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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

April 6, 2009


826 Cathedral of Learning




Present:A. Blair (Chair), J. Camillus, T. Derricotte, P. Gupta, P. Manning, M. Ripoll, C. Singh, M. Smith, C. Wilcox, and J. Nicoll (Staff Liaison)



Approval of Minutes (A.Blair):

  Dr. Blair asked for a motion to approve the February 19, 2009 meeting minutes.  A motion was made and seconded, and approved; minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.

Report of the Chair (A.Blair):


Dr. Blair briefly summarized this year’s proposal review process and the follow-up session for the Innovation in Education Awards 2009.  At the March 24 meeting, Council members reviewed again the proposals selected for recommended funding.  There were two proposals of the group that did not gain consensus during the first session.  After some discussion, it was agreed that these would not be recommended for funding.  Thus, 11 proposals were recommended to the Provost, which he subsequently approved.  All proposal submitters have been informed of the outcome of their individual projects.  An article describing the funded projects will be published in the April 14 issue of the Pitt Chronicle.  In the fall, the Teaching Times will also devote an issue to these projects. Overall, the program gets good exposure in the University media.

A copy of the updated statistical tables for the awards program as a whole was circulated. It was noted that the distribution of submissions across campus was wide, and the number of proposals received had increased over last year.  Dr. Blair then asked for comments from Council members.  Prof. Singh recommended that proposals should contain evidence of a literature search and suggested that this component be included in the RFP in which project directors would explain how their project would build on what may already exist. A second suggestion was that the Council’s review might give some special preference for collaboration with other schools/disciplines or a statement in the RFP might be added. In response to this suggestion, a member suggested that, because this is a University-wide program, it could be mentioned that “interdisciplinary programs would be welcome.” 


Report of the Faculty Development Committee (J. Nicoll for K. Kearns, Chair): 


The Faculty Development Committee met on Wednesday, April 1.  The committee met with the Summer Instructional Development Institute seminar presenters, who are faculty members from across the University.  The topic this year is “Bridging the Gap between Information Gathering and Critical Thinking,” scheduled for Friday, May 1.  Faculty presenters will explain their own strategies for gathering information and assessing information credibility and how to help students use the information to think critically and analytically.  A student panel will add its perspectives of what they have gained through such activities.

Dr. Nicoll also provided an update on the New Faculty Focus Groups sessions that were held during the week of February 24.  Twenty-nine faculty members attended four sessions, and a response to the sessions should be very favorable based on a preliminary review of the evaluations.  A draft report of this effort will distributed for discussion at the May Advisory Council meeting.

Report of the Best Practices Committee (C. Singh, Chair): 

The Best Practices Committee is finalizing its evaluation of CIDDE’s testing services.  It was noted that the number of students taking online courses has decreased.  The committee felt that the CGS policy limiting face-to-face contact should be reviewed in light of the drop in enrollments.  The committee also discussed a possible overlap in some testing services offered by CIDDE and OMET.  It was also noted that CIDDE computers may be overused during normal testing periods, but underutilized at other times during the term.  Dr. Blair suggested that he and Dr. Nicoll discuss this further, with possible conversations later with the OMET Director.


With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 3:00 pm.The next regularly scheduled meeting is May 6, 10:00 am.

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