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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

January 16, 2009


826 Cathedral of Learning




Present:A. Blair (Chair), R. Brand, P. Brusilovsky, J. Camillus, T. Derricotte, J. Erlen, K. Kearns, M. Ripoll, C. Singh, M. Smith,  J. Nicoll (Staff Liaison), and B. Frey (Presenter)



Approval of Minutes (A.Blair):

  Dr. Blair noted that the minutes of the December 8, 2008 meeting had been distributed to all members of Advisory Council.  He asked for a motion for approval from Council members present, which was offered, seconded, and accepted.  Minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.

Report of the Chair (A. Blair):

  Dr. Blair welcomed Dr. Joanne Nicoll, Associate Director of CIDDE, to her first meeting as Staff Liaison, replacing Dr. Diane Davis who retired from the University last month.  He also announced that the deadline for receipt of proposals to the Innovation in Education Awards is January 30.  Dr. Nicoll informed Council that requests from faculty who are interested in writing a proposal and needed CIDDE staff assistance had increased this year to 18; Dr. Blair thought that this may be an indicator that proposal submissions may increase as a result of this effort.

Preparation for Instructional Grants Proposal Review (A. Blair): 


The ACIE “Proposal Review Process 2009” framework was distributed, and Dr. Blair explained briefly the timeline for the proposal reviews.  Dr. Nicoll explained the purposes of the CIDDE Technical Reviews, which are conducted by CIDDE instructional design staff and prepared for Council reviewer’s assistance in evaluating the proposals.  The review process will be discussed in greater detail at the February 19 meeting.


Report of the Committee Chairs:


a.  Faculty Development (K. Kearns, Chair):  (1) Dr. Barbara Frey, CIDDE Senior Instructional Designer, submitted a proposal to the Committee for review late in the fall term.  After its review, the Committee submitted it for Council’s further review at the December Council meeting.  As there were not enough members present at that meeting for a full discussion, this item was deferred to January, at which time Dr. Frey would be available to give a brief summary of the project and to answer questions.  The survey, entitled Promoting a Positive Classroom Environment Survey, would be administered to select faculty and the data used to determine strategies for managing specific disruptions.  After some discussion, it was agreed that this may be a worthwhile project to undertake but it would need to be refined.
The Committee also looked at two other items:  the SIDI workshops and New Faculty Focus Groups.  The SIDI workshops topic will be “Bridging the Gap between Information Gathering and Critical Thinking.”  The workshops will focus on critical thinking in an expanded way and would include creativity in using web-based sources of information and analysis of information; i.e., critical thinking at a higher level.  The Committee is now seeking recommendations for faculty presenters who are already doing this in their classrooms and would be willing to participate, particularly faculty from the humanities and natural sciences.   Professor Kearns suggested that there could be some dialog at the beginning of the seminar since this is an “elusive” topic that may have different definitions among various disciplines.

With regard to the New Faculty Focus Groups, Dr. Nicoll distributed a handout that included the process for gathering names of faculty who will be asked to participate, the format for the meetings, and questions that will be asked in the group discussions.  Facilitators will be selected from the Committee’s membership (four have already agreed to do this).  The focus groups will meet in Alumni Hall this year and will be scheduled for late February or early March.

b.  Best Practices (C. Singh, Chair):  Prof. Singh reported that the Best Practices Committee is focusing on a review of CIDDE’s testing services.  The Committee will be conducting a benchmarking project with ten comparable AAU public universities, using telephone interviews.    

The Committee also viewed a presentation by Dr. Nick Laudato, CIDDE Associate Director, on its computerized testing system, CATS, which he originated in 1994 and 1995 for use by the University External Studies Program.  The purpose of the presentation was to consider whether this system might be adaptable for present use elsewhere or would new commercially-produced software be a better option.  The next steps include a review of other software and other features/enhancements that may work better in other settings, such as testing in individual schools.




With thanks to CIDDE and their good work on these efforts and with no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 11:10 am.  The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 19, 2:00 pm, 826 CL.

2008 Advisory Council Instructional Excellence. University of Pittsburgh. All Rights Reserved.
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