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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

September 18, 2006


826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), J. Camillus, V. Copeland, T. Derricotte, C. Hinderliter, P. Kameen, M. Smith, C. Singh, K, Van Lehn, L. Yaich, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison); Provost J. Maher



Welcome and Introduction of Members (A. Blair):


Dr. Blair welcomed new and continuing members of the Advisory Council, noting that about one-third of Council are new members. He then introduced Provost James Maher, who gave Council its charge for the academic year (2006-07).

Provost’s Charge to Council (J. Maher):

Provost Maher gave a brief history of the creation of the Advisory Council, noting that it =s main agenda is to advise the Provost on the means to encourage instructional development and teaching excellence at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as to understand what faculty are facing in trying to accomplish both teaching and scholarship; to oversee the Innovation in Education Awards program, a small grants program for faculty for projects that strive to encourage the use of technology and other methods of innovative teaching; and to advise the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education which sponsors activities and provides assistance to enhance teaching.

Provost Maher noted that Council's achievements last year included the seventh consecutive implementation of the instructional grants program by encouraging the submission of and recommending good proposals for funding. Although this is now a mature program, he asked that Council review the RFP and fine-tune it as necessary. The program =s ongoing evaluation should be continued, and the review of proposals should be conducted with an eye for balance of technology and traditional teaching methods.

A second activity for which Council provides advice, New Faculty Orientation, has been getting stronger each year; in response to suggestions from new faculty, he suggested following up NFO with additional opportunities for more interaction among this group by implementing the New Faculty Forums initiative that was recommended and approved by Council last spring.

The Council should also continue to publicize the Teaching Excellence Fair (to be held on November 8), which provides a showcase for the programs funded by the grants program and other activities that promote teaching excellence.

In conclusion, Provost Maher thanked members for their willingness to review proposals and maintain an aggressive agenda for pursuing instructional excellence at the University of Pittsburgh. (Provost Maher then left the meeting.)

Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):

Dr. Blair then asked for a motion from continuing Council members for approval of the June 7, 2006 meeting minutes, which was offered, seconded, and accepted as written. The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.

Council Committees and Membership (A. Blair):

Council received a list of the three Advisory Council committees (Faculty Development; Best Practices Implementation, and Instructional Grants) and Dr. Blair outlined the focus of each. He noted that the committee chairs this year are Susan Albrecht, Faculty Development; Patrick Card, Best Practices, and Andrew Blair, Instructional Grants, and asked that each new Council member select a committee on which he/she would like to serve. Dr. Davis coordinates the Best Practices and Faculty Development committees = meetings. Committees report on their activities at full Council meetings and also provide agenda items for full Council discussion.

Best Practices Implementation Committee Report (D. Davis for P. Card):

Dr. Davis distributed the minutes of the Committee from its September 13 meeting, and noted that the New Faculty Forums initiative that was approved last term may have a logistical issue with regard to its implementation this year. As a result of its discussion, the Committee presented Council with a revised proposal for Council review. It is now recommending that they move to conduct 8-10 sessions in the spring term. The actual number of sessions would depend on the number of faculty who enroll for the sessions. Dr. Davis noted that the prototype sessions held last year received positive reviews. Committee members discussed two articles for this year =s sessions (selecting AThe Quick Starters @ as the best of the two), although there was support for multiple sessions with different topics. The overall focus of this initiative is to build collegiality around common concerns.

Dr. Blair informed Council that there is a pilot mentoring program that is being implemented by the Provost =s Office, using faculty volunteers as mentors to new faculty. This effort, led by Dr. Patty Beeson, Vice Provost for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, could draw upon the results of the Faculty Forums initiative. In concluding the discussion, Dr. Blair suggested that the revised proposal would be brought back to Council at its next meeting for further discussion and approval.


Innovation in Education Award 2007: RFP (A. Blair):


Dr. Blair distributed a draft copy of the RFP 2007 that was discussed at the June meeting. He noted that the RFP needs to go to faculty soon as well as to be available for the Teaching Excellence Fair on November 8. This year =s RFP made changes in the assessment component as recommended by last year’s reviewers. Reviewers also recommended that a selection of previously-funded proposals be provided to faculty who would like to see samples. One issue with providing samples was how to do this. Options discussed were having them on file in the Provost =s Office for individual review on request or placing them on a website for public review. The preference was for individual review on request, with faculty from the regional campuses gaining access to samples provided to the campus presidents. The next step will be to select a range of proposals for this effort, which the Instructional Grants Committee would approve.

Teaching Excellence Fair (D. Davis):
Dr. Davis encouraged Council members to attend the November 8 Fair to observe the presentations of the projects funded last year and to respond to questions from participants about the awards program

With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 2:45 pm. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 12, 3:00 pm, 826 CL.



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