Teaching & Learning Center Needs Assessment

Discussion #2 Report



Present: Patrick Allitt (College), Douglas Ander (SOM), Chris Baldasseri (Library), Bill Branch (SOM), Liz Bounds (Theology), Kelly Brewer (Nursing), Gordon Churchward (SOM), Bob DeHaan (College), Andy Ditzler (Library), Arri Eisen (College), Hazel Gold (College), Paul Jean (Administration), Anne Kelley (College), Harriet King (Administration), Kathy Kinlaw (Ethics Center), Margo Kuisis (SOM),Yu-Hua Li (Yerkes), Kim Loudermilk (Administration), Michael Lubin (SOM), Frances Maley (Library), Mary Moore (Theology), Jim Morey (College), Michael Neville (Nursing), Wendy Newby (College), Sally Radell (College), Nancy Reinhold (Library), Jennifer Romig (Law), Debbie Ryan (Nursing), Beth Seelig (College), Anne Sinkey (UACT), Donna Troka (UACT), Steve Walton (Business), Maurice York (Library), Kirk Ziegler (SOM)


Participants were broken up into small groups and asked to begin to answer the following three questions:

  • How could a university-wide teaching and learning center at Emory University best serve you? What needs does your school/department have?
  • What services do you think already exist and are effective? How could these services be expanded to meet the needs mentioned above?
  • What institutional structure would best serve your needs? A localized school specific center? A university-wide center? Some hybrid of the two?


The following is a summary of each group’s answers.


Michael Neville (Law, Business, Theology & Nursing)

-A needs assessment should happen

-New PhD’s should get support

-There needs to be a focus on the scholarship of teaching and peer evaluation

-Disciplines should come together at a university-wide center

-Sometimes “interdisciplinarity” when applied, doesn’t really happen

-For the structure, the leadership must value teaching, and this should be made part of the tenure & promotion process


Jim Morey (Emory College)

-The CTC does a lot already

-We need a focus on how to improve ongoing support, not just innovative teaching

-We must facilitate outside funding

-There needs to be a focus on the research on teaching too

-Must dedicate more time to graduate teaching, there needs to be interventions. While we do have TATTO, it is very old and department specific

-The College is doing a lot already and could be a net loser in a superpower model



Doug Anders (SOM #1)

-A central resource is needed for dissemination; Need to know what is going on.

-Must have basic level and advance teaching instruction

-There is a need for feedback and evaluation

-There are different methodologies for assessing performance and creating tests

-We also need “out of the classroom” teaching; how to connect with students in a social situation


Gordon Churchward (SOM #2)

-Need a focus on teaching scholarship

-Peer evaluation is also important

-A university-wide center could serve as a catalyst for school specific centers, with a trickle down effect that it is clear to everyone that teaching counts


Kim Loudermilk (Library & Administration)

-There is important work being done by librarians, this is a great platform to distribute knowledge

-Should consider how a teaching center could work with staff, for example, Human Resources could use some instruction/seminars on how to teach

-A teaching center could be an exchange site for information, a clearing house

-It could also be a place to recognize similarities and problems faced


























General Comments from large group discussion that followed:

  • Must focus on interdisciplinarity and fund these projects
  • There is expertise in some schools that is not present in other schools. This can provide a space to exchange the information- synergy
  • There is an issue of incentives. All upper administration must send messages, funding, release time for this.
  • The National Theology Association does an all year teaching seminar and at the end you get a research grant.
  • We must develop new models of research based teaching
  • We need to have a course on cognitive learning. How do people gain information? How do students learn?
  • Graduate students need to be forced to do concrete things to prepare to teach
  • Faculty from Education could do peer review and provide expert feedback
  • Schools as a rule are not so developed (except Oxford & College). Need a critical mass of expert educators
  • There needs to be a modest administrative structure. A staff of experts in specific fields with a broad reach and centralized funds.
  • The breadth must be well funded and administered
  • When you do interdisciplinary work you must have experts in their specific disciplines. You don’t want to risk sacrificing disciplines
  • Watch for reduplicating of efforts. Overarching modest center helps integrate so that faculty is informed
  • There is a danger of having pockets in each school, it becomes understood as a center that is “owned” by the school, and therefore served only the school.
  • Center for Ethics is university wide and it struggles with many of the same issues. It is challenging, but so much richer.
  • A center can bring together already existing pieces
  • Must shoot high. Put together a major effort and look for a potential donor
  • Is there a market that wants this? Are we offering a product that faculty wants? Business says “those are great ideas but we don’t need it.”
  • There is more interest than time to do it
  • To strengthen ourselves in teaching and make it more visible make Emory more attractive
  • We must have internal and external motivation for this
  • Emory is great at teaching already, but we need more
  • We are way behind, we need to focus on a center for teaching and learning