Since its first instructor began with twelve students in 1918, Lee University has defined itself primarily as a teaching institution. The evolution from small Bible school to mid-size liberal arts university has been remarkable. Change has been rapid and widespread. However, the emphasis on teaching has remained constant.

While there are many fine research scholars on the faculty, commitment to teaching continues to be the primary focus. Initiatives to make teaching increasingly effective have risen from the ranks of the faculty and have been inspired, encouraged, supported, and rewarded by the administration. The following statement is from the Lee University Faculty Handbook & Constitution 2008-09 (p. 2-2):

Lee University endeavors to employ scholars with the highest academic credentials who present their disciplines from a distinctly Christian perspective. All truth is perceived to be God’s truth, and the effective presentation and integration of truth is the goal. Lee University values teaching as the most important faculty role, and excellence in teaching is the primary standard for retention, tenure and promotion. Faculty research is seen as essential to teaching excellence. It, too, is an important criterion for faculty advancement. Lee University values and rewards Christian community service and service to humankind as significant faculty responsibilities.

A deliberate and focused effort related to faculty development was initiated in 2006. Plans for a physical space dedicated to the improvement of teaching became part of the dream. A full time director of faculty development was hired in the fall of 2008. The Grand Opening for the Center for Teaching Excellence took place January 6th, 2010. It is hoped that the Center will inspire conversation between faculty members regarding processes of teaching and learning that are research-based and that represent best practice in the field of higher education. The Center seeks to provide a relaxed environment in which faculty from every discipline can share with one another, access resources, and enjoy an atmosphere where teaching and learning are highly regarded, generously shared, and passionately inspired.

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