MU invests in training center for educators
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced it will spend $750,000 to open a new Teaching for Learning Center. MU faculty, teachers and instructors already use the center virtually, but now there will be a physical location for professional development.
The Teaching for Learning Center provides services, workshops and programs for staff to enhance their teaching skills.
"We want to take excellent teaching to an all together new level," Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain said. "So every student at Mizzou will benefit from our faculty doing an even better job than they do in our classrooms now."
Spain said the center's physical location will most likely be in Ellis library. He said he hopes a physical location for the center will amplify the information and skills MU faculty is receiving.
The center doesn't have a founding director yet, but Spain said interviews with the top three candidates just ended. The director would serve under Spain and work with the center’s steering committee and other campus units to advance teaching excellence, innovation and inclusiveness.
Once obtaining a founding director, Spain said the details of the center will be straightened out, including a potential change in programming.
"There's great agreement in what the department chairs and faculty have identified as what they want from the center. If we can get support in these areas then we'll be able to do a better job and achieve greater success with our students," Spain said.
With the help of more focused programming, MU students said they hope faculty and staff will take these services seriously and learn how to better serve students in the classroom.
"Being able to know different strategies and different ways to engage students and leave a longer, lasting impact is really important and sets teachers apart," MU Senior Eric Trapp said. "If the school is going to give them a space to actually develop those skills and learn that I think it'll be really helpful."
Trapp said he's had experiences with what he called "bad" teachers who didn't act as a resource to their students.
"They say that they have their office hours and they say that they're there for you, but if you don't feel like it that makes all the difference because you aren't going to seek their help," Trapp said.
MU Junior, Ashley Yong agreed and said if teachers don't show compassion toward their students, it could be difficult for students to succeed in the classroom.
"I notice that when a teacher cares about me personally, I really care more about their class and learning the material. Even though I'm here at Mizzou to study, I want to form these relationships with professors that I can have for a long time," Yong said.