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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - October 2022
Two faculty receive first-ever Teaching Catalyst Award

L to R: Lindsey Payne, Jay Akridge, Kim Illingworth.

By Mary Jane Chew and Kate Walker

Two faculty receive first-ever Teaching Catalyst Award

Lindsey Payne, director of service learning and assistant professor of practice in environmental and ecological engineering, and Kim Illingworth, assistant dean for learning and assessment and professor of pharmacy practice, received the inaugural Teaching Catalyst award at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence.  The pair received the newly created, selective award for their work on the Framework for Teaching Excellence and the associated Guide for Developing and Documenting Teaching Excellence – part of the Purdue Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education.

“Because great teaching is foundational to each element of the Road Map, we first wanted to establish how Purdue defines teaching excellence,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. Akridge turned to Payne and Illingworth and Purdue’s Teaching Academy to lead the campus-wide effort.

“Lindsey and Kim worked tirelessly through a deliberative multi-year process that included guidance from the Teaching Academy, input from the campus community, and a deep look at the research on high-impact teaching,” said Akridge. “Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we have a framework to help us define, advance, document, and promote teaching excellence at Purdue.”

The Teaching Catalyst award is a special recognition from the Office of the Provost for extraordinary and prolonged efforts to improve education at Purdue. The award is new for 2022 and going forward will recognize Purdue instructors and staff who surpass their role as educators, inspire others towards institutional change and take steps above and beyond their discipline, department, and college to ensure that all Boilermaker students benefit from excellent teaching.

Payne and Illingworth were both surprised and honored to receive the award and quick to acknowledge the help of their colleagues. 

“So many people collaborated with us on this project,” said Payne. “Shamila Janakiraman, a post-doctoral researcher and faculty member in the learning design and technology program was critical to the development of the framework”

Illingworth adds: “We also worked closely with Dr. Kristina Bross, associate dean for research and creative endeavors for the Honors College and Greg Strimel, associate professor of technology and innovation in the Purdue Polytechnic along with all the Teaching Excellence Advisory Council. Council members included faculty members from units across campus, which allowed us to hear different perspectives and informed the development of the Framework and Guide.

Both Payne and Illingworth note that teamwork pulled them through the challenging times.

“The team had many strengths that we relied on,” said Illingworth. “Much of this work took place during the ‘COVID’ years.  The collaboration and relationships we formed allowed us to all persist.”

Another challenge was integrating the varied voices and incorporating feedback from multiple stakeholders.  But the authors hope that the common language of the Framework transcends disciplines and that instructors/faculty actively use the Guide in the development of their teaching practices.  

“Further, I hope that the Guide helps faculty envision how they can achieve their professional goals in regard to teaching, including promotion and tenure,” said Payne.

Teaching Excellence Advisory Council:

  • Kelly Blanchard, clinical associate professor, associate dean for undergraduate programs, Krannert School of Management
  • Alex Carignan, graduate student, department of mathematics, College of Science
  • Natasha Duncan, associate dean for academic and international affairs, clinical associate professor, John Martinson Honors College
  • Marcos Fernandez, professor of animal sciences, former associate dean and director of academic programs, College of Agriculture
  • Jennifer Hall, senior lecturer, communications, College of Liberal Arts
  • Heather Howard, associate professor, Libraries and School of Information Studies
  • Shamila Janakiraman, visiting faculty learning and design technology, College of Education
  • Signe Kastberg, professor and Mary Endres Chair in Elementary Education, College of Education, Faculty Affairs Committee lead, Purdue University Senate
  • Rachael Kenney, associate professor mathematics education, College of Education
  • John Lumkes, professor, agricultural and biological engineering, College of Engineering
  • David Nelson, associate director, Center for Instructional Excellence
  • Larry Nies, professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, College of Engineering
  • David Rollock, 150th Anniversary Professor of Psychological Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Kathy Salisbury, 150th Anniversary Professor of Veterinary Medicine, associate dean for academic affairs, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Charlene Sullivan, professor emerita, Krannert School of Management
  • Sandra Sydnor, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management, College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Marcy Towns, Bodner-Honig Professor of Chemistry, College of Science
  • Zach Weber, clinical professor of pharmacy practice, director of interprofessional education, College of Pharmacy

The next steps for Payne and Illingworth will be implementing the Framework and sharing the Guide across campus, while continuing to support the growth and development of teaching excellence.

“Continued work on how to document teaching excellence will be key,” said Illingworth. “We also will be collaborating with the Innovative Learning Team in their efforts to support faculty development within the Framework and will be evaluating how the Guide is being used on campus and beyond.”