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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento
August 28, 2003
‘Back to school’ for faculty
students won’t be the only ones taking classes this fall at CSUS. Many
of their professors will be getting lessons as well, often in the art of teaching.
Rosemary Papalewis, director of the Center for
Teaching and Learning, gives new faculty a primer on what they can expect
from CSUS students.
the focus of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the University’s own
“faculty homeroom” that offers one-on-one lessons ranging from technology
tools to teaching strategies.
The center coordinates a faculty mentoring program, offers occasional workshops
and provides special sessions for departments. Faculty are also free to visit
the center and experiment on their own with a variety of teaching techniques
and technologies or try out a small version of a “smart” classroom
– one with an array of the latest teaching technology. Most of the work
involves professors volunteering to work directly with other professors.
“This is all about faculty helping faculty with whatever they need to
become that inspiring teacher we all strive to be,” says the center’s
director, Rosemary Papalewis.
Every fall, the center also helps the University present a special “newcomers
class,” a series of events held this year Aug. 24-27. In addition to an
introductory barbecue and standard “new hire” paperwork, many of
the University’s 110 new professors spent a day hearing presentations
on creating a syllabus, expanding their teaching strategies, enrollment and
other class management issues, shared governance, service learning, and more.
That such a center is so prominent here reflects the University’s historical
dedication to quality teaching.
More than research, writing or anything else the role of a faculty member entails,
CSUS expects its professors to be great teachers. The hundreds of new professors
hired in the last few years all heard that in their interviews, and they all
feel the expectation from seasoned professors after they come on board.
In fact, effective teaching is the most decisive factor when academic departments
consider granting tenure.
“If you aren’t a good teacher, you will not get tenure,” Papalewis
says. “I tell new professors that students here are very demanding as
far as the classroom experience. They trust that the professor knows the content
– they’ll give the professor that. But our students are very demanding
about how professors organize the material and how well they teach it.”
Papalewis, who directs the center along with center associate Mark Stoner and
a staff of two, says professors often ask for help interpreting student evaluations
and making classes more interactive. In addition to one-on-one help, the center
has a large collection of books and journals on teaching strategy – and
it gives away books to faculty.
“We encourage people to take risks in their teaching. We want them to
try new strategies and always keep improving,” Papalewis says. “And
it certainly isn’t just new faculty we see. We have people who have been
here a long time and who are very good teachers who just always strive to get
better. Our motto is, as William A. Ward said, “The teacher tells, the
good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher
For more information contact the Center for Teaching and Learning at 278-5945
or visit www.csus.edu/ctl.
California State University, Sacramento Public Affairs
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 (916) 278-6156