Pitt Highlights Innovative Educational Research With Teaching Excellence Fair

Issue Date: 
October 27, 2008


Showcasing nine of its most innovative contributions to the field of education in the past year, the University of Pittsburgh will host its annual Teaching Excellence Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5 in the J.W. Connolly Ballroom, Alumni Hall.

Sponsored by the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence and coordinated by Pitt’s Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education (CIDDE), the event celebrates faculty endeavors related to teaching and the use of instructional technology.

“The Teaching Excellence Fair celebrates the many important teaching initiatives at the University of Pittsburgh and illustrates the important role of teaching at our University,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher. “The fair will feature the projects funded annually under the auspices of the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence’s Innovation in Education awards program. I encourage all faculty to take advantage of this special event.”

Commencing with refreshments and registration at 8:30 a.m., the fair will comprise seminars and group sessions designed to help teachers enrich their course materials, address academic integrity issues, expand interactivity, and improve students’ learning experiences.

The event will feature presentations by winners of the 2007-08 Innovations in Education grant awards. These faculty members, from disciplines across the University, will explain how their proposals advance educational instruction. Grant directors will answer questions and provide additional information about each project. The titles of the 2007-08 Innovation in Education award-winning projects and their directors follow:

“Virtual Systems Lab”—Ahmed Amer, assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of Computer Science in the School of Arts and Sciences;

“Measuring Learner Outcomes: Oral Proficiency and the University of Pittsburgh Oral Proficiency Language Assessment Instrument”—Claire Bradin Siskin, lecturer in Pitt’s Department of Linguistics and director of Pitt’s Robert Henderson Language Media Center;

“Writing Tutoring Based on Interdisciplinary Collaborations”—Mary Hall, professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville;

“Transforming the College Writing Experience”—Catharine Kloss, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and David Magil, assistant professor of English at Pitt-Johnstown;

“Virtual WebDB Laboratory”—Alexandros Labrinidis, professor in Pitt’s Department of Computer Science in the School of Arts and Sciences;

“Dr. Wizard’s World of Dental Public Health”—Elizabeth Onik, clinical instructor in Pitt’s Department of Dental Hygene in the School of Dental Medicine; and Richard Rubin, a research instructor in Pitt’s Department of Dental Public Health in the School of Dental Medicine;

“Finding a Needle in a Haystack: Learning the Art of Literature Retrieval Through Use of an Interactive, Web-based Tutorial”—Tara L. Pummer, assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics in the School of Pharmacy;

“Development, Construction, and Deployment of Instructional Shake Table”—Luis E. Vallejo, a professor in Pitt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering; and

“The Virtual Hospital: A Simulation for Healthy Decision Making”—Gail Wolf, a professor and coordinator in Pitt’s Department of Acute and Tertiary Care in the School of Nursing.

Informative minisessions will be conducted throughout the day on teaching-related topics such as motivating students and developing a teaching portfolio. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to speak with Pitt faculty in small-group discussions on methods of incorporating teaching strategies in the classroom. Several of the sessions will be Webcast in real time for those unable to attend.

Professor Joseph Grabowski in Pitt’s Department of Chemistry will lead a discussion on the Innovation in Education grants program and application process.

As a special service to faculty who attend the fair, CIDDE’s Photographic and Electronic Imaging staff will offer free digital portraits in the Connolly Ballroom from 9 to 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon.

For more information and to register, visit CIDDE’s Web site at www.cidde.pitt.edu, or contact Michelle Lane-Ogden at mlane@pitt.edu or 412-383-9729.