OHIO

Mission

Our mission at UCAT is to support and advocate for all who teach at Ohio State. We aim to help Ohio State’s teachers approach their work in a scholarly and reflective way, engaging with the research on effective pedagogies, thus promoting continuous improvement of student learning. We likewise strive to create a community wherein studentfocused teaching principles and practices are valued and in which teachers feel connected to each other. Taken together, we believe these things engender a campus culture where teachers have access to the tools, support, and recognition they need to be confident, fulfilled, and effective in their pedagogical roles at Ohio State.

History

UCAT can trace its roots to the Instructional Development and Evaluation unit of the Office of Learning Resources, which was created in 1980 to add instructional consultation services to a media services unit. In 1987, the unit became Faculty & TA Development in the Center for Teaching Excellence, a move designed to highlight the teaching emphasis of the mission. Since that time, the unit has retained the same name, although the parent organization became the Center for Instructional Resources in 1993 and part of 1994, when it reported to Academic Technology Services. In 1994, the unit was separated from media and computing services and assumed a dual reporting line to the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and the College of Education. Read more…

In 2000, the unit began a revision of its services. This resulted in a refocusing of efforts to better address priorities for course redesign, learning outcomes assessments, and technology-enhanced teaching, learning, and research. Most of these changes move toward longer–term professional development for Ohio State faculty, staff, and GTAs, as well as significant new service areas — including greater support to academic units on teaching–related issues, such as GTA support, peer review of teaching, and curriculum development and assessment, along with the promotion of and assistance with the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Reporting lines were streamlined in 2005; the unit now reports only to the OAA. Since that time, the unit has aligned its focus with that of OAA, to “stimulate and enable academic excellence”. UCAT’s philosophy of practice explicates the unit’s mission, vision, objectives, and core principles.

As the unit continued to expand and develop, it was found that the name, Faculty & TA Development, expressed neither the range of services nor the mission, vision, objectives, and core principles of the unit. In addition to providing support to individuals, our unit offers programs, communities, departmental partnerships, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Thus, in 2009, the unit was renamed as the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Philosophy

The support and services we provide are guided by the following core principles:

Our role within The Ohio State University is to support instructors at all levels of their development, in order to advance the institution's ultimate goal of enhancing students’ academic success. We do this by meeting the individualized needs of instructors, working with university departments, programs, and administrators, and creating a student-centered community and culture of teaching. We are proactive about understanding instructors’ and partners’ needs because we are in a reciprocal relationship with instructors at the university; their needs inform our services, and our disciplinary expertise informs their teaching, leading to evolving needs. Satisfaction surveys after events, annual surveys that include both quantitative and qualitative responses, the numbers of return users of our services, events attendance, email and comments (solicited and not), and grants awarded all afford evidence of the effectiveness of our work. These data also allow us to continue to improve the service we provide. We aim for a collaborative relationship with instructors. In our consultations with both individual instructors and academic units, we listen carefully to ensure we are responding to each of their unique situations. By first gaining an understanding of their needs, we are able to provide them with relevant resources that can help them make informed decisions about their teaching practice. Together we work to refine teaching methods, design courses and curricula, internationalize curricula, support GTA development, and assess and improve student learning. We consistently advocate for a culture of effective teaching at the University. In our collaboration with other sources of teaching support on campus, it is important that we create and maintain productive relationships. We understand that we work within a network, and we exchange knowledge in order to enhance the university culture of teaching. To this end, we design workshops with and co-sponsor events with Writing Across the Curriculum, the Office for Distance Education and eLearning, the University Libraries, the Graduate School, Student Life, the Office for International Affairs, and others. We advocate for best pedagogical and administrative practices through our participation in processes that shape instruction and policy in critical ways, including the Senate Committee on Peer Review of Teaching, SEI Oversight, Assessment of the GEC, and several college and departmental efforts to assess and improve the quality of teaching and student learning across campus.
We believe knowledge is most effectively produced in a diverse community of learners. To that end, we continuously strive to foster relationships with and between instructors to encourage growth in the context of teaching, forming a collaborative community in which people can share and learn from one another's expertise and experience. This work does not stop at the university walls. We are committed to enhancing teaching experiences by developing communities of peers at the local, national, and international levels, and advocating fora collaborative culture that continuously explores and celebrates the complex practice of university teaching. We understand that community requires a place where trust and a sense of safety can be established. Locally, our goal is to establish this safe and trustworthy environment for instructors with whom we work, in anticipation that they will take what they learn to their own communities. In this way, we work to spread the importance and rewards of teaching throughout Ohio State. We become partners with individual instructors, university departments and programs, and administrators, as we create and advocate fora culture that enhances teaching effectiveness. Another way we foster community at Ohio State is by sponsoring faculty/professional learning communities that are part of the Ohio State Teaching Enhancement Program (OSTEP). These communities each focus on a specific issue (globalizing curricula) or gather a cohort at a selected point in their career (mid-career and senior faculty). Participants in these learning communities meet regularly for a year, working together to support each other's efforts on a teaching-related project. Similarly, we support other communities of teacher-scholars, such as the Academy of Teaching, the Starting TA Resource Group, and the Course Design Institutes. We also facilitate workshops and book groups, both campus-wide and within academic units, as a form of multi-level community wherein participants share the experience of learning together, and then reflect together on the process of putting into practice the ideas about which they discuss and read. Through social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and our blog, we are connected to a community of instructors both within and beyond Ohio State. We use these online spaces to discuss topics and perspectives of importance to our partners and instructors. In all our work, we know it is important to evaluate the impact on individuals. Our feedback indicates that instructors, and UCAT staff alike, value the community fostered by UCAT. We continually strive to be reflective about our interactions with each other and in the work we do with the wider Ohio State community. It is important to us that participants in our community of learners feel a sense of connectedness with other people and units on campus, find pathways to identify common challenges and solutions, and grow in their own knowledge and expertise of teaching through the opportunities provided by UCAT.
As members of the academic community, we understand that scholarship is the core value and practice of our institution. We believe that this culture of analytic rigor and evidence should guide teaching and service, just as it does discovery-focused research. We adopt the view of our late colleague Donald H. Wulff of the University of Washington who described the relationship of educational developers to scholarship as a three-legged stool: we help instructors apply scholarly strategies to their teaching; we are critical consumers and interpreters of the literature on teaching and learning; and we are actively engaged in producing scholarship on teaching and learning and scholarship on educational development practice. As experts in university pedagogy, we are in a unique position to assist instructors by grounding all of our resources and services in foundational and current scholarship on teaching and learning. Because teaching is a defining feature of all departments on campus, we share our evidence-based knowledge of best pedagogical practices with instructors across disciplines. In addition to using this ever-expanding corpus of knowledge to guide our work, we engage participants and colleagues in transferring the scholarly methodologies of disciplinary research to their teaching, engaging them in a culture of evidence-based pedagogical practice. We help in clarifying their instructional goals, generating testable questions about how best to achieve these goals, and gathering useful data to answer their questions about how effectively students are learning. Finally, we seek to add to scholarship on university pedagogy and the scholarship of educational development. We conduct research on our own work to measure and expand its impact, we partner with instructors and administrators to generate scholarship on teaching learning, and we regularly participate in national conversations about university teaching. We present at conferences and have an active research and publication agenda exploring both university teaching and efforts to enhance and support such teaching. Including edited volumes, book chapters, published articles, conference and invited presentations, and efforts supporting funded projects, UCAT staff members have been involved in 78 completed scholarly works between 2009 and 2014. Working independently, with Ohio State instructors, and with educational developers at other institutions, our staff has recently produced scholarship on course design, graduate and professional student development, adjunct faculty support, models for consultation, gathering and using student feedback, assessing our own work, diversity in the classroom (language learners), technology (MOOCs), and supporting scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) efforts. We understand that it is important to model for instructors a scholarly approach to teaching, learning, and the support thereof. With that in mind, we incorporate and generate scholarly work and insights in all that we do to support the University’s mission of offering a quality learning experience for students through teaching excellence.

