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Week of April 23, 2012

CRLT to celebrate 50th anniversary with gallery, visiting colleagues

How can faculty help students develop their abilities to conduct analyses of literary texts? What impact do international experiences have on students’ intercultural competence? How can screen casts be used to improve student learning in large engineering courses?

These are among the 30 faculty investigations and projects that will be highlighted at the Gallery of Teaching Innovations as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT). The event will take place beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 4 in the Michigan Union Ballroom.

Established in 1962, CRLT was the first teaching center in the country — and most likely the world. Over the years, it has been replicated by hundreds of institutions across the nation.

U-M faculty, graduate students and staff will join representatives of teaching centers from around the country on May 4 to celebrate the center’s 50th anniversary. Constance Cook, who has served as CRLT’s executive director since 1993, says that 52 teaching center colleagues from 27 different institutions plan to attend the anniversary celebration. The visitors come from all of the Ivy League, all of the CIC (Big Ten), and local Michigan colleges and universities.

Provost Phil Hanlon and Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts will begin the program with opening remarks. President Mary Sue Coleman will then speak about undergraduate education at U-M and host a Presidents’ Panel on “Enriching Undergraduate Learning at Research Universities.”

In addition to Coleman, panelists will include Stanley Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois and the American Council on Education (ACE); Shirley Malcolm, who heads the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Carol Geary Schneider, president of the America Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U); and Mika LaVaque-Manty, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Political Science and Philosophy. The panel will be moderated by Scott Jaschik, a founder of Inside Higher Ed.

Following the panel, there will be a performance of the CRLT Players, a theatre troupe whose productions are designed to help faculty and graduate student instructors improve student learning and institutional climate. The first group of its kind in the country, the Players will perform “The First Class,” a stylized, multi-media production that presents diverse student perspectives on a variety of classroom practices and concerns, such as academic integrity, student participation and group work. 

The program will conclude with a strolling lunch and the Teaching Gallery.

“There are well over one thousand teaching centers in the U.S., plus hundreds on campuses abroad, and CRLT has been the model for their establishment,” Cook says. During the 2010-11 academic year, the center provided 18,575 services to U-M and external clients. It also distributed more than $320,000 in grants and awards to 107 U-M faculty members. “Faculty seek us out because they are interested in being more innovative and capturing the attention of their students. We are thrilled to have a chance to showcase the creative ways U-M faculty engage students in their classrooms, studios, clinics and labs.”

Monts, who has overseen CRLT since 1993, says the center has helped U-M achieve a national reputation for fostering student learning and success. “As CRLT marks its 50th anniversary, the University of Michigan celebrates its accomplishments,” Monts says. “Through five decades of change in higher education, the center continues to help the university community harness its resources, support exceptional faculty, and create an intellectual community in which diversity and educational excellence lead the nation.”

For more information about the 50th anniversary celebration and to register, go to



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