Center for Teaching Excellence Receives $1 Million Endowment
Occidental College’s ability to sustain its reputation for superb teaching has received a major boost from a new $1 million endowment for its Center for Teaching Excellence from Linda and Tod White ‘59.
Created four years ago, the center helps faculty share teaching innovations, ideas, strategies and resources.
“Linda and I are extremely happy to be supporting Oxy's outstanding faculty and its commitment to enhancing Oxy's reputation for excellent teaching,” said Tod White, a member of the Occidental Board of Trustees. “The Center for Teaching Excellence under the dedicated leadership of professor Robby Moore is now initiating more programs aimed at stimulating innovation in teaching and at fostering more conversations among faculty and students about teaching and learning processes.”
The endowment, which will produce $50,000 per year in funding, will allow center director and Elbridge Amos Stuart Professor of Economics Robby Moore to offer more programs to support faculty. Moore hopes that the support and opportunity for growth will translate into better teaching which, in turn, benefits Occidental students.
“This very generous gift ensures that the already outstanding teaching at Oxy will continue to improve and become even more innovative,” said Moore, a 30-year member of the faculty and past winner of the Graham L. Sterling Award, one of Occidental’s highest faculty honors. “I’m very excited about this opportunity to develop new programs to enhance student learning, in collaboration with the recently established faculty Teaching Innovation Committee.”
Inspiration for innovative ideas comes from programs that Moore has already established as part of the center. “Talking About Teaching” events and lunches have been well attended by faculty and offer a lunch-hour outlet for idea swapping. A crucial program for new Oxy educators is the First Year Faculty Learning Community (FYFLC), co-facilitated by Moore and associate dean for curriculum Mickey McDonald. During regular meetings throughout the school year, new faculty members have the opportunity to discuss topics such as teaching with technology and active learning techniques.
Two new initiatives that are in the works for spring 2008 are the direct result of the Whites’ gift. Teacher’s Roundtable, a program modeled on one of the same name at Williams College, is an opportunity that will allow faculty to visit one another’s classrooms and discuss teaching pedagogy. Another idea under consideration is to establish student/faculty dinners, with the hope that they will become a tradition that fosters openness and communication between students and teachers.