Mission, vision and pillars of the Centre for Academic Teaching
Connecting, empowering and enhancing the university-wide teaching and learning community
The Centre's mission is to advance teaching and learning by fostering a University-wide teaching community (connect), by supporting the development of teachers and their teaching (enhance) and by supporting knowledge creation and expertise sharing on teaching and learning (empower).
The Centre aims to achieve its mission by focusing on three content areas (‘pillars’): teacher development, educational innovation and educational scholarship. The Centre boosts these areas by offering courses and programmes, funds and awards, advice and support, and by facilitating the community and network. Many activities address more than one pillar: teacher development, educational innovation and educational scholarship should preferably go hand in hand. The Centre serves as a centre of expertise for teaching and learning.
Teacher support aims
Utrecht University aims to provide its academic staff with the capacity and resources they need to deliver high-quality education. Having been educated in their own specific discipline, every university graduate is well equipped with relevant content knowledge. Yet if they are to fulfil their educational tasks optimally, they need additional training. The University offers a wide variety of courses and programmes, aimed at different educational tasks, and for every level and stage in a teacher's career.
University education constantly needs to adapt to changes in society, student population and technological developments. Research and experience yield theoretical and practical insights on how to improve teaching and learning, which must be implemented to boost the quality of education. Educational innovation requires expertise, time and money. Utrecht University provides expertise and technical support, for example through the Educational Resources Pool (EMP) and the Educate-it Programme. The Utrecht Incentive Fund (USO) provides dedicated time and funds for teachers in innovation projects. The execution of an innovation project is also central to several advanced teacher development programmes.
Through educational research and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Utrecht University contributes to both the generic and the context-specific knowledge base on university teaching. The figure below shows how we define the focus of discipline-based education research, education research and SoTL. Note however that in practice the different types of scholarship cannot be clearly demarcated.
By fostering scholarly teaching, Utrecht University aims to enhance the use of this knowledge to optimise our education and continuously adapt education to the needs of our students and society at large.