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:
We believe that knowledge and expertise are socially constructed within a specific context and that a collaborative community provides the space for people to share ideas and learn from one another. We focus on creating and sustaining a climate that supports teaching, developing a community of peers at the local, national, and international levels, and fostering a culture that celebrates the practice of teaching, as well as research on university instruction. We also value and seek to extend our partnerships within Ohio State, across the field of higher education, and more broadly.
Community requires trust and a sense of safety. Our goal is to provide a safe and trustworthy environment for those instructors who choose to work with us. One part of this effort is that we work with them on a voluntary and confidential basis, and that we do not participate in summative evaluation of their work. We believe that we are more effective as helpers when we are not also the “judges.”
Our community is stronger for valuing the diversity of its members. UCAT has a long-standing collaboration with the Office of Minority Affairs to support improving the learning climate for students from historically under-represented groups. The Commitment to Success Program uses the methodologies of scholarly analysis to support academic units in developing and implementing diversity action plans. Recently, this effort has expanded in partnership with the Department of Theatre, creating an interactive theatre troupe, InterACT, which provides highly effective programming on issues of diversity and inclusion. Other partners in these efforts include Student Affairs, the ADA coordinator, the Office for Disability Services, and the Nisonger Center.
We have worked to create opportunities for faculty to engage in learning communities through the Ohio State Teaching Enhancement Program (OSTEP). These groups meet regularly for a year, working together to support each other’s efforts on a teaching related project. Similarly, UCAT Development supports other communities of teacher -scholars, such as the Academy of Teaching and TOAST – The OSU Association for Scholarship of Teaching. UCAT also sponsors book groups, both campus wide and within academic units, as a form of multi-level community; participants share the experience of reading a book together and trying the ideas they read about.
Through surveys and reports from these groups, we know that members value the community created throughout the life of the groups and beyond. They feel a better sense of connectedness with other units on campus and see common challenges and solutions.
We also have a strong commitment to enhancing and utilizing the community that exists within our office. We believe in working together in a reflective manner that enables us to develop ourselves as members of our office, our university, and our profession.
We believe our role is to make other people’s work lives easier, more productive, and more enjoyable. We work with a ‘person-first’ orientation that begins with the needs of the client. It is important to consider each person as a multifaceted being in order to serve him/her best. We work to increase student success by supporting individual instructors and entire units, and we also participate in service to the university.
It is vital that the staff of a university teaching center address the particular needs of the instructors with whom they are working, just as all teachers must address the particular needs of the students who are actually in their classes. At The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching, we listen carefully to faculty and teaching associates to be sure we are responding to their real needs. We also make a point of trying always to say “yes” to whatever request an instructor has: sometimes that means “yes, we can do that for or with you,” sometimes, “yes, we can direct you to the place on campus that provides that service,” and sometimes, “yes, we’ll help you find the information or resources you want.” If faculty members have to spend too much time and effort finding the support they need, they may decide not to follow through with whatever instructional innovation they had in mind. This makes a service orientation, the “yes we can” attitude, very important for the success of both individual instructional consultants and for the entire teaching center as an organization.
In serving on academic department and college committees and university initiatives, UCAT seeks to be both a source of information and expertise and an advocate for enhancing a university culture that supports and honors teaching and teaching improvement. We have been invited to participate in many such activities including the Senate Committee on Peer Review of Teaching, SEI Oversight, Assessment of GEC, and several college and departmental efforts to improve teaching and to develop systems of assessment.
UCAT makes a concerted, regular effort to gather and use feedback from our clients and constituents. 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 give.
As members of the academic community, the staff of UCAT understands that scholarship is the core value and practice of our institution. We believe that this culture of evidence should guide teaching and service, just as it does discovery-focused research. Scholarship is demonstrated in critically reflective, scholarly teaching and assessment.
We have published regularly in the national-level journals of the field of educational development, and continue to have an active research agenda exploring both university teaching and efforts to enhance and support such teaching. We also follow, use, and share the literature on university pedagogy with Ohio State instructors to help them to be scholarly teachers, for whom research on teaching informs their practice and for whom research on teaching is as creative an act as any other form of original act of the scholarship of discovery or creation, disseminated like any other scholarly endeavor performed by us and our colleagues at our institution.
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. These efforts are often limited to a single instructor and a single class. However, this practice often generates findings that can and should be shared.
This practice has been growing internationally in higher education over the last fifteen or so years under the name of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). UCAT has championed in these efforts at Ohio State. In addition to assisting individual faculty members in their SoTL efforts, UCAT sponsored a faculty learning community on the topic that has grown into TOAST – The OSU Association for Scholarship of Teaching. Affiliated with local, national and international partners, this group of more than 30 Ohio State faculty supports its members in collegial relationships across disciplines and seeks to reinforce a faculty culture that brings the scholarship of teaching and research together.
