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UW-Eau Claire Establishes Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

RELEASED: June 11, 2008

Casey Sylla Robert Eierman
Casey Sylla
Robert Eierman

EAU CLAIRE — As the first step in implementing its new strategic plan, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has established the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. With a goal of providing better institutional support for improving student learning, CETL will involve faculty and staff in professional development activities that will help them design and implement superior educational experiences.

UW-Eau Claire alumnus Casey Sylla, vice president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board and president of Sylla and Associates of Barrington, Ill., and his wife, Delores, have committed $100,000 to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to support the establishment of CETL and to kick off implementation of the strategic plan. In making their gift, the Syllas said they were pleased to invest in the university's vision of being the premier undergraduate learning community in the upper Midwest.

"CETL will offer developmental opportunities for faculty and staff that will foster excellence in teaching, which will provide a richer learning environment for UW-Eau Claire students," said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich. "Providing transformative learning opportunities for our students is a goal of our strategic plan. We are grateful to the Syllas for helping us make this important step toward focusing more proactively on excellence in teaching."

Dr. Robert Eierman, professor of chemistry, will serve as the interim director of CETL.

For 15 years, Eierman has focused his scholarly activities on issues that relate to teaching and learning science. He has coordinated workshops on science curriculum design for K-12 teachers and for university science and math professors. He also has redesigned, assessed and published articles on college chemistry curriculum, served on committees to design standardized exams, served on education master's committees, taught science teaching methods courses and advised and supervised the practice teaching of chemistry education majors.

"CETL will serve an important function on campus for educators who want to learn new strategies to help students learn," said Eierman, a member of the faculty for 25 years. "I look forward to helping establish the center."

CETL will replace the Network for Excellence in Teaching, which has provided mostly technology-oriented faculty and staff development.

"CETL will enable UW-Eau Claire educators at all stages of their careers to develop their skills in and understanding of teaching and learning issues," Eierman said. "Faculty early in their careers will learn the mechanics of teaching and the signature pedagogies of their disciplines, and more experienced faculty will develop methods of scholarly teaching. Educational technology and the scholarship of teaching and learning will also be supported by CETL."

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KH

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