The following email was sent to all members of the Baruch College faculty on October 19, 2005:

Dear Colleagues,

As President Waldron announced at the plenary session of the Faculty Senate on September 8, the Baruch College Fund has awarded $500,000 to the college to support faculty development for the 2006 fiscal year. This support is an extraordinary vote of confidence in the faculty and represents an interest in promoting teaching and research to improve the experience of all students at the College.

Over the course of the past several months, the Provost's Office, the Academic Deans, the Joint Committee on Research, and the Committee on Excellence in Teaching and Learning have identified various projects that they believe will significantly improve teaching at Baruch College and provide new support for faculty research. After evaluating these suggestions, President Waldron has defined several that will be supported in the 2005-2006 academic year. All funds must be utilized this academic year as any remaining surplus will not be available after June 30, 2006.

Under the general categories of Improving Teaching Effectiveness and Promoting Faculty Research, the information below relates to the following programs:

Improving Teaching Effectiveness

One on One Feedback through Video Taping
The Provost’s Office will provide faculty members with the opportunity to have expert feedback on classroom effectiveness through access to video taping of a class. We also will make available review by an external consultant who will provide individual feedback to professors interested in improving their lecturing and teaching abilities. The content of the consultation will be confidential between the faculty member and the external consultant and will not be used for any evaluative purposes of the faculty member. Members of the faculty who are interested in arranging to be video-taped should contact Jason Belland in BCTC: jason_belland@baruch.cuny.edu or 646-312-1032. The Provost's office will maintain a list of external consultants: 646-312-6500.

Master Teacher Workshops
The Provost’s Office will sponsor “master teacher” workshops in teaching-related subjects, such as active learning, engaging large classes, teaching effectiveness, using the case method, best practices in course and assignment design, and effective classroom use of technology. Interested faculty members will expand skills to help them deliver courses in a variety of formats, such as hybrid courses that combine distance learning with regular class time. The workshops will be taught by recognized national experts and made available to all faculty, including adjunct faculty, in day and evening offerings. The first of these workshops will be announced soon.

Travel Support for Faculty to Attend Teaching Conferences
The Deans, VP Ben Corpus, and AVP Arthur Downing will be allocated new funding to send faculty members to a number of national and regional conferences that focus on improving teaching, such as the annual Teaching Professor Conference. The funding for this proposal will support 15 to 20 faculty for the 2005-2006 academic year.

Travel Support for Faculty to Attend Assessment Conferences
A number of organizations, including Middle States, provide conference opportunities for faculty to learn of best practices regarding the development of learning goals and outcomes and techniques for assessment. The focus here is on covering travel costs for key faculty members who will be expected to report back to their colleagues. Likely participants include members of the Committee on Excellence on Teaching and Learning, the Joint Committee on Curriculum and Articulation, the School Curriculum Committees, and others who have assessment responsibilities. Chairs are encouraged to recommend members of their departments who have assessment responsibilities.

Improving Peer Observations
There has been discussion at the College P&B (and occasionally in the School and College Academic Review Committees) concerning the lack of or insufficiency of the Peer Observation Reports, and a number of adjuncts have expressed their concern along similar lines. A major contributing factor is the lack of training of faculty who do the actual observations. The Provost’s Office will engage a consultant to conduct workshops with representatives from each department to “train the trainers” in proper observation techniques. Those trained would be expected to bring that expertise to their departmental colleagues. As an initial step, each Department Chair is asked to identify one or two representatives from his or her department, communicating the names by email to Abigail Stevens (Abigail_Stevens@baruch.cuny.edu) with cc's to the appropriate dean.

Accent Reduction Program
An issue often raised by our students is their difficulty in understanding members of the faculty who are not native speakers of English. (Such difficulties are compounded, of course, because English is a second or third language for many of our students.) The diversity of experience that international faculty members bring is highly valued, but their accents may obscure meaning and interfere with a student’s ability to learn. One-on-one tutoring in accent reduction has made a positive impact in the past. We are asking all department chairs to encourage faculty members (FT and adjunct) to take a proactive stance to facilitate student learning and, indeed, to help the faculty members themselves feel more comfortable in the classroom, by contacting Prof. Elisabeth Gareis (COM), who coordinates this program: egareis@baruch.cuny.edu or 646-312-3731.

Promoting Faculty Research

Support for Graduate Assistants
Funding for graduate assistants to support faculty research efforts was greatly increased in 2004-2005 due to support from the Baruch College Fund at a time when traditional support from the Bernard Baruch Endowment, a separate funding source, declined due to the lower yield investment environment. Nevertheless additional funds are needed and soon will be allocated to the deans to provide support to expand faculty research and benefit graduate students. Members of the faculty should apply directly to their academic deans for such support.

Summer Support for Research Projects
Such support will be competitive, based on faculty research proposals submitted to the offices of each academic dean, VP Corpus, and AVP Downing by members of their respective faculties. To address the issue raised by the Joint Committee on Research, which noted that support often shrinks once a faculty member has been tenured and promoted at the College, priority for these awards will be given to support tenured faculty members.

Travel Support for Faculty to Present at Professional Conferences
Funding for faculty travel to present papers or participate in the program at national and regional professional meetings (as panelists, session chairs, formal respondents etc.) has been constrained by available resources. Support amounts have not kept pace with increased costs, and faculty members often have to cover substantial costs out of pocket. This award from the BCF will permit increased levels of support during AY 2005-2006. The Provost will allocate resources to each academic dean, VP Corpus, and AVP Downing based upon existing levels of support and numbers of faculty members.

David Dannenbring, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Dennis Slavin, Associate Provost