About the Center
The Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning is located administratively in the School of University Studies and is charged with promoting excellence in teaching, supporting effective teaching, and assisting faculty with pedagogic research and the use of instructional technology for the purpose of enhancing teaching.
Specifically, the people at the CSTL are expected to nurture faculty efforts to improve teaching and learning, cultivate faculty interest in seeking funds for projects designed to improve teaching and learning, support student evaluations of teaching effectiveness, and provide workshops to support the improvement of college teaching.
A number of services are available to faculty and graduate assistants through the Center to improve teaching effectiveness and promote student learning. These include individual consultations, classroom observations, teaching enhancement workshops, assistance in interpreting student ratings, collaborative research publications, and a faculty computer lab with multimedia capabilities.
The Center's Office of Instructional Technology is a resource available to faculty which provides training and support in instructional design, development of web-supported and web-based courses, and information technology serving instruction.
The center originally grew out of the interest of a few faculty who perceived the need for a centralized unit to provide resources for the systematic enhancement of teaching. In 1982 they were able to enlist the strong administrative support of the Provost. In November 1984 the University Board of Regents authorized the development of a Center for Teaching and Learning. Support was provided for a full-time director and full-time secretary. A Director was hired in July 1985, and the Center began operating in temporary quarters in Kent Library. Through funding provided by a private donor, the Center's current facilities in the library were made available the following year.
Originally the Center consisted of a loose confederation of entities including the Writing Center, the Instructional Materials Center, University Tutorial Services, and a computer laboratory for students as well as an office for faculty development. The Director of the Center reported to the Director of the Library. This chain of administrative reporting was chosen in order to forestall any political problems that might arise by locating the Center within an academic college. Further, reporting to the Librarian meant that allocated funds would correctly show up on state audits as “support for instruction” rather than as “administrative costs.”
The approximate original operating budget included $30,000 for operations and $6,000 for student labor. The program was funded entirely by hard money; the budget did not support a wide range of professional development activities that were funded at the departmental, the college, or the university level at that time (e.g., professional development funds, support for faculty research or teaching enhancement projects, faculty recognition awards).
In order to maximize the efficiency of the center, some realignments have occurred. The Writing Center was placed under the Dean of University Studies who oversees the Writing Across the Curriculum Program; the Instructional Materials Center went back to reporting directly to the Director of the Library, and the computer lab became the responsibility of the Computer Science Department. By 1988 the Center’s principle functions consisted of student tutorial services and the enhancement of teaching. In the fall of 1990, a new director was hired and, as part of an increased emphasis by the University upon teaching, the Center was given greater visibility by being assigned to the Office of the Provost, although fiscal accounting was still handled through the Director of the Library. The new director, a Professor of History, kept his faculty status and insisted on teaching one class a semester in order to maintain credibility with his colleagues, a status that the current CSTL Director maintains.
The initial, ambitious functions of the Center were indicated by the major responsibilities of the Director as stated in the original announcement of the position:
The primary goals of the Center were to: (1) facilitate the instructional improvement of the faculty; (2) enhance student learning; (3) serve as a professional development resource for all interested in the teaching/learning process; and (4) enhance the institution’s reputation for teaching excellence at the local, regional and national level. Activities to achieve these goals included a mandatory, week-long Teaching Enhancement Workshop for all newly hired faculty, sponsoring a variety of workshops and conferences focused on teaching/learning issues, offering a seminar on college teaching, providing support for faculty engaged in the process-based, undergraduate University Studies Program, and coordinating a university-wide student evaluation system.
By 1990, the specific responsibilities of the Director of the center were:
The objectives guiding the operation of the Center are based on objectives stated in the University Strategic Plan and further defined in the School of University Studies Strategic Plan. Through the School of University Studies and input solicited by the University, staff in the the Center are able to impact the development of the School and University strategic plans, helping to state objectives relevant to the mission of the center which are practical in their implementation. While these objectives may vary year-to-year, the overall goal of enhancing teaching and learning at Southeast Missouri State University remains the focus of the center.
The Center is designed as an open faculty development center with material and human resources available to faculty. The center is located in Kent Library where it is accessible to faculty during normal University business hours. Resources in the Center are available to faculty on a walk-in basis or by appointment. The center carries out many of its functions through organized activities. The Center is responsible for: