Harman To Direct Professional And Academic Center For Excellence

Marsha J. Harman

Sam Houston State University will soon be setting the PACE when it comes to excellence in teaching and learning. Beginning this fall SHSU faculty, staff and students will be asked to pick up the PACE. PACE yourself or you'll fall behind.


Despite the bad puns (above), SHSU administrators have decided that a Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) is a good idea.


Marsha J. Harman, professor of psychology and philosophy, will direct the program, with partial release time from teaching duties. Harman's appointment is effective at the beginning of the fall 2008 semester. Program offices will be in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.


David Payne, SHSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, made the appointment after a task force study that began in December 2005. Harman chaired the task force, and in a report on their findings reported several conclusions:



"The ideal is that faculty members and teaching assistants will collaborate with PACE to improve teaching at the university," said Harman.

"We are particularly targeting new faculty who may not have taught at the university previously."


Harman said the program will also be open to working with established faculty who want to be more innovative, and will use those faculty members who have already been identified as excellent teachers as examples.


"One goal is to study more closely those instructors who have won Excellence in Teaching Awards to gain insight into what makes their teaching excellent," she said.


Programming will not end with faculty, however.


"All of us comprise the university," Harman said. "We are less able to provide the array of services if even one entity is lacking."


This includes involvement of students and staff.


"Particularly for staff, we want to offer continuing education opportunities to improve skills and job satisfaction," she said. "Student and staff feedback will be essential in planning specific seminars for all entities. So we want to make sure students and staff are on advisory boards."


Harman has taught at Sam Houston State since 1994 and worked in Counseling Services at SHSU for two years prior to that. She has also worked at Lamar University, Montana State University, the University of Houston, where she earned bachelor's and doctoral degrees, and in public schools.


Members of the task force included Mark Adams, Karen Escobar, Bill Fleming, Tatiana Gonzalez, Mark Klespis, Phillip Morris, Dana Nicolay, Keri Rogers, Cindy Simpson, Victoria Titterington and James Van Roekel.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak
April 24, 2008
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