Message From the Director

Christine Kroll, assistant vice provost and director, Center for Educational Innovation.

Christine Kroll, PhD

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI). Our center is dedicated to your faculty development, and we hope you take advantage of all the opportunities we offer.

This past academic year was an exciting time of transition for CEI as we continued to build and support UB’s strong commitment to faculty development in evidenced-based and innovative teaching and learning. As we entered 2019, we completed our center’s full strategic planning and start-up activities and began to directly implement our mission to the university. I am proud to share some of the highlights of our efforts.

  • Successful piloting and launching of three comprehensive CEI Faculty Academies
    Each academy consists of multi-session active learning opportunities that are designed to spur collaboration and generate new ideas and conversations that move beyond CEI to impact classroom practice. Engaging faculty within and across disciplines in experiences designed to regularly bring groups together is the foundation for preparing faculty for our campus-based, blended and online classroom experiences.
  • Expansion of programming in our Faculty Collaboration Studio (The Studio)
    These teaching-focused events and showcases feature faculty and external experts sharing best practices, research and innovative technologies that will become common in tomorrow’s classrooms.
  • Partnership with Research and Economic Development
    These co-sponsored events, such as the Research Faculty Happy Hour, provide faculty opportunities to pitch creative research ideas, network with other research faculty and find research collaborators across university disciplines.
  • Expanded learning systems options
    The introduction of Ally to our Blackboard learning management system allows instructors to easily enhance the usability and accessibility of their course materials in UBlearns The introduction of Top Hat to our UBclicks support now gives faculty an additional tool to increase student participation in the classroom.

Building on these successes, CEI staff will be working to offer a variety of content and programming initiatives to reach faculty who are seeking on-campus and online development opportunities. These include redesigning our in-person CEI Faculty Academies workshops for delivery in additional formats that meet the needs of faculty.

  • Online and facilitated programs on the UBlearns learning platform will offer faculty peer interactions and an opportunity to earn a continuing professional education digital badge.
  • Online and self-regulated programs on the Coursera learning platform will provide learning opportunities that faculty can complete at their own pace.
  • On-demand learning opportunities via the CEI website will include the majority of content from both the UBlearns and Coursera programs. This is to ensure that faculty who have completed the academies can easily access content as needed as well as for faculty who may have extensive teaching experience and are seeking information in a specific teaching area.

Finally, I am pleased to announce the launch of the following initiatives in the spring 2020 semester.

  • Teaching Mentorship Micro-credential
    Faculty earning badges in the three academies will have the opportunity to complete a two-hour workshop on teaching mentorship and perform six hours of peer teaching observations. They will join a new network of faculty seeking to support the teaching community at UB via confidential peer review and mentorship.
  • Teaching Assistant Academy
    This version of our Academies will focus on the specific and unique needs of TAs, who are assisting instructors in delivering educational content.
  • UBlearns updates
    In late December 2019, the Blackboard on UBlearns service will migrate to a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud delivery environment. This migration, which will be seamless to faculty and students, will result in improved uptimes and faster implementation of bug fixes and new features.

In addition to these exciting developments in programming and initiatives, we will also work to find creative ways to tell the stories of the many UB community members who have been impacted by our programing and those who have partnered with us to offer their expertise and experiences.

I am extremely proud of what our team has accomplished this past year, and I look forward to spreading our successes across the UB community.

Thank you again for taking the time to learn about CEI, and best wishes for a fruitful and rewarding academic year!


Christine T. Kroll, PhD

Assistant Vice Provost and Director

Center for Educational Innovation