Dr. Davis replied that it could be course specific and might include motivational criteria. She also felt that a focus on first-year courses might be most appropriate. Professor Smith asked if specific courses would be identified or targeted. Professor Husted commented that, in A&S, smaller, basic language courses are taught by TAs using a standard curriculum designed by the departmental faculty, and thus might not be good targets. Professor Smith noted this project seems to be similar to the Lilly Fellows program. Professor Grabowski thought that this is an idea that would provide a need that follows in the footsteps of the very successful three-stage NSF Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) grant program, which includes Adaptation and Implementation projects, as well as Assessment of Student Achievement projects. (Note: Information on this program can be found on the web at: http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/due/programs/ccli/.) He was also in agreement with colleagues that the biggest impediment to this type of effort is faculty time.

Dr. Davis envisioned that interested alumni and some foundations might wish to fund such an initiative. Professor Smith suggested the Lilly Foundation—if they are still doing this type of thing.

Other issues raised by members were: (a) what constitutes substantive course revisions as opposed to normal revisions, (b) a new title is needed, something to entice faculty to apply; and (c) focus on revising course sequences and/or multi-sectioned courses, and/or interdisciplinary courses, and undergraduate courses. Council agreed that a focus on undergraduate courses was appropriate.

Dr. Blair asked if there were any volunteers who would be interested in working on revising this proposal with Dr. Davis; Professors Smith, Wright, Grabowski, and Bidanda responded positively. Dr. Davis will work with this small group to prepare another draft, incorporating their feedback as well as the Council’s suggestions. Professor Grabowski offered to provide materials on the NSF program, and Professor Smith will provide information on the Lilly Foundation Program.




The meeting adjourned at 11:00 am.



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