FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009
Contact: K.E. Schwab
SRU's new center links teaching, technology to learning outcomes
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Technology is going in circles - and that's a good thing.
Launched at the start of fall semester, the University-backed center will show off its newly remodeled facility at a 3-5 p.m. open house Wednesday. The Center, complete with Internet capabilities, large conference table, small group seating area, a laptop computer and a number of other resources, is located on the second floor of Bailey Library.
Led by Kathleen Strickland, professor of English and faculty learning coordinator, and Brian Danielson, director of educational technology and design, and assisted by William Huber, Blackboard administrator, the CETET is already seeing success as it works to support and nurture effective teaching and learning.
"At Slippery Rock University, the focus is clearly on teaching, and CETET offers faculty the opportunity to work together on pedagogy and methodology," Strickland said. "Our chief mission is to foster the enhancement of teaching excellence in all its forms by providing support and opportunities for professional development."
The CETET has two branches, the Faculty Learning Community, and Educational Technology and Design. The two branches work together in supporting faculty in their teaching.
One way this is done is through the formation of Teaching Circles and Teaching Partners. A Teaching Circle can be large or small, within a specific academic department, or across disciplines.
"The CETET coordinates a dozen Teaching Circles that are helping faculty share ideas and concentrate on teaching, and we have more than a dozen faculty-to-faculty partnerships that are helping faculty grow through one-on-one relationships," Strickland said. "We have found faculty willing to share their best teaching methods with fellow faculty. Collaboration on specific teaching strategies - like encouraging students to become involved in class discussions - has real benefits for the teacher and student. Others have invited fellow faculty to observe their class as a way of getting ideas. We have seen faculty work together to share ideas and work toward a common goal that enhances teaching," Strickland said.
"We will continue to see new ideas come from faculty involvement in the program, and that will direct the program. Next fall, we will open a program for senior faculty to partner with those who are new to SRU. New faculty may bring with them experiences that can be passed to those already here, and ideas can be passed to the new members as part of the center's interaction," she said.
The Educational Technology and Design part of the CETET assists faculty members with the use of technology to create learning experiences that foster academic achievement. "Discover. Learn. Apply. That's our model. Our goal is to introduce new instructional technologies to our faculty members, show them how to operate the new technology and then provide instructional strategies for applying it into their instruction," said Danielson. The educational technology support that is provided ranges from using PowerPoint to teaching fully online. "We offer both workshops and one-on-one consultations. We also realize how busy our faculty members are and have developed many 'quick-hit' resources available on the Web. Our menu of online instructional videos has really taken off," he said.
Educational Technology and Design has also added a three-week Certification Program for Online Instructors to its lineup. "The faculty response to this program has been tremendous," he said. In fact, there is a wait-list for the next few sessions."
In addition to opening the new center, which will be available for those involved in the program to host meetings, workshops and small-group discussions, Strickland said she expects to see new networking opportunities as the semesters progress.
Additional information is available at: http://www.sru.edu/teachingexcellence.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.