Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Sorensen gives presentation at continuous-improvement symposium

By Sookhan Ho

Richard E. Sorensen, dean, Pamplin College of Business, gave a presentation on the college's participation in Virginia Tech's Faculty Development Institute at a symposium on continuous improvement organized by the AACSB, the International Association for Management Education, in San Diego recently.
Sorensen and representatives of two other business schools were invited to make separate presentations at the symposium as a result of the selection of their respective universities for a national award earlier this year. Virginia Tech, the University of Missouri, and the University of South Carolina at Columbia all received Theodore M. Hesburgh Certificates of Excellence for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Teaching. The Hesburgh awards are sponsored by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF).
Virginia Tech received the award for its Faculty Development Institute that aims to educate faculty members on using innovative technology to rethink and improve teaching methods. The FDI began with three pilot workshops in the summer of 1993.
Pamplin faculty members began participating in the workshops in 1995. In his presentation, Sorensen described how Pamplin faculty members have used what they learned in the workshops to change their pedagogy and increase student involvement in the classroom. A significant challenge, he said, is to translate the content and improvement suggestions of a university-wide faculty-development program to meet the particular needs of business faculty members.
As of August this year, 1425 faculty members from 90 departments have participated in 80 workshops, said John F. Moore, director of Educational Technologies. The university's goal is to enable all faculty members to participate in the program over a four-year period, with a quarter of the faculty participating each year. The three-to-five-day classes, which are scheduled during the summer or winter break, are limited to 22 faculty members per class.
After they complete the workshops, faculty members receive state-of-the-art computers in their offices. The most recent workshops include three tracks: basic computer skills, creating classroom presentations, and developing a network-enhanced course.