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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence

Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence

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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

October 12, 2006


826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), E. Beckman, K. Blee, R. Brand, J. Camillus, P. Kameen, K. Kearns, M. McNeil, M. Smith, and J. Nicoll for Diane Davis (Staff Liaison



Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):


Dr. Blair asked for a motion for approval of the September 18, 2006 meeting minutes, which was made, seconded, and minutes accepted as written. The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.

Report of the Chair (A. Blair):

Dr. Blair informed Council members that the RFP for the grants program, Innovation in Education 2007, has gone to the printer. An advance copy of the RFP will now be sent to deans and department chairs and they can forward it to faculty members, encouraging them to consider submitting a proposal. CIDDE liaisons will be contacted as well to provide the same message to faculty in their individual areas.

Dr. Blair reminded members that the Teaching Excellence Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. He encouraged Council members to attend the event, which showcases the projects funded through the grants program last year.

Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):

3. Report of the Council Committees (J. Nicoll): In the absence of the chairs from the Faculty Development Committee (S. Albrecht) and the Best Practices Committee (P. Card), Dr. Joanne Nicoll reported on the Committees’ discussions held in October.

a. Faculty Development Committee: The Committee reviewed activities completed recently: New Faculty Orientation, New Teaching Assistants Orientation, and the Summer Instructional Development Institutes. The faculty book discussion initiative that began last spring received highly positive reviews, and plans for replicating it during the current academic year are underway. These discussions give faculty an opportunity to come together and talk about teaching and learning, as well as benefiting from interdisciplinary discussions within the groups.

This year, the Committee has chosen The Art of Changing the Brain for discussion, and many faculty are already on the waiting list. The Committee would like to offer one more session in the fall term to accommodate all faculty who would like to attend.

Dr. Nicoll distributed a copy of the brochure publicizing the Teaching Excellence Fair and noted that the highlight is the presentations of last year’s funded Innovation in Education projects. Other popular events include the “Conversations on Teaching” and the demonstrations of instructional technology. The Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Graduate students are also welcome to attend this event.

Another annual workshop that the Faculty Development Committee oversees is the Summer Instructional Development Institute (SIDI). This includes a day-long workshop, sponsored by the Advisory Council, which is held once a year, usually in May. The workshop focuses on topics related to University teaching. In recent years, the day-long session has included promoting retention and transfer of learning, critical thinking, and writing and speaking across the curriculum. The committee is now thinking about the Spring 2007 offering and hopes to attract more Arts and Sciences faculty attendance. It is considering “collaborative learning” as a topic that would be interesting to all faculty across the University.

b. Best Practices Committee: The Best Practices Committee met and focused on the planning for the New Faculty Forums. In a previous effort, focus groups composed of relatively new faculty were formed to determine what this segment of the faculty would like to know more about as a follow-up to New Faculty Orientation. These sessions were led by Advisory Council members, and the focus groups generated some interesting discussions. The New Faculty Forums program will invite all new tenure-stream faculty to attend one of a series of lunch-time group meetings this year, to discuss an article (such as “Quick Starters”) and to engage in an interdisciplinary exchange. A facilitator from the Council membership will lead the discussion. Once the attendees have been registered and assigned to a session, they will provide information about themselves, which will be shared with others in the group. In going forward with the New Faculty Forums, Council members will be needed to facilitate the four or five group sessions that will likely be needed to accommodate faculty members’ schedules. Facilitators will be assisted by creating questions in advance and through a meeting of the facilitators prior to the sessions. Once dates for the sessions are chosen, invitations from Dr. Blair to this year’s new tenure-stream faculty will be extended.

Dr. Blair then asked for Council’s endorsement of these changes in the original proposal, and the members present concurred.


With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 4:00 pm. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, 10:00 am, 826 CL.

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