Expanding Your Center of Teaching and Learning Services

When should a CTL take on additional duties? Throughout this blog’s history we have continually addressed the subject of what responsibilities should register on a CTL’s strategic plan. To sum up, a CTL’s duties:

  • Should reflect the university’s strategic plan.
  • Should be aligned with the wishes of the administrator directly up the chain of command—i.e., the boss.
  • Should be doable in terms of a CTL’s budget.
  • Should be doable in terms of the CTL’s administrator and staff’s skill sets.
  • Should not overwhelm the CTL so that it’s doing many things poorly instead of a few things well.


If you are interested in what services are the most frequently offered, you can check out POD or the appendices in Faculty Development in the Age of Reason (2016). As Beach, Sorcinelli, Austin, and Rivard’s research suggests, faculty leadership is a growing priority among academic institutions, including those at regional comprehensive universities. While teaching and scholarship receive a great deal of attention, service is a pillar of the academic institution that requires faculty time. Beyond serving on committees, faculty members are often called upon to lead major initiatives. These service opportunities often become leadership opportunities and a chance for faculty to shape the long-term vision of the college or university.

Many academic institutions around the country offer faculty leadership development opportunities as part of their CTL or faculty development programming. As the paragraphs below describe, the inaugural Faculty Leadership Institute at our institution went exceedingly well and has drawn praise from across campus.

Related Reading: Showcasing A Higher Ed Professional Learning Community

Faculty Leadership Institute

As a guideline, the spine of our operations is something we call Milestone Events. While certainly not all our services, these are the big events we use to tie the year together. Milestone Events are spaced out throughout the year so that we run from New Faculty Orientation in August, the Provost Speaker Series, Scholar’s Week in mid-Spring, and the Pedagogicon in May. All our other programs—such as our Teaching & Learning Innovations Series, our PLCs, and DEEP (our online professional development series of courses)—support the Milestones.

Last year when reviewing our Milestones, we realized a serious gap in our programming. If you follow the Chronicle of Higher Education, you may have noticed that since the beginning of the new year, the journal has been featuring stories about the lack of ways to develop future leaders in academia, especially those coming up through the ranks.

So in January, just before the new semester began, we offered through our parent organization, the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity in collaboration with the newly formed College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS). This two-day workshop focused on practical skills than can enhance leadership across campus. Sessions covered leadership assessment, communication, ethics, and conflict management. Various campus leaders, faculty and administrators, served as session facilitators. Twenty-six faculty members of various ranks and departments participated.

The institution will continue to support faculty leadership development and to examine the priorities, needs, opportunities, and expectations of our faculty, including leaders and those aspiring to leadership roles.

Related Reading: Re-Inventing New Higher Ed Faculty Orientation

Suicide Awareness and Focus on Education (SAFE)

Nowhere on the 39-member list of CTL services listed in Faculty Development in the Age of Evidence can you locate our next addition. A major problem for today’s college students is their increasing suicide rate. Recently our university received a suicide prevention grant and wished to develop a campus advisory group to establish a campus network and create some policies for preventing the problem, helping students, and offering gatekeeper training for students, faculty, and staff aimed at increasing competency in the entire university community to identify and manage those at risk.

We partnered with the grant-receivers to create and meet with this advisory group. Since funding was in place, what did we have to offer? We identified four services we could provide:

  • A meeting place
  • Professional Development (PD) expertise
  • Tech help
  • Assessment

We hosted the first meeting of the advisory group earlier this month, and we will continue to help with the quarterly meetings as well as the other support listed.

Why did we do it? A better answer might be, “How can we not do it?” While we’re very cognizant that university services are being asked to do more with less, we’re also aware that sometimes we have to go the extra mile for valuable services. Can we continue to take on additional responsibilities like these two discussed? Probably not, but we jump in when and where we can.


Beach, A., Sorcinelli, M., Austin, A., & Rivard, J. (2016). Faculty development in the age of

            evidence: Current practices, Future Imperatives. Sterling, VA: Stylus.



Russell CarpenterDr. Russell Carpenter is director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and Program Director of the Minor in Applied Creative Thinking at Eastern Kentucky University. He is also Assistant Professor of English. Dr. Carpenter has published on the topic of creative thinking, among other areas, including two texts by New Forums Press. In addition, he has taught courses in creative thinking in EKU’s Minor in Applied Creative Thinking, which was featured in the New York Times in February 2014. Meet Russell.

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