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SUNY Cortland Launches Institute for College Teaching

SUNY Cortland’s reputation as a leader in teacher education has made the College a logical choice for a new institute offering resources to help faculty throughout SUNY’s 64-campus system become even more effective at meeting the needs of their students.

The newly established Institute for College Teaching will be a hub for instruction strategies, innovative practices and other forms of teaching support for faculty in higher education, made possible by a grant from the SUNY system’s Performance Improvement Fund (PIF).

SUNY Cortland’s Carol Van Der Karr, associate provost for academic affairs, and Andrea Lachance, dean of the School of Education, co-wrote the successful grant proposal as a means to create a centralized and accessible place for faculty to get more support for their teaching.

“We already have a fair number of initiatives on campus aimed at different teaching strategies that faculty want to try in their classrooms,” Lachance said.  “The Institute will provide more support for these initiatives as well as offer some new programs to allow faculty to engage with other ideas for supporting the learning of their students.”

These faculty opportunities are especially important in today’s rapidly evolving higher education landscape.

“As student learners and demographics change, faculty are continually having to adapt their best college teaching practices to new needs,” Van Der Karr said.  “The Institute is meant to provide resources and mechanisms to support that work.”

How the Institute for College Teaching will work will be shaped by input from various constituencies on campus. A needs assessment is being sent out to faculty and staff to learn about their ideas for future programming.  Leading the needs assessment is Dakin Burdick, who began as director of the Institute in early February.

Burdick has two decades of experience in instructional development in higher education, including roles as director of the Center for Curricular Innovation and Teaching Excellence at Mount Ida College and as director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Endicott College.

“The Institute is not only serving Cortland, but it’s also going to be serving the rest of SUNY as well,” Burdick said. “It’s a matter of looking at who are our partners out there and who is doing this already. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We’re looking for where the gaps are and how can we help everyone together.”

The Institute is located in Cornish Hall, Room 1307 and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For more information, contact Burdick at 607-753-5431.