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Faculty, Pedagogy Initiatives Featured at National Conference
From: University Currents
Date: March 10, 2000
By: Chris Curran
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Archive: Campus News, Research News

The word is getting out about UC's initiatives to improve teaching and learning on campus. In February, a team of faculty and staff coordinated a half-day workshop at the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) Faculty Roles and Rewards meeting in New Orleans.

The workshop, "Putting Learning at the Center: From Rhetoric to Reality," was a chance to highlight the impact of five separate initiatives at UC: Faculty Development, Instructional Technology, Globalization, New Faculty Orientation and Mentoring, and the Project to Improve and Reward Teaching (PIRT).

Anthony Perzigian, senior vice president and provost, began the workshop with an overview, explaining how rising costs, increased competition for students, changes in student expectations, and political pressures all affect policies and programs at colleges and universities.

Different team members then presented details about how UC managed to make each initiative take root and grow, in spite of the many obstacles. UC's success definitely made an impact on the AAHE audience.

"It was standing room only with a national and international crowd," said Lanthan Camblin, professor of education and one of the presenters for Faculty Development.

"This shows we're at the forefront in terms of faculty development. It puts UC on the map," added Philip Way, director of the UC Honors Program and the presenter on the PIRT initiative.

In fact, conference attendees had to pay extra to attend the UC workshop. "I'm totally convinced that every one there went back and told someone at their school what's happening at UC," said Camblin.

The biggest impression, according to Camblin and Way, was that a university had managed to move beyond talking about student-centered learning and had actually developed effective programs that functioned across campus and across units.

Faculty Development, for example, represents a concerted effort and significant investment by administrators and faculty to improve teaching. Roughly $9 million will be spent over six years, and over half of all UC faculty have taken part in the Faculty Development grant programs. Of that, less than one percent of the money has been spent on administrative costs.

The reaction from the workshop participants demonstrated the uniqueness of UC's initiative. "Nobody was doing anything as encompassing and certainly not as advanced as we are," said Camblin. "They came because they were interested in finding out about a program where things get done, not just talked about," emphasized Way.

From a UC perspective, Camblin noted the change in faculty attitudes that resulted from the university-wide initiatives. "Anyone can give money to faculty, but these programs demand a commitment to benefit students and learning. Given a chance, faculty do get involved, and their motivation is to make this a better place for our students."

Others who presented at the workshop were: Evelyn Brod (Faculty Development), Alison Armstrong and (Instructional Technology), Kristi Nelson (Faculty Orientation and Mentoring), and Betsy Weiner (Faculty Summer Institute).