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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

January 9, 2006




826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), B. Bidanda, P. Card, V. Copeland, S. D rescher, J. Erlen, J. Grabowski, C. Hinderliter, J. Johnston, K. Kearns, K. Linduff, M. McNeil, N. Schor, G. Stoehr, B. Zitelli, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)


Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):


In reviewing the minutes, several wording changes were requested and noted. A motion was subsequently made for the approval of the December 13, 2005, minutes with changes, which was seconded and accepted unanimously by the members present. The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.

“Provosts New Faculty Forums” Proposal (B. Bidanda, Chair, Best Practices Committee):

Dr. Blair noted that this particular agenda item was the formal presentation of the Best Practices Committee’s proposal, which was reviewed and discussed last month (see December minutes). Advisory Council members made suggestions for the Committee’s consideration, which were incorporated into the final proposal for Council approval. These included a mixture of cohorts within 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 regional campus faculty members will be invited to participate in person or through video-conference.

After a brief discussion about the specifics of video conferencing with the regional campuses and how to better inform faculty of this initiative earlier (e.g., New Faculty Orientation), Council members present endorsed this proposal for implementation.

“Faculty Book Discussions” Proposal (J. Grabowski, Chair, Faculty Development Committee):

A proposal for this initiative was presented to Council by Dr. Grabowski during the December meeting. At that time, Council members made suggestions for the committee’s further consideration, which the committee agreed upon and included in the proposal for final approval. Dr. Grabowski added that this program will be evaluated in its third year and, based on the outcome, a decision will be made regarding its continuation.

Without further discussion, Council members gave approval for this project.

SIDI 2006 Plans (J. Grabowski):

Dr. Grabowski reported that the committee is in the early planning stages for the Summer Institutes, specifically in selecting a topic for the workshops. Dr. Davis indicated that it was recommended that this year’s topic would be “transfer and retention of learning.” CIDDE’s Teaching Times previously touched on this topic in an article. The committee would like to identify faculty who are doing exciting things in this area and asked Council members for their suggestions.

A question was asked about the time frame for learning retention and the possible need to refine the term. Dr. Davis indicated that there were different levels of learning outcomes and it is a problem that faculty are aware of. The major issue is how to help students to retain information from one year, or one course, to the next. Another member asked if there are specific learning categories that are retained longer than others. Another member commented that in some disciplines the learning and retention of processes and skills, as well as how to access knowledge and to think through problems, is of key importance. But it is difficult to devise a test to evaluate such retention. After some further discussion, Dr. Davis indicated that they will bring this topic back to Council when it is farther along in the planning process.

“mCasting” as a Mechanism for Faculty Development (N. Laudato):

Dr. Laudato, Associate Director of CIDDE, made a brief presentation of “mCast,” which provides faculty with the opportunity to use multiple technology formats (e.g., streaming video, podcasts, and Flash; see: https://cidde-web/pitt.edu/mcast/) for converting presentations, lectures, etc. into accessible form for various purposes outside of the classroom. Dr. Davis added that this is viewed by her staff as having potential as a new delivery system for distance learning.

Preliminary Discussion of Proposal Review Process (A. Blair):

Dr. Blair distributed copies of the Innovation in Education 2005 RFP and the “ ACIE Proposal Review Process 2006” framework. He reminded Council that the deadline for receipt of proposals is January 31 and also noted that he could not speculate as to how many proposals might be received. After reviewing the process for this year, Dr. Blair indicated that there were some changes to the 2006 RFP (e.g., project directors must indicate more specifically how the project’s success will be measured). A full discussion of the review process will take place at the February meeting.



With no other business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm. The next meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 11:00-12:00 pm, Room 826 CL.




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