Here’s some of what the Academy has been working on during the 2021-2022 fiscal year:
Annual Report 2021-2022
The Teaching Academy is composed of approximately 500 volunteer faculty, instructional staff, and graduate students who are recognized by peers for sustained, demonstrated teaching excellence. Our membership is strengthened by affiliates who teach in classroom, clinic, or field settings around the state.
To forward our mission, we anticipate continued growth in our membership and through supporting excellence in teaching and learning by continuing to offer successful community-building events and high-quality programs. We will continue to engage in quality improvement and program assessment to evaluate programming effectiveness, cost-efficiency and inform strategic planning. We will review and appraise our programming to ensure we continue to align with the VPTL vision and promote the four core areas of intellectual and personal growth outlined in the Wisconsin Experience.
Our key accomplishments for the 2021-2022 fiscal year are as follows:
- Developed and initiated the Red and White papers which will provide information regarding high quality teaching and learning informed by the evidence.
- Launched the first-ever Dual Distinguished Interprofessional Fellow with U-CIPE and honored our first recipient.
- Collaborated with the Center for Teaching Learning and Mentoring (CTLM) to co-create four pre-semester workshops to replace the LEaP program, which was sun-downed in fall 2021.
- Participated in the orientation of health science faculty staff to continue collaborations with them.
- Delivered two Member Events and our regular Fall and Winter retreats.
- Coordinated through ongoing developments in the Division for Teaching and Learning, and have begun working with the new Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring.
- Initiated and are working towards Academy colloquiums that feature guest presenters from outside the UW campus in the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Soft-launched the Feedback on Teaching initiative with support and combined efforts of CTLM.
Tentative Goals for FY 2022-23
- Programming: Continue shifting the Academy’s programming focus from professional development to community building by increasing and promoting formal and informal opportunities to connect and engage with others who are interested in improving teaching and learning.
- Inclusion: Continue examining and adjusting programming and communications to be more inclusive and welcoming to all members of campus who support teaching and learning.
- Flexibility: Support a wider swath of the teaching and learning community by meeting more campus members where they’re at with high-quality remote synchronous and asynchronous experiences.
- Reporting: Improve efficiency and expand effectiveness of program data to inform decision-making by streamlining evaluation efforts. (Salesforce TBD?)
- Graduate Student Outreach: Engage graduate student educators through Future Faculty Partner (FFP) meetings hosted at least twice per semester, virtually or in-person.
- Community Feedback: Although the pandemic response slowed FoT progress to our FY20 goals, we remain on track for FY21 goals, which include (a) shifting initial focus to support online, hybrid and remote teaching, and (b) addressing how FoT can bridge the gap between formative feedback from observer to instructor and the summative feedback that supervisory individuals and bodies may one day need on teaching effectiveness.
- Communication: In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, expand efforts to connect with folx who support excellence in teaching and learning — including those outside current Academy membership, and those beyond the boundaries of the university (e.g. past members who have left the university).
