Center for Teaching and Learning to Support Educational Excellence

The Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment at The University of Texas at Austin will be renamed the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), effective Aug. 16, as part of an initiative by Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie to strengthen the division's role in supporting educational excellence.

Leslie said the new name, selected with input from faculty, staff, students and administrators, will employ a new tag line that reads, "The Center for Teaching and Learning: Enhancing education through dialogue, innovation and assessment."

The initiative includes moving the division from Continuing and Innovative Education to the office of the executive vice president and provost, and appointing Dr. Harrison Keller, vice provost for higher education policy, as executive director for the division, effective July 26.

Leslie said Keller has experience in the areas of college readiness, as well as educational innovation and accountability. Keller began his career in higher education policy as an associate research scientist at the university's Charles A. Dana Center, which provides Texas education leaders with new knowledge about teaching and learning and supports K-12 teachers and leaders working to implement high academic standards for all students.

Leslie said CTL's strategic focus will be developed in consultation with the CTL Steering Committee, chaired by Gretchen Ritter, vice provost for undergraduate education and faculty governance, and including Paul Woodruff, dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, and Victoria Rodriguez, vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies. At the direction of the Steering Committee and with input from faculty, staff, students and administrators, a new strategic vision for the division will be developed over the coming weeks that reflects CTL's refocused mission, Leslie said.

The provost said CTL is expected to play a central role in several academic initiatives, especially the recently announced Course Transformation Program led by Ritter. The objective of the Course Transformation Program is to improve the educational experience of undergraduates through a focus on student-centered learning within large enrollment, lower division classes.

CTL also will work closely with colleges, departments, students and individual faculty to support other strategic initiatives that advance educational excellence. CTL will aid the incorporation of instructional technology and new media into courses to support educational excellence, promote engaged and critical inquiry models of teaching and learning, provide increased attention to the development of foundational academic skills and core conceptual knowledge, improve the specification and assessment of learning outcomes and promote student success.

"Innovative approaches to assessment, instructional technology, and effective teaching are critical to realizing the university's goal of educational excellence" Leslie said. "For students and faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, and as part of our broader responsibility to serve the state and the nation as a leading public flagship institution, we must always look for new ways to advance effective teaching and a love of learning."