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Nov. 6, 2014 Volume 36, No. 11

Survey asks faculty where they need help

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Jim Spain. Courtesy of the Office of Graduate Studies

Research underway for a possible faculty development center

University of Missouri faculty received an email Nov. 4 from the Assessment Resource Center inviting them to complete a survey about possible professional development programs offered on campus.

The survey is a follow-up to a research study completed two years ago to identify faculty needs for improving the teaching and advising of undergraduate and graduate students. The ultimate goal is to open a center on campus for faculty teaching and learning excellence.

Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies, has spearheaded the effort since MU’s 2020 Strategic Plan outlined a need for something to replace the Program for Excellence in Teaching that shuttered in 2007 due to lack of funds and organizational instability.

For five years, MU has held the Celebration of Teaching conference in May. Other programs such as Educational Technologies at Missouri and the Campus Writing Program are also teaching resources for faculty. However, Spain hopes to open a centralized center for faculty development.

“What we want to do is fill some gaps and do things that the campus is saying they need some help with,” Spain said. “Based on what we learn [from this survey] and what we have learned from the research we’ve done, we will prioritize the high-impact things our faculty and their deans and chairs have said they need help in. That will be what this center focuses on.”

Once survey results are in, Spain will work with the Faculty Council, the Council of Deans and the Chair Council members to draft a proposal for the center. Spain anticipates having a proposal to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin by the end of the year.

 — Kelsey Allen