The Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence at Millersville University is dedicated to developing the skills of faculty members. It was recently renamed to honor Dr. Vilas A. Prabhu, after the former provost retired. Prabhu was a strong supporter of using the center to enrich teaching skills.
During his tenure at Millersville, Prabhu supported the formation of the Open Education Working Group. This group reduces the cost of student attendance by encouraging faculty to use openly published textbook materials. The initiative to use open textbooks, available for free on the internet, has saved students nearly $900,000 since the fall of 2020. The renaming celebrates collaborative and innovative faculty.
The CAE works with faculty through both in-person and online meetings. In addition to enriching teaching practices, sessions are also a place where faculty can share research or work together on collaborative projects. Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel is the coordinator of the CAE. She sends weekly emails that notify readers of resources on campus that can help meet their needs.
“I am always so impressed by the faculty and staff developing sessions and working with me to share ideas on campus,” says Pfannenstiel. “I celebrate the connections I can build with such meaningful programs faculty and staff bring to campus. I applaud that we do all this work to connect faculty with more ways to support students and student learning.”
The CAE assists faculty by working closely with several groups. One group is Instructional & Technology Support, which works with all departments to integrate technology into teaching and learning. CAE Faculty fellows mentor pre-tenure faculty. The center is currently collaborating with professors on an individual level as well. Drs. Emily Baldys and Jessica Hughes, professors of English and communication, respectively, have partnered to offer an “Inclusive Practices” series. This series of meetings will focus on expanding Millersville University’s culture of inclusion.
The CAE has opened a new space in Lyle Hall, rooms 140, 141 and 142. During the semester, the center is staffed by Pfannenstiel and graduate assistant Katherine Fawcett Tuesday-Friday. Sessions with faculty are held three times a week. Pfannenstiel is appreciative of the administration’s support. She says, “While we are a small staff, we benefit from and celebrate faculty on campus. Our work would not be possible without the ardent support of administrators like Dr. Prabhu, I am excited that the CAE will represent that support as we move forward as a named center.”
To see the full calendar of events for the Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence, click here.