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IUB Chancellor's Office

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IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2003

IU Bloomington receives Hesburgh Award

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program earns national honor

(NOTE: For faculty comments and more background on the SOTL program, visit the IU Media Relations Web site at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program has been named the winner of the 2003 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award, which is presented each year to the college or university judged to have the most effective faculty development program that enhances undergraduate teaching and learning.

The award was presented today (Feb. 17) during the American Council on Education annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

IUB's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program (SOTL) encourages faculty members from around the campus to engage in cross-disciplinary research and discussions on what works in the classroom.

"Receiving the Hesburgh Award is a tribute to the many faculty who have been involved in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program at IUB and an affirmation of the program's effectiveness in enhancing students' academic success," said Sharon Stephens Brehm, chancellor of IU Bloomington.

The SOTL program was initiated by Dean of the Faculties Moya Andrews, working with a small group of faculty members and teaching development staff, in the fall of 1998. They were looking for the answer to a basic question: How can we best improve undergraduate learning?

"What makes this program special is not that our faculty are always looking for ways to improve their teaching effectiveness, but that they are willing to apply their research skills to questions of how students learn in their own classes," said Jeanne Sept, a professor of anthropology and associate dean of the faculties who helps oversee the program. "They are engaged not merely in 'how to teach' exercises, but in creating new research knowledge related to higher education practice in different disciplines, and they are committed to sharing this knowledge with their colleagues."

"The Hesburgh Award, coming so soon after the recognition by Time magazine of IUB as College of the Year among research universities, clearly indicates the campus' strong commitment to maximizing the learning experience for our students," Brehm said.

Brehm was joined by Craig Nelson, professor of biology and public and environmental affairs, in representing the campus at today's luncheon and receiving the award.

The award is named in honor of the Rev. Theodore M Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, a nationally renowned educator and humanitarian. It is sponsored by TIAA-CREF, a leading national financial services organization.

Last year, IUPUI was one of four universities to receive a certificate of excellence through the program for its Gateway program to enhance student retention.

TIAA-CREF created the award to recognize faculty development programs that improve undergraduate teaching and learning and to encourage their creation at America's colleges and universities. Nine judges, all with distinguished backgrounds in higher education, reviewed the entrants and selected the winner. Along with the award, IU Bloomington will receive a $30,000 cash grant from TIAA-CREF.

The SOTL program encourages Bloomington faculty members to explore a variety of educational approaches and to reflect on questions about student learning derived from their experiences in the classroom. The broadest impact on learning comes from a series of campus-wide colloquia, held throughout the academic year, on educational research and results. The sessions are led both by faculty members from Bloomington and by visitors from other campuses.

Topics of SOTL sessions held during the 2002-03 academic year have included ways that faculty members can teach about terrorism in the wake of 9-11, the latest scientific findings on how people learn, new data on how students use textbooks, and the impact of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning initiative on the education of the next generation of university scholars.

About one-quarter of all IUB tenured and tenure-track faculty members have taken part in the program, as have many graduate students who teach undergraduate courses.

The program is funded through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties. It is run in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.