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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

October 16, 2009


826 Cathedral of Learning




Present:A. Blair (Chair), P. Brusilovsky, N. Day, A. Godley, M. Madison, P. Manning, J. McGrath, R. Venkataramanan, C. Wilcox, and C. Golden (Staff Liaison)



Approval of the Minutes (A. Blair):


Dr. Blair next asked for a motion from continuing Council members for approval of the September 8, 2009 meeting minutes, which was offered, seconded, and accepted as written.  The minutes will be posted to the ACIE website.


Report of the Chair (A. Blair):  


(a) Council Committees:  A final membership list of the Advisory Council committees (Faculty Development; Best Practices Implementation, and Instructional Grants) was distributed to members.  Two of the committees that meet regularly (Best Practices and Faculty Development) have met and reports of the meetings will be presented at today’s Council meeting. 

(2)  RFP 2010:  This year’s RFP has been mailed to all faculty members, both full- and part-time, on all five campuses.  Copies will be available at the Teaching Excellence Showcase on Wednesday, October 21. 


Reports of the Committee Chairs

  a.       Best Practices (C. Wilcox):  The Best Practices Committee met on Tuesday, September 29.  Prof. Wilcox reported that the committee agreed that the focus of discussions this year would be the Provost’s Faculty Diversity Seminar and the Teaching Excellence Showcase.  For the TES, the goal is to help CIDDE with next year’s event by reviewing the evaluation forms and possibly suggesting changes.  The committee also wants to look at the distribution of attendees across the University and to learn from the individual schools how faculty are encouraged and offered support to improve teaching.  Ms. Golden noted that extra efforts have been made to promote the Showcase, including e-mails, advertisements, and direct mailings, but further strategies may be discussed.  She encouraged Council/committee members to attend the Showcase, in particular to observe the activities and presentations in preparation for future committee discussion on ways to enhance this event.

The second topic was the Faculty Diversity Seminar, an annual seminar held in early May.  Dr. Nicoll attended the meeting and described the history of the seminar.  She also noted that the seminar’s Advisory Committee prepared a report for the Provost in 2002 that assessed its first eight years.  (At the committee’s request, a copy of this report will be provided to the members.) The goal for the review of the FDS is to identify new approaches for enhancing the program’s value. 

b.        Faculty Development (N.  Day):  The Faculty Development Committee met on October 15.  At that meeting, Dr. Nicoll gave brief descriptions of Council-sponsored CIDDE programs for new members’ information.  First to be discussed was the Summer Instructional Development Institute (SIDI) that was held in May, Bridging the Gap between Information Gathering and Critical Thinking, which attracted 42 attendees representing 13 schools and 35 departments.  There is some concern regarding the timing of this offering, i.e., that it is held in the spring after classes are over.  After some discussion of various times during the academic year when this event might attract more participants, there was no agreement reached and the topic was tabled.  The second item on the committee’s agenda was the Faculty Focus Groups that were convened last academic year.  This effort was developed as an extension of New Faculty Orientation.  It was noted that this is an important source for CIDDE staff to learn how to increase faculty participation in their events and for ways to create more interest in what is going on in CIDDE.  The final item was the Faculty Book and Article Discussions, which are held three times a year and are well received by the attendees, but attendance is low (which may be acceptable for this type of program).  Dr. Nicoll has recently revised the objectives to focus on teaching methods, strategies, and/or assessment procedures, application of alternative teaching methods/strategies used in other discipline, and reflection on teaching and learning to enhance instruction.  These, however, are open to suggestion.  Among general observations from Council members were:  a list of the books and articles used in earlier sessions would be helpful; tailor discussions and workshops more toward disciplines; be more proactive by offering workshops, etc. in other locations


Report of the Staff Liaison (C. Golden):


Ms. Golden reported that 55-60 people have already pre-registered for the Teaching Excellence Showcase.  As a new director, the transition presents an opportunity for CIDDE to conduct a self-review and get input from everyone, with a goal of continuous improvement.  Ms. Golden has been reviewing CIDDE’s goals and objectives, and looking at what has been done in the past and what might be done in the future to support its mission.  She also has been conducting staff interviews to gather information and, when this phase is complete, Ms. Golden expects to have a full-day CIDDE planning session.  This initiative is in the beginning stages, and she will keep Council informed as it moves along.  Ms. Golden then distributed a handout of summary tables on Blackboard usage since its inception in 1998 and the number of sections by academic center for Fall Term 2009.  The data provide evidence that usage has increased over each of the past 11 years, with Fall Term 2009 representing a high point in terms of usage, and show that virtually all academic centers have adopted Blackboard.  In closing, Ms. Golden noted that the data show that Blackboard is a critical instructional tool at the University.




With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 3:00 pm.  The next Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 16, 11:00 am, 826 CL.

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