Information Update - Fall 2007

Update from the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence

As the CTLE looks back at the accomplishments of the past academic year, we see that while we have further increased support to students in the area of peer tutoring and in the area of special needs, we have also substantially increased our services to faculty members. In addition to giving the usual number of workshops on pedagogy, we also had several well-known experts give presentations on importing topics relevant to teaching. These speakers included Dr. Linda Nilson (Clemson University) who spoke on developing a graphic syllabus, Drs. Edith Miller and Julianne Albiero Walton (East Stroudsburg University) who gave a workshop on universal course design, Dr. Matt Ouellett (University of Massachusetts) who gave a presentation on what matters most in teaching and learning, and Dr. Larry Silver (Georgetown University) who helped us to better understand how to work effectively with students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and learning disabilities.
In addition to the usual activities of the Center, a recognition dinner for mid-career faculty members-those who have achieved tenure but have not served 20 years as yet-was held on April 12, 2007. The guest speaker on that occasion was Sr. Mary Ann Foley, Associate Professor of Theology. Her topic was "The Courage to Teach."
The staff of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence conducted a one-day retreat at Chapman Lake. This annual exercise allows us to take stock of our accomplishments, define our goals for the coming year and develop plans on how to accomplish them. Doing this exercise together allows us all to take pride and ownership in what we do and enables us to provide better service to the University community.
As a result of a generous grant from the University of Scranton, the CTLE is installing two important software packages designed to help students read more efficiently and become better writers in all the computers in the Center. This software packages are Kurzweil and Inspiration. Kurzweil is a leading reading, writing, and learning software for students with special needs, including those who have severe reading difficulties. It allows students to independently explore text in a number of ways. Inspiration is a brainstorming and concept mapping tool for visual thinking and learning. It can be used in all areas of study for brainstorming, planning and organizing the writing of reports and papers.
Over the summer months we are very busy giving workshops on Angel, our new course management system, designing electronic tutorials for students in the area of academic writing and the training of tutors, planning our faculty advancement series for the fall and spring and updating our brochures and adding a few new ones to our arsenal of information. Of course, we are also revising the Part-Time Faculty Manual, planning an orientation for new faculty and part-time faculty and working on our next newsletter. In addition, we are helping a sizable number of faculty members to convert their courses from Blackboard to Angel or to create new courses in Angel. We also provide services to students during the summer session.
André Oberlé, Director, CTLE
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