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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

October 24, 2005




826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), B. Bidanda, K. Blee, P. Card, V. Copeland, S. Drescher, J. Erlen, J. Grabowski, C. Hinderliter, K. Kearns, K. Linduff, M. Ragni, G. Stoehr, K. VanLehn, L. Yaich, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)


Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair): A motion was made for the approval of the September 26 2005, meeting minutes, which was seconded and accepted by the members present. The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.


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

Dr. Blair informed the Council that the RFP was currently with the printers and was expected to be distributed to the University faculty prior to the November 9 Teaching Excellence Fair. He also noted that the deadline for receipt of proposals is the same as last year, January 31.

Dr. Blair reminded members that the Council annually staffs a table at the Fair and members are needed to answer questions about the RFP and any specific questions faculty may have about submitting proposals. Those that are able to volunteer should indicate their availability to Mrs. Wykoff as soon as possible.

A complete list of the Council’s committees’ membership was distributed. Dr. Blair indicated that committee meetings should be scheduled in the near future. The three committee chairs are responsible for providing brief reports on committee activities to Council, as well as to recommend agenda items for Council’s focus and discussion during the academic year.

Dr. Bidanda, the Best Practices Committee chair, noted that this is a very active committee. Last year, members facilitated several focus groups of new faculty to determine which additional support services are most beneficial to new faculty, and this effort was quite informative. This year, the committee will again review the Council’s Best Practices Report to identify other activities that may be useful for adoption at Pitt. The ensuing Council discussion touched on possible agenda items for the committee (e.g., outcomes assessment, emerging instructional technologies, etc.).

Dr. Grabowski, the Faculty Development Committee chair, noted that this committee was instrumental in implementing (with the Council’s approval) the new faculty instructional book discussions which began this week. Dr. Davis informed Council that this activity has had a high level of response resulting in the three sessions being completely full. For the first sessions, the book, “How to Learn,” was selected. One of the continuing Council members is leading the first group. These discussion groups, in general, will review literature about learning and instructional theory. A participant feedback form has been designed, which will solicit information and opinions from participants. The results of the questionnaire will be reviewed, and future discussions will be scheduled based on the outcomes. This committee also oversees the CIDDE Summer Instructional Development Institutes and the Faculty Development Seminars. Currently, Dr. Joanne Nicoll (Associate Director, CIDDE) is meeting with department chairs to identify needs and interest in these seminars and will prepare a report for committee review.

Dr. Blair will chair the Instructional Grants Committee this year and would like to see this committee think about what it might do to keep the evaluation of the Innovation in Education Awards Program under review. Page 13 of the June 2005 report (previously distributed) contains suggestions for possible evaluation follow up. This committee will be meeting soon and will discuss how an ongoing evaluation effort can be structured. Continuing evaluation efforts should be reasonable but not costly and build on what the Council has already done. Additionally, this committee oversees the grants proposal review process.



Report of the Staff Liaison (D. Davis): Dr. Davis distributed the final brochure for the Teaching Excellence Fair. She also described the four types of sessions, and highlighted some of the specific activities that members may be interested in. Dr. Davis encouraged Council members to attend as well as to encourage their colleagues’ attendance.

Dr. Davis reported on the EDUCAUSE Conference she attended recently. She informed Council that this is a group of people from other institutions who works primarily with instructional technology, and the topics discussed are quite broad in scope. CIDDE presented a session on the new Blackboard Content System, a comprehensive system that enables the management of course content for multiple sections of a course. Other items for discussion at the conference included e-Portfolios and how institutions are using these; the design of classrooms and learning spaces; Pod-casting; and web-based video and audio lectures. Dr. Davis noted that there are a lot of new technologies and information available, and this conference brings these to the forefront. The question is to find ways to make faculty aware of what is out there and how to access it.

Another external group that provides a significant opportunity for the discussion of these issues is the Learning Technology Consortium. The LTC membership is composed of nine institutions, including the University of Pittsburgh, whose representatives meet twice a year. Meeting locations are rotated among the member institutions and include a tour of the host institution’s instructional facilities. The first meeting this year will be held at the University of Maryland, which is a new member of the Consortium.

4. Adjournment: With no other business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16, at 10:00 am.



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