National Service and Involvement

UCAT staff consult with other institutions on college teaching and learning and on faculty development. They present at conferences on these topics and are involved in professional associations that deal with college teaching and faculty development, such as the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education and the International Alliance of Teacher Scholars. UCAT has been involved in several national projects on the improvement of college teaching, such as the Preparing Future Faculty Project and the National Consortium to Prepare Graduate Students as College Teachers, and both the Research University Consortium for the Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning clusters of the AAHE/Carnegie Campus Program.

Staff

Professional Staff

UCAT professional staff have specialized educational backgrounds and professional experience in college teaching. In addition to supporting teachers at Ohio State, they teach courses, conduct research, consult nationally, and are active in national and regional organizations.

Christy Anandappa, Office Administrative Associate, joined UCAT after serving thirteen years as an Office Associate in the Department of Marketing and Logistics in Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. Before she moved to Ohio, she worked for the British Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois.

Lindsay Bernhagen, Ph.D., is an instructional consultant at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She earned her doctorate in Comparative Studies at Ohio State after earning master’s degrees in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Music. Prior to working as an instructional consultant, Lindsay was a Doctoral Intern at UCAT and was a graduate consultant for the Writing Across the Curriculum program at OSU. She has also taught several American culture and literature courses in the Comparative Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies departments. Her interests include teacher and student diversity, supporting adjunct faculty, and interdisciplinary teaching and inquiry.

Teresa A. Johnson, Ph.D. is an instructional consultant and the Coordinator for Assessment and Curriculum Design at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She earned a doctorate in Microbial Ecology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught in the sciences at Butler University and at the College of Wooster. Her pedagogical research has focused on classroom assessment techniques and impacts of prior knowledge on student learning in the sciences. Her current interests are course and curriculum design, articulation of learning outcomes, and evaluation of teaching strategies.

Alan Kalish, Ph.D. is director of University Center for the Advancement of Teaching and an adjunct associate professor of Education Policy and Leadership at The Ohio State University. He previously served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at California State University, Sacramento, and associate director of the Teaching Resources Center at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also earned his Ph.D. in English. His research interests include how people negotiate the transition from graduate school to faculty lives, and his publications include articles on this topic, as well as on other issues in college teaching.

