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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

December 10 2007


826 Cathedral of Learning




A. Blair (Chair), S. Albrecht, R. Brand, P. Brusilovsky, J. Erlen, P. Gupta, C. Hinderliter, A. Humphrey, K. Kearns, P. Manning, K. McDonald, M. Smith, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)



Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):


Dr. Blair asked for a motion to approve the November 15, 2007 meeting minutes. A motion was made and seconded, and the approved minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.


Faculty Development Committee (S. Albrecht, Chair):

Professor Albrecht reported that the Committee met on December 4, 2007 and discussed several topics (minutes of this Committee meeting were also distributed). First, was the upcoming Summer Instructional Development Institutes that will be held on May 8, 2008. The Committee has selected “Mentoring Student Research” as this year’s topic. Dr. Joanne Nicoll (CIDDE) will contact Vice Provost Beeson, as suggested by Dr. Blair earlier, for her assistance in structuring the session. Several Council members had comments relevant to the topic; in particular, one member raised the issue of availability of funds to pay students for this kind of activity. However, the main focus of the discussion was on incorporating student research as part the academic process at a comprehensive research university such as the University of Pittsburgh.

The Committee also reviewed last year’s report on the New Faculty Forums and its purpose. Dates for this academic year’s Forums are January 28, 29, 30 and 31, with the latter dates reserved for ITV sessions. All new tenure-stream faculty will be invited to attend as well as new tenure-stream faculty from last year who were unable attend. Discussion leaders are being sought in addition to Profs. Albrecht and Kearns, who have already agreed to lead a session.

Prof. Albrecht reported on the CIDDE “Learning Opportunities for Faculty” Fall workshops. She noted that attendance has increased due to new efforts at publicizing these throughout the term. A summary of the Fall Instructional Design Workshops was distributed for Council members’ information. It was also noted that individual workshops have been scheduled to assist faculty users of Blackboard in converting course content to be compatible with the newly-upgraded version, 7.3, as well as the new Content System component.

Another item on the Committee’s agenda was the Faculty Book Discussions. “Ethics within the Curriculum” is being considered as the topic. Dr. Blair reminded members that this needs to be agreed on by the next meeting in order for these sessions to be scheduled and offered during the Spring term 2008. Prof. Kearns commented that he has engaged in informal discussions on ethics with other faculty in other schools and at other universities and this is an area of great interest nationally as well.


Best Practices Committee (D. Davis for C. Singh, Chair):

Dr. Davis distributed a copy of the Committee’s minutes for Council’s information. She reported that they discussed the two major efforts for the coming year (refer to November 15 ACIE meeting minutes for details). The Committee further discussed how to conduct a follow-up evaluation of the Innovation in Education Awards and agreed that the focus of this year’s survey of project directors will address sustainability and impact. The Committee is currently reviewing the web-based instrument used previously as a basis for this year’s evaluation effort.

The second project will consist of a review of CIDDE’s Instructional Media Services by determining which component(s) could be improved and recommending specific best practices that work well at other universities. The Committee will continue to discuss this further at its next meeting.


Funded Project Presentation (C. Schunn, LRDC and A&S/Psychology):

Professor Christian Schunn presented an overview of his project, “A Web-based System for Reciprocal Evaluation of Student Paper Writing,” that was initially funded by Council’s Innovation in Education Awards Program in 2002. This project developed a technology-supported method for introducing writing and reflection about writing into large lecture courses by incorporating peer evaluation and a complex accountability system. The application is interdisciplinary in nature and is also being adopted in courses at other universities. Following the presentation, several Council members had questions that elicited some brief discussions. This is the first of several previously-funded project presentations to be given at future Advisory Council meetings.



With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 12:15 pm. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 10, 3:30 pm, 826 CL.


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