Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Provost's Office/ Academic Affairs, Iowa State University
Established: 1993

Profile submitted by Ann Marie VanDerZanden

Vision and Goals

Our vision is to position Iowa State University at the forefront of learning and teaching among land-grant universities.

Our mission is to support, promote, and enhance teaching effectiveness and student learning; encourage scholarship of teaching and learning; communicate the importance of teaching and learning to both internal and external audiences; and serve as a catalyst for learning-centered education.

To accomplish this mission the Center provides consultation, resources, and programs to:

  • Facilitate the professional and intellectual development of faculty, staff, and graduate students as educators.
  • Promote and support a community of teacher-scholars where the theory and practice of teaching and learning are shared.
  • Help instructors and academic units develop, implement, and assess instructional approaches and methods.
  • Foster innovations in university teaching.
  • Advocate appropriate use of technology in enhancing university teaching and learning.
  • Help individual instructors assess their teaching effectiveness and their students' learning.
  • Sustain a university culture that recognizes and rewards both scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Promote student learning as central to accomplishing the teaching/learning mission of the university.

Description of Programming

The programming offered through the ISU CELT fits into four broad categories: general faculty development; online education; learning technology; and graduate students. Programming for all of the audiences includes a mix of low, medium and high engagement opportunities. For example, we offer one-time stand alone workshops, 4-week teaching and learning circles, year long faculty learning communities and for credit courses for the graduate students. We've recently launched a year-long program for new faculty in their first or second year of employment at ISU. This program includes 4 required events and complements existing programming to provide new faculty broad and well-rounded training to help them adjust to their new role as a faculty member.

Successes and Impacts

Our biggest success is that we continue to meet the needs of both faculty and graduate students over an extended period of time. In 2008 we completed a comprehensive self-study, and included in that evaluation were a number of user satisfaction questions. We also gathered information on new and additional programming faculty wanted. We've systematically reviewed this data over the past five years as we have developed programming. Two years ago we automated our event evaluation online and now are receiving consistent and immediate feedback from people who participate in our programs. We are in the processing of completing an evaluation of alumni from our Preparing Future Faculty program to gauge the impact the program has had on their careers after graduating from ISU. We have numerous anecdotal examples of the positive impact, and now are quantifying the examples will more robust data.

Elements Contributing to Success

A number of factors have contributed to the long term success of the center. In particular the center has adapted to the changing needs of faculty and graduate students. The center actively seeks input from faculty and graduate students to provide programming on new and emerging teaching needs. There is also a positive culture around teaching at Iowa State University and teaching is valued and supported by the administration. We work closely with upper administration to keep them abreast of the center's activities and impact we are having across campus.