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Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

In October 2004, members of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching's Strategic Planning and Implementation Group (SPIG) and other faculty members conducted a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). The list of items associated with each of the four areas was further refined in November, when the SPIG members identified what they considered to be the most important items.

Each of the prioritized items was subsequently assigned to one or more of the following categories: Staff, Programs, Funding, Communication, Facilities and Resources. These five categories are intended to represent the elements that make the Center for the Advancement of Teaching what it is.

Finally, we'd like to note that these are the opinions of the faculty and staff members who participated in the SWOT Analysis. The opinions expressed are neither necessarily consensus opinions nor the opinions of CAT staff.

Staff

Strengths

  • Has a clear focus on the value of good teaching
  • Provides technology support
  • Has responsive and knowledgeable staff
  • There is continuity of support: communities formed as part of programs continue to function, help for projects available semester after semester
  • Is flexible, adaptable; has healthy approach: not ossified
  • Provides one-on-one assistance for teaching projects
  • Provides safe (nonjudgmental and formative) place to take risks and maintains confidentiality.
  • Is open to and seeks faculty input

Weaknesses

  • Has insufficient expertise in assessment of teaching and learning
  • Has insufficient expertise in theory and literature of teaching and learning
  • Its leadership (director or associate director) is not trained in faculty development
  • Has an inadequate number of staff
  • Does not do a good job of communicating its successes, accomplishments, programs, or outcomes
  • There is a perception that the Center's programs are only for a few, select faculty
  • Needs to close the loop regarding what the Center does and student learning outcomes
  • Does not following through with assessment

Opportunities

  • Actively seek new grants
  • Regarding classroom design, serve as a liaison to facilities management personnel
  • Represent selves better to administration
  • Actively engage administrators and faculty in dialogue on Center activities and needs

Threats

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Possibility of losing staff; no associate director, no "backup" should the director leave
  • Demand for services could exceed capacity to deliver
  • Micromanagement by the Administration could be a threat, while, at the other extreme, neglect by the Administration could be a threat

Programs

Strengths

  • Sponsors helpful workshops
  • There is continuity of support: communities formed as part of programs continue to function, help for projects available semester after semester
  • Encourages innovative strategies through grants and initiatives
  • Experiences 75% faculty participation in programs

Weaknesses

  • Has no method to assist faculty to assess their own teaching needs
  • Needs to close the loop regarding what the Center does and student learning outcomes
  • Does not following through with assessment

Opportunities

  • Assist faculty in assessing their own needs
  • Integrate new knowledge about teaching and learning (information from neurobiology, etc.)
  • Provide evidence to support movement toward active learning approaches (and other effective approaches.)
  • Move away from lecture to field work, service learning, etc. (teacher facilitates active learning projects)
  • Stay ahead of the curve to influence the teaching and learning culture
  • Demonstrate that what the Center does is effective and important
  • Become resource for assessment component of SACS by helping individual faculty with guidance, models, and data
  • Develop expertise in determining optimal conditions for learning and retention, e.g., class size, classroom configuration, teaching and learning models
  • Include Center's activities in rank and tenure considerations
  • Use data more effectively
  • Become the go-to place for faculty seeking to improve teaching
  • Specialized program for new faculty beginning at orientation but going beyond
  • Build bridges with other campus groups (e.g., Center for Undergraduate Research, University 1010 and 1020 faculty and staff, Environmental Programs, Faith and Learning Programs, Information Technology Center, Service Learning Program, Center for International and Intercultural Programs)
  • If new supplemental instructional programs start, should coordinate with CAT for any portions that have to do with teaching and learning

Threats

  • Time limits on faculty and workload
  • Decreases in availability of grants that would result in lack of funds to continue initiatives that are currently funded only through grants (lack of continuity for these programs)
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Demand for services could exceed capacity to deliver
  • Micromanagement by the Administration could be a threat, while, at the other extreme, neglect by the Administration could be a threat
  • Proliferation of faculty development opportunities on campus; fragmented, territorial
  • Lack of voice in University planning
  • Lack of perception among faculty (and administrators) that using CAT is a necessity (e.g., for tenure and promotion)

Funding

Strengths

  • Provides technology support
  • There is continuity of support: communities formed as part of programs continue to function, help for projects available semester after semester

Weaknesses

  • Has insufficient expertise in assessment of teaching and learning
  • Has insufficient expertise in theory and literature of teaching and learning
  • Has an inadequate number of staff
  • Needs to close the loop regarding what the Center does and student learning outcomes
  • Demand for services could exceed capacity to deliver

Opportunities

  • Actively seek new grants

Threats

  • Decreases in availability of grants that would result in lack of funds to continue initiatives that are currently funded only through grants (lack of continuity for these programs)
  • Micromanagement by the Administration could be a threat, while, at the other extreme, neglect by the Administration could be a threat
  • Proliferation of faculty development opportunities on campus; fragmented, territorial

Communication

Weaknesses

  • Does not do a good job of communicating its successes, accomplishments, programs, or outcomes
  • There is a perception that the Center's programs are only for a few, select faculty

Opportunities

  • Represent selves better to administration
  • Build bridges with other campus groups (e.g., Center for Undergraduate Research, University 1010 and 1020 faculty and staff, Environmental Programs, Faith and Learning Programs, Information Technology Center, Service Learning Program, Center for International and Intercultural Programs)
  • Actively engage administrators and faculty in dialogue on Center activities and needs

Threats

  • Micromanagement by the Administration could be a threat, while, at the other extreme, neglect by the Administration could be a threat
  • Proliferation of faculty development opportunities on campus; fragmented, territorial
  • Lack of voice in University planning
  • Lack of perception among faculty (and administrators) that using CAT is a necessity (e.g., for tenure and promotion)

Facilities and Resources

Weaknesses

  • Needs more pedagogical resources on Center's website and in Center

Opportunities

  • Actively seek new grants

Participants in the SWOT Analysis, October 23, 2004

  • Center for the Advancement of Teaching
    • Bart Everson
    • Todd Stanislav
    • Gayna Stevens-Credle
  • College of Pharmacy
    • Lanny Foss
  • Communications
    • Joe Melcher
  • Division of Education
    • Deborah Bordelon
    • Rosalind Hale
  • English
    • David Lanoue
  • Mathematics
    • Susan Fredine
  • Psychology
    • Elliott Hammer
  • Theology
    • Mark Gstohl

March 2005

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See also: SPIG

Last modified: 01/4/2016 12:33 pm
URL: cat.xula.edu/about/spig/swot
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