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Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants (CETA)

In July 1993, Dr. Robert L. Ringel, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, appointed a committee of faculty, staff and students "for the purpose of developing a University-wide support program to help prepare graduate students to teach." The members of the Committee recognized that achieving that goal required input and participation by all segments of the academic community -- undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and administrators. The Committee will develop an approach that will prepare our graduate students, those already on teaching appointments and those that will be, to enter a Purdue classroom as an instructor and, more generally, to teach in institutions of higher education. The success of the Committee's efforts should improve the quality of teaching on the Purdue campus and the learning environment for all Purdue undergraduate and graduate students. The Committee adopts the following elements as a statement of its mission and goals.

Mission

To enhance the excellence of education at Purdue University by providing opportunities for graduate students to experience and understand all aspects of instruction in higher education.

Goals

Promote understanding of the importance of the educational process and the necessary acquisition of skills and techniques that are the basis of excellent teaching. Help graduate students experience the excitement and fulfillment of teaching as a profession. Demonstrate the integral relationship between the scholarly acts of teaching and research. Encourage the Purdue faculty to be teaching mentors as well as research mentors. Encourage the University Administration to support efforts by schools and departments to emphasize and deliver excellence in both undergraduate and graduate teaching at Purdue University. Prepare graduate students to be aware of and understand the commitment and the wide range of responsibilities and exciting opportunities attendant to faculty positions.

Lofty goals are easily constructed, but the attainment of those goals requires careful thought and diligence. As a first step, the Committee has adopted the following strategies to structure our initial activities. As we learn and experience success (and perhaps failure), these strategies will be modified. Some will be added, others deleted. Some will lead to successful programs, others will not. The Committee's activities should not be seen as a static approach to educational change, but rather a dynamic and interactive process that will enable us to achieve our mission.

Strategies

  1. Articulate a framework for the development, coordination, continuation, and evaluation of institutional programs to enhance the teaching capability of graduate students.
  2. Provide opportunities to meet and interact with excellent teachers from the world-wide teaching community.
  3. Sponsor workshops on the various aspects of college teaching, including, but not limited to, instructional design, materials development, engaging students in the educational process, and evaluating one's students and teaching.
  4. Assign interested faculty mentors as role models for graduate instructors and teaching assistants.
  5. Sponsor Teaching Excellence awards for graduate student instructors at all levels.
  6. Create an information dissemination system for material on excellence in college teaching.
  7. Support informal opportunities for faculty members and graduate instructors to interact and exchange ideas about teaching as a scholarly act.
  8. Provide for graduate students, faculty mentors, departments mentors, departments, and schools a central resource for the enhancement of college teaching on the West Lafayette campus.
  9. Encourage grant programs to support creative and innovative approaches to instruction in higher education for faculty and graduate students.

Members

Hans Aagard, Education

Chuck Calahan, Child Development & Family Studies

Neelu Chawla, Comsumer & Family Studies

Christine Corum, Technology

Roy Dejoie, Mangement

Frank Dooley, Agriculture

Marne Helgesen, Center for Instructional Excellence

Neal Houze, Chemical Engineering

Melanie Morgan, Liberal Arts

Mari Plikuhn, Center for Instructional Excellence

Phil Pope, Graduate School/Forestry & Natural Resources

Marcy Towns, Science

Margaret (Peg)Miller, Veterinary Medicine

Juan Velasquez, Center for Instructional Excellence/Industrial Engineering

Oliver Wendt, Educational Studies

Karen Yehle, Pharmacy, Nursing, & Family Sciences