The Faculty Development Office that existed at Northern Illinois University (NIU) since the 1980s was reorganized and renamed the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center in August 1998. The center was established with a Director, Instructional Technologies Coordinator, Multimedia Coordinator, and Secretary, and was temporarily housed in Gilbert Hall. The reorganized center was charged with providing comprehensive support on teaching effectiveness and technology integration to faculty and academic supportive professional staff, and continuing the faculty development grants and supportive professional staff development grants. The center reports directly reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost at NIU.
In June 1999, the center added the Instructional Design Coordinator position to provide teaching-related programs and support to faculty. In August 1999, the center offered its first Teaching Effectiveness Institute, developed and distributed a comprehensive Instructional Guide for University Faculty, and distributed the first issue of Spectrum newsletter for faculty and academic supportive professional staff. During fall 1999, the center also established a four-station Collaboratory and a four-station Digital Multimedia Studio in Gilbert Hall for faculty to experiment with instructional technologies.
In September 1999, the center added the Information Technology Coordinator position to manage the computing resources of the center. Due to the increase in number of programs and services offered, the center added the Program Coordinator position in September 2000. During 2000-2001, the center was charged with providing training and support to faculty on Blackboard webcourse management system, and added the Online Technologies Coordinator position in 2001 to handle the increasing demand for such training and support at NIU.
Due to budgetary challenges during 2002-2003, the Teaching Assistant Training and Development Office in the Graduate School was closed and the responsibilities were transferred to the center in July 2003. In August 2003, the center offered its first Teaching Assistant Orientation for graduate teaching assistants, distributed the first issue of TA Connections newsletter for graduate teaching assistants and set up a Teaching Resource Room for faculty and staff to view instructional videos. During spring 2004, the center established the “Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards” to recognize the contributions of teaching assistants at NIU.
After the renovation and reopening of the Altgeld Hall in fall 2004, the center was allocated the Instructional Technology Training Laboratory at Altgeld Hall 100 for delivering its technology training workshops. This facility is maintained by Division of Information Technology (DoIT) and is used by a number of campus units for delivering training programs to faculty, staff, and students, and for offering some classes and orientation sessions for students.
In April 2005, the center was allocated permanent office space on the third floor of Adams Hall where center staff also set up a ten-station Collaboratory, a five-station Digital Multimedia Studio, and a Teaching Resource Room. During spring 2005, the center established “Outstanding Teaching Awards” to recognize the contributions of non-tenure track educators at NIU. The center recommended to the Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education (CIUE) to establish a university-level award for recognizing the contributions of non-tenure track educators at NIU. The center discontinued its award for non-tenure track educators as CIUE established its “Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction Award” in 2006 to recognize non-tenure track educators.
The Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities presented the center with the “Clogston Spirit Award” in 2003 in recognition of its outstanding contributions to enhancement of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities presented the center with the “Deacon Davis Diversity Award” in 2005 for improving the status of minorities at NIU. In 2006, the Division of International Program presented the center with the award for “Outstanding Contributions to International Education” by a department and in 2007, the Presidential Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity presented the center the “Ally Award” for its contributions to the LGBT community at NIU.
In 2018, the center came together with the for-credit course instructional design team from eLearning Services, transforming into a full-service center supporting faculty, instructors, and graduate teaching assistants with teaching, teaching with technology and instructional design support, services and resources. This transformation allowed the center to increase their services to include graphic design, video and audio production and online program development. The center physically moved to the building formally known as the Academic Advising Center.
In 2020, the center's name changed to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) to more clearly reflect its mission and services focused on supporting effective and innovative teaching in pursuit of transformative learning experiences.
In 2023, the Office of Online Learning was established and housed within the center to support the success and online student experience of NIU’s adult online students from initial inquiry, through the application and admittance process, all the way to graduation. Led by a new Director of Online Learning, this lean team of online student success staff will become the one-stop shop for online student support at NIU.
The center currently provides comprehensive services to support excellent teaching and learning at NIU across four domains: innovative pedagogy, inclusive practices, technology integration, and instructional design and online learning support. The center’s programs, resources and services continue to grow with the support of the Office of the Provost, the guidance of the Innovative Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee, and the participation of enthusiastic faculty, supportive professional staff and graduate teaching assistants.