CONTACT: STEVE PARROTT
5 Old Capitol
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-0552; fax (319) 335-0558
Release: Dec. 6, 2000
Faculty developmental assignments improve teaching,
IOWA CITY, Iowa Scholarly research and creative
activities conducted by faculty on developmental assignments contribute to
improved teaching at the University of Iowa, according to an annual report
to be presented to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, next week.
The 95 UI faculty members who completed a semester-long
developmental assignment during the 1999-2000 academic year said their efforts
will result in the updating of more than 150 classes.
Those faculty members produced more than 200 scholarly
publications, 150 lectures, presentations, and exhibitions, and completed
more than 60 applications for external funding for their research. They also
earned two patents, created several software programs and websites, and completed
work on other works of art, including paintings and photographs.
"We have to continually upgrade the knowledge of
our workforce, just as private industry does, if we are to maintain and improve
the excellence of the educational experience we offer," said UI Provost
Jon Whitmore. "The faculty development assignment program is a core element
of that effort. Its also important to note that our faculty members
have to compete for these assignments. Not everyone who applies for them gets
Whitmore pointed to three primary benefits of the program:
A positive and immediate impact on teaching. Faculty
who complete developmental assignments use that time to fashion improvements
to the courses they teach or to create new courses. The impact on undergraduate
teaching is especially noteworthy, because most of the faculty members who
took developmental assignments were from the College of Liberal Arts, whose
faculty members teach most of the UIs undergraduate courses.
The developmental assignment program helps the
UI recruit and retain the best faculty. In a 1996 study, 60 percent of faculty
members who participated in the program said it was an important factor in
their decision to join the UI faculty. Likewise, 80 percent said it was an
important factor in their decision to remain at the UI.
Developmental assignments give faculty members
time to complete research projects that attract external funding to the UI,
which in turn provides economic benefits for both the UI and the state. In
each of the past two fiscal years, UI faculty, staff and students have attracted
more than $250 million in external funds.
The UI provost also pointed to the "impressive"
productivity of the faculty on developmental assignment. "The payoff
is almost immediate in books, articles, new courses developed, new techniques
learned that can be taught to students, and in the completion of grant applications
and research projects."
The annual report indicates that the cost of the program
for the 1999-2000 fiscal year was $4.4 million, mostly for the salary and
fringe benefits paid to faculty on developmental assignments. But Whitmore
said that less than one-half of one percent $15,450 was spent
to hire classroom replacements for faculty when departmental colleagues could
not teach courses.