The CTLS is a multifaceted resource to assist faculty, staff and administrators in their development as teachers and scholars. Primary areas of emphasis include: innovative teaching and learning techniques, high-impact practices, integration of technology in teaching, and the scholarship of teaching. The CTLS supports the university’s distinctive mission of “For God, for learning, forever” by providing general instructional and assessment design assistance and by promoting a climate that honors and promotes the craft of teaching at the university.
The CTLS currently operates with one full-time staff member. An advisory committee chaired by the CTLS director and composed of faculty and administration provides guidance for the center’s operation.
Most faculty choose to teach because of a love of knowledge, a love of students and an innate need to transfer their knowledge to students. Although their content knowledge may be extensive, many faculty have not been educated in the art and science of teaching. By encouraging and motivating faculty to examine their teaching methods and relationships, the CTLS cultivates faculty development and student learning. Mentoring, collaborative and active learning are a few of the strategies to enhance this process.
A positive consequence of nurturing faculty is to focus their attention on teaching the “whole person.” While stressing academic rigor of teaching and learning at Samford, a major function of the center is to encourage classrooms that promote all manners of learning.
The CTLS director, Dr. Eric J. Fournier, is available for individual consultations with faculty to discuss teaching techniques, course development and tenure and promotion. In addition, services are available to programs and departments for curriculum development and revision.
CTLS facilitates the pairing of new full-time faculty with experienced faculty on campus to assist them with their transition to Samford. Serving as a faculty mentor is a very rewarding experience, and new faculty greatly benefit from their conversations with others across campus.
Mentoring events include a new faculty workshop in August, a welcome dinner at the home of the Westmorelands, opportunities for informal discussions, lunch meetings and end-of-school dinner in the spring.
The CTLS seeks mentors from across the campus and will match new faculty with mentors from schools or departments different from their own. No special experience or training is necessary for this role—just a willingness to share your knowledge, experience and friendship with a new colleague.
New Faculty Retreat is held annually in January and covers issues ranging from promotion and tenure preparation to Samford student culture. The provost and other members of Samford’s senior leadership team typically attend the retreat and participate in discussion groups on best practices in teaching and research.
In 2009, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship began a series of teaching sessions featuring Macon and Buchanan award winners discussing their teaching philosophy, techniques and style. These colleagues provide an excellent resource for sharing successful teaching tips. Speakers have included Rod Davis (English), Paul Richardson (Music), Pamela Sims (Pharmacy), Tom Woolley (Business), Dennis Sansom (Philosophy), Bill Service (Business), Betsy Dobbins (Biology) and Julie Steward (English).
Thirty-Minute Workshops provide a concrete, practical and immediately implementable teaching technique for faculty with only 30 minutes to spare. These sessions include a variety of content that can be used in large and small classes, survey and upper-level courses, and undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship, in collaboration with the provost office, provides annual funding for faculty development grants administered through the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee. The committee solicits, reviews and approves proposals every fall. Since 2008, almost $150,000 has been distributed to faculty for their scholarship and research.
In 2012, CTLS began working with Technology Services and the Faculty Senate Academic Technology and Learning Resources Committee to distribute innovative technology grants to faculty who wished to try new technologies for student learning. In the first year of funding, more than $20,000 was provided to faculty for projects.
Dr. Eric J. FournierProfessor, Dept. of GeographyDirector, CTLSejfourni@samford.edu205-726-2113