Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

CTE

Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Michael Harris, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMUMichael Harris, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been named director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He began his new duties on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

Harris worked with previous CTE director Beth Thornburg throughout the summer to become familiar with the CTE’s operations. Thornburg returns to full-time teaching in Dedman School of Law in Fall 2014.

“Professor Harris takes over a Center that has grown and thrived under the exceptional leadership of Professor Thornburg. During her time as Director, the CTE has sponsored Faculty Learning Communities, initiated the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) workshop series, and spearheaded an effort to recognize the excellent teaching performed by our lecturers,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail message to the SMU community dated Friday, July 11, 2014.

“But more than developing programs and events, Professor Thornburg has underscored the importance of teaching to our academic mission. Please join me in extending our thanks and best wishes to Professor Thornburg and in welcoming Professor Harris to his new role.”

Harris came to SMU in August 2012 from the University of Alabama’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies. He earned his B.A. degree in history from the University of North Carolina and his M.S.Ed and Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on issues facing higher education and has made numerous presentations to academic groups on such subjects as “Balancing the Demands of a New Faculty Position” and “Why Businesses Should Work Like a University.”

Professor Harris is a Council Member-at-Large of the American Educational Research Association, Division J, and has consulted with universities on various subjects including program planning for undergraduate general education curriculum.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

August 21, 2014|For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty|

Four named 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors Robert Krout, Luis Maldonado, Sheri Kunovich and Thomas Carr

Four SMU professors were honored with 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professorships during the University’s May Board of Trustees meeting (left to right): Robert Krout, Luis Maldonado, Sheri Kunovich and Thomas Carr.

Four of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Thomas Carr, Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; Sheri Kunovich, Sociology, Dedman College; and Luis Maldonado, World Languages (Spanish), Dedman College.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Carrie La Ferle, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts; Tom Mayo, Law, Dedman School of Law; and James Sullivan, Art, Meadows School of the Arts.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. “These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE website. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.” The professorships are named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

More about this year’s honored professors under the link.

(more…)

May 23, 2013|For the Record, News|

Center for Teaching Excellence unveils new site, new programs

SMU CTE website artSMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence has entered its 20th year with a new director, new website, and new programs to help faculty members connect across campus.

The New Faculty Teaching Excellence Program, or NFTE (pronounced “Nifty”), is a year-long workshop series for new faculty members in their first 3 years of full-time teaching. The CTE plans to offer 3 or 4 NFTE programs per term, says Law Professor Beth Thornburg, who became CTE director in June.

The NFTE Program will also provide a support system for these new teachers, Thornburg says. “NFTE participants will network with their fellow faculty ‘class members’ across every school and field of study,” she says. “It will be a great way to help build community and enhance our interdisciplinary culture.” The next NFTE event, “How Can I Promote Active Learning?,” will take place Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Another new initiative, Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs), creates peer-led groups of 8 to 12 faculty members who take on one-year collaborations “structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection” and to help faculty members make connections across campus. Each FLC focuses on a question, topic or set of problems with the goal of deepening faculty members’ knowledge through their interaction with each other.

“They’re called communities, not committees, and we did that on purpose,” Thornburg says. The FLCs are designed to create an environment that promotes innovation and ultimately helps to improve teaching and learning across campus, she adds.

The Center also boasts a redesigned website that makes it easier to find resources, register for events, and connect with other faculty members. A “What’s New” section on the top page will allow faculty members to share news, links and other useful information, says Barbara Whitehead, CTE assistant director, who helped steer the new design.

The CTE has its roots in a 1992 Faculty Senate committee’s work to create the University’s first Teaching Effectiveness Symposium, held before the beginning of fall classes in 1993. The enthusiasm of the response led to the 1994 appointment of SMU’s Commission on Teaching and Learning, which continued the Symposium and added several additional faculty development programs. The Center for Teaching Excellence was created in 1997 to provide structure and support for the Commission’s efforts.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

September 18, 2012|News|

Three named 2012-14 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

SMU 2012-14 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors James Sullivan and Carrie La Ferle with University trustee Ruth Altshuler - fellow recipient Tom Mayo is not pictured

SMU 2012-14 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors James Sullivan, Art, and Carrie La Ferle, Advertising, celebrate with University Trustee Ruth Altshuler during the May 2012 board meeting. Not pictured: Tom Mayo, Law.

Three of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2012-14 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Carrie La Ferle, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts; Tom Mayo, Law, Dedman School of Law; and James Sullivan, Art, Meadows School of the Arts.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Alyce McKenzie, Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology; and David Son, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Fellow 2011 honoree Greg Warden, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, will become president of Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, on July 1.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize four SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. “These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE website. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.” The professorships are named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

More about this year’s honored professors under the link.

(more…)

May 18, 2012|For the Record, News|
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