The Reinert Center grounds its work in the Core Values that have guided the Center since its creation and the Ethical Guidelines for Educational Developers published by the POD Network in Higher Education. Below, we articulate specific practices and policies that derive from these commitments and that address commonly-asked questions.
In keeping with the standards of good practice in educational development, the Reinert Center believes all participation in services and programs should be voluntary, originating in an individual faculty member or graduate student's desire to seek support or develop her/his own teaching. As with any development opportunity, intrinsic motivation is more likely to lead to transformation of one's teaching practice.
Due to the personal nature of the work we do in the Center, particularly with full-time and adjunct faculty, individual teaching consultations are confidential and private, as are any materials generated in the course of these services. This means:
- We see materials generated in the course of observations, consultations, and the like as the property of the individual instructor.
- We do not report to or share with anyone - including a department chair, dean, or other University administrator - anything about individuals who seek services in the Center, including whether or not the person sought services in the first place.
- We do not share materials generated in consultations, observations, focus groups, or other services. Individuals who wish to include reports or feedback generated from one of these services in annual reports, tenure and/or promotion packets, or the like, may use the copy provided to them at the time of the service..
Internally, Reinert Center staff may discuss particular cases and/or general trends in the support of individual faculty. We do so solely for the purpose of providing the best support possible to instructors. The Reinert Center treats attendance at public events (such as teaching workshops offered through the Reinert Center) as a matter of public record.
Departments, programs, colleges, or schools wishing to engage Center staff in confidential consultations on behalf of the entire unit can simply ask that the content of the session be confidential.
Instructional Design and Development
The Reinert Center works with individual instructors to design and develop courses for a variety of contexts and modalities. Consistent with our core values and the POD Network ethical guidelines, we take a collaborative, coaching-oriented approach to this work. Our primary aim is to empower all instructors to develop their own courses (whether online or on-ground) in ways that are aligned with their own teaching philosophies, disciplinary values, and pedagogical choices, and consistent with the literature on effective teaching. We take a broad view of the terms “instructional design” and “instructional development,” and we believe instructors ultimately are the designers of their students’ learning experiences. In the context of online courses, we see our work as building with, not for instructors. In the context of ongoing, structured course design work, our role shifts over time; we provide more formal guidance in the beginning and then move to a more supportive role as instructors finalize their course design and materials. The most structured course design work for on-ground courses takes place in our Innovative Teaching Fellowship; to learn more about the instructional developer role in this Fellowship, please read our Statement of Practice.
Evaluation of Teaching
All of our work with faculty and graduate student instructors is strictly formative. We do not engage in summative evaluations of teaching. While we do not define the standards of effective teaching, we can work with departments and programs to arrive at their own understandings of effective teaching, as well as methods of evaluating teaching effectiveness in their discipline.
In keeping with our commitment to confidentiality, Reinert Center staff do not retain digital or printed materials generated during classroom observations, student focus groups, consultations, or other confidential services. In cases where an instructor seeks consultations over an extended period of time, the Reinert Center staff member consulting with her/him may keep handwritten notes to ensure continuity in discussions. However, any such notes will be for that staff member's use only, and to the extent possible, will record no information that could be used to identify the instructor. All material is disposed of using secure methods.
In the case of the Innovative Teaching Fellowships, where faculty engage in a year-long development relationship with the Reinert Center, notes, draft documents, and other items related to the fellowship may be generated as part of the course design process. Instructional Developers (ID) may keep a record of items to use as a reference. All items generated will be maintained by the Instructional Developer. Items can be shared between the ID and ITF faculty at any time during the duration of the fellowship. Once the fellowship has concluded, all collected materials (physical and digital) will be disposed of using secure methods.
The Reinert Center maintains secure databases (password protected, stored on University server) to track participation at public events, as well as for tracking individuals' progress through programs (e.g., the Certificate Program). For the purposes of assessing and reporting on our work, we also record total numbers of consultations, student focus groups, and other Center activities during the year (without any identifying information about those who sought these services). We also retain the results of anonymous surveys, event evaluations, and other like data collected for the purposes of internal assessment and evaluation of the Center.
The Reinert Center often is asked to record workshops or events for members of the community who are unable to attend a live event. Due to their highly interactive nature, and the sharing of personal experiences that often occurs, workshops, brown bag conversations, and other participatory events are not recorded. Keynote addresses and informational presentations occasionally are recorded and shared through secure means, depending upon speaker permission and resource availability. The Reinert Center requests that audience members do not record or photograph during Center events.
Virtual Attendance for Scheduled Events
Due to the highly interactive nature of Reinert Center events, we typically do not make available the option of virtual attendance at in-person events. We are occasionally able to offer virtual attendance at keynote presentations, with appropriate permission of speakers and availability of resources. In some instances, customized web-based development opportunities may be possible upon request.
The Reinert Center is committed to ongoing assessment of its own services and programs; we do so in ways that are consistent with effective practices within the field of educational development. Therefore, we regularly ask for participant feedback on events and services, typically through online, anonymous surveys, though we also may engage in other forms of data collection (e.g., focus groups, interviews, course material analyses). All assessment items are strictly confidential and used internally, solely for the purposes of improving Center services and programs. All data is stored in secure digital formats supported by the University (e.g., Qualtrics, department T drives, etc.). Some data may be reported but only when all identifying information has been removed.
Photography and Publicity for Public Events
The Reinert Center considers its workshops and events to be public. Photographs are frequently taken at these events for publicity purposes and may be shared on the Reinert Center website, Newslink, and/or other University-wide publications. If you wish to be left out of any public photos, please see a Reinert Center staff member at an event or contact Mary Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Reinert Center is committed to ensuring that its events and services are accessible for participants. If you require accommodations for an event, please contact Mary Cook at email@example.com at least one week prior to an event with your request. We will do everything in our power to ensure the event is accessible for you.