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 student–focused 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.
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:
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.
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
Leah Hoops, Ph.D. Candidate in Higher Education and Student Affairs
Marissa Stewart, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Blake Wilder, Ph.D. Candidate in English
2014-15 Annual Report
Over the 2014–15 academic year, UCAT staff worked with 1,850 individuals across 139 units on 6 campuses.
We facilitated 623 individual consultations with 256 clients across 87 units.
We facilitated 58 unit consultations with 27 different units.
Of these consultations
- 435 were office visits,
- 100 were Small Group Instructional Diagnoses (SGIDs),
- 67 were electronic consultations, and
- 36 were classroom observations.
We had 2,969 unique event attendances by 1,987 individuals.
We held 8 Course Design Institutes with 101 participants from 49 units.
Our 2014 Teaching Orientation @ Ohio State had 538 participants from 65 departments.
We collaborated with 26 partners for events, including 19 for invited events.
We sponsored 4 learning communities with 28 participants from across 20 separate departments.
- 8 Teaching Orientation Facilitator Learning Community members,
- 8 Graduate Teaching Fellows,
- 7 Mid-Career and Senior Faculty Learning Community members, and
- 5 Faculty Learning Community on Internationalization of the Curriculum members.
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.
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.
- Appendix A- UCAT Philosophy of Practice Statement
- Appendix B- 2012-13 UCAT Annual Report
- Appendix C- UCAT Newsletter Autumn 2014
- Appendix D- UCAT National Service and Leadership
- Appendix E- Other Teaching Support Units at Ohio State
- Appendix F- UCAT University Service
- Appendix G- UCAT Scholarship
- Appendix H- UCAT Participation in Funded Projects
- Appendix I- UCAT Goals and Objectives
- Appendix J- UCAT Program Assessment Database
- Appendix K- Attainment and Assessment of UCAT Goals and Objectives
- Appendix L- UCAT Self-Study Assessment Types
- Appendix M-UCAT Assessing our Services Survey 2014
- Appendix J- UCAT Program Assessment Database
- Appendix O- UCAT Staffing Changes 1999-2014
- Appendix P- 2010 UCAT Reorganization Proposal