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Center for Faculty Excellence

Annual Academic Luncheon
2008 (5th Annual) Academic Luncheon

USMA Celebrates Teaching

Dr. Mark Evans, Center for Teaching Excellence

The 5th Annual Academic Luncheon to celebrate teaching at West Point was held Monday, 19 May at the West Point Club. BGFinnegan-sm.jpg Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, Dean of the Academic Board and Brigadier General Michael Linnington, Commandant of Cadets, keynote speaker Dr. Peter Seldin, 44 graduates of the Master Teacher Program, and about one hundred additional faculty and guests attended the luncheon.

Graduates of the MTP wrote capstone papers, as part of the MTP requirements, on a wide range of teaching and learning topics, to include:

  • Teaching Portfolios
  • Video Based Instruction to Enhance Active Learning
  • Student Motivation and Learning
  • Learning Style Preferences for an On-Demand Learning Resource
  • Battle Buddies: A Cooperative Learning Technique for Reducing Anxiety and Increasing Motivation
  • Games, Role Playing and Simulations as Teaching Strategies
  • The State of Gender Equity in Science Classrooms
  • Programming to Music
  • Humor in Teaching
  • Demonstrating “What Right Looks Like” and Increasing Confidence in Math-Averse Students
  • Student Evaluations of Teaching
  • Unlocking the Power of the Brain: The Next Great Educational Paradigm Shift

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Dr. Peter Seldin. Dr. Seldin is an authority on the evaluation and improvement of college teaching and is Distinguished Professor of Management Emeritus at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. DrSeldin-sm.jpgHe is a behavioral scientist, educator, and author, he has been a higher education consultant to more than 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States and 40 countries around the world. Dr. Seldin regularly serves as a faculty leader in programs offered by the American Council on Education and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Dr Seldin’s well-received books include, most recently, The Teaching Portfolio; The Administrative Portfolio, and Changing Practices in Evaluating Teaching. Dr. Seldin has contributed articles on the teaching profession, student ratings (a topic that faculty in MTP often discuss), educational practices, and academic culture to such publications as The Chronicle of Higher Education, and others… Dr. Seldin serves as Co-Chair of the annual International Conference on Improving University Teaching and Learning and he is coauthoring a book with Dr. J. Elizabeth Miller titled: The Academic Portfolio, A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research, and Service – we at USMA will be very interested in that book when it’s available.

BGsPresenting.jpgFollowing the keynote address, Generals Finnegan and Linnington, distributed framed certificates to 44 graduates of the Master Teacher Program (MTP). The MTP is a two-year long professional development program offered by the CTE. The program participants meet monthly and discuss assigned readings on issues of teaching pedagogy and write reflections on those readings. The participants also perform a classroom research project and write a paper on that project as a graduation requirement. Many participants publish those papers in conference proceedings or in a teaching-related journal. The names of this year’s graduates, by department, are:


Following the MTP certificates, COL Daniel Ragsdale, Vice Dean for Education, introduced the all the Apgar Award applicants and announced the winner of the Apgar Award – awarded to a faculty member for commitment to developing and/or applying innovative concepts and methods of teaching that expand cadets’ horizons, for a teaching-related project that is innovative and employs new teaching pedagogy and skill development, and has the potential for reaching many cadets. The winner of the 2008 Apgar award is MAJ Victoria Campbell, Department of History, for her project: “Get Wiki’d; Three Simple Ways to Improve Class Preparation, Discussion, and Performance.” MAJ Campbell will receive the award from the Superintendent at the Academic Convocation held at the start of the Fall semester.

During the Dean’s remarks, he emphasized that teaching is our priority at USMA – it’s the most important thing we do! Thanks to all for joining us to celebrate Teaching at USMA!

Photos by Vin Guariglia, DOIM (x5924) TH 211

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