Since September 2021, we received six applications for Fellow status and five applications for Future Faculty Partners — all were approved. Additionally, 47 campus members attended all four sessions of the CTLM LEaP derivative (pre-semester Teaching at UW) and 38 requested and were granted Affiliate status. This chart compares calendar year membership since 1993. (Reported by Casey Gallimore, Andrew McWard, Morton Anne Gernsbacher, Michael Childers, and John Martin)
Over the past year, we hosted two Member Events: December 2021 and April 2022. Both meetings were held via Zoom. The topic of the December meeting was sharing tips for doing “more with less,” and the topic of the April meeting, with 21 attending, was student recommendations for instructional flexibility. (Reported by Claire Barrett and Morton Gernsbacher)
Retreats have run successfully this year on topics suggested by our planning committee. Both events were virtual. Over 40 people are in the committee mailings, and we have a significant commitment from 12-15 people per retreat to help with planning. Topics this year were Winter 2022 “Fostering Belonging through Equitable Assessment” (140 attending), and Fall 2021 “Ableism, Disability and Inclusive Practices”. Attendance was solid, though lower for the Fall retreat. This was very likely due to publicity for the fall retreat only going through the Teaching Academy’s mailing list and newsletter, without a “whole campus” mailing. For Winter 2022, Megan assisted with the whole campus mailing, and Meredith can assist with that in the future. The Fall 2022 retreat is planned for in person and remote hybrid (in Gordon Commons). The DeLuca Forum is booked for Winter 2023 (bookings need to be done 1 year in advance). The Fall retreat will be on the topic of Linguistic Bias and Supporting Multilingual Learners, with Dianna Murphy (Lang Inst) and Joe Salmons, plus others. Details to TBD. (Reported by Dan Pell)
The Academy Newsletter
The newsletter has gone out throughout the year, including one issue in the summer. At the beginning of the year the format was updated in Google Docs to present a more accessible and web-friendly format (e.g. with logical use of headers). We have integrated PD and community building content from several campus partners with connections to the Teaching Academy, notably in Clinical Corner, and from Writing Across the Curriculum and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring. Feedback is uncommon, but always positive (to paraphrase): “makes me feel connected”, “always so much information”, “like the format”. Soliciting content has not always been as easy as in the past – there has been less to report for the Teaching Academy since the creation of the CTLM. The Academy Forum was put on pause recently for lack of input from members. I hope that the increasing social media presence may be a better way to elicit timely contributions. (Reported by Dan Pell)
Our Undergraduate Chat Learn and Share Space program events have been very limited due to the pandemic but we recently held an event on February 24, 2022. Six Teaching Academy members met with 12 campus student leaders in an event organized by ASM and the Teaching Academy. The discussion centered around the prompt to the students to ‘Reflect on course flexibility practices — what works and what doesn’t?’ We have two U-CLaSS sessions already in progress that were put on hold due to the pandemic. I am hoping that we can bring both of those back sometime in 2022-23. One event in the planning stages involves Teaching Academy members and Learning Specialists from Academic Services in the Athletic Department. Based on the results of our Advisors meeting, I am thinking that this U-CLaSS event could involve two discussions, one with the Athletic Department Learning Specialists and one with student Athletes. The other U-CLaSS event in the planning stages is with students in the Posse Program (prompt to be determined by those students). (Reported by Jamie Henke and Morton Gernsbacher)
After a wakeup call from a campus member who shared that they felt — based on the website review — that the Academy was an elitist, exclusive, and unwelcoming “club”, we’ve been working to make the Teaching Academy website more welcoming, user-friendly, and geared to more accurately showcase and welcome others to join the work we do. Given the new charge from VPTL John Zumbrunnen to focus on Community building over Professional Development, our past professional development endeavors (Summer Institute, LEaP, Active Teaching Labs, etc.) have been removed from the main menu items (currently: About, Fall/Winter Retreats, Member Events, Meet Ups, U-CLaSS, Feedback on Teaching). All top-level pages now have a captioned image. The home page now starts with “Welcome!” and includes upcoming Events and News items. New events are now also listed on today.wisc.edu, and the option to “Add to your calendar” is included. Event pages (Retreats, U-CLaSS, and Member Events) all summarize and link to posts on past events. The Affiliates, Fellows, and FFP pages have been combined into a single, simpler Become a Member page. We also set up Google Analytics on May 3. (Reported by John Martin)
We planned the ‘catch-up’ induction to be held immediately after the Winter retreat in January 2022. After working with Dan Pell to get the correct emails, invitations with a Google Form RSVP were sent in December. Based on the transition to online with the omicron surge, we postponed the event again TBD, contacted the inductees, and canceled the logistics. (Reported by Michael Childers and Sarah Jedd)
Feedback on Teaching
We “soft-launched” the Feedback on Teaching (FoT) program at the spring semester’s end. Any instructor at the University may now use the Feedback on Teaching Resource to either gather resources for gathering feedback informally, or be taken to a Canvas site where they can be matched with a peer observer. Currently, peer observers are TA members who have volunteered to observe. Approximately 25 peer observers have signed up currently, and we will continue recruiting throughout the summer and into the fall semester, when we expect full use of the program to begin. The program is currently only designed to provide formative, not summative, feedback. We have also used the program’s launch to start conservations on teaching feedback with administrators from Letters and Science and the Nelson Institute, and hope to hold more conversations in the near future. (Reported byAndrew McWard)