Campus News - February 26, 2001

Center supports faculty teaching endeavors

Jean Civikly-PowellFreshmen seminars, learning communities and advanced technologies offer a growing number of fresh teaching approaches for University of New Mexico faculty.

The new UNM Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (CASTL) will serve as the central site for information on teaching-related endeavors. Open to all UNM faculty, the center will also offer frequent opportunities for faculty to interact with each other about the scholarship and practice of teaching.

“CASTL recognizes the necessity and importance of nourishing the spirit for successful teaching and learning, and strives to shape and support a campus climate that promotes UNM as a community of teachers, learners and scholars,” says Interim Director Jean Civikly-Powell, faculty in the UNM Communication and Journalism Department.

“The center will also play a role in faculty recruitment and retention and in developing University policy on teaching related matters,” she adds.

CASTL will officially open later this semester and be located on the south side of the C&J building, room 158 (previously occupied by the copy center). An internal search for a director will be announced shortly and result in a permanent appointment in the fall. “We encourage faculty to consider this opportunity to lead the development of the center,” says Civikly-Powell.

CASTL is budgeted under the Provost. An 18-member interdisciplinary task force, in place for the past year, will assist the center director. The task force examined similar programs at peer institutions and has compiled a lengthy list of anticipated services and work for the center, said Civikly-Powell.

The center will provide information and resources for teaching-related projects and programs ranging from videotapes, reference sheets and websites to campus brown-bag talks, book discussions and visiting speakers.

Faculty can also learn about the Teaching Enhancement Committee, awards programs and multimedia services such as e-learning and web-based course development. There will be support for teaching including peer coaching, workshops, collaboration of research projects related to instruction, and the opportunity to participate on administrative committees involving teaching.
Center-related programs and activities include New Faculty Orientation, the Teaching Assistant Resource Center, Preparing Future Faculty projects and collaboration on grant proposals.

“The different programs will maintain their identities and the center will help faculty gain easier access and find better information,” Civikly-Powell says. “These are the kinds of things faculty ask about, but we just haven’t had an organized effort.”

Sample topics for the new center to tackle are incorporating service learning in courses, active learning strategies, working with diverse student abilities and populations, classroom and outcomes assessment, testing strategies and team teaching.

“During the last 20 years several faculty committees have talked about such a center. So we’re very pleased that this is underway,” she adds, crediting Interim Associate Provost for Curriculum and Instruction Nancy Uscher with spearheading funding for the center and getting it off the ground.

Plans for an official opening and celebration will be announced later in the spring.

For more information, call Jean Civikly Powell, 277-3437.

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