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Greetings Campus Community,

I am delighted to guest author this week’s Friday Forum to share with you the good news about CETL that I have been discussing with President Henry.

I began the role as Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at OCU on the first day of the fall semester, August 20, 2012.

The last seven months have been an exciting and busy journey. For those who may not be familiar with CETL, our center provides support and resources to enhance student learning through the faculty-led scholarship of teaching and learning, and to build a model for arts integration across OCU’s curriculum. The center is located on the second floor of the Dulaney Browne Library.

Our formal stated mission is:We seek to provide educational opportunities to all students and university constituents in the broad aesthetic and intellectual benefits that the study of the arts provides, and develop future generations of patrons of audiences of the arts.”

There are several ways we work toward this mission, such as promoting research-based teaching practices; developing and promoting faculty-led programs and services to support faculty development in the area of teaching and learning; providing resources to assist faculty in their development as teaching professors; supporting participants in their efforts to teach and learn with innovative approaches and strategies; providing opportunities for self-assessment and other means of formative assessment; and conducting scholarly research about teaching, learning, and assessment.

Just today, CETL brought Elizabeth Barkley, author of Student Engagement Techniques, to the OCU campus to lead a seminar on the topic of understanding and promoting student engagement in today’s college classroom.

I would like to thank the OCU faculty, staff, and administration for the support they have offered over the past months. That support has enabled CETL to accomplish some impressive goals in a very short time. Below are a few highlights.

  • I collected an oral history of CETL by conducting several interviews with key stakeholders including past Priddy Fellow participants, and former CETL Advisory Board Members, and conduced faculty focus groups.

  • Reinstated a new CETL Advisory Board with a term rotation structure and new duties.

  • Coordinated eight Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) lead by faculty facilitators and created FLC policies for accountability.

  • Personally met with faculty from every school at OCU by attending faculty meetings.

  • Restructured CETL Travel Grant Program to be more transparent, and aligned procedures to that of the Faculty Scholarship processes.

  • Coordinated and implemented six training workshops for faculty. Topics included OCU Week at the Museum, Considering the Courage and Practice of Teaching, Hybrid Flex Course Design, Liberal Arts Seminar Roundtable, Serving Students with Disabilities, Social Media in the Classroom. More workshops are in the works.

  • Led a Teaching and Writing Portfolio Retreat.

  • Implemented new 90-day survey to track any classroom change and improvement resulting from CETL programing.

  • Working on a redesign of the CETL website.

  • Coordinating and planning the Sixth Annual Faculty Awards to be held on April 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm Guest Speaker will be Milton Cox, editor-in-chief of Journal on Excellence in College Teaching and Learning Communities Journal.

  • Revamped and helped coordinate the IDEA survey to improve upon past challenges.

  • Met with University Advancement to create a plan to restructure and secure the CETL Endowment.

The goals for CETL moving forward are to establish transparent structures and parameters for CETL programing, make the CETL budget sustainable by reducing spending and streamlining programing, and nurture a culture for excellence in teaching and learning that is both encouraging and welcoming to all faculty across our campus.

I believe supporting faculty is the best way to benefit our student body. Through the support and programing sponsored by CETL, classrooms full of students reap the benefits of the OCU educational experience.

Thank you for this opportunity to share some of the accomplishments of CETL. If there is anything CETL can do to further support OCU faculty and the learning environment of our campus, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Paul Gebb, MFA
Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Associate Professor of Dance and Arts Management