UCAT exists to assist all those who teach at The Ohio State University to excel in teaching, support student learning, and experience the satisfaction that results from teaching well.
UCAT seeks to advance teaching at Ohio State by promoting a university culture that puts students first by valuing a scholarly approach to teaching and learning, and focuses on faculty success by providing information, consultation, and events on teaching.
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.
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.
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.
Phillip M. Edwards, M.S., is the Assistant Director of the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching, where he supervises a team of graduate consultants, teaches courses and provides support for the Graduate Teaching Fellows Program, helps departments support their GTAs, and consults with faculty, staff, and graduate students across campus on a range of teaching and learning issues. He earned a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from the University at Buffalo–SUNY and an M.S. in Information with a specialization in library and information services from the University of Michigan. His previous experiences as an instructional consultant were from the Center for Teaching Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University and from the Center for Instructional Development and Research at the University of Washington. His current interests include graduate and professional student development, teaching with technology, information literacy within the curriculum, and assessment of educational development programs.
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 assistant 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 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’s course work in Student Affairs in Higher Education. 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 and online learning, backwards curriculum design and learning outcome assessment.
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.
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.
Elizabeth Brewer, Ph.D. Candidate in English Claudia
Cornejo Happel, Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese
Sarah Holt, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Michael Murphy, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Studies
Wonneken Wanske, Ph.D. Candidate in Germanic Languages and Literatures
2012-13 Annual Report Executive Summary
The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching continues to focus its efforts on both core programs and services, such as individual consultations, new instructor orientations, workshops, and information resources, and on initiatives to meet the shifting needs and goals of The Ohio State University. During 2012-13, members of nearly 145 academic and support units have worked with UCAT in teaching improvement efforts. These include faculty from all campuses, all colleges, and several other units (Medical Center, OAA, Student Life, Libraries). More than 1,700 unique individuals worked with us.
UCAT staff members work with instructors as they reflect on and plan for their teaching. UCAT is available to discuss with instructors and unit coordinators any aspect of teaching, such as getting feedback about one’s teaching, designing courses, enhancing classroom techniques, difficult classroom or student situations, creating/planning innovations, developing course materials, and documenting teaching effectiveness. Of the 610 total consultations, the majority (420) were on the topics of assessment of teaching or getting feedback on teaching. Of these, 96 were Small Group Instructional Diagnoses, during which 2,618 students participated. Additionally, 92 of the 420 consultations were on course or curriculum design, 77 were focused on advancing teaching by multiple instructors, and 24 were classroom observations by UCAT consultants.
In 2012-13, UCAT sponsored 167 events, workshops, and trainings for various audiences across the Ohio State campus. 1,583 different individuals attended at least one of these programs (according to available records), with a recorded total of 2,948 attendances. Over the course of the year, UCAT hosted 41 events that were open to the general public and drew 1,833 attendances (this includes estimates for events at which attendance reports are not available) by 1,614 unique people. When our Teaching Orientation is excluded, the numbers change to 1,290 attendances by 677 unique people. UCAT also sponsored longer-term professional development opportunities, facilitating 3 faculty and professional learning communities, with a total of 27 participants, and 7 course design institutes (CDI). A total of 83 participants completed a CDI during 2012-13, which brought us up to a total of 289 “CDI Alumni.” These alumni represent 97 different units. This marks an increase of 57 participants and 8 participating units compared with last year. UCAT co-sponsored 2 large-scale campus events over the course of 2012-13. In collaboration with the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the student group ChemTALKS, UCAT sponsored a visit from Dr. Eric Mazur (Harvard, Physics) for a campus-wide talk, “The Tyranny of the Lecture,” which drew 79 participants. UCAT was instrumental in the first campus-wide conference on program assessment, coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs. “Making Program Assessment Work for You” was led by Dr. Thomas Angelo (Queens University of Charlotte, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence) with every department sending at least one representative. Altogether 188 participants attended this conference. Our annual teaching orientation was held August 14, 15, and 16, 2012. UCAT hosted 515 participants from a total of 50 different units. UCAT recruited 81 GTA, faculty, and staff facilitators to cover 76 sessions. 430 of the participants (83%) were new to teaching at Ohio State.
Institutional Initiatives and Partnerships
UCAT continues to participate in on-going conversations with several units on Ohio State’s campus to support Ohio State’s key initiative of internationalization, establishing new connections in the past year. UCAT has maintained its consultation services on speaking skills, and linguistic and cultural issues in the American university. Also, UCAT continues to assist units who are furthering their support for an increasing international student population. Finally, UCAT remains active in international outreach and engagement with institutions around the globe.
Academy of Teaching
UCAT provides support for the Academy of Teaching, a university organization made up of recipients of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. This year the Academy hosted a Fall Reception on September 24, 2012. Dr. Valerie Lee, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, presented “From Ludicrous to Lucid: Lessons Learned on Classroom Diversity,” and its annual mini-conference, “Teaching the Difficult: Challenging Topics and Troubling Student Responses,” featuring a presentation by Joan Middendorf (Indiana University) on “Decoding the Disciplines.”
Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer
As part of UCAT’s effort to support all who teach at Ohio State in their quest to find their work both effective and rewarding, members of the UCAT staff participated in the design and implementation of the inaugural Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer. A working group was assembled by the Office of the Provost in response to coincident recommendations from the President and Provost’s Council on Women and the Academy of Teaching that teaching excellence among lecturers at Ohio State be recognized in a manner similar to the annual Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Graduate Associate Teaching Award. The purpose of the award is to annually recognize up to three lecturers (defined broadly to include all auxiliary faculty on all Ohio State campuses) for their teaching excellence.
UCAT Teaching and Scholarship
All members of the UCAT staff are expected to maintain their expertise and contribute to the local and national dialogue and innovation in the field of educational development in higher education. In fact, staff are among the leading experts and scholars on a variety of issues, including assessment of educational development efforts, peer review of teaching, graduate and professional student development, and supporting course and curriculum design. This year, UCAT staff members taught three graduate classes relating to university teaching, including a May term class on course design, supervised many individual studies, and administered the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization/Minor in College and University Teaching. UCAT staff published an edited volume (Mapping the Range of Graduate Student Professional Development) this year and six peer reviewed chapters or articles Staff also presented seven invited talks and nine peer reviewed conference presentations. UCAT staff perform significant service roles, both at Ohio State and outside the university. Staff serve on editorial boards and as reviewers for 4 major journals in the field of university pedagogy, and are very active in the Professional and Organizational Development Network, the premier professional association in our field. Staff serve on or chair five POD committees, and Kathryn Plank was elected president of the association while a member of our staff.