With financial support from the Bingham Fund for Excellence in Teaching, Transylvania University is launching the Bingham Center for Teaching Excellence. The new center will focus on faculty development and student success, building on a long history of supporting and rewarding excellent teaching at the university.
The Bingham Center will serve as a central location for faculty mentoring and pedagogical advancement while fostering a culture of evidence-based excellence in teaching and learning. The center and its staff will champion innovative teaching methods well suited to a liberal arts education with the primary goal of enhancing student learning.
“The Bingham Center will leverage instructional expertise and increase high-quality professional development opportunities for faculty to shape a campus culture of teaching excellence,” said Rebecca Thomas, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. “This level of top-tier professional development is good not only for individual faculty and their morale, creativity, knowledge and growth, but also for students and their success.”
Among its responsibilities, the new Bingham Center will expand on the university’s Digital Liberal Arts initiative to integrate digital fluency in the classroom.
“We expect the Bingham Center will have a significant impact on a number of outcomes, including the ongoing promotion of teaching excellence, supporting student success and positively impacting Transylvania’s institutional growth,” said Christopher Young, chair of the Bingham Fund board.
In addition to providing development opportunities, the Bingham Center will also tie directly into the general education program including First Engagements and First-Year Seminar for new students, new faculty mentoring and assessment of curricular effectiveness.
The creation and funding of the new center is one more indicator of the importance of teaching excellence at Transylvania. Since 1987, the Bingham Fund has invested nearly $30 million to develop, identify, promote and reward excellent classroom teaching by funding faculty awards and providing financial support to develop teaching initiatives, including summer liberal arts seminars attended by faculty from a broad cross section of national liberal arts institutions.
The Bingham Fund has also supported the creation of a digital learning program to provide encouragement and professional assistance to faculty in the use of digital technologies in classroom teaching. Faculty training as well as faculty and student research is also supported directly through the David and Betty Jones Faculty Development Fund. In May, the board of the Bingham Fund announced a 15-year, $25 million grant to fund up to 12 Bingham Endowed Chairs for Teaching Excellence at Transylvania University. Applications for the first selections are currently under review and are expected to be announced next spring.