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.