The Faculty Center for Teaching (FCT) was formed in 1994 when a group of six faculty representing a variety of disciplines applied for an institutional incentive grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Higher Education. The Center’s budget is provided by the Provost with additional support from the Shire Family Fund for Excellence in Teaching, established by Mr. and Mrs. Donald T. Shire P'90. The Center has also received funding at various times through grants from agencies such as the Aid Association for Lutherans and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The current administrative structure of the Faculty Center for Teaching is as follows. The FCT is directed by a full-time, tenured member of the faculty who reports to the Dean of Institutional Assessment and Academic Planning in the Provost’s Office. The Director works in collaboration and consultation with an Assistant Director and an Advisory Board comprised of faculty members from different academic disciplines and divisions, at different career stages and with diverse pedagogical interests.

The FCT strives to offer programming that allows faculty members to reflect on their teaching goals and the practices they use to achieve those goals. While some topics are broad in nature and focus, most programs provide concrete strategies that faculty can apply to their own classes. Programs are developed based on input from colleagues, data on student learning on campus, current trends in the higher education community at-large, and collaborative efforts with other campus offices (e.g. Trexler Library, Student Life, Office of Disability Services). The Advisory Board works with facilitators to research best practices and incorporate those into programs. FCT values an open approach to critically examining pedagogical practices, which recognizes that faculty learn as much from understanding “teaching mistakes” as they do from following established models or practices.

Mission Statement of the Faculty Center for Teaching

The Faculty Center for Teaching seeks to cultivate on the Muhlenberg College campus a shared culture of reflection about teaching that encourages and supports meaningful experimentation. Faculty members at all career stages are essential to creating this culture as well as partnerships with staff members across campus who are invested in student learning. Because reflecting on teaching is richest in an environment that fosters an exchange of perspectives, FCT programs aim to provide a wide range of opportunities for collaboration among colleagues both within and across disciplines.

To accomplish this mission, the FCT offers:

  • a two-year orientation program for new faculty members;
  • a peer partner program matching new faculty members with current faculty members;
  • learning communities in which groups of faculty collaborate in investigating a topic of interest in their teaching;
  • workshops and programs on specific teaching questions;
  • resources on pedagogy, student learning, and academic leadership (in Trexler Library and on our website);
  • summer grants for faculty to develop new approaches to their teaching
  • small group development grants to support work on both interdisciplinary and discipline -specific pedagogical development projects;
  • recommendations to the Provost regarding new course development grant applications;
  • funds to attend conferences related to teaching

Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching

The Director of the FCT serves as the facilitator and resource person to promote and sustain a culture of reflection on teaching and learning on campus. The Director is a full-time, tenured faculty member who is committed to supporting and advancing this faculty-initiated and administered organization. The Director of the FCT maintains a two-course teaching load per semester and reports to the Dean of Institutional Assessment and Planning in the Provost’s Office.

The Director of the FCT is appointed by the Provost and normally serves a three year term. When a search for a new Director is required, there will be communication between the Provost, the Dean of Institutional Assessment and Academic Planning and the current FCT Director and Board to initiate the appointment process. A call for self-nominations will go out to the full faculty and informal discussions will be scheduled with interested candidates. The only exception to this process might be when a short-term Interim Director needs to be put into place.

Specific Job Responsibilities:

  • Direct the work of the FCT Advisory Board, convening meetings and engaging in collaborative planning ;
  • Work with other College departments and offices to offer new programs and support faculty development for curricular initiatives (e.g., Center for Ethics, Community Service and Civic Engagement, Trexler Library, Academic Resource Center, International Programs);
  • Oversee long-range planning to ensure effective use of FCT’s conceptual framework;
  • Manage FCT budget (~ $31,000);
  • Oversee development of FCT library and web resources;
  • Serve on ad hoc or other committees to represent faculty development needs and expertise and serve as consultant to faculty development initiative led by colleagues;
  • Maintain current knowledge of faculty development literature to serve as a knowledgeable resource person for teaching-related issues on campus;
  • Maintain active membership in relevant professional organizations (POD) and attend conferences in higher education (Lilly, AACU);
  • Communicate regularly with the campus community about faculty work related to teaching and learning;

Qualifications:

  • Completed term(s) of service on the FCT Advisory Board and/or significant prior experience in faculty development;
  • A record of participation in FCT programs;
  • Demonstrated interest in and respect for diverse pedagogical approaches;
  • Interest in and commitment to engaging in the national conversation on pedagogy and curriculum design through participation in national conferences on pedagogy and institutional initiatives.

FCT Assistant Director

The FCT Assistant Director is a member of the Advisory Board who serves in the AD position for a year or more. In addition to fulfilling the same duties and commitments as other Board members, the Assistant Director will (depending on interest and expertise):

  • share responsibility with Director for organizing and structuring programs; attend all programs and oversee logistics (book room, arrange technology for programs, and plan and order food for programs) by communicating with the administrative assistant.
  • assume primary responsibility for creating and distributing publicity announcements for year-long NFO events, working with new faculty to coordinate scheduling.
  • take primary responsibility for overseeing FCT website including the program event schedule and resource pages.
  • attend conferences in higher education that will inform FCT work (POD, Lilly, AACU);
  • assist in building the FCT library and developing other teaching resources for faculty.

Qualifications:

  • Term(s) of service on the FCT Advisory Board and/or prior experience in faculty development;
  • A record of participation in FCT programs;
  • Demonstrated interest in and respect for diverse pedagogical approaches;
  • Interest in engaging in the national conversation on pedagogy and curriculum design through participation in national conferences on pedagogy and institutional initiatives.

Stipend:

The FCT Assistant Director receives a stipend equal to a one course overload pay per semester to support his/her work.

When a search for a new Assistant Director is required, there will be communication between the Provost, the Dean of Institutional Assessment and Academic Planning and the current FCT Director and Board to initiate an appointment process. A call for self-nominations will go out to the full faculty and informal discussions will be scheduled with interested candidates. The only exception to this process might be when a short-term Interim Assistant Director needs to be put into place.

FCT Advisory Board

The FCT Advisory Board normally has six members. Each member of the FCT Advisory Board will normally serve a three year term. Board composition is such that members collectively represent a cross section of the Muhlenberg faculty. The Dean for Institutional Assessment and Academic Planning serves in an ex-officio capacity as the Provost’s liaison to the FCT.

Current board members work to identify new board members to ensure that the board consistently represents the diversity of faculty needs and perspectives. It is important that the board be comprised of faculty who have demonstrated interest in the FCT over time and have consistently participated at FCT events.

Advisory Board members:

  • share ideas and feedback with the FCT Director;
  • attend all FCT programs, schedule permitting;
  • serve as ambassadors for FCT both on and beyond campus;
  • may attend conferences in higher education that will inform FCT work regarding faculty development programming at small liberal arts colleges (POD, Lilly, AAC&U);
  • participate in new faculty orientation (typically the week before classes begin);
  • attend 4-5 board meetings per semester;
  • represent the mission of FCT by promoting a culture of reflection on teaching and learning.

FCT Administrative Assistant

The FCT is provided with part-time Administrative Assistant support. Typically, the AA is concurrently serving as a departmental or programmatic Administrative Assistant.

The duties of the AA center around providing organizational and logistical planning assistance to the FCT as needed. Examples of typical duties include:

  • Booking rooms and arrange technology for programs;
  • Planning and order food for programs (keep track of expenses in this budget line);
  • Sending out packets for new faculty orientation;
  • Assisting in scheduling board meetings and other programs;
  • Maintaining and updating information on the FCT website