Provost announces support, new name for teaching academy

Classroom scene

A year-old program designed to support teaching excellence at the University of Oregon is getting a new name and sharpened sense of purpose under the Office of the Provost.

The Provost’s Teaching Academy brings together faculty members who have been recognized for their outstanding teaching, advising and participation in intensive teaching development programs.

The academy’s mission is to be a key driver of UO’s teaching culture, advancing a vision of undergraduate education that is active, inclusive, engaged and research-led — driven by UO’s research mission and connected to research on how people learn.

“I am excited to support and work alongside this growing community of faculty members who care very deeply about teaching,” Provost Jayanth Banavar said. “By taking on the important work of advocating for and developing teaching excellence, the group will be key to our efforts to advance learning and student success at the University of Oregon.”

The group meets regularly to discuss and provide insight on major institutional initiatives, serve as informed ambassadors to home departments and support the faculty members who are at the forefront of UO’s teaching mission.

“One compelling aspect of the academy’s work is thinking about how we can not only define and acknowledge ‘teaching excellence’ through it, but also work to leverage it. How can we use teaching insights and needs to inform curricular and policy change?” said Lee Rumbarger, assistant vice provost for teaching engagement.

As part of the move to the provost’s office, the academy will serve as an advisory body to Banavar and Scott Pratt, executive vice provost.

The teaching academy was launched in fall 2016 as the Teaching Effectiveness Program's Teaching Academy in a collaborative effort by the offices of the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Office of the Provost, UO Libraries and the UO Science Literacy Program. The academy’s move to the provost’s office is one of series of efforts by the office to support and advance the role of teaching at the university.

More than 80 faculty members participate in the academy, which meets once a term to discuss topics such as teaching evaluations and the relationship between the university’s teaching and research missions. It is led by an active six-person board that unites efforts across campus contexts.