The Center for Academic Innovation partners with SMC faculty, students, and staff to inspire, enrich, and innovate our collective teaching and learning community. We serve as the cultural hub of Saint Mary’s College offering flexible space to accommodate faculty and student needs for meetings, study space, and socializing. Our approach is clear: 

  • Student-centered course design;
  • Evidence-based teaching and learning strategies supported by research;
  • Equitable and inclusive experiences for all;
  • Collaborative nature among faculty, students, and staff;  
  • Continuing opportunities to practice and refine teaching skills;
  • Reflective practices to better inform the learning environment; and
  • Actionable strategies that foster ongoing refinements.

CFAI programs and services are informed by the idea that effective teaching is learned and improved over time. Our offerings are available to any members of the Saint Mary’s College community interested in developing and enhancing their skill set. 

The Center for Academic Innovation is conceptually a part of the Learning Commons, and physically located on the 3rd Floor of the Cushwa-Leighton Library. 


News from CFAI

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

The Center for Academic Innovation promotes and supports the research, scholarship, and creative activity of the SMC community by providing internal research grants, professional development programs, funding support services, and celebratory events spotlighting the accomplishments of faculty and students. 

CFAI works with faculty and students on the SMC campus to:

  • Strengthen the research pipeline
  • Promote collaborative and interdisciplinary research
  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship

Faculty Development Programming and Assessment

The Center for Academic Innovation is SMC’s hub for faculty development programming exploring effective teaching and learning. We provide opportunities to engage with instructional strategies, explore pedagogical topics, and connect with other instructors to inform and enrich the learning environment. 

The goal of our programming is to offer a wide array of engagement opportunities. We recognize that SMC’s faculty have varied levels of expertise, areas of interest, and available time to commit to professional development. Therefore, we offer diversified experiences including standalone workshops, lunch-and-learn discussions, coffee chats, and when requested, intensive opportunities designed specifically for departments and divisions. Our programming is offered in a face-to-face format; however, some are offered in an online modality and even self-paced. 

CFAI supports academic programs as they develop and implement their program learning outcomes and seek ways to assess the learning results. Our focus is providing training to support assessment revision, data analysis, and curriculum and instruction review.

of our students complete a unique research project or other culminating academic experience