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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

December 8, 2004




826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), L. Beeson, B. Bidanda, J. Burkoff, P. Card, S. Drescher, J. Grabowski, S. Husted, P. Kameen, H. Lawson, K. Linduff, T. Metzger, Paul Rogers, Nina Schor, and D. Davis


Approval of the Minutes:


A motion was made for the approval of the November 9, 2004 minutes, seconded, and approved unanimously.


2. Report of the Chair (A. Blair):

Dr. Blair reported on the status of the Innovation in Education program evaluation that is being conducted via an online survey to funded project directors. He noted that we have used a variety of approaches to encourage respondents’ participation, including group and individual e-mail reminders and the option of completing a hard copy, MS Word version; and respondents are still completing surveys to date. In order to achieve virtually 100% participation, telephone calls to individual project directors may become necessary. When all the data have been received, these will then be summarized and a draft report will be prepared (incorporating other elements as well, such as data on the pattern of submissions and awards), circulated to the Instructional Grants Committee, and then sent to Council for review and discussion, prior to final submission to the Provost.

Dr. Blair reminded Council members that proposals for 2005 funding are due in the Provost’s Office by close of business January 31. The review process for these proposals will be the focus of the February 4, 2005 Council meeting.


3. Report of the Committee Chairs:

Faculty Development Committee (J. Grabowski): The Faculty Development Committee met on December 6 and discussed several issues. One issue was how to communicate CIDDE’s services effectively to faculty, especially to part-time and adjunct University faculty members. Currently, there are various methods for contact, but no solution has been arrived at to specifically target distribution to this latter group. CIDDE Liaisons have been asked to update e-mail addresses and to forward the information to all faculty, including part-time and adjunct members. A second issue was a request for input on the upcoming Summer Institute program (SIDI 2005). This year’s Summer Institute will continue the successful Course Design component and a program on “ways to promote critical thinking” is being discussed. CIDDE will also discuss ideas for such a workshop with the Arts & Sciences undergraduate dean and department chairs. Another topic for the committee’s consideration was how CIDDE might extend assistance to key departments for assessing student learning outcomes for general education requirements and major fields of study. With respect to the proposed program on critical thinking, members agreed that this is an important subject, particularly for undergraduate students, and gave examples of ways they have incorporated this into their own courses. Following a robust discussion of ideas, Dr. Blair agreed that there is an obvious need to incorporate critical thinking into courses, but the focus of the proposed Summer Institute program should be more specific, and suggested that the committee might provide further information and insights for a future Council discussion.

Best Practices Implementation Committee (B. Bidanda): The Best Practices Committee met on Friday, December 3, and reviewed the 2003 Council/CIDDE Report outlining best instructional support practices at other institutions. The committee initially discussed the topic of teaching certificates for TAs, and Dr. Patricia Beeson, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and chair of the UCGS, was invited to participate and attended the meeting. Dr. Beeson informed the committee that a teaching certificate was a current initiative of the UCGS and that this group has been reviewing other universities’ programs regarding teaching opportunities and recognition for graduate students. Thus, this topic will not be part of the Council’s continuing agenda.

The second item from the Best Practices Report for committee discussion was the establishment of faculty learning communities as an extension of our New Faculty Orientation program. Suggestions to implement this idea included brown-bag lunches on a specific topic, held in a University-wide setting for new faculty. Members were positive about the possibilities for interdisciplinary activities and friendships outside their own schools, as well as the availability of a forum for receiving feedback from colleagues. Other ideas under consideration include a survey of new faculty to determine what they need. Dr. Davis informed Council that a faculty survey was conducted several years ago, but that a new survey may gather up-to-date information about perceived needs in the areas of instructional technology, course design and development.

Dr. Blair summarized the discussion, noting that considerable enthusiasm had been indicated by Council members for these kinds of ideas, but that future discussions should focus on making specific recommendations.


4. Adjournment:

With no other items for discussion, the meeting adjourned at 4:55 pm.




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