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UT News

50 Years on the Forty Acres: Center for Teaching and Learning Celebrates Half a Century

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For 50 years, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has served The University of Texas at Austin by supporting and collaborating with instructors and staff to create engaging and inclusive learning experiences for students. From training new graduate student instructors on teaching fundamentals to developing guidelines that help faculty consider whether and how to integrate generative AI into their courses, CTL has both offered traditional services and responded to emerging campus needs during its long lifespan.

To commemorate half a century — and the opening of its new location in the Perry-Castañeda Library — CTL hosted an anniversary party that drew 100 guests. Keynote speakers – including CTL co-founders Marilla Svinicki and Karron Lewis, and Molly Hatcher, assistant vice provost and director of CTL — expressed the past achievements, present goals and future endeavors for the program.

“This is an incredible milestone,” Hatcher said. “Our name, staff and technology tools may have changed over the years, but CTL has and always will be dedicated to serving UT as a hub for teaching and learning on campus, connecting and fostering the professional growth of a community of educators, and illuminating the exemplary teaching that is happening across UT.”

While many colleges and universities have organizations like CTL, UT’s center has had a particular impact across the Forty Acres and beyond. CTL has played a pivotal role in the professional association for educational developers, the POD Network, with UT representing more presidency terms than any other university.

That said, CTL remains firmly rooted in its commitment to the UT community and is active in current campus-wide initiatives such as the Canvas Adoption Project, Course Clarity Project, UT Teaching & Learning Consortium and Graduate Student Policy Task Force. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CTL played a crucial role in supporting student learning despite the campus closure. Their Instructional Continuity webpages provided practical materials that eased instructors’ transition to an online format.

Now, with AI becoming more common in daily life, CTL has shifted its focus to developing resources that support the Longhorn community as academia embraces emerging technology. They have resources describing high-level facts about AI platforms like ChatGPT, video series about the implications of AI, and various other resources and infographics pertaining to emerging technology along with its impact (and integration) in classroom, including a forthcoming “Teaching with AI” toolkit.

Looking ahead to CTL’s future, Hatcher said, “As we commemorate the golden anniversary of the Center for Teaching and Learning, we reflect on the center’s history as a beacon for new faculty as well as a support system for instructors at every stage of their careers. CTL has been here for 50 years, and it will continue to advance the Longhorn Learning Experience for UT students and make an indelible impact on education in Texas and beyond.”

Top CTL Initiatives on Campus