Laurie Maynell, M.A. is the instructional consultant specializing in support of international faculty and TAs, and an instructor with the ESL/Spoken English Program. She is a Ph.D. candidate currently writing her dissertation in the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University. Her interests include classroom communication issues, intonation in spoken language, and language processing.

Audree Riddle Grad Head ShotAudree Riddle, M.S. is the Office Assistant at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching.  She came to Ohio State after working three years for the Individualized Studies: Western Program as Student Activities Coordinate at Miami University, where she completed her Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education and obtained her Certificate in College Teaching. As an undergraduate, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her interests include informal learning environments, such as digital games, and learning outcome assessment.

Stephani Rohdieck

Stephanie Rohdieck, M.S.W., L.S.W. is the Associate Director of the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching and the Coordinator for GTA programs. She is also an adjunct instructor in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership. She has a masters in social work administration and earned her B.A. in psychology and women’s studies. Her current interests are graduate teaching preparation, teaching portfolio development, course design, and writing reflectively about teaching.

Jennie Williams, M.A. is the program coordinator for UCAT. She came to Ohio State after working in campus ministry for two years at Bowling Green State University. Her master’s degree from BGSU is in College Student Personnel. As program coordinator, Jennie primarily organizes the Teaching Orientation @ Ohio State, as well as other events sponsored by UCAT throughout the year. She also handles public relations and helps to coordinate the Academy of Teaching.

Graduate Consultants

UCAT employs several Graduate Consultants and Doctoral Interns who have experience in college teaching and supporting the teaching of others. In addition to consulting on teaching issues with GTAs at Ohio State, they conduct workshops, help with office research projects, and contribute to administrative tasks as they assist professional staff in the mission of the office.

Ana Casado, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Sarah Holt, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Michael Murphy, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Studies
Marissa Stewart, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Wonneken Wanske, Ph.D. Candidate in Germanic Languages and Literatures
Blake Wilder, Ph.D. Candidate in English

2014 Self-Study

This self-study report was compiled to facilitate the 2014 program review of the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) at The Ohio State University. While Ohio State has a long history of regular reviews of its academic programs and departments, this assessment has not usually extended to academic support units. The template for this self-study was adapted from that used by academic units to fit the mission, objectives, and activities of UCAT.  This internal review concludes that UCAT is doing very well with current efforts, and has plans based on data for continuing to improve our service to the teaching mission of The Ohio State University.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the unit, its goals and objectives, and its external reputation. The next three chapters present a full description of the public-facing work of the center.

Chapter 2 outlines the broad range of current programs and participants, demonstrating the scope of teaching support provided by UCAT to the university community.

Chapter 3 describes outreach efforts, both the many partnerships within Ohio State and outreach and leadership efforts in the field of educational development and higher education more broadly.

Chapter 4 depicts our significant research activity; UCAT staff members’ work on support for graduate and professional student development and on assessment of educational development programs is widely recognized as preeminent in the field.

Chapter 5 is the core of this report, assessing the work of UCAT, based on an analysis of the best available data. The scope and depth of this assessment is very rare, if not unique, among teaching support units at major universities. Having identified and assessed seven major unit goals, we see the data showing that UCAT is successfully achieving four goals (B, D, F, and G), making significant progress toward two (A and E), and seems to be making less significant progress toward one (C). However, this may be an artifact of the difficulty of measuring distant effects. Better data is needed to determine what steps we need to take to advance this goal.

The sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters lay out the administrative background that underlays the work assessed in Chapter 5.

In Chapter 6, the history of staffing for the unit is explained. While the current team is exceptionally talented, as the earlier chapters make clear, recent analysis of national data demonstrates that UCAT is significantly understaffed for the size of our university and the number of faculty, teaching associates, and instructional staff whom we are charged to support.

The organization and structure of unit management is presented in Chapter 7. Because UCAT is a small unit, with a variety of programming, most senior staff members serve as generalist instructional consultants to both individuals and to academic unit, while also maintaining a specific area of specialization in which they coordinate UCATs efforts.

Chapter 8 summarizes the unit’s infrastructure and resources. Central among these topics is physical workspace; even with recent expansion and remodeling, the unit is currently at maximum capacity.

Chapter 9 summarizes key issues for future focus that were raised by the data and analysis and details potential steps to address those issues. We have concluded that we possess broad and deep strengths in most elements of our work.  However there are four areas on which we must focus additional attention going forward:

  • Building Stronger Partnerships and Presence on Campus
  • Enhancing National Recognition
  • Maintaining and Advancing Core Services
  • Expanding Capacity

A great deal of additional data and documentation is provided in the many appendices. Taken as a whole, these materials should offer the reader an overview of UCAT’s development, current situation, and plans and potential for future development. As reviewers meet with members of the Ohio State community, they will find valuable, additional information and perspectives that will add to their analysis of this report. We look forward to hearing the feedback and recommendations that arise from this review process.

Download the Full Self Study

We added a  2014 Addendum in order to account for the time lapse between the end of our data collection and the start of our external review.

Appendices