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Combined support for our excellent faculty

How changes to the Center for Faculty Excellence will impact your work this semester and your teaching moving forward.

By Dan Vaccaro

January 31, 2018

MSU Denver facultyAs you’ve likely heard, the Center for Faculty Excellence is evolving. The changes come as part of an organizational restructuring aimed at improving student outcomes.

For the CFE that means centralizing existing support services to provide more assistance to faculty and working to bring proven pedagogies to courses in any format.

To that end, the CFE absorbed instructional design services, which was formerly part of the now defunct Educational Technology Center. The ETC staff members who worked primarily on the back end of Blackboard, as well as those involved in managing learning spaces, have moved to Information Technology Services. In short, the entire ETC staff remained with the University, but were reassigned to areas appropriate to their work, and all services are still available.

Jeff Loats, Ph.D., also became the new director of the CFE, with Michael Kolb resuming faculty duties. Kolb will still be involved with the New Faculty Institute.

“I want to acknowledge and thank Michael for his work,” said Loats. “I hope to build on that work to provide faculty members the support they need to be the best possible teachers.”

Senior Instructional Designer Taylor Kendal sees the shift to a more strategic and centralized approach as a real benefit for faculty.

“This move creates an inclusive ‘one-stop shop’ for faculty looking to improve their pedagogical practices, strategically infuse technology into their teaching, and/or continuously and iteratively improve overall course design,” he said.

While Loats will be evaluating the future of the center this semester, he doesn’t intend to implement any significant changes until the summer. That means business as usual for faculty using the center’s services this spring. Faculty portfolios (using Digital Measures), for example, will continue to receive support through Meredith Flynn, associate director of the CFE.

Center-led initiatives also will continue without interruption. In fact, several projects have already happened this semester, including the Teaching Effectiveness Institute and the inaugural affiliate faculty orientation, both of which were held before the start of classes.

Up next is the Tri-Institutional Faculty Forum scheduled for March 30 from 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m. in St. Cajetan’s. The CFE has teamed up with similar centers on the Auraria Campus to provide an all-day slate of workshops and presentations headlined by two experts on learning-centered teaching. Full details will be released in February.

The ultimate goal of the center’s evolution – as with the restructuring overall – is to make a positive impact on student learning.

“If every instructor at this institution, even the greatest teachers among us, adopted a technique or tool that enhanced their skills incrementally, we could significantly improve the student experience,” said Loats.

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