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Professional Development for Professors

New Center for Excellence in Teaching director seeks higher profile


Janelle Heineke, a School of Management professor and chair of the operations and technology management department, was recently appointed director of Boston University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

The first thing Janelle Heineke plans to do as the new director of Boston University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET) is ratchet up the center’s visibility. “We have this very valuable teaching resource,” she says, “but many faculty are not aware of it.”

A School of Management professor and chair of the operations and technology management department, Heineke (GSM’92) replaced former CET director Alan Marscher, a College of Arts and Sciences astronomy professor, in mid-January. Reporting to Provost David Campbell and Victor Coelho, associate provost for undergraduate education, Heineke will work directly with the center’s advisory board.

“We’re very excited to have her on board,” Coelho says. “Her knowledge and enthusiasm are remarkable, and we look forward to working with her and bringing different parts of the University together.”

Established in 2001, the CET facilitates professional development among faculty and helps introduce new faculty members to the University. The center sponsors seminars and workshops that discuss new ideas in teaching, particularly in the areas of technology. But the center’s biggest — and perhaps most important — purpose is to bring together faculty from all corners of the University to promote exemplary teaching.

“It’s easy to assume that because you have a lot of really smart people on a faculty, the teaching will automatically take care of itself,” Heineke says. “But good teachers know that teaching requires energy, preparation, engagement, and passion, and we can all learn from one another’s ideas.”

In the next few months, she plans to update the center’s Web site and work on recruiting new faculty members to the advisory board. “The CET’s initial goal was to have representatives from each school on the Charles River Campus on the advisory board,” she says. “I want to revisit that idea, so I’ve talked with the deans and I’ve asked them to appoint representatives who will both bring ideas to the CET and bring CET ideas back to their schools.”

Heineke also wants to work more closely with adjunct professors and teaching fellows and to involve more students in the CET. “This isn’t just about the faculty,” she says. “I want student input. What do they think the CET can do to enhance their learning experiences?”

Over the past 20 years, Heineke has taught all levels of SMG courses — undergraduate, M.B.A., doctoral, and executive program. “I love every aspect of teaching,” she says. “And I think I’ll bring a unique perspective to my new position because I’ve observed BU’s classrooms as a student, as a professor, and even as a BU parent. I believe that we have an ethical responsibility to ensure that students have an engaging learning environment. Students and their parents are purchasing a service from us, and they’re paying a great deal of money for the privilege of being in our classrooms. We owe them to be the best teachers we can be.”

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.

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