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College » BA » News Archive » Feature

Business and CTE Growing Commitment to Teaching Excellence

08/25/2011

World class educators like Joe Mahoney, professor of business administration and Caterpillar Chair in Business, as well as newly minted faculty members all realize that learning is a lifelong process for them as well as their students and they are committed to being better teachers.

“Effective teaching is a lifelong pursuit and we can always do more,” is the sentiment that drives Cheelan Bo-Linn, Head of Instructional Development in the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), and her colleagues in the College of Business. “Together we explore the changing needs of the business disciplines, aspiring business professionals and future educators. We run workshops, regular programs, and host advanced seminars that delve into the cutting edge of what we know about the learning process.”

Just this year the BA department created a seminar for doctoral students with help from CTE. Bill Qualls, head of the department, saw the need for business-specific training of their highly-prized students and worked with Mahoney to organize the new training program. Students meet once per month for ten months, immersing themselves in exercises that develop a complete range of teaching materials and skills that give them an edge on the job market.

Any business graduate student needing guidance can work with other CTE programs. The Certificate in Foundations of Teaching provides basic classroom skills, while those with more experience can work on a Graduate Teaching Certificate. Beyond that, graduate students and faculty may earn a Teacher Scholar Certificate, a Certificate in Technology-Enhanced Teaching, or a Citizen Scholar Certificate (service-learning).

For more than a decade, faculty have developed their teaching excellence through programs originally developed by a joint effort between CTE, the Provost’s Office and the College of Business. The Academy for the Advancement of Learning organizes four teaching programs.

New Business faculty can take an intensive one day workshop, Success in Teaching Excellence Program and all faculty can participate in the Reflective Teacher Workshop Series as well as themed lunches called the Teaching and Learning Workshop Series.

Faculty Conversations is an informal support activity designed to bring participants together to interact and participate in a series focused on a current book selection each year. Past selections have included, The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning by James Zull, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker Palmer, and 5 Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner.

“Such examinations and active self-assessment is intended to become a regular part of teaching that encourages good judgment and helps teachers take ownership of their teaching,” says Bo-Linn.

The many offerings expand self-reflection about teaching effectiveness serving to move these educators to see education as a regular scholarly pursuit; a perspective that some faculty believe is key.

“Once teaching is brought to the same level of engagement as other scholarship, faculty excel, becoming better in the classroom,” says Nick Petruzzi, associate professor of business administration and Gutman Teaching Excellence Fellow and academic director of MBA programs.

"As someone who has actively participated across the breadth of these programs, I can attest to their sustained value: They continually draw participants from across departments and from across ranks; they foster collegiality and a collaborative learning community; and they yield tangible benefits in the form of improved teaching effectiveness."

For more than 40 years CTE has worked with College of Business educators, growing to meet changing needs and new opportunities. As a result, faculty and graduate students have many well-structured programs designed to keep learning in the College of Business excellent.

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 For more on the Center for Teaching Excellence, visit: http://business.illinois.edu/academy/.