The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching promotes student success by supporting faculty and staff in the reflective practice of innovative and inclusive pedagogy and by providing a space for interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development grounded in the latest research on learning and teaching.
In the past 20 years, the ways that students learn have changed significantly. No longer will standard lectures alone fully engage undergraduates to be successful in their college studies. To keep pace with the most effective teaching methods and practices, faculty must have the educational, technological, and financial resources to learn how best to convey information and ideas within the liberal arts curriculum in ways that foster knowledge and understanding.
In the first goal of the new strategic plan--Inspired.Empowered.Engaged--Luther College aspires to be a national leader in reimagining a liberal arts education for a global society. One of our primary objectives is to "Create structures and systems that foster experimentation, reflection, and responsiveness to changing needs." The new Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) will be the nexus for innovation and inclusive excellence in course and program design at Luther College.
Here at Luther, we are a community of learners. The CELT is where faculty go to learn with and from each other. It's where faculty new to Luther are introduced to colleagues in other departments. It's where conversation focuses on learning and teaching--the heart of what we do. It gives new energy to the true spirit of a learning community that has been the hallmark at Luther College since its founding. It's where faculty of all ranks brainstorm, dream, discuss, and challenge one another. It's where compiled research is readily available, along with resources to pilot or introduce a new mode of teaching within a particular course or lab. This is our vision for the CELT.
Opening in fall 2019, this center will be a valuable on-campus resource for professional development, equipped with the latest technology and tools, along with the research and instructional materials to innovate and implement new ways of learning into the curriculum. While the CELT will continue Luther's tradition of faculty workshops focused on teaching and learning topics, it will also offer new opportunities for one-on-one consultations, a comfortable gathering space for collaborative conversation, and online resources for a wide-range of professional development.
The CELT must be nimble to keep up with college-wide priorities and equip faculty with the knowledge and training to implement changes. Eight new academic programs have been created in recent years--six are underway (data science, neuroscience, visual communications, exercise science, musical theatre, and applied leadership studies), and two (global health and identity studies) are likely to be approved and launched soon. The CELT will be a key resource for this ongoing curricular reform, as interdisciplinary approaches will be a hallmark of Luther's curricular revision.
An endowment of $1.5 million will generate approximately $75,000 per year to fund the work of the CELT. This includes an operating budget of $25,000-$30,000 in addition to a part-time faculty director. Projected annual costs include workshop expenses, resources for mentoring groups and teaching partnerships, and innovation mini-grants for faculty to pilot new ideas.