13:16 PM

Faculty orientation highlights programs for great teaching

The new semester at The Ohio State University is underway and along with the return of students to campus, new faculty members are joining the ranks.

About two dozen new faculty members attended orientation on Friday at Thompson Library. The orientation highlighted new programs at Ohio State designed to improve teaching and learning across the university.

“We are one of the world’s leading research universities. We are also striving to be one of the world’s leading teaching universities,” Bruce A. McPheron, executive vice president and provost, said. “We want to offer the best of both worlds.”

The day-long program highlighted several opportunities for new instructors to excel at Ohio State.

“There is nothing better than being a faculty member at Ohio State every day,” said Kay Wolf, vice provost for academic policy and faculty resources.

One opportunity is the new Teaching Support Program, offered through the University Institute for Teaching and Learning. It is an optional professional development program providing additional support for teaching faculty and their work in the classroom.

The program features a monetary incentive to boost the pay of the faculty who choose to enroll. It is believed to be unique in the nation for implementing a research-based survey instrument on effective teaching practices across the entire institution.

New faculty were also introduced to the UITL’s Faculty Foundation, Impact, Transformation initiative. The year-long programming focuses on active support for instructional faculty at differing levels of experience.

Faculty are offered the chance to join small mentoring cohorts of three to four new instructors and one experienced faculty mentor who has been hand-picked and is known for excellent teaching. Cohorts typically meet monthly throughout the academic year.

These efforts demonstrate some of the ways the university is working to keep faculty and students on the leading edge of teaching and learning. Ohio State’s strategic plan calls for the university to be an exemplar of the best teaching practices to improve student success.

“We expect all of those students we see walking by right now to have instruction of success, instruction that shows we care, instruction that will help get them to the next class and perform at a higher level,” said Kay Halasek, director of the University Institute for Teaching and Learning. “Ultimately, everything we do is in the service of students and to improve student outcomes.”

Timothy Ulbrich, director of the Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Science – Health-System Pharmacy Administration graduate program, said he found the orientation to be useful and appreciated the programs offered to new faculty. Ulbrich started at Ohio State in November and is responsible for running the graduate program as well as serving as an adviser for medical center residents.

He said the mentorship programs for new faculty are invaluable.

“I think back to a lot of the mentors I had and the teachers that I had in pharmacy school, throughout undergraduate school and even my residency,” Ulbrich said. “I value what the provost had to say in terms of having excellence in scholarship but also approaching teaching with excellence through a scholarship of teaching and learning.”