Texas A&M: 92 Texas A&M Instructors Earn Credentials Through Instructional Excellence Project

Texas A&M University’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) celebrated at a ceremony this month 92 instructors who earned credentials through the Instructional Excellence Project. To date, 160 have earned at least one credential through the initiative.

Faculty who participate in the project engage with one of many courses offered by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). Courses promote evidence-based teaching practices proven to close equity gaps and promote student success. They are locally facilitated by consultants from the CTE.

Newly credentialed faculty recognized at the ceremony represented the flagship campus in College Station and its branch and partner campuses. Watch parties were hosted at Texas A&M University-Galveston and at the Higher Education Center at McAllen, both of which have had significant engagement with the Instructional Excellence Project since it launched in fall 2020.

“At the Center for Teaching Excellence, we take pride in offering our faculty a variety of opportunities that meet them where they are and speak to the unique needs of their classrooms and their students,” says Debra Fowler, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Speaking at the ceremony, Patrick Louchouarn, interim vice provost for Faculty Affairs and Interdisciplinary Initiatives, noted the scale of the program’s impact. “This year alone, ACUE-trained faculty taught about 1,700 course sections at Texas A&M University,” he said. “Added to last year’s impact, that’s a total of 2,510 course sections taught since the inception of the Instructional Excellence Project. That translates to about 49,000 students taught by ACUE faculty this year alone; and about 76,500 students since the beginning of this initiative.”

ACUE’s courses are based on more than three decades of research that show how effective teaching improves the outcomes for all students. According to independently validated research, students enrolled in courses taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty are more engaged in learning, more likely to complete courses, and more likely to express satisfaction with the instruction received. Research also shows a significant reduction in equity gaps for students enrolled with ACUE-credentialed faculty; at one institution, the gap in the likelihood of passing courses between Black and white students was cut in half.

“As faculty, each of us contributes to creating a culture of teaching excellence at the university by virtue of how we show up in our roles as instructors,” Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Associate Provost for Faculty Success Heather Wilkinson said. “I appreciate the ACUE participants for investing in themselves and thereby contributing to both the culture of teaching excellence and the culture of mentoring, and also to making Texas A&M University a best place to live, work, and learn.”

Fowler noted the program wouldn’t be possible without support from Faculty Affairs and The Texas A&M University System. “We are very grateful to be supported by tireless supporters of instructional excellence from the Texas A&M University System Office – Dr. James Hallmark and Dr. Shonda Gibson,” Fowler said.

The summer course, Designing Student-Centered and Equitable Courses, planned to accept applications until May 27, 2022 but is already full. Applications for fall courses will soon open and are expected to fill quickly.

The Instructional Excellence Project was launched in 2020 with a grant from the National Association of System Heads. Due to the project’s success, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents provided resources that turned the one-year opportunity into a four-year initiative.

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