Welcome Back!

A message from CTE Director, Michael Harris:

Whether this is your first year or your twentieth, the start of the fall semester is always an exciting time on campus.  I’ve always felt that a university campus is an ecosystem that doesn’t seem to function quite right without students around.  You can feel the energy on campus!  I hope everyone is excited for the new year.

We are also thrilled to meet and get to know the new colleagues joining our ranks this fall.   A university is only as strong as its faculty.  As we celebrate SMU’s Year of the Faculty, CTE looks forward to continuing to provide resources that will help strengthen the quality of our faculty.

At the Center for Teaching Excellence, we are busy planning a new year full of programs to help you improve your teaching and faculty work.  We have workshops and opportunities that will be satisfy a broad range of interests.  One of our flagship programs is the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) program that is specifically designed for those in their first three years.  This year we are thrilled to be hosting three learning communities that will offer an opportunity for faculty to network and learn from each other.

Personally, I am honored to be joining CTE.  I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the amazing work that Beth Thornburg did during her time as director.  Beth invigorated the work of CTE and fostered a conversation of improving teaching and learning across campus.  My goal is to continue building upon the programs developed in recent years.

As a higher education researcher, I believe in the power of using data to inform the work we do on campus.  My commitment is that we will use educational data to improve the recommendations and workshops that CTE offers.  There is a significant body of empirical data available on college teaching and learning that can inform the work that we do in the classroom.

Additionally, as a higher education scholar, I want us to participate in the ongoing conversation regarding higher education.  Colleges and universities are under tremendous pressure to show the value of what we provide and demonstrate how we’re accountable to external stakeholders.  SMU faces many of these same challenges.  I hope CTE can provide a forum to debate and discuss these ideas.  I also believe we can learn from the experiences of other campuses and we will bring these examples into our programs and conversations.

Welcome back to campus!  It is going to be a great year!

Michael Harris
CTE Director

About Barbara Whitehead

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