Students, Staff and Faculty Develop Teaching and Learning Center
The Pitzer College Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC)* consisting of faculty, students and staff was formed this past year to identify ways in which the college can support teaching and learning. The TLC engaged in a series of activities to identify the teaching and learning needs of the Pitzer community and also to examine the types of support and programming models that were available at other institutions.
On February 8-9, we held a two-day community event in which we invited Dr. Michael Reder, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Connecticut College and chair of the Professional and Organizational Development Small College Committee, 5-C representatives, and additional teaching consultants to discuss teaching and learning programming at Pitzer. In his visit, Dr. Reder emphasized that a teaching and learning committee creates conversations about teaching and learning; helps support faculty at every stage of their careers; promotes diversity, interdisciplinarity, and excellence; makes the work of teaching a public activity; and does not require a dedicated physical space. Based on the feedback and insight gained from this community event, a subsequent faculty meeting, and an additional survey sent to faculty about specific programming interests, the TLC began its efforts by implementing a series of lunch discussions in the spring open to the Pitzer community.
Our first lunch discussion, Our Basic Aims as Teachers, was held March 22, and began with opening remarks by Professor Ron Rubin. In April, two additional lunch discussions were held: Encouraging Reflective Thinking, and a student-led Discussion on Teaching and Learning at Pitzer. Given the participation and interest in these Pitzer-wide discussions, the TLC is planning to continue these lunches (as well as smaller, working group lunches) during the next academic year.
The TLC is also developing programming to introduce our six incoming new faculty to the Pitzer community that will include: a Fall orientation workshop to explore different models of effective teaching, advising, and mentoring; an ongoing year-long series of mini-workshops to address other teaching and learning issues as they arise; and linkages and opportunities for social gatherings with resource groups (faculty, staff and students who have expressed willingness and availability to respond to questions that new faculty members may have) for each of our incoming new faculty.
Other programming for the next academic year includes workshops for New Resources and transfer students, dinners to introduce students to the available majors at Pitzer, and opportunities to learn about creative student-teacher interactions among CIEL (Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning) colleges, of which Pitzer is a member. In every case, efforts were made, and will continue to be made, to include all members of the Pitzer community in the various activities carried out by the TLC, with the ultimate goal of supporting teaching and learning at Pitzer College.
—Norma Rodriguez, professor of psychology
*Teaching and Learning Committee Members
Assistant Dean of Faculty Michael Ballagh, Annaka Blomfield ’07, Carissa Clark ’08, Lakshmi Eassey ’07, Director of Information Technology Mark Ingalls, Professor Ethel Jorge, Monte Mueller ’07, Professor Steve Naftilan, Professor Peter Nardi, Professor Norma Rodriguez, Professor Kate Rogers, Director of Career Services Karen Suarez and Professor Andre Wakefield.