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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

September 10, 2004

Organizational changes afoot in provost's office

by Anne Krapfl

Numerous organizational changes are under way in the Office of the Provost, necessitated both by leaner budgets and a decision to coordinate more closely the administration of undergraduate and graduate programs. Some changes went into effect this summer; others will occur after further study and as the academic year unfolds.

"These are changes that will focus and strengthen the academic work of the university," said Benjamin Allen, vice president for academic affairs and provost.

In a two-part series, Inside will summarize many of the changes.

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

(formerly known as the Center for Teaching Excellence)

Corly Brooke continues as director and Susan Yager as associate director of the center.

In addition to adopting a new name, the center has broadened its scope of services with the addition of two units: Preparing Future Faculty (PFF), directed by Donna Kienzler and previously part of the Graduate College; and Instructional Development Services, led by Allan Schmidt and previously affiliated with the Instructional Technology Center.

PFF is a national program aimed at preparing graduates for faculty careers. Supplementing departmental graduate programs, it offers seminars, mentoring, and practical classroom and departmental service experiences.

Schmidt said the number of instructional designers in the renamed Learning Technologies Group has doubled (to four) to serve better an escalating demand for assistance with classroom technology. The group will keep its home in the Communications Building, where highly specialized, multi-media labs support its work.

Schmidt said the team offers three types of service:

  • Faculty support, including training and technical help, with the course software WebCT (in partnership with Academic Information Technologies). As fall semester approached, the group received 48 new requests for WebCT assistance.
  • Faculty development workshops on topics from learning theory to best practices.
  • One-on-one consultation with faculty members.

"We anticipate offering new services as we identify areas where technology and pedagogy cross," he added.

Brooke said another new focus at the center is the university's learning communities. CELT staff will identify and provide services directly to learning communities to enhance student learning.

Instructional Technology Center

Jim Twetten, manager of the Creative Services unit, is serving a one-year appointment as interim director of ITC. He succeeds Don Rieck, who retired from the university in June. Matt Darbyshire manages ITC's Classroom Services unit. ITC will continue to offer production and presentation technology services to faculty and staff for instruction, outreach and research.

  • Creative Services includes production support for instructional and experimental courseware prototypes and all non-instruction work. Staff will collaborate with the CELT Learning Technologies group, formerly an ITC unit.
  • Classroom Services includes installing and maintaining instruction equipment in general-purpose classrooms, distance education set-ups, equipment rental and check-out, and duplication services.

Honors program

Director Liz Beck retired from Iowa State in June. In a new leadership structure, responsibility for the program is shared by associate professor of agronomy Ricardo Salvador, interim faculty director of the Honors program, and Ricki Shine, formerly the associate director and now administrative director. Salvador's appointment is a half-time, two-year appointment.

"I've seen this combination work at other institutions," Shine said. "We're looking for increased participation from faculty in the Honors program -- particularly to teach Honors seminars and serve as research mentors to Honors students -- and we hope this faculty leadership role will encourage that."

Salvador is focusing on expanding the program's curriculum -- for example, Honors seminars, in which faculty propose the topics for seminars they'd like to teach. Shine focuses on day-to-day management of the program.

Shine and Salvador are working to develop strategies that will enhance opportunities for Honors and other high-ability students at Iowa State. Future enhancements also will be based on recommendations in a task force report, completed in May, that looks at Honors and high-ability students at Iowa State. The task force was led by Thomas Andre, curriculum and instruction; its report has been submitted to President Gregory Geoffroy.

Next: Graduate college, current senior support team to the provost


A two-part series examines numerous changes in the Office of the Provost. The changes are the result of leaner budgets and a decision to coordinate more closely the administration of undergraduate and graduate programs. This is the first of the series.