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Table of Contents

Teaching Resources

Talking Shop

Technically Speaking

I Remember Professor...

Good Teachers on Good Teaching

Mutual Benefits

A Win-Win-Win-Win Situation

Viggo Mortensen '80 Remembers

Laurentian Reviews

Alumni Accomplishments

Table of Contents

Teaching Resources
St. Lawrence’s Center for Teaching and Learning provides a place where faculty can help each other get better at their craft.

 By Lisa M. Cania M’82

Go ahead. We dare you. Ask any graduate from any year and you’re likely to hear that one of the most important reasons he or she loved St. Lawrence was the special, excellent faculty.

Good teaching goes way back at St. Lawrence, of course, as other stories in this issue of St. Lawrence attest. In fact, the traditional atmosphere—passionate concern for the best methods and an appetite for getting better and better—encouraged University leaders to believe that St. Lawrence was exactly the right place for a program that would encourage excellence in teaching and support greater faculty professional development.

“ St. Lawrence’s faculty culture, unlike that of many institutions, encourages us as teachers to learn from each other. It’s not unusual for new colleagues and tenured faculty to ask each other questions about best practices, frustrating challenges, new methods and tools,” says Associate Dean of the Faculty Kim Mooney. “Some faculty cultures might perceive this as risky.”

Not here. Mooney, then-Dean of Academic Affairs Thomas B. Coburn and other faculty leaders wanted to capitalize on this collaborative atmosphere. In spring 2001, they applied to the Mellon Foundation for a grant to fund a concept and a facility that would bring together the varied programming options associated with improving pedagogy.

A positive response from the Mellon Foundation allowed the University to expand existing faculty development opportunities and launch new ones, to purchase computer technology for a training center and to fund part-time clerical support, among other expenses. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) was born. When Mooney leaves her position as associate dean for faculty affairs in June, she’ll retain coordination of the CTL as she prepares to return to the psychology department as associate professor.

 The CTL aims to further creativity, risk-taking, collaboration and professional renewal among faculty members at all stages in their teaching careers, Mooney wrote in the grant proposal. Specifically, the goals of the CTL are to “expose faculty to current knowledge and practice regarding teaching and learning; provide a forum for formal and informal exchanges of ideas and expertise; and stimulate, support, and reinforce pedagogies that optimize student learning.”

Mooney (left) brought to the proposal experience in the administrative position traditionally asked to coordinate faculty development programs. She saw the possibilities for consolidation, coordination and expansion of “myriad services in instructional support.” The creation of the CTL, led by a collaborative advisory board of faculty, allows St. Lawrence to provide a highly visible and stable home for current faculty development initiatives and the mechanism for the fruitful development of new ones.