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Taiwanese Delegation Visits SBU

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Dr. Gene Hammond, Director of the SB Writing and Rhetoric Program (left) and Dr. Prosper Sanou, Professor of French Language and Literature (center) pose with members of the Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association in the Wang Center's Confucius Institute on July 15.
Gene Hammond, Director of the SB Writing and Rhetoric Program (left) and Prosper Sanou, Professor of French Language and Literature (center) with members of the Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association in the Wang Center.

Nineteen delegates from the Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association visited Stony Brook on July 15 to learn how the Teaching, Learning + Technology (TLT) department and its Faculty Center work to enhance faculty teaching and student learning on campus. The theme of the delegation’s trip to the United States was “U.S. Higher Education Teaching and Learning.” Stony Brook was one of several stops the delegation made as it also met with representatives from Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and The New York Times.

“The name Stony Brook is well known in Taiwan,” said Mary Hsu, project manager for international affairs with the Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association. “It’s famous because of Dr. Yang, Nobel Laureate in Physics. When we were doing our research into which colleges and universities we wanted to visit, we got a sense of commitment from what we read on the Stony Brook Web pages. There is a commitment to enhancing teaching and learning here.”

Hsu helped coordinate the visit with Patricia Aceves, director of Stony Brook’s Faculty Center. Aceves arranged to hold a meeting at the Confucius Institute on the third floor of the Charles B. Wang Center and invited 16 Stony Brook faculty, staff, and administrators to sit across from their Taiwanese counterparts to encourage dialogue.

Welcome remarks were made by William Arens, Dean of Stony Brook’s International Academic Programs. The floor was handed over to Chief Information Officer Rich Reeder, who gave an overview of the Division of Information Technology and the history of how TLT came into existence. Samuel Chang, who has served as president of three private universities in Taiwan and now sits on the board of directors of the Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association, then introduced each member of his delegation and thanked the Stony Brook attendees for agreeing to host them. Stony Brook’s Mark Aronoff, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, offered his insights into assessment and accreditation.

“Running a university is like herding cats,” said Aronoff. “Professors have a lot of autonomy. How do we get people to do assessment in this type of climate? What we have to do is get faculty to understand that assessment is for their benefit and will help them. Within the last year or so, we’ve come together with TLT to really sell assessment to the faculty. We are making progress, which is good because our university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and our next one is in four to five years. Three ways to make progress are to continually emphasize this is a cooperative enterprise, to understand that it calls for lots of synergy to work with different parts of the University, and it requires trust.”

Aceves handled the rest of the Stony Brook introductions which included Manny London, Associate Dean from the College of Business; Lori Escallier, Associate Dean, Administration and Community Affairs from the School of Nursing; Marie Marino, Associate Dean, Academics from the School of Nursing; Imin Kao, Associate Dean from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Lee Miller, Associate Dean from the College of Arts and Sciences; Petar Djuric, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Chair of the University Assessment Committee; Maurice Kernan, Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior; Gene Hammond, Director of the Writing and Rhetoric Program; Prosper Sanou, Professor, French Language and Literature; Ying Xiong, Assessment Specialist in TLT; Nancy Wozniak, Learning Architect in TLT and Gary Van Sise, Director of Educational Technologies in TLT.

Aceves and Wozniak gave a brief presentation about the value of using e-portfolio as a way to spark deeper learning through student reflection and intrinsic motivation. It is an initiative they are working hard to bring to the Stony Brook campus as it has proven to be another beneficial tool for colleges and universities to utilize during the accreditation process. Evidence of student learning can easily be recorded through the use of e-portfolios. Aceves and Wozniak were pleased to learn that members of the Taiwanese delegation, most of whom are educators from a wide range of disciplines, are already using e-portfolio as part of their teaching.

The afternoon wrapped up with a networking session, an exchange of gifts, and a tour of the campus.

“Our guests expressed much appreciation to our wonderful Stony Brook community who helped welcome them on their visit,” said Aceves.

—Kerrin Perniciaro

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