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About Us

The Mission

“The Center for Teaching Excellence enhances student success by helping faculty become exemplary teachers.  We do this by providing programming, support, and resources that foster faculty development within a community of educators at Grand Rapids Community College, and by cultivating a culture that values and recognizes excellence in teaching and learning.”

The Model

In order to advance that mission, the CTE is committed to doing three, overarching things.  We grow faculty through our programming, support, and resources.  We connect faculty as a community of cross-disciplinary educators.  Finally, we recognize faculty for excellence in teaching and learning.

The Values

  1. Excellence.  GRCC aims to be an institution of distinction and the CTE strives to contribute to that goal by developing exemplary faculty and providing exemplary programming.
  2. Innovation.  The CTE is committed to keeping abreast of emerging, innovative pedagogies, practices, and technologies, and to provide opportunities for GRCC faculty to learn how to utilize those to enhance student success.
  3. Responsiveness.  The teaching and learning environment is perpetually shifting and the CTE strives to be adaptable and to work toward providing resources that serve the specific needs of our faculty.
  4. Reflective Practice.  The CTE emphasizes lifelong learning and continuous improvement by building opportunities for reflective practice into its programming.

The Programming Areas

  1. Face-to-face workshops.  These cover a wide variety of topics from managing the classroom to setting up effective assessments in Blackboard Learn.  However, all are designed to provide tools and ideas that will enhance teaching and learning.
  2. Online modules.  Prefer to work at your own pace? Have a schedule that makes it difficult to attend campus sessions?  We offer online modules through Blackboard Learn that help faculty develop new skills and ideas from the comfort of their own computer.
  3. “Self-Help” Resources.  Often you can find the answers you are looking for in more static resources such as 20-Minute Mentor Videos, tip sheets, tutorials, external websites, et cetera.  The problem is, it’s not always easy to find those resources.  
  4. Consultations.  Sometimes the workshops, modules, and resources aren’t what you need—you want to sit down with someone one-on-one.  Our instructional designers, support staff, and faculty liaisons would all be happy to set up an appointment to meet with you.
  5. Special Events.  We also coordinate a variety of special events throughout the year.  These range from small, open discussions of teaching and technology innovations, to large events like Faculty Learning Day.  Regardless of size, though, you can always be sure our events will focus on growth, connection, and recognition. 
  6. New Faculty programming.  The CTE also coordinates all the activities for new faculty.  We believe it is important to get each faculty member off to a good start and to provide resources that help them be successful at GRCC.
  7. Support for departmental professional development and other development activities.  If you are planning a departmental faculty development event, we can help with registration, room booking, promotion, and other logistical pieces.  We also coordinate trainings on topics that fall outside our core, such as the Faculty Evaluation System.

The Core Curriculum

Our core faculty development curriculum is designed around the areas that contribute to great teaching.  While we will sometimes do workshops on "special topics," most of our time and energy is directed to the following five things.

  1. Plan:  Planning involves developing what will be taught.  This encompasses topics that cover different aspects of choosing content, designing learning activities and objects, and organizing the learning.
  2. Teach: Teaching involves the active delivery of the content in the “plan.”  The topics covered in this area are related to the things instructors do in the classroom (both online and physical) to facilitate learning and student success.
  3. Assess: Assessing involves intentional examination of activities and results with the goal of understanding processes around learning and making strategic changes to those processes.  Topics associated with assessment could involve assessment of student learning, assessment of other classroom behaviors, and/or assessment associated with instructor activities.
  4. Incusion: Inclusion involves cultivating a campus and classroom climate that is supportive of all individuals, and recognizes the diversity of our community. In the classroom, creating instruction that is sensitive to the abilities and unique characteristics of a wide variety of learners is critical for student success.

The CTE also provides administrative support around training in the following areas...

  1. Student service: faculty roles in advising, student conduct and academic dishonesty, etc.
  2. College Service: providing resources on service opportunities and helping coordinate training around some of those opportunities; also helping faculty develop learning opportunities for service
  3. Professional commitment: marketing externships, promoting IIPD grants, assisting with information on sabbaticals
  4. Evaluation-system training and information: coordinating trainings around the components of the evaluation system, including managing the certifications for classroom observation, portfolio review, and online course observations