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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

December 13, 2005




826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), B. Bidanda, K. Blee, J. Erlen, J. Grabowski, C. Hinderliter, M. McNeil, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)


Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):


A motion was made for the approval of the November 16, 2005, minutes, which was seconded and accepted unanimously by the members present.. The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.


New Faculty Focus Groups and Outcomes Assessment (B. Bidanda, Chair, Best Practices Committee): Dr. Blair noted that this particular agenda item was an outgrowth of last month’s meeting. Dr. Bidanda indicated that success of the New Faculty Focus Groups held last year suggested to the committee that this effort should be continued. A draft proposal, entitled “Provost’s New Faculty Forums,” was submitted to Council for its review and discussion. The Forums, to be held annually, would provide opportunities for junior faculty to meet and interact with peers in small interdisciplinary groups, using a format that would facilitate faculty exchanges of information and interests that would both enrich their experiences as new University faculty and encourage subsequent collaborations. Suggested topics for group discussions included research, instructional, and professional service needs of new faculty, useful University resources, constraints to faculty productivity, and opportunities for services improvement. This effort would require some funding from the Provost for duplication and distribution of relevant materials and a light lunch for participants.

Council members subsequently offered some suggestions for further consideration: there should be a mixture of cohorts within the groups; as done last year, a letter from Dr. Blair should be sent to deans and department chairs announcing the program and asking for names of faculty members who might be invited to participate; and the desirability of having regional campus faculty members participate through video-conferencing.

There was a general agreement among the Council members present that this proposal should go forward; however, Dr. Blair indicated that the above suggestions should be taken into consideration in the form of a final proposal.

Dr. Bidanda then moved to the second topic, Outcomes and Assessments. He provided for Council’s information a brief description of his own department’s (Industrial Engineering) evaluation process, which was contained in its recent self-study document for reaccreditation by ABET. He explained that the department faculty agreed on ten dimensions/outcomes (what they expect the students to attain by graduation) for evaluating the department’s instructional success.

In the ensuing discussion, it was observed that approaches such as this one were increasingly being required by professional school accreditation agencies. It was also noted that the Middle States Association is also considering this for the Arts and Sciences areas. Dr. Bidanda indicated that there are both pluses and minuses to this approach to outcomes assessment, but that it tends to be useful for curriculum planning.


3. Faculty Book Discussion Initiative (J. Grabowski, Chair, Faculty Development Committee):

Dr. Grabowski distributed a final report on the pilot “Faculty Book Discussion” initiative. How People Learn: Brain, Mind Experience, and School, was the basis of these sessions. The feedback from participants indicated that this was a positive experience, and the Faculty Development Committee would like to recommend that Council continue this offering. The format for this initiative would be the same as the pilot: one book would be chosen for discussion; enrollment for the sessions (limited to 12 faculty per session) would be solicited through flyers sent to faculty as well as through a notice in the Teaching Times; and the book would be purchased and distributed to participants. As was the case last year, three faculty members would be selected to facilitate the sessions and refreshments would be provided for participants. Funds would be required for the purchase of the books, refreshments and lunch, plus a small honorarium for the faculty facilitators. The committee has suggested offering this program in both the Fall and Spring terms.

Council members’ suggestions and questions included the following: consider the possibility of including a major survey article as the basis for discussions rather than a book; and would there be any spin-offs/impact from this initiative?

In conclusion, Dr. Blair requested that both project proposals (New Faculty Forum and Faculty Book Discussion Initiative) be reviewed by the respective committees to consider the suggestions offered by Council members, as well as reworking the budget for each initiative. Formal Council recommendations could then move forward.


4. Adjournment:

With no other business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 4:35 pm. The next meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for Monday, January 9, 4:00-5:00 pm, Room 826 CL.




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