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What is the OFDAS Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE)?

CTE supports improvement, development and enhancement of university teaching and the highlighting and rewarding of excellent teaching. 

Maintaining an ongoing dialogue about good teaching is done through seminars, workshops, individual counseling, and course assessment activities with individuals, departments, and colleges and schools.

CTE supports the improvement, development and enhancement of university teaching, and the highlighting and rewarding of excellent teaching is achieved through:

  • the development of teaching effectiveness for faculty and teaching assistants through orientations
  • instructional development activities
  • individual consultation on teaching practice and mentoring
  • the enhancement of teaching performance of mid-career and senior faculty by continuing education workshops and activities directed towards updates on new teaching and learning theory, technology, and pedagogy
  • providing confidential evaluations of teaching performance and course assessment services during the semester to generate immediate improvements to a course in session as well as future courses
  • developing new and renovated teaching and learning spaces for collaborative and innovative practices, such as the Sakamaki Innovation Zone (SIZ).


The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to improving the quality of education on the Mānoa campus. Offering Teaching Assessment Services to faculty and TAs is one way to accomplish this goal. The featured methods we use are rooted in the belief that teaching and learning will flourish in environments where mutual respect along with open and honest communication is encouraged. Our objective is to help collect relevant data and to share it with instructors for their consideration in an effort to make the class more successful for everyone.

Teaching Assessment Services function on a “request only” basis, moreover, the instructor or TA of a given class is the only one that may make arrangements for our services. The rationale for this policy rests in the belief that improvements occur more frequently when an instructor is self-motivated and prepared to hear feedback on her or his teaching.

In many cases, (i.e., Small Group, Classroom Observation) CTE consultants produce detailed documents for the instructor or TA . This document, along with any other information relating to the evaluation, is kept confidential by our staff. We do not disclose information about Teaching Assessment Services with any other person or department, on or off campus. Depending on the results, however, the instructor or TA is free to share the document with anyone or to include it in a professional dossier as a record of her or his teaching.

Mid-semester evaluations involving students (i.e., Small Group and Paper and Pencil) are scheduled at the mid point of the semester for two reasons: first, doing so allows students enough time to form a general opinion about how the class is going and secondly, it allows the instructor to reflect on and make any necessary improvements to the course while there is time left in the semester.

Over time we have learned that mid-semester evaluations are most successful when they are scheduled at a point at which students have a rough idea of what their grades are. Doing so helps to alleviate any potential anxiety on the part of students that could skew feedback results. Likewise, if an evaluation occurs too close to an exam or during a week where a major assignment is due, participation and feedback can be significantly reduced.

Brief History

The Center for Teaching Excellence was initiated by the Board of regents in June 1987, within the Office of Faculty Development and Academic Support (OFDAS), to function as an academic support office with the overall mission of providing instructional and professional development activities and services for UHM faculty and academic staff. CTE provides programs that focus on creating teaching and learning environments in which:

  • Faculty, teaching assistants and students are engaged by and grow in their knowledge of the course materials together. Simultaneously, knowledge and understanding of students and of teaching and learning develops in a climate of greater respect and exchange
  • Professional development integrates understanding of the culture, history and people of Hawai‘i. This is critical for faculty and teaching assistants, many of whom come from cultures and educational backgrounds very different from our students at Mānoa, who in great part are born and raised in Hawai‘i

Open Monday–Friday 8:00 am–4:30 pm
Closed on weekends and state holidays

Questions? Contact CTE
P: 808-956-6978