The Ohio State Teaching Enhancement Programs (OSTEP) offer faculty, staff, and GTAs a year–long opportunity to focus on their teaching as part of a transdisciplinary community of peers, explore a variety of issues in university teaching, enhance their own teaching, and support the teaching of their colleagues.
Community is one of the core principles guiding UCAT's mission. 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 began OSTEP as part of a state–wide collaboration funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, and then later as a part of a national grant funded by FIPSE, to create, facilitate, and disseminate faculty learning communities. Now, several years past the life of the grants, UCAT continues to fund and administer the OSTEP communities. Over 200 Ohio State instructors have participated in 28 different communities focusing on different issues (e.g., Teaching with Technology; SoTL) or different career stages (e.g., Graduate Teaching Fellows, Early Career Faculty, Mid–Career and Senior Faculty).
A community consists of the selected fellows, plus a facilitator. All of the members are given very modest funds to spend on professional development related to their individual teaching enhancement projects. These funds may be spent on resources to support the project or dissemination of its results.
Communities meet regularly throughout the academic year to discuss their projects. Although projects vary between disciplines and communities, participants comment that it is a fruitful experience for them to discuss their teaching and their projects with members of other departments and realize that there are many overlaps in the issues face, regardless of discipline.
OSTEP's current learning communities are listed below. To learn more about and apply for each program, please click on the respective link.