Affiliate with the Center

colleague engaging

The Center’s democratic approach goes beyond its design philosophy. It directly informs the model our team plans to use when working on new teaching and learning projects.

“We want to work on a networked model,” says Joe Salem, dean of MSU Libraries, taking on a lead role in teaching and learning efforts as interim associate provost for teaching and learning innovation. “I think there was some concern at the outset that this was some kind of centralization effort. We have no interest in that at all. We want to activate that model and have formal partnerships with the people already working in this area.”

Salem is explicit in his attempt to put people at ease in terms of jurisdictional overlap. Some units and colleges have put vast resources into teaching and learning development; the Center will look to tap into that structure, activate it, and make sure all involved feel good about the partnership. To understand the specifics, Salem invokes a hypothetical scenario where someone is doing an assessment project and comes to the Center for assistance.

“When this is fully realized, we would have a really good idea of what the overall teaching and learning network looks like on campus,” he says. “If someone came to the Center interested in doing some kind of assessment project, we might not have all the assessment expertise we need in this scenario, but we know the network on campus so well that we could recommend a few people across campus to work with.” These experts may not be in a single unit or college, explains Salem, but the Center can serve a connective function in this case, and help form a diverse group ready to consult on assessment. Salem is explicit that such groups must be formed with sensitivity to the time and workload involved. He acknowledges that some people might be concerned about “unfunded partnerships,” which can begin as goodwill gestures but balloon into serious commitments. “This is why we are putting time into how to approach what we’re calling an ‘affiliates model.’ So we’re looking for formal partnerships, in some cases. If we formalize partnerships, and make sure the cost/benefit makes sense for everyone, I think that will alleviate fear regarding unfunded partnerships.

“When we think of what a fully-realized vision looks like, we would want all the colleges and units involved to be comfortable with a certain amount of their time having been either bought out or allocated to this kind of activity.” Originally published on 4/22/22 by Gregory Teachout in the Office of the Provost Community Update: “Trust is the Cornerstone: Joe Salem and the New Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation”