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MU establishes Teaching for Learning Center to support student success, further advance teaching excellence

New center will help MU faculty and instructors continue high-quality teaching, which leads to student success

May 9th, 2018

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In a continuous effort to support student success at the state’s only major public research and AAU institute, the University of Missouri today announced it will invest $750,000 to open a Teaching for Learning Center. The center, which already has a virtual presence, will provide professional development and teaching assistance programs for MU faculty, teachers and instructors. With a physical location, the center’s staff will serve as a university-wide resource for information and services, conduct professional education and development workshops, and establish new programs that support the university’s mission of excellence in education and student success.

“This effort is a result of MU’s continued commitment to our students and to providing a quality education,” said Interim Provost Jim Spain. “We already have great teachers providing quality instruction to our students, but we feel strongly that our faculty should have continuous opportunities to grow, innovate and develop themselves professionally. An environment that encourages teachers and their students to keep reaching higher is also one that lets teachers know how much they are appreciated and results in excellent outcomes for students.”

The Teaching for Learning Center will work collaboratively with other teaching-support units within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies. MU is a research-intensive university with a student body of more than 30,000, and its student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1 reflects an emphasis on enabling faculty, teachers and instructors to work closely with students. The center will take that commitment to the next level, conducting existing programs and creating new ones ranging from orientation and mentoring of new faculty, teachers and instructors to researching new teaching innovations and practices.

“We already have high-quality teaching that leads to student success, whether that is high retention rates, high graduation rates or high job placement rates, and our students do incredibly well after leaving the university,” said Chancellor Alexander Cartwright. “This center will foster a culture of innovative instructional practices and inclusion while providing our teachers with even more resources. We also work to celebrate and support our teachers with awards such as Kemper Fellowships to outstanding instructors or offering more programs and events for professional development. This is why we believe our students are being taught by the best in the state.”

The center is currently searching for a founding director who will lead the institution in further developing, recognizing and rewarding teaching excellence. Reporting to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, the director will work collaboratively with the center’s Steering Committee and other campus units to advance teaching excellence, innovation and inclusiveness.

MU is the oldest state university west of the Mississippi River and the largest public research university in the state. It is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities and one of only six flagship land grant universities with schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering and law on the same campus.

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