March 27, 2018

Office for Teaching and Learning, Office of the Provost announce inaugural Academy of Teachers

Wayne State University’s Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) has announced its inaugural Academy of Teachers (AOT), which has been designed to create and sustain a culture of teaching excellence based on the diffusion and implementation of evidence-driven, inclusive, and student-centered pedagogical and curricular practices across the university.

Following a competitive application process, Provost Keith Whitfield announced the inaugural members of the AOT during the OTL’s fifth annual Innovations in Teaching and Learning Luncheon on March 20. They are:

These dedicated faculty members were appointed to the AOT by Provost Whitfield to support the professional development of faculty and instructors and provide an effective means for sharing information, ideas and strategies to promote excellence in teaching and learning. The AOT will assess and promote institutional-, college-, and department-level structures that honor and reward excellence in teaching and learning. The committee will also serve as an advisory group to the provost and provide a conduit for institutional change to support teaching excellence.

“We have so many fantastic teachers here, and I want to understand their needs, thoughts, desires and ambitions,” Whitfield said during his opening remarks at the OTL’s Innovations in Teaching and Learning Luncheon. “I can think of no better way of doing that than hearing directly from faculty.”

As one of only 10 U.S. public universities in major cities holding the Carnegie Foundation’s designation as an institution with “the highest research activity,” it was critical for WSU to continue growing and improving its commitment to excellence in teaching, Whitfield said.  

“As a top research institution, we have a lot to brag about,” he said. ”At the very base of research is the generation of knowledge. Generating knowledge is fun, but you also have to be able to share that knowledge in meaningful ways. Our Office for Teaching and Learning is leading that charge.”

In addition to announcing the inaugural class of the AOT, Whitfield highlighted other OTL activities, including the Mid-semester Assessment Program (MAP), which allows faculty to receive timely feedback from students and make adjustments while those students are still in the course. This year, the OTL has conducted 228 MAPs, impacting 9,113 students.

The OTL also offers a variety of programs, workshops and speakers designed to enhance teaching. As the university transitions from Blackboard to Canvas, Computing & Information Technology is partnering with OTL leading the faculty sessions on the new system. Since November, they have hosted 43 Canvas sessions with a total of 710 attendees.

“We’re so fortunate to have an administration that really emphasizes and celebrates the importance of teaching and learning on campus,” said Sara Kacin, director of the OTL. “There’s a straight line connecting excellent teaching and student success.”

To learn more about the Office for Teaching and Learning and the Academy of Teachers visit their website or contact

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