Fordham faculty members have a new center where they can receive guidance, find support and share ideas. The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), a comprehensive resource center for the University’s faculty, launched on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 with open houses on the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, respectively.
The center, designed by a planning committee of faculty and administrators, was created to help propel Fordham to greater national prominence among higher education institutions, said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer.
“This is not a center that was given to us. It’s something that we wanted, that we asked for over time,” Freedman said. “It’s a place for us to grow together as colleagues and in which all of us can integrate our work.”
The CTE will provide three main resources for the University’s faculty:
• A website that faculty can use to find information on topics as diverse as writing a syllabus to using a Smart Board in class.
• An ongoing series of discussions and symposia about different aspects of teaching pedagogy. The first discussion, on students in crisis, is planned for next month and will be led by John J. Cecero, S.J., Ph.D.
• Individual consultation designed to help faculty share best practices and classroom techniques.
The center also will support the upcoming revision of the core curriculum as well as the expansion of Fordham’s service learning initiative; reflect the University’s position at the crossroads of globalization; and support its mission to infuse teaching with Ignatian pedagogy, Freedman said.
“We’re starting with a small step here, but as we envision the center, there is no end in sight,” he said. “My vision for the center is of a place where faculty can share the best of what they do for our students and continue to develop in the art of teaching—something Father Robert R. Grimes, S.J., stated in the center’s mission, that teaching is the heart of the University’s life.”
Anne Mannion, Ph.D., associate professor of history, has been tapped as director of the new center, which has two physical locations—room B27 in Keating Hall on the Rose Hill campus and room 416 in the Lowenstein Center on the Lincoln Center campus.
“This goes to the core of what we’re about at Fordham,” Mannion said. “We’re talking about the idea of how you go about the art of teaching. We’re helping faculty find their own voices and get out of their comfort zones.”
Mannion said she envisions the center as a place where first-year faculty members could consult with their more-experienced colleagues, and vice versa.
“Newer faculty, too, have something to add,” Mannion said. “The profession has to regenerate itself. It’s about advice; mentoring.”
Christopher Toulouse, Ph.D., visiting assistant of political science, will serve as the program coordinator for CTE.
“Technology has clearly changed teaching,” Toulouse said. “We’re aware of our students’ expectations and we’ll be helping faculty make connections with the facilities and technology that the University provides.”
Faculty members who may be interested in developing team and individually taught interdisciplinary courses will be able to find assistance through CTE. Those interested in developing integrated service learning courses also will find help at the center.
“This is a statement from the University that it is committed to faculty, and through its faculty, to its students,” said Frank Werner, Ph.D., associate professor of finance, who was a member of the CTE planning committee.
Ongoing guidance for CTE will be provided through the center’s advisory committee, which will include faculty members and academic administrators from across the University’s 10 schools.