University Center for Teaching and Learning Initiatives
Center for Diversity in the Curriculum
Today, awareness and understanding of different perspectives and ideas is essential. This resource will ensure that the University’s curricula, inside and outside the classroom, offers diverse perspectives, inclusive of the world’s multidimensional fabric and thinking. Pitt will expand the scope and scale of what’s already in place, including programs to increase faculty awareness of diversity issues, capacity to develop course materials that reflect a diverse society, and capability to foster inclusive classroom and lab environments.
Center for Mentoring
The faculty of the University of Pittsburgh is one of the University’s greatest assets. The Mentoring Center will serve as a central resource to support professional excellence by encouraging growth and development of faculty as teachers and scholars. By learning how to be effective mentors and mentees, faculty can strengthen their professional interactions and connections with students, helping to prepare students for success at Pitt and for lives of impact beyond campus.
Center for Communication
A key aspect in advancing teaching excellence is the ability of faculty members to articulate and communicate ideas and concepts in their disciplines—and to act as public intellectuals. This resource will help faculty communicate the significance of their work succinctly, not only for their students, but also for the media, the general public, and other audiences.
Teaching and Learning Exchange
This hub of activity will work to improve discipline-based teaching, incorporating the latest research on effective approaches to teaching and learning in specific disciplines. The exchange will draw upon faculty research and expertise, as well as advance it, by sharing best practices, engaging more faculty, and communicating widely. This work will build upon the success of existing Pitt models: the Engineering Education Research Center, the Discipline Based Science Education Research Center, and the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and 2 Research (WISER) in the health sciences, and new centers in other disciplines such as humanities, the social sciences, and nursing.
With a goal of fostering innovation and improving learning, this endeavor will bring together small teams of the right experts to transform the curriculum in targeted courses. A single team might include a faculty expert in the subject matter, an instructional designer, a tech wizard, and a learning sciences researcher. The task will be to innovate based on the latest research on teaching and learning and tech tools, such as virtual reality, if appropriate. Essentially: Envision. Innovate. Implement quickly.
Faculty Credentialing in Pedagogy
This program will enable faculty to pursue additional knowledge-unit credentials that enhance teaching skills. They would complete learning activities in areas such as pedagogy, professional development, technology, teaching techniques for large classes, and so on, and earn credit in the form of digital badges to recognize the 3 achievement. This resource can also be applied to enhancing the teaching careers of graduate students, an approach already in a pilot phase at Pitt.
Other Programs and Services
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:
- Assessment of Teaching – This program will help to expand the portfolio of approaches to assess teaching practices, going beyond that standard teaching survey.
- Design of Learning Spaces – Emphasis will be placed on expanding the innovative re-designs of learning spaces and technologies.