University President Leonidas Koskos has announced plans to establish a Center for Teaching Excellence to foster faculty development at the Athens and Nashua campuses. In an email sent to faculty last Wednesday (November 17), President Koskos stressed the pivotal role that effective teaching and technology together plan in the University’s ability to serve its mission. The creation of the Center, he added, will also allow the University to network with similar bodies at other colleges and universities and benefit from shared knowledge and opportunities for collaboration.
The Center will offer in-house seminars on topics such as attending to the learning needs of different student groups, promoting student creativity, and facilitating active learning across modalities, such as online synchronous classes or hybrid teaching. It will also host workshops and presentations from education experts. In addition, plans foresee a mentoring program for young faculty who are beginning their teaching careers.
Responsibility for implementing the project will be shared by University Provost Dr. Themis Kaniklidou, and the Dean for Digital Learning and Educational Innovation, Dr. Dimitris Tolias.
The creation of the Center is the latest in a series of major investments in educational infrastructure at the University. It follows upon a major upgrade of the institution’s eLearning platform, Blackboard, the creation of a high-speed wireless network on campus, and the refitting of classrooms in the Massalias 22 buildings as smart hybrid classrooms that can seamlessly accommodate the simultaneous teaching of onsite and online students. The Center also has precedents in the University’s practice of supporting faculty development through continuing education. Dr. Tolias himself just completed a University-funded 8-week online Higher Education Teaching Certificate Program offered by the Harvard University Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning.
As a prelude to the operations of the new Center for Teaching Excellence, a series of faculty training workshops will be offered starting this December to support faculty in their teaching duties and to familiarize them with the state-of-the-art infrastructure of our hybrid classes.
Image: Dr. Themis Kaniklidou, Provost, and Dr. Dimitris Tolias, Dean for Digital Learning and Educational Innovation