About Us

U statue 1240x550
Our Vision: The University of Miami will be distinctive for excellence in teaching among peer research institutions.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to develop, nurture, and recognize excellence in teaching while creating, testing, and disseminating innovative educational practices in higher education classrooms that facilitate optimal learning among diverse students who leave UM prepared for a global, technological, multicultural future.

Educational Innovation and Advancement

The Platform for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (PETAL) strives to facilitate a centering of institutional excellence in teaching and educational development and innovation through four foci; 1) An academy for faculty to learn and practice pedagogical innovation, 2) An organizing unit that incubates, develops, evaluates, empirically examines and disseminates innovative approaches to teaching and learning across UM's multiple campuses, 3) A convener of thought leadership for teaching in higher education to advance the knowledge base for excellence and guides the implementation of teaching and learning initiatives at UM, and 4) A site for recognition of excellence in teaching at UM.

Our History

Educational excellence is one of the pillars of the University of Miami's Roadmap to Our New Century, our strategic plan. Emerging from these plans, the Platform for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (PETAL) was formed in 2019 with the goal of elevating teaching practice across the university, providing faculty development programs, resources, and incentives to support teaching. Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood, Dean of the School of Education and Human Development, and Allan Gyorke, Assistant Provost for Educational Innovation, were appointed as co-leads for PETAL. In addition, a group of faculty, staff, and administrators from across the university were identified to help shape the newly formed organization.

This coalition of educators designed and implemented the Institutional Academy for Teaching Excellence (I-ATE) in fall 2019. This series of workshops is intended for new faculty, but open to the entire University of Miami community. In fall 2020, the I-ATE program was repeated and we added the Course Mentors program. Course Mentor groups are composed of five to six faculty who led by an exemplar faculty member and an instructional designer. These groups explore areas of interest such as difficult conversations, engaging with the literature, online teaching, teaching large courses, and assessment techniques. In spring 2021, the PETAL Speaker Series was initiated to bring in external experts who discussed convergent teaching and integrating social justice discussions into courses. Also in spring 2021, the Provost's Teaching Awards were launched to recognize excellence in experiential teaching, innovation, and mentorship. Currently, PETAL faculty are looking into educational research, alternative approaches to teacher evaluations, and factors that influence student retention and success.