Things are changing in the world of teaching, learning and educational technology at Pitt. On June 24, Chancellor Gallagher announced the formation of Pitt’s University Center for Teaching and Learning. The new center was announced along with a set of broad initiatives associated with the University’s strategic plan.
Provost Beeson’s vision for the future and her strong support will guide us as we transform the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE), refocusing the center on activities that align with the Plan for Pitt. The strategic planning working groups that have been focused on implementation of the planning efforts, as well as recommendations from several task forces charged by the Provost in recent years to strengthen undergraduate education, online learning, diversity and accessibility, all contributed to the formation of the new Center.
We are excited! This new organization, with new centers and innovative programs focused on teaching, learning, and educational technologies, will be a resource for faculty to experiment with emerging tech, to conduct research on pedagogy, to share best practices, or to implement teaching innovations in new, flexible classrooms. The Pitt faculty, and ultimately Pitt students, are the focus of a growing hub of innovation in teaching.
Current CIDDE staff will form the foundations of the new University Center for Teaching and Learning as we phase in new programs. They are a talented group of people who are experts in instructional design, learning sciences, educational technology, electronic media and production in all forms, design of learning spaces, online learning and much, much more. It has been an honor to lead this team of skilled professionals over the last six years as we have changed and grown and innovated. I look forward to working with them as we broaden our engagement with faculty and with the University in the months and years to come. We will do so with enthusiasm, and with the goal of ultimately making a difference in the lives of our students.
As we launch our new name and new activities this Fall, the University community will see an expansion of programs and services. New activities planned for the University Center for Teaching and Learning include:
- Center for Mentoring – a central resource to support professional excellence by encouraging growth and development of faculty as teachers and scholars.
- Center for Communication – a central resource to help faculty communicate the significance of their work.
- Center for Diversity in the Curriculum – a central resource to help faculty ensure that the curricula offers diverse perspectives, increase faculty awareness of diversity issues, build faculty capacity to develop course materials that reflect a diverse society and foster inclusive learning environments.
- Course Incubator – this program will bring together small teams of experts to transform curricula in targeted courses, fostering educational innovations based on the latest research and emerging technologies.
- Teaching Exchange – a program that will work toward broadly applying the latest research on effective approaches to teaching and learning. Building upon the success of existing Pitt centers in the disciplines, and adding additional centers focused on pedagogical research and teaching in the disciplines, the Teaching and Learning Exchange will advance the sharing of ideas and best practices among faculty across the University.
- Micro-credential Program – a program to enable faculty to pursue additional credentialing — in such areas as pedagogy, teaching techniques, and professional development — to enhance instructional skills. These same resources will also be applied to enhancing the teaching careers of Pitt graduate students in specific disciplines.
- Assessment – this program will help to expand the portfolio of approaches used to assess teaching practices, going beyond the standard teaching survey.
- Design of Learning Spaces – emphasis will be placed on expanding the innovative re-designs of learning spaces and technologies