Office for Teaching & Learning

The Wayne State University Office for Teaching and Learning mission is to foster a community of educators at Wayne State University where the success of all students is supported by a culture of teaching excellence, inclusiveness, and shared vision that education and research together can shape the future of individuals and society.

Wayne State University
Established: 1996

Profile submitted by Mathew L. Ouellett

Vision and Goals

The Wayne State University (WSU) Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) vision is a community of educators whose teaching reflects the research on learning and inspires the success of all students.

Center/Program Structure

The Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) at Wayne State University reports directly to the Provost. Internally, we collaborate with faculty, departments, and colleges to provide individual consultation services, programs, and campus-wide events designed to promote effective teaching and learning. Externally, we partner on institution-wide and multi-institution grant initiatives that enhance learning. The OTL has six full-time staff members including three academic staff with affiliate academic appointments, three professional staff, and one senior graduate student assistant.

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Center Funding

Tell us about the major sources of funding for your center. For example, is the center sustained by grants from foundations, institutional support, or fee-for-service? Please discuss the broad funding structure that allows your center to do its work.

How has this funding structure influenced the undergraduate STEM education programming the center offers?

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What are the challenges?

Has this funding structure has changed over time?

Description of Programming

The Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) provides support and development opportunities for all instructors, including full- and part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants, at Wayne State University (WSU). We do this through a full complement of faculty development opportunities including: individualized consultation services; instructional design assistance; classroom observation and feedback; web and print-based resources; workshops; and collaborations with other on-campus services.

The OTL is a catalyst for campus-wide change. Examples of these include the WSU WIDER Grant Program, department-based STEM pedagogy initiatives, faculty learning communities, and campus-wide speakers on a range of teaching and learning topics. Our most notable formative program is the Mid-semester Assessment Program (MAP). The MAP is an opportunity for Wayne State University instructors to get timely student feedback regarding their perceptions of what is going well and what could be changed or improved while the course is in progress. In 2014-2015, 53 instructors participated and 3,309 students were impacted. An upward trend is anticipated for the current academic year.

Successes and Impacts

The biggest success to date for the Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) has been our partnership with faculty in the STEM disciplines to secure external grant funding to enhance learning in related STEM fields. In 2013, Wayne State University (WSU) was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored WIDER grant to assess the teaching climate in WSU classrooms and explore the opportunities and barriers for campus-wide change, especially the implementation of evidence-based pedagogies. In 2015, WSU was awarded a NSF sponsored Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) grant that focuses on pedagogy change. The OTL also partners with the WSU Graduate School on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants aimed to enhance the successes of our students. The Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) grant program is committed to ensuring that women and underrepresented racial minority undergraduate students receive support during their educational experience and as they pursue biomedical careers. The Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) grant program assists doctoral trainees in the biomedical sciences in exploring alternative career opportunities.

Evaluation and Assessment

How does your center demonstrate its value, both in terms of assessing its own programming and responding to external evaluation?
We have two external evaluators who monitor our progress and write periodic report on the grant projects.

Elements Contributing to Success

Sustained positive relationships with faculty opinion leaders at Wayne State University (WSU) continues to be essential to our success. Securing external grant awards and a focus on evidence-based teaching strategies have also contributed to our standing with faculty. Finally, partnering with WSU faculty across the disciplines and colleges on other high-priority campus-wide teaching and learning initiatives (e.g., assessment, implementation of evidence-based teaching methods, improved instructional technologies, and diversity in the classroom) contribute to our success, as well.

Supplemental Materials

Essay: You Gotta' Have Friends - Mathew Ouellett, Office of Teaching and Learning, Wayne State University

Essay: The WIDER Vision - Andrew Feig, Office of Teaching and Learning, Wayne State University