Apr 082003
Authors: Shandra Jordan, Melissa Pester

Because of the budget deficit, CSU has decided to eliminate the personnel money for the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The center will lose most of its funding as well as two faculty positions and two work-study positions. The CTL is currently located on the third floor of the Morgan Library.

“We are reducing the personnel costs to zero,” said Peter Nicholls, provost/academic vice president. “We are leaving the name intact and I will be working to keep the programs going.”

Bill Timpson, the director of the CTL, will return to his tenured position because of these cuts.

“Fortunately, I have a tenured position to fall back on,” Timpson said. “As time permits I’m certainly hopeful to keep things going during some of the difficult times and when the budget improves we can go from there.”

The administrative assistant, Jeanne Clark, will be offered another state-classified job, but has the option to decline it, she said.

“Because we are state-classified employees we are offered one optional position,” Clark said. “If we chose to decline that position we’re offered we’re pretty much on our own.”

Nicholls assures that a “small pool of funding” from the CTL budget will be retained because of a need to maintain parts of the program.

“For CSU to continue to be a first-class research institution we must be a corresponding first-class teaching institution,” said Robert Wilson, professor in the department of physics.

However, some people are disappointed that funding will be taken from the CTL.

“There are a variety of reasons why the CTL is important,” said Irene Vernon, the director of the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity. “It serves a vast number of needs particularly in regard for teachers. We are a teaching university and we need any resources that can help young teachers.”

Many professors from CSU wrote letters to the provost in support of maintaining the CTL.

“On a personal note, budget and other pressures have led already to an increased teaching load that is jeopardizing both my research and my ability to investigate innovation in teaching,” wrote Robert Wilson, professor in the department of physics, in his letter to Nicholls. “Removing CTL, with Bill Timpson’s energetic feedback and professional support, would be yet another blow to what I feel is a critical direction for the university to follow.”

The CTL was established in 1997 as a program to support instruction improvement so as to enhance student engagement and deepen learning, according to the program’s annual report printed in December 2002.

A few programs provided by the CTL included biweekly Forums on Teaching, course development and assessment for new core curriculum, assistance with mid-semester student feedback and outreach to kindergarten through 12th grade.

“I really appreciate the work Dr. Timpson and others have put in over the years,” Nicholls said. “But we have to make decisions that are difficult to make.”

Nicholls will work with the University Distinguished Teaching Scholars as a “body to explore ways in which we may be able to continue and, over the next several years, enhance our university commitment to the learning experience of our students,” according to Nicholls’ letter.

There will be two more of the biweekly seminars on teaching after which point they will be discontinued. The first will be held on April 17 and the last on May 1.

“These are hard times and hopefully we’ll be able to get through this and continue,” Timpson said.

Collegian reporter Willow Welter contributed to this report.

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