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Attendance at UNI's fall faculty workshop shows commitment to improve teaching

September 5, 2013

Nancy Lippens, associate provost, Faculty Affairs, 319-273-2517,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa held its annual fall faculty workshop in August. More than 300 faculty attended, one of the highest numbers to attend in recent years.

Hosted by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and UNI's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the workshop gave faculty the opportunity to discuss student assessments and how to use them in their classroom environments. UNI President Bill Ruud and Provost Gloria Gibson gave welcoming remarks.

Peter Seldin, an expert on evaluating teaching, was the keynote speaker. He delivered his lecture "College Teaching: Myths, Evaluation and the Characteristics of Great Teachers," which aims to determine what separates "good" teachers from "great" teachers. The lecture addressed changing practices in teaching evaluation and the results of a nationwide longitudinal study of evaluation practices.

"It is important to reflect on best practices regarding evaluation of teaching as an institution," said Eric Hiris, department head and professor of psychology. "It was wonderful as a new person at an institution to see so many faculty members and administrators from across colleges and departments engaging in such reflections together. I enjoyed reflecting on my own teaching, hearing what others do in their teaching and considering how to balance the many factors one must consider in evaluating the teaching of others."

In addition to the lecture and discussion, the new Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) was launched. The CETL seeks to engage, explore and enhance the practice of teaching and the culture of learning at UNI. Susan Hill, a professor of philosophy and world religions, was named director of the new center.

"I'm very excited about the new center," said Hill. "I am hopeful that this will become a place where faculty and staff can explore new ideas about teaching and learning, get to know people from around campus, and develop collaborations between different departments and programs on campus."

For more information about the CETL, visit or check out their Facebook site at