The Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence
April 24, 2012
The Center for Teaching Excellence and The Center for Instructional Technology have merged into one office that aims to improve the teaching and learning dynamic here at Columbia College Chicago. The Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence (CITE) will integrate the services that both separate offices have always offered in an effort to create an office that provides support across curriculum. Lott Hill, Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence, says that at the heart of the integration is the idea that “Instructors must always be in a state of reflection on their own teaching,” and we must continually be asking, “How are we reflecting on our own teaching? How are we engaging ourselves in conversations across disciplines, across departments, across programs or artistic backgrounds to best meet the needs of our students in the classroom?” The CITE is the place where these questions are engaged with and where ideas are generated, where collaboration with other instructors takes place, to allow for such reflection. Says Hill, “This is the place to go to engage in that dialogue about teaching and learning in such a way that we come out at the end as better teachers.” Hill’s philosophy and that of the CITE is that there should never be a point where we, as teachers say, “Ok, I’m now a good teacher and I don’t ever have to think about it again.” He says instead that, "The best teachers are those who are always pushing themselves to explore what works, what doesn't work, and what they can do to address the particular needs of the learners they work with in the classes they teach."
What the new CITE offers is easier access to resources and clearly disseminated information in one location. Very few resources are going away as a result of the merger and, in fact, many resources are evolving to better suit faculty needs. “Historically both the CTE and the CIT have been a resource that is fully in support of instructional development at CCC. We will continue to be that site for instructional and professional development,” says Hill. The CITE will continue to offer a wide-range of workshops that integrate pedagogy, technology, creativity and innovation in the classroom and continue to support professional development with faculty fellowships and grants. The newest addition to the CITE’s services is the concentrated effort to work directly with departments and faculty to specifically meet the needs that those faculty and departments have self-identified. What this means is that chairs, faculty members and departments can contact the CITE for collaboration and also that the CITE will now be visiting departments and starting conversations and collaborations to improve the needs of our faculty and our students face-to-face. Collaborations have already begun in the AEMM, Film & Video, Theatre, Photography and Fiction Writing programs, among others. Says Hill, “We invite them [chairs, faculty members and departments] to invite us.”
During the next few months the CITE will be increasing their efforts to produce online digital content at their new website: colum.edu/cite. The website or webCITE, along with the merger of the two departments, offer a one stop resource for faculty to collaborate and information that is supportive, innovative and allows for constant reflection and building on what we already know as teachers and how we can continue to build and improve on the teaching and learning environment here at Columbia College Chicago.
By Jennifer Tatum-Cotamagaña, Nonfiction MFA 2013