Author : Hal Blythe

Over the past decade blogs have proliferated on the Internet. Among those are the academic blog, which has all kinds of subgenres. We have a colleague, for instance, who regularly posts items about the political forces involved in our state’s higher education institutions—e.g., individual institutions, the Commonwealth’s legislature and its committees, the working of the state school board, and even …

Continue Reading...

As long as we’ve been working in faculty development, I’ve learned the importance of innovating on the fly, of being willing to use the design thinking process of creating low-resolution solutions or implementing an idea before it’s fully fleshed out. One constant to which we often return is the Faculty Innovators (FIs). Faculty innovators help us develop and execute ideas in …

Continue Reading...

In Achieving Excellence in Teaching (2014) we devote a chapter to the importance of organization in instruction, especially individual class organization. To help faculty teach, we have created C.R.I.S.P., “a classroom methodology based on unity of purpose as it organizing principle [that] involves five ordered and inter-related steps” (49-50): Contextualize: at the beginning announce the fundamental and powerful concepts around …

Continue Reading...

In Academically Adrift (2011), Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa present compelling evidence about the failure of American colleges and universities. “How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education?” they ask. “The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much” (34). In examining the development of critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills, Arum and Roksa find …

Continue Reading...

We may be one of the few centers for teaching and learning (CTLs) that do not belong to POD (the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education), a professional organization that Sorcinelli reported in 2006 contained 1400 members. We used to belong, but their institutional fee was too large of an item to maintain on our budget, a budget …

Continue Reading...

In The Ten Faces of Innovation (2008), Tom Kelley, general manager of the design firm IDEO, emphasizes the essence of design theory’s philosophy of rapid experimentation by citing an old IDEO maxim: “Fail often, to succeed sooner” (p. 52). Hopefully, last week’s Part I on the relationship between faculty development and design thinking made clear the importance of risk. In …

Continue Reading...

As we explained in our previous post, the Weekly Assessment Report—the WAR—provides an excellent methodology for assessment. Unlike annual reports, the WAR provides a weekly snapshot of the activities that dominate our CTL’s schedule as well as an easy way to check on items that are registering less frequently. As a result, we can respond to challenges and opportunities immediately …

Continue Reading...

Over the past ten years we have averaged sponsoring two professional learning communities (PLCs) per semester. It wasn’t until we organized the Faculty Innovators, however, that we began to consider the concept of oversight. After we select, and sometimes train a facilitator, we have traditionally not observed him/her. Why? We could say that we haven’t thought about it, but the …

Continue Reading...

Just as Oz couldn’t function without the wizard behind the scenes, so our Faculty Innovators program—discussed in the previous post—could not operate without the guidance of an Executive Committee (EC). As mentioned before, we have a three-person EC, consisting of the director of the Noel Studio and the two co-directors of the Teaching & Learning Center. The key to the …

Continue Reading...

A few years ago our state adopted the Common Core Standards and the legislature mandated that all state universities had to align college-level courses to these standards. Our Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL) was charged by our university to figure out how to implement Senate Bill 1 on the campus. In short, the problem was: how do we get …

Continue Reading...