Overview of Emory Faculty Development/Teaching Center Discussions
Arguments for a
● More efficient, effective, avoids duplication, pools financial resources, remedies confusion and ignorance about available resources
● Partnership, not competition, between university-wide center and individual schools’ centers is possible. A comprehensive center can support the heterogeneous development of each local center.
● Localized centers and resources have not formed in the years since the “Report on Teaching”. This shows that localized centers cannot develop without the assistance of a comprehensive, centralized core to initiate development.
● Emory needs a comprehensive center to remain competitive with other leading
American universities. Demonstrates the importance of teaching at Emory with
more than just lip service.
● Allows development of objective, consistent evaluation tools and review from outside, bringing in professional and non-biased evaluation experts for confidential consultation
● Staffed by a director and instructional developers with specialized experience, therefore does not rely on additional work from existing faculty or department chairs. These external consultants have special expertise that brings legitimacy and validity to the scholarship of teaching, evaluation, and development.
● Interdisciplinary discussions, workshops, seminars, trainings, promote conversation and collaboration in developing new initiatives. Cross-school dialogue is a strength, not a weakness, as UACT and the MTP have shown.
● Allows longer institutional memory
● Easier to secure external funding for a comprehensive center than for individual centers
Arguments for Localized, School-Specific Centers:
● Teaching is finally discipline-specific; University-wide resources are ineffective.
Focus should be on discipline-based practices rather than abstract techniques.
Difficult to talk about teaching or faculty development meaningfully at a level of
University-wide abstraction, especially given different financial organization of
health sciences vs. college, for example.
● University-wide center is a top-down administrative remedy. Better to build
bottom-up than top down; initiative must come from inside each school in order to be effective.
● Comprehensive center would duplicate, co-opt, or dissolve current localized centers (CTC, UTF, etc.) that work well as they are currently organized.
● Faculty want resources organized informally and used locally. Local, fluid
organizations are preferable to centralized, perhaps rigid, bureaucracy. Because
tenure and promotion decisions are made locally, resources for faculty
development should also be local. Teaching must be demonstrated to be
important in tenuring by schools themselves.
● University-wide center would require each school to adjust to the center’s structure. Taxation on each school’s resources may outweigh the help given to faculties or be unevenly distributed. Net benefit to specific schools not proven.
● Initiative should go towards local center development before resources are expended on an expensive and expansive teaching “supercenter”.