What We Offer
As a resource curator, campus connector and college community-builder, the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is here to support all SUNY Plattsburgh faculty members and to help every instructor facilitate authentic student learning and success. In particular, we strive to support use of inclusive pedagogy, which can be defined as course design and classroom practices which build welcoming and equitable learning environments by maximizing opportunities for every student to succeed, reducing systemic barriers to academic achievement, and encouraging a sense of belonging.
Each academic year, we offer three to four teaching workshops, a new-faculty orientation, a limited number of individual consultations, and the Department Delegate program. We also facilitate two book clubs, often co-facilitated with the SUNY Oswego Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and meeting via Zoom. All programs are open to everyone on campus. We curate a wide range of regularly updated teaching resources, accessible through our Moodle site. Additionally, the CTE works collaboratively with the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit to provide support for faculty who wish to increase their pedagogical skill in blended or online learning environments.
Currently we are a center-of-one, with a full-time director and a volunteer advisory board of rotating faculty members. The CTE regularly collaborates with other campus offices, such as Technology Enhanced Learning, Student Support Services, the Learning Center, Student Accessibility Services, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to support teaching, learning, and inclusive excellence on our campus.
Who We Are
Jessamyn Neuhaus, Director
Jessamyn Neuhaus is a professor of U.S. history and popular culture at SUNY Plattsburgh and has been an a teacher in higher education for over 20 years. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and author of Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to be Effective Teachers and editor of Picture a Professor: Interrupting Biases about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning, both published in the West Virginia University Press series, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. In addition to two historical monographs, Jessamyn has published pedagogical, historical and cultural studies research in numerous anthologies and journals and is editor of Teaching History: A Journal of Methods and regularly gives public presentations and workshops on teaching. She served as the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Teaching Excellence interim director from Fall 2020 through Spring 2022 and assumed the full-time permanent director position in June 2022. An advocate for scholarship of teaching and learning that celebrates infinite diversity in infinite combinations, Jessamyn’s mission as an educational developer is to help faculty nerd out about teaching and to use their big smart brains for increasing pedagogical self-efficacy. Visit her website geekypedagogy.com and find her on Twitter @GeekyPedagogy.
The creation of the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Teaching Excellence began with increasing awareness on the campus that teaching excellence was a distinctive commitment of the college as well as an area of recognized skill. In 2004, then provost Bob Golden championed the effort to put that awareness into action. The Center for Teaching Effectiveness was established in Fall 2004 with two part-time volunteer co-directors, Distinguished Teaching Professors Doug Skopp and Ken Adams. During their tenure they helped collect survey data on teaching, ran small seminars and gave presentations about excellent teaching. In Spring 2007, a position was allocated to direct the center and Dr. Becky Kasper was appointed to the role.
Upon assuming leadership of the CTE in July 2007, Dr. Kasper undertook a number of actions that developed the campus presence of the center, including changing the name of the center to the Center for Teaching Excellence to highlight excellence as a communal aspiration of the faculty; redesigning and expanding the existing CTE website; providing consulting services for faculty, staff and departments; implementing mechanisms for gathering constituent input including the establishment of a CTE Task Force and Advisory Board; offering workshops and seminars and sponsoring several Faculty Learning Communities; and working with faculty to integrate institutional needs for assessment data into teaching. In subsequent years, the CTE continued to refine its previous activities and initiate additional activities including the college’s first Conference on Teaching and Learning; the Student Committee on Teaching Excellence and Teacher of the Month Award; and an online journal of scholarship and teaching titled The Common Good.
In Spring 2014, CTE staffing increased to include a full-time office assistant and an assistant director, Dr. Michael Murphy, who served from 2015 to 2017. Because of budget shortfalls throughout the SUNY system, his position could not be replaced and the CTE’s office support staff was reduced to part time. Even in these constrained circumstances, Dr. Kasper continued to provide teaching support for faculty with class visits, individual consultations and Faculty Learning Communities. She also continued to originate educational development programming, working with the faculty teaching fellow to offer resources via the CTE’s website and help faculty meet the challenges of teaching Generation Z and iGen. In addition, Dr. Kasper worked for several years with other SUNY system leaders on the pedagogically innovative “Common Problems” project. In the spring of 2019, Dr. Kasper passed away suddenly after a fall at home. Her death was a sad loss to the entire Plattsburgh community but Dr. Kasper left behind a strong legacy of steadfast advocacy for teaching excellence and student success at Plattsburgh.
In the fall of 2019, at the invitation of Dr. Jonathan Slater, director of the Institute for Ethics in Public Life, a temporary physical location for the CTE was established in the Ethics Institute suite of offices in historic Hawkins Hall. Dr. Jessamyn Neuhaus, a previous faculty fellow for many years, was appointed Spring 2020 faculty fellow and then, in May 2020, interim director. Under her leadership as interim director through spring 2022, the CTE worked to meet the unprecedented challenges facing educators in the pandemic era including creating new collaborative programming with the SUNY Plattsburgh Technology Enhanced Learning Unit; co-facilitating book and podcast discussion groups with SUNY Oswego and Paul Smith’s College; bringing guest speakers to campus; organizing “Teaching Today” roundtable discussions; and curating an extensive collection of pedagogical resources for faculty on a new LMS site.
In June 2022, Dr. Neuhaus began her appointment as full-time director. After establishing the new permanent CTE office and consultation room in centrally located Feinberg Library, Dr. Neuhaus has worked to continue providing high quality educational development opportunities for diverse faculty at every stage of their careers at Plattsburgh. With a particular focus on increasing the use of inclusive pedagogy, she’s worked to establish a new faculty orientation day, a “Department Delegate” program, and to create a range of community-based resources for improving accessibility and inclusivity in every aspect of teaching and learning at Plattsburgh.