Council of Deans Teaching Initiative


Over the last two years, the Wake Forest University Council of Deans has been in conversation about potential campus-wide initiatives on which all schools could partner. In the fall of 2018, the Council agreed that all schools were committed to improving the support they provide for teaching. Drawing on the expertise of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Kami Chavis, Jill Crainshaw, and Terry Hales developed a
project proposal that was enthusiastically endorsed by the Council in the spring of 2019. 

In the summer of 2019, each dean appointed two faculty to serve on a Steering Committee to construct a plan for piloting, implementing, and assessing a university-wide program to support the continual development of teachers and teaching across the university.

  • Project Plan

    Problem Statement:

    Wake Forest prioritizes the Teacher-Scholar ideal, as reflected in its mission and the high standards it sets for teaching in personnel decisions (e.g., hiring, promotion, tenure, and merit pay). Yet, no school is completely satisfied with the formal structures they have in place to support faculty as they work to meet and exceed those standards (e.g., feedback, opportunities for experimentation and failure, mentoring, etc.)

    Scope:

    • The goal of this initiative is to improve formative support structures, not summative evaluation procedures
    • The goal for this project is to run a small, voluntary, pilot program in the 2020-2021 academic year, not implement a campus-wide requirement (large scale adoption would be contingent on pilot outcomes)
    • Although the precise structure of the pilot is yet to be determined, the hope is that the program will offer participants greater opportunities for formative feedback, self-reflection, growth, and community support.
    • The ultimate goal of this initiative, as with all teaching initiatives, is to advance the educational mission of the institution. Thus we hope that supporting faculty in this way will ultimately improve students’ learning, personal development/growth, and sense of belonging at Wake Forest.

    Process:

    • The Center for the Advancement of Teaching, along with representative faculty from each school, will meet in the 2019-2020 academic year to discuss potential program models and adopt a comprehensive plan for the pilot.
    • A voluntary pilot program will proceed during the 2020-2021 academic year.
    • The Center for the Advancement of Teaching will work with those participating in the pilot to assess its success in the Summer of 2021.

    Potential Outcomes:

    • For participants: greater use of EBTP (evidence-based teaching practices); greater self-efficacy in teaching domain; increased time reflecting on teaching; greater awareness of the scholarship of teaching and learning; improved annual evaluations of teaching; greater likelihood of promotion, merit raises, and tenure; improved relationships with colleagues; increased sense of belonging at Wake 
    • For students of participants: greater achievement/learning; improved affective outcomes; increased retention
    • For departments/schools: increased retention of faculty (e.g., fewer resignations, non-renewals, etc.); improved climate among faculty (i.e., a greater sense of community); more pedagogical and curricular innovation (or at least a greater willingness to consider it); increased clarity about pedagogical mission of the unit.
    • For university: national recognition for successfully addressing a challenge most institutions face; reinforcement of national reputation as teaching-oriented university

