Purpose and History

Our Purpose

The Faculty Development Center supports faculty and instructors in their teaching role at the University by providing a comprehensive program of services and resources.

All consultation services provided faculty are confidential and are not used by administrators or committees in making personnel decisions.

Our History

The Faculty Development Center (FDC) was established in 1999 in response to faculty calls for more developmental activities and resources at UMBC. The Center began as a place for faculty to come together and as a clearinghouse for the best scholarship available on teaching. In 2000, under the guidance of the Center’s first full-time Director, Jack Prostko, the Center’s work became more formalized with a number of standard services and programs. The Center’s director from 2010 through 2023, Linda Hodges, drove the expansion of staff and services with a new focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning and support for pedagogical research. Today the Center provides programming and consultations related to all aspects of teaching, pedagogical innovation, and assessment of student learning outcomes.

On October 7, 2020, the Provost announced the establishment of the Center for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) and convened a task force to make recommendations on the development of the new Center. Initially, the Center will incorporate and extend the work of the FDC. A core recommendation of UMBC’s Strategic Plan, the Center will “provide support for research and training in best pedagogical practices.” At the heart of the Center’s work is UMBC’s distinctive commitment to, and engagement with, inclusive excellence. The new Center will not only perpetuate best practices, but also produce and support research-based initiatives designed to foster the learning and development of all students. Undergirding and informing this work is a dedication to learning analytics, assessment, and evaluation at the levels of course, program, and institution. CALT will act as both a central resource and a coordinating nexus for educational innovation, research, and student success to conserve campus resources and expedite success.

Throughout the transformation from FDC to CALT, the Center will continue to catalyze and support faculty efforts in sharing, exploring, and celebrating teaching and learning.

In Memoriam: Jack Prostko 1954-2020

It is with great sadness that we recognize the passing of the first full-time Director of the Faculty Development Center, Dr. Jack Prostko, on September 23, 2020. He was 66. Jack came to UMBC to direct the year-old Center in 2000. He came with a wealth of experience in the field of professional development having been Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford, one of the nation’s oldest such centers. Jack’s disciplinary background was in English, but his expertise, coupled with his warmth and collegiality, allowed him to connect with faculty across disciplines, supporting them in their pursuit of excellence in not only teaching but also research. He forged strong connections with integral units across campus and often acted to catalyze and coordinate early curricular innovations at the University. Specifically, he enabled and supported early efforts to establish First Year Seminars and Writing-Intensive Courses, initiatives that were eventually consolidated and recognized in an Office of Undergraduate Education. He also partnered informally with the nascent Instructional Technology team, extending their reach and collaborating on workshops and the development of the Alternate Delivery Program. Working only with the help of a part-time administrative assistant, Jack built a respected foundation for subsequent efforts in faculty development, allowing later directors to build on a positive base of faculty trust and appreciation of the work. He left UMBC in 2008 and joined George Washington University to be closer to his home. He retired as Associate Dean for Learning and Faculty Affairs there in May, 2020.

Jack will be remembered with respect and affection by the many colleagues who benefitted from his kindly wisdom and generous support. He was always available to help formulate an idea or identify next steps. The University was in many ways transformed by the way he built a community around teaching and learning and valued the contributions of everyone in that effort.

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