When Robert McCauley first heard earlier this year he would be taking
over as director of Emory Colleges Center for Teaching and Curriculum
(CTC), he sat down with the only director the center had known in its
five years of existence, English Professor Walt Reed.
McCauley eventually met with Reed a half-dozen times, and it took half
of those meetings before McCauley truly appreciated the scope of the CTC.
You start seeing that [while] we have our mission and our interests
and our focus, its inevitable that there are a lot of connections
with other programs all around the College and the University, McCauley
A professor of philosophy, McCauley was hardly a stranger to the CTC.
He served on its advisory committee for two years and also sat on the
steering committee that guided the centers creation.
It took me a while to get a grasp on all the things that were happening,
he said. Its a challenge, but its also fun thinking
about further initiatives.
One of those challenges is wading through the alphabet soup of organizations
the CTC partners with: UAC (the University Advisory Council on Teaching),
OUCP (the Office of University-Community Partnerships) and ECIT (the Emory
Center for Interactive Teaching), to name just three.
McCauley said his goals for the CTC are to build on these burgeoning relationships
and continue the centers already successful programs, as well as
expand some of them to reach departments that, for whatever reason, have
not quite fully utilized the centers resources.
The first step in this direction is CTCs offering of grants up to
$1,500 to individual departments to help cover costs associated with colloquiums
or programs that involve the discussion of college-level teaching.
The response has been strong, McCauley said. The English department has
already received a grant, and he is currently reviewing applications from
two other departments.
I thought about coming up with a clever name [for this initiative],
but Im not very good at that sort of thing, McCauley laughed.
So I ended up just calling them teaching-dash-research
This effort has an interesting set up. Instead of providing funds from
one source, grant money is separated into three categories: humanities,
social sciences and natural sciences/ math. This type organization, McCauley
said, would help spread money throughout the College. For instance, departments
such as biology or chemistry would not be cut off from funding at the
expense of the Spanish or history departments. Everyone would have an
opportunity to have a fair share.
The broad mission of CTC, McCauley said, is to provide support for good
teaching and offer opportunities for faculty to improve their teaching.
Monetary grants are just one form this support takesanother is teacher
That is accomplished through the Centers Awards for Excellence in
Teaching, the most recent of which were handed out Sept. 24. Annually
rewarding instructors for quality teaching was actually one of the CTCs
first efforts following its creation five years ago.
There is nothing wrong with patting people on the back, McCauley
said. Its a great thing.
The recipients of this years honors were religions Bobbi Patterson,
psychologys Eugene Winograd and Ray Lamb from math and computer
The awards honor excellence in the teaching of undergraduate students.
Winners are chosen by a committee whose members represent the natural
sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, and its members take
into account information such as peer and student evaluation.
We take reflection seriously, McCauley said, summing up his
thoughts on the CTCs mission. Opportunities to reflect on
any number of pedagogical issues will lead to people teaching in a way
that is more thoughtful than it would have been otherwise. The very nature
of a university is dedicated to the notion that doing things more thoughtfully
is a just a pretty good formula for doing them better.