New Resource Center for Faculty Opens

Fordham Announces Establishment of Center for Teaching Excellence


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

FORDHAM—Fordham has created a new institution to offer faculty the opportunity to take advantage of the many resources available to them. The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), located in room 416 of the Leon Lowenstein Building at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and in the basement of Keating Hall at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), states its mission as supporting the “continuing efforts of all Fordham faculty members to become more informed, confident, creative, and reflective practitioners of the art of teaching.”

The center is one that has been talked about for years, but has just recently come to fruition with the help of Stephen Freedman, vice president of Academic Affairs and chief academic officer, who joined Fordham at the start of the academic year. Things are beginning to come together, with plans for implementation of CTE workshops in new faculty orientation programs, and new offices on each Fordham campus. Once the center gets off the ground, the CTE will offer various workshops and seminars, as well as one-on-one consultation.

Christopher Toulouse, visiting assistant professor of political science and program director of CTE said, “Fordham already offers an enormous variety of instructional services to faculty…what it’s lacked in the past is an office to promote these services and interest more faculty in experimenting with them. That’s what the new CTE hopes to provide.”

Such resources include everything from video equipment to service learning projects. Anne Mannion, the inaugural director of CTE, said, “The focus is on the art and the skill of teaching… We’re not about to teach people to teach—that’s not the point. The point is to be of service to teachers. It’s about what we can do for you.”

Toulouse said, “Our job is to put on events, run a Web site, offer guidance to faculty who want to experiment and provide a showcase for the best that Fordham offers in teaching.”

The events that will be sponsored by CTE, according to Mannion, will include writing and interdisciplinary workshops, assistance with faculty participation in student advising and specific topics such as the theory of team-teaching and how to deal with students in crisis.

The CTE has a variety of goals. Toulouse said they would like to “acquaint faculty with service learning and help [them] to prepare for the writing requirement in the new core curriculum.”

Changes in the core curriculum have been proposed and are in the late stages of approval. Mannion talked about the relationship of the new core and the new center. “There are things in the new core curriculum that might take what teachers have some experience in and ask them to stretch it or retool it.” That, she said, is part of what the CTE can offer. “We are a place where you can come talk shop and borrow from each other’s skills. We do learn a lot from each other.”

“The need [for the CTE] arose out of the fact that teaching and learning are being reworked by information technology,” Toulouse said. “Faculty are not quite sure what to do about that yet. Some are interested in the new media, and some are not, but most faculty realize they need to start some serious campus-wide conversations about where teaching is going, and it’s our job to facilitate them.”

The CTE’s programming will be kicked off by two open houses, one at FCRH on Feb. 20 and another at FCLC on Feb. 21. “We’re going to have an open forum with the faculty to see what we can do for them. It’s a work in progress,” said Mannion. This reception will be a perfect opportunity for faculty to learn about the ways the center can help them to “foster a conversation between faculty members about the changing nature of teaching and learning at Fordham today.”