The mission of CAT is to cultivate and sustain a university culture that values and engages in inclusive, evidence-based teaching practices to promote intellectual and personal growth. CAT supports the University’s commitment to teaching excellence through partnerships, interpersonal relationships, and programming that are built on trust, evidence-based practices, and ongoing critical reflection.
- Create, promote, and sustain a capacity for and a culture of teaching and learning excellence.
- Act as a change agent in meeting critical needs within the institution and beyond.
- Foster collaboration, collegiality, and pedagogical exchange among and across faculty, departments, and programs.
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) envisions a university that provides widely inclusive access to the knowledge, skills, and capacities necessary for everyone to thrive in contemporary contexts.
Priority 1: Advancing Student Learning and Success
We want more students to graduate with the knowledge and skills they will need for career success in a changing economy and for civic engagement in a participatory democracy. The university can be an engine for social mobility, but only if students develop the knowledge and skills a postsecondary degree represents. What faculty do in their teaching matters for student success, and learning and rigor are essential to this success. We will therefore strive to support faculty as they work toward learning-centered teaching.
Priority 2: Promoting and Sustaining Evidence-based Practice
Because so much is at stake for our students, they deserve for us to approach teaching with the same inquiry orientation, thoroughness, and emphasis on outcomes we employ in research. We will support faculty as they work toward evidence-based teaching, highlighting research insights with the most pronounced implications for learning and providing guidance on how to collect evidence of student learning and development. In turn, we hope that by using and discussing evidence-based practices, faculty model this skill to students, helping them refine their ability to use and evaluate evidence.
Priority 3: Purposefully Integrating Technology to Support Teaching and Learning
Technology has become a core feature of our lives and has considerable untapped potential to promote more and deeper learning. In an institution of our size, it can also serve as an invaluable tool in creating learning-centered, evidence-based, and culturally responsive teaching. As FIU continues to make strides towards providing students with more opportunities for success, we aim to drive a cultural/pedagogical shift towards integrating technology into the foundations of teaching and towards the targeted use of modality to promote student learning, growth, and development.
Priority 4: Building Capacity and Creating Community
Teaching and learning expertise exists throughout our large and decentralized institution, so we want to help our community members build networks and make connections across units and campuses. Thinking and learning together allows us to leverage our expertise, growth, passion, and reach. In this time of exponential growth in the breadth of and access to information, we have also developed a stronger understanding of how learning works. Delving into the science of learning and staying informed of the latest research on cognition has the potential to strengthen the work we do and the work we help others do.
Priority 5: Promoting Equity and Social justice
A college degree has the potential to change our students’ lives and those of their families and communities, yet inequities exist and persist. We want to identify and support the elimination of barriers and to contribute to FIU’s efforts to advance social mobility by creating safe and supportive opportunities for faculty to collaboratively identify the possibilities and challenges inherent in teaching across cultures and differences. Likewise, we want to help faculty teach students how to work effectively with diverse peers, an essential aptitude and one that results in maximizing everyone’s learning.
Priority 6: Evaluating Our Practice
It is incumbent on us as educational developers to seek evidence of our effectiveness, use that evidence to enhance our programming and services, and communicate these efforts to our varied stakeholders. We also strive to model the principle of collegiality and emphasis on growth foundational to FIU’s ambitious, burgeoning approach to the evaluation of teaching.