Teaching Centers as Teaching Advocates: Navigating University Politics


What happens when teaching centers become advocates for educational change? Is such activity advisable if the centers become polarizing forces on campus? And if polarization occurs, how should directors navigate it? This essay, which focuses on the author’s experience advocating for a change in his university’s student evaluation forms, provides a framework for answering these questions and, in the process, suggests that advocacy can offer a number of hidden benefits. The article concludes with a suggestion of how this issue might affect conceptions of faculty development programs as well as the manner in which they are assessed.