Just over two years ago I began as the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) at UW-Green Bay. I inherited an amazing Instructional Design Coordinator (Joanne Dolan), excellent Program Assistants (Sandy Folsom, then LTE Ashley Damp, and currently Dana Mallett), and a number of solid programs. For example:
- We had an Online Teaching Fellows Program – both a Starter Track and an Advanced Track – to help faculty and instructional staff improve their online teaching course design and delivery methods. This has been an important part of our HLC Quality Initiative (QI) project and for many instructors led to Quality Matters course certification for their courses.
- We had a Teaching Scholars Program that was designed to give faculty the opportunity to enhance their teaching and learning endeavors through the participation of a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project.
- We offered several thousand dollars in Teaching Enhancement Grants (TEGs) to support professional development activities or projects that lead to the improvement of teaching skills or the development of innovative teaching strategies.
- We had a Faculty Development Conference (FDC) each January that included a nationally known keynote speaker (i.e., Peter Felton, Barbara Waalvord) and numerous breakout sessions with UW and non-UW faculty and instructional staff.
- We had Faculty Consultants who were available to conduct formative evaluations of classroom teaching for all faculty and instructional staff on campus, and spent much of their time working with the new faculty in their first year at UW-Green Bay.
Unfortunately, due to the UW System budget situation, each of these programs has been suspended. Faculty consultants were allowed to finish their Spring semester work with the first-year faculty, but all other programs have been either placed on hold or eliminated. So, that means:
- Despite our role in the HLC QI project, all Online Teaching Fellows programs were suspended.
- No new Teaching Scholars were recruited for this upcoming Fall semester.
- We had budgeted approximately $12,000 for TEGs this past Spring that we were unable to award.
- We had an excellent speaker idea for the January 2016 FDC that we were unable to schedule.
- We have not hired new Faculty Consultants for the 2015-2016 academic year.
All was not lost this Spring, however, as we were able to conduct book discussions and offer the Student Nominated Teaching Awards. Compared to previous semesters in CATL, however, this was not an efficient or effective semester for CATL. In addition, we heard numerous times that the future of professional development for faculty and instructional staff remains unclear at UW-Green Bay.
This uncertainty likely played a part in the departure of our Instructional Design Coordinator – Joanne left last month and began last week as the Manager for Online Learning and Instructional Technology at Clark University . She is going to do amazing things there and I can’t wait to see how her department flourishes with her added expertise! Plus, they gained an all-around fantastic individual. Dana is leaving this month to begin a full-time Master’s Program in Social Work at UWGB. I am confident her excellent people skills will serve her well in this new life endeavor! And, me, well, I’m leaving this month to begin as the Dean of General and International Education at Moraine Park Technical College.
I’m not sure what the future of CATL will be at UW-Green Bay. Thus, we are suspending the blog. I do hope at some point professional development for faculty and instructional staff will get back up and running and I hope that it will do so sooner rather than later.
For me, though, I won’t be a part of professional development any longer at UW-Green Bay. So, I’m signing off with a very sincere “thank you” to all the faculty and instructional staff I have had the privilege to work with over the past two years as the Director of CATL and over the past eight years as an Assistant/Associate Professor at UW-Green Bay.