    Project Roles

    • Executive Sponsor: Jill Crainshaw (Vice Dean, School of Divinity)
    • Subject Matter Expertise/Project Management: Center for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Steering Committee Members
    Executive Sponsors
    Kami Chavis chavisk@wfu.edu Executive Sponsor Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives
    Professor of Law
    Jill Crainshaw crainsjy@wfu.edu Executive Sponsor,
    Chair
    Vice Dean for Faculty Development and Academic Initiatives
    Blackburn Professor of Workshop liturgical Theology
    Wake Forest College
    E.J. Masicampo masicaej@wfu.edu Member Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
    Peter Siavelis siavelpm@wfu.edu Member Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs
    David Wren wrenda@wfu.edu Member Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Director, Chemistry Center
    Wake Forest Graduate School
    Stacy Schmauss sschmaus@wakehealth.edu Member Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, School of Medicine
    Wake Forest School of Business
    Jack Wilkerson jwilker@wfu.edu Member D. Wayne Calloway Professor in Accounting, School of Business
    Brian Young youngbe@wfu.edu Member Associate Teaching Professor in Finance, School of Business
    Wake Forest School of Law
    Raina Haque haquer@wfu.edu Member Professor of the Practice, School of Law
    Steve Nikles snickles@wfu.edu Member C.C. Hope Chair in Law and Management, School of Law
    Wake Forest School of Medicine
    Mike Fitch mfitch@wakehealth.edu Member Professor of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine
    Roy Strowd rstrowd@wakehealth.edu Member Assistant Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine
    Wake Forest Z. Smith Reynolds Library
    Kaeley McMahan mcmahak@wfu.edu Member Research & Instruction Librarian, ZSR Library
    Ex Officio Subject Matter Experts
    Betsy Barre barreea@wfu.edu Ex officio Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching
    Affiliate Faculty, Department for the Study of Religions
    Kristi Verbeke verbekkj@wfu.edu Ex officio Director of Educational Development, Center for the Advancement of Teaching
    Affiliate Faculty, Department of Psychology
    Anita McCauley mccaulak@wfu.edu Ex officio Assistant Director of Curriculum Design & STEM Programs, Center for the Advancement of Teaching
    Affiliate Faculty, Department of Biology
    Bethany Morrison morrisb@wfu.edu Ex officio Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Committee Charge

    The steering committee, working together with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, will construct a plan for piloting, implementing, and assessing a university-wide program to celebrate and reinforce the importance of teaching on our campuses. By creating structured opportunities for self-reflection, feedback, and community support, this program will assist our teacher-scholars as they work to meet and exceed the standards they set for their teaching, while also contributing to the continual elevation of those standards. At its best, this initiative will nurture a culture of teaching that ignites and sustains the passion of our dedicated teacher-scholars as they work to advance the educational mission of the institution.

    Toward that end, the steering committee will partner with the TLC to complete the following tasks in the 2019-2020 academic year:

    • Review the problem statement, goals, and potential outcomes outlined in the project proposal
    • Investigate structures currently in place at the university, school, and department levels
    • Review the research literature and best practices at peer institutions
    • Design the program structure
    • Design an assessment plan to determine whether the program is achieving its goals
    • Design the pilot structure and select participants
    • Draft a project schedule that includes pilot, assessment, and implementation phases
    • Secure the endorsement of the Council of Deans
    • Prepare pilot participants for Fall 2020 launch
  • Committee Schedule
    Meeting/Date Phase Task from the Charge
    Sept 2019 Introduction Review steering committee charge and project proposal; share schedule
    Sept 2019 Needs Assessment Plan needs assessment; assign tasks 
    Oct 2019 Needs Assessment Present progress reports; share challenges; assign new tasks
    Oct 2019 Needs Assessment Share final results of needs assessment
    Nov 2019 Explore Program Options & Select TLC shares options from research literature and best practices at peer institutions
    Nov 2019 Explore Program Options & Select Reflection on options and whether they meet needs
    Dec 2019 Explore Program Options & Select Select among options
    Jan 2020 Outcomes &  Assessment Select desired outcomes/goals
    Jan 2020 Outcomes &  Assessment Plan how outcomes/goals will be assessed
    Feb 2020 Program Planning Plan structure of eventual program
    Feb 2020 Program Planning Plan structure of eventual program
    Mar 2020 Pilot Planning Plan structure of pilot
    Mar 2020 Pilot Planning Plan structure of pilot
    Apr 2020 Pilot Planning Plan pilot assessment
    Apr 2020 Finalize Plans Draft a project schedule that includes pilot, assessment, and implementation phases
    May 2020 Finalize Plans Secure the endorsement of the Council of Deans
    Summer 2020 Implement Prepare pilot participants for Fall 2020 launch
    2020-2021 Implement Run pilot & collect ongoing data
    Summer 2021 Assess Analyze data & present results of pilot assessment