Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development promotes the University's mission through the development of faculty across all career stages and areas of professional responsibility.

Xavier University of Louisiana


Profile submitted by Tiera Coston

Vision and Goals

We support faculty in teaching, mentoring, scholarship, service, and work/life balance to advance the art and science of teaching and learning through our comprehensive facilities and resources, creative and relevant initiatives, and expert staff.

Center/Program Structure

All staff (Associate Director for Programming, Education Improvement Specialist, Distance Education Coordinator, Technology Coordinator, Media Artist, Administration Assistant and various Faculty-in-Residence) of the Center report to the Director. The Director reports to the University Provost. The Center is an independent unit that is overseen by the Provost.

Are there advantages of being structured this way?
This allows the Center to support both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Pharmacy. All academic units of the University are equally supported.

Are there particular challenges that result from this structure?


The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development (CAT+) is sustained by a combination of a foundation grant ($500,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for staff salaries and various initiatives), a BUILD grant (from the National Institutes of Health for staff salaries and various initiatives) and institutional support. Each year the Center receives a budget from the University, which is typically used to conduct the administrative business of the Center.

How has this funding structure influenced the undergraduate STEM education programming the center offers?
The NIH funding (previously NSF (National Science Foundation)) has provided for STEM-specific staff to work full-time in the Center on behalf of STEM faculty and STEM education initiatives. It also provides the funding for all of the STEM education initiatives carried out by the Center.

What are the specific advantages of having a center funded in this way?
The Educational Improvement Specialist with a STEM focus (staff funded by BUILD) acts as bridge between the Center and the STEM faculty. This means that the specific needs and requests of the STEM faculty are attended to and programming that directly addresses what they need is created. STEM education is always a priority in the Center.

What are the challenges?
The Center is fortunate to have both the financial and institutional support for its work. Consequently, the most pressing challenge is the time (or lack thereof) that faculty have to devote to all of the STEM education programming that happens in the Center. With a 12-hours per semester teaching load, as well as research, scholarship and service requirements, faculty do not have as much time as is needed to engage in effective training. Also, managing the Center's grants (i.e., the fiscal labyrinth existing at Xavier) poses its own challenges.

Has this funding structure has changed over time?

Description of Programming

Successes and Impacts

Evaluation and Assessment

How does your center demonstrate its value, both in terms of assessing its own programming and responding to external evaluation?
The Center's programming is assessed annually by tracking a number of metrics related to the number of faculty who attend Center events, the departments and divisions from which they come, faculty opinions about the programming and the frequency with which different resources (e.g., blog, website, podcasts, etc.) created by Center staff are accessed. This information is reported annually to the University, and a part of that reporting is addressing unmet goals and following up on changes made in response to evaluations.

Elements Contributing to Success

Supplemental Materials

Essay: The Work of the MVPs - Tiera Coston, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development, Xavier University of Louisiana