Teaching Week will highlight University’s essential mission with exemplary teachersBy William Harms
Members of the faculty are being given an unprecedented chance to identify outstanding teachers whom they believe are “worthy of recognition and emulation,” said Richard Saller, Provost of the University.
“We have many excellent teachers among our ranks,” said Saller. “Although we can all learn from our colleagues’ methods and skill, we are often inhibited from visiting their classrooms to see firsthand what makes them successful.”
A new program called Provost’s Teaching Week will provide an opportunity for interested faculty members to observe classes being taught by other University faculty members.
To be held the fourth week of Winter Quarter, the teaching week will allow faculty members to visit the regular classes of their colleagues throughout the University. Saller added that many faculty members do not normally have an opportunity to explore teaching practices in areas of the University outside their departments or units.
“Provost’s Teaching Week will disseminate excellent teaching practices broadly throughout the University by providing a structure for observing outstanding teachers in their regular classroom settings and discussing the best aspects of their teaching,” Saller wrote.
In late October, letters were sent to the College, divisional and professional school deans, requesting nominations for faculty members whom they consider outstanding teachers and whose practices should be shared with others.
A committee consisting of Associate Provosts Steve Gabel and Mary Harvey, chair of the Council on Teaching Stephen Kron, and Deputy Provosts for Research and Education Keith Moffat and Martha Roth will review the nominations, looking for a variety of class formats, range of faculty ranks and class distribution.
The committee will make recommendations to Saller, who then will notify the teachers to be featured in the program.
At the end of Autumn Quarter, faculty members will have a chance to sign up for the classes they would like to observe. Featured teachers will have an opportunity to limit the number of visiting faculty they can accommodate, and waiting lists will be developed if necessary to respond to interest.
The week will conclude with a workshop on teaching and a celebratory dinner hosted by Saller.
“It will enable me and the Associate and Deputy Provosts to honor outstanding teachers, much as our students already do when they make nominations for the Quantrell and Graduate Teaching Awards.”
Saller said the program also will “reinforce the message that teaching is an essential component of our mission.”