By working in community, with the orientation of service, and techniques of scholarship, The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching seeks to further our mission of supporting the enhancement/advancement of teaching and learning at The Ohio State University.
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, the American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation, 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.
Teresa A. Johnson, Ph.D. is the instructional consultant for assessment and the scholarship of teaching and learning in 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.
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.
Lindsay Bernhagen, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Studies
Elizabeth Brewer, Ph.D. Candidate in English
Amy Collins-Warfield, Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Policy & Leadership
Claudia Cornejo Happel, Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese
Tim Jensen, Ph.D. Candidate in English
Michael Murphy, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Studies
2011-12 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 2011-12, members of 150 academic and support units have worked with UCAT in teaching improvement efforts. These include faculty from all campuses and all colleges and several other units (Medical Center, OAA, Student Life, Libraries). More than 1,800 different people 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 658 total consultations in 2011-12, 384 were on the topics of assessment of teaching or getting feedback on teaching; 143 were on course or curriculum design or semester conversion. We conducted 39 classroom observations and facilitated 90 Small Group Instructional Diagnoses (SGIDs), hearing from 2,310 students.
In 2011-12, UCAT sponsored 180 events, workshops, and trainings for various audiences across the Ohio State campus. 1,773 different individuals attended at least one of these programs, with a recorded total of 2,961 attendances. This is a slight increase in attendance over 2010-11. Over the course of the year, UCAT hosted 61 events that were open to the general public and drew 1,520attendances. UCAT staff facilitated 50 events for specific campus units (such as colleges, programs, or departments) during 2011-12. The total attendance at these public events was 603, about 20% of our overall total event attendance for the year.
UCAT also sponsored longer-term professional development opportunities, facilitating 4 faculty and professional learning communities, with a total of 47 participants, and 7 course design institutes, with 90 participants completing a CDI during 2011-12, which brought us up to a total of 232 “CDI Alumni.” These alumni represent 89 different units. This marks an increase of 133 participants and 28 participating units compared with last year.
Our annual teaching orientation was held September 13, 14, and 15, 2011. We hosted 410 participants from a total of 64 different units. We recruited 79 GTA, faculty, and staff facilitators to cover 85 sessions. 302 of the participants (73%) were brand new to teaching at Ohio State.
During the period of conversion to semesters, UCAT provided programming aimed specifically at assisting faculty, teaching associates, staff, and administrators in planning and executing an effective and responsible move from quarters to semesters. The Course Design Institutes mentioned above were created as part of this effort, but other services were offered as well:
- Consultations with both individuals and academic units;
- Informational resources made available through our newsletter, website, blog, and twitter feed;
- Assistance in curriculum and course design for semesters;
- Workshops and other venues for discussion of teaching and learning in semesters;
- As members on various committees, councils, and teams, assisting in the development of policies and procedures relating to semester conversion and teaching and learning in semesters; and
- Helping plan and participating in semester summits.
Other Institutional Initiatives and Partnerships
UCAT supports Ohio State’s key initiative of internationalization in a number of ways. We collaborate with the Office of International Affairs in support of internationalizing the undergraduate curriculum. Our partnership with the Spoken English Program continues to provide support to international teachers on campus. We also work with Ohio State instructors to help them address the needs of the international students in their classrooms.
UCAT continued to sponsor a faculty learning community on Sustainability Across the Curriculum with 14 participants. We also co-sponsored the participation of David Orr (Oberlin College) in the 2012 Sustainability Summit.
UCAT, in collaboration with OSU Veterans Affairs, Student Life, Undergraduate Education, and Vets4Vets, planned and hosted a one-day conference, “Today’s Student Veteran: Creating a Supportive Educational Environment,” in March 2012 at the Ohio Union. Nearly 100 people attended this event.
Academy of Teaching
UCAT provides support for the Academy of Teaching, an organization made up of recipients of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. This year the Academy hosted a reception and talk by Vice Provost Mike Boehm on “Teaching and Learning Within the ‘One University’ Model,” and a day long Mini-Conference:“The Last Quarter: Preparing to Teach in Semesters.“
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, we 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 five graduate classes relating to university teaching, including a newly developed class on course design, supervised many individual studies, and administered the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization/Minor in College and University Teaching.
We published or have in press two edited volumes (Team Teaching: Across the Disciplines, Across the Academy, and Mapping the Range of Graduate Student Professional Development), and six chapters of articles. We also delivered 6 invited talks and 7 peer-reviewed conference presentations.
We perform significant service roles, both at Ohio State and outside the university. We serve on editorial boards and as reviewers for 5 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. Kathryn Plank was elected to the Presidency of POD, while also serving on the Core Committee (Board of Directors), Electronic Communication and Resources Committee, and Governance Committee. Stephanie Rohdieck was elected chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Development Committee and Teresa Johnson served and a member of the Professional and Organizational Development Network conference team and on the Professional Development Committee.