A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
March 9, 2006 Volume 36 / Number 6


What Should CELT Be?

The TV studio is bigger than I thought it would be. The lights are making me uncomfortably warm. The other two contestants seem way too serious. What have I gotten myself into? The commercial break is over, and the camera crew is giving us the countdown for live taping.

“Cris, it is your question to begin the second half of this round.”

Hoping my bangs look OK as the camera zooms in on my face, I say, “I‘ll take ‘University Work’ for $800, Alex.”

Alex reads, “Innovative, current, faculty development support.” Without hesitation, but with a grin, I reply, “What is CELT?” Kaa-ching. I‘m on a roll. “University Work for $1000.”

Alex, in his silky smooth voice, says, “Thinking ahead, building on what is working and what can be improved.” I answer easily, “What should CELT be?” Kaa-ching again. This is almost too easy.

In reality, the words may come easily, but the vision requires a more in-depth review and discussion. As the current Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) Advisory Board chair, I am learning that CELT is bigger than I realized and that its management takes many people. The advisory board is now pursuing the question, “What should CELT be?” Some of you may know much about CELT, and some of you may know little. This article provides a brief overview of what CELT (with a hard C) is and an open invitation to share your thoughts.

Some CELT basics that you may or may not know.
CELT was established in the fall of 1994 to enhance student learning as recommended by the Presidential Task Force Reports. A group of faculty members met that year to craft a mission statement. In the fall of 1995, CELT held its first annual teaching conference.

CELT Mission Statement
We recognize that teaching effectiveness is the first, minimum, and indispensable requirement for faculty on this campus. Seeking to enhance the quality of our academic environment, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at California State University, Chico is committed to rewarding and promoting the ability of our faculty to teach well, to find ways to improve the learning process, and to provide support, training, and mentoring.

Advisory Board
The CELT Advisory Board is made up of representation from all seven colleges and two members from the Academic Senate. The advisory board serves as a recommending body to the provost for grants, the annual conference, and issues related to faculty development. Current CELT Advisory Board members are Lee Altier (AGR), Terri Davis (PSED), Rapti deSilva (MATH), Lorraine Gardiner (AMIS), Cris Guenter (EDUC), Benjoe Juliano (CSCI), Hermeet Kohli (Senate), Thomas Mattman (MATH), Brian Oppy (PSYC), Margaret Owens (NSC), Dan Pence (SOCI), Scott Roberts (Senate), Josh Trout (KINE), and Joel Zimbelman (HUMN).

You may not be aware of all the support that is offered. Faculty development from CELT includes the following: $600 stipend for professional development funds for tenured-track faculty; annual conference; High-Quality Learning Environment Grants; Instructional Grants; Impact Grants; new faculty orientation and support; new faculty surveys; CELT workshops throughout the year; lending library of teaching resources; online teaching tips and resources; the Glenn Kendall Award; optional and personalized teaching feedback; individual or group consultation; and resources for graduate student teachers.

The CELT Web site (http://www.csuchico.edu/celt/) has much information. On the grants and funding page, you will find proposal requests, application forms, and the rubrics that will be used to review the submitted proposals (http://www.csuchico.edu/celt/grantsFunding/index.shtml). The next deadline is March 24 for CELT Conference proposals for the 2006 conference, Oct. 11-13, 2006.

CELT is more than an advisory board, more than a conference, and more than a grant. It is our energy and intent as faculty focused on quality teaching and learning. It is our discourse and debate on how we improve instruction for our students and ourselves. It is all of us together. Every so often it is good and wise to reflect on where we are and where we are going. Therefore, the current CELT Advisory Board is gathering information about what is working well and what could be better for faculty regarding CELT activities. The question for you as a faculty member to consider is what should CELT be?

“It‘s the Daily Double video clip! What is your wager, Cris?” asks Alex.

I always wondered what I would do in this situation. Lifting my head, I confidently say “I wager $5,000.”

All eyes turn to the video monitors and a clip of President Zingg in front of Kendall Hall. His eyes twinkling, he says, “What three-word phrase impacts the lives of those who learn and teach at CSU, Chico and are found inscribed on this building behind me?” I cannot believe my good fortune. I have often looked at these words painstakingly carved into the stone. “Alex, what is ‘Today Decides Tomorrow’ ?”

And so it is for all of us. By taking some time today and providing your thoughts, wants, and needs regarding your campus professional development, you will be helping all of us for tomorrow. Comments and suggestions for CELT can be e-mailed to the CELT Advisory Board via kginno@csuchico.edu. Please put “CELT Thoughts” in the subject line. Be bold. Thank you.

—Cris Guenter, chair, CELT Advisory Board