Learning path

Pathway to Success: Getting Started as a Leader of Teaching and Learning Development

Chris Hakala

Chris Hakala

C. Edward Watson

C. Edward Watson

Todd D. Zakrajsek

Todd D. Zakrajsek

James M. Lang

James M. Lang

A set of free resources for new and aspiring leaders of teaching and learning, drawing on the experience and insights of successful Directors of Centers of Teaching and Learning (CTLs).
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Created in collaboration with

About the Learning Path

It is unfortunate that CTL directors and their equivalent rarely have well defined roles and expectations. This makes their position within higher education difficult at times. In addition, institutions they serve are varied and diverse, making it challenging to orient new directors and support existing ones.

The aim of this pathway is to provide new and experienced center directors with a way to share our experience with one another in a way that benefits everyone. Although our institutions are unique, our challenges and desired outcomes often are not. There is nothing to gain from “re-inventing the wheel,” particularly when we are already stretched for time and resources. We each have perspectives, experiences, and expertise in ways that overlap. Looking at issues from multiple perspectives is incredibly valuable – so let’s share with one another.

To get us started, we’ve created two resources that look at the top 10 challenges faced by new center directors. For each challenge, we’ve spoken to experienced, successful center directors about how they addressed these challenges. Their input has been incredibly valuable, and we thank them for sharing their time and expertise with us, and with you.

Although starting with a big list, there are many directions in which this list can grow. As this pathway unfolds, we hope that you will suggest new resources in the discussion. We’d love to hear the challenges that you face and would like to explore. Of course, if you have met a challenge with positive outcomes, we also hope to hear from you. This will be an evolving resource, that we will continue to expand for as long as it is needed. Best of all, we will host it in a space that is free for all to use.

Best wishes

Chris Hakala, C. Edward Watson, Todd D. Zakrajsek and James M. Lang

Click here to Meet the Experts

Courses

This Learning Path will continue to grow and evolve as we draw in new contributions from leaders of teaching and learning and adapt to feedback. To get started, we have created two resources, ostensibly in the format of linear courses, each of which consist of five key topics. The format differs from usual OneHE courses to take advantage of the insights and input from CTL Directors. 

How to Establish and Manage a Successful Center for Teaching and Learning
1
How to Establish and Manage a Successful Center for Teaching and Learning
by Chris Hakala, C. Edward Watson, Todd D. Zakrajsek, James M. Lang

CTL Directors explain how to lay solid foundations for your center so you can create successful collaborations with faculty and senior stakeholders.

Leadership Course
Strategic Positioning, Budgeting, and Growth_ Lessons Learned from Successful Center Leaders
2
Strategic Positioning, Budgeting, and Growth: Lessons Learned from Successful Center Leaders 
by Chris Hakala, C. Edward Watson, Todd D. Zakrajsek, James M. Lang

CTL Directors explore how they make best use of their budgets to deliver on those activities of most value to their faculty and institutions.

Leadership Course
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3
COMING SOON: Engaging Faculty: High-impact practices for supporting your target learners
by Chris Hakala, C. Edward Watson, James M. Lang, Todd D. Zakrajsek

Discover effective ways to engage faculty and gain support from key influencers as center directors share success strategies in this resource on high-impact engagement practices.

Leadership Course
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4
COMING SOON: Claim your space: Demonstrating your value to faculty and your institution
by Chris Hakala, C. Edward Watson, James M. Lang, Todd D. Zakrajsek

CTL Directors explore what contributed to the success of their centers, and the range of things that you can do to win over key supporters and influencers to your side. 

Leadership Course

Contributors

Carol Hurney

Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Colby College
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Elizabeth Hammer

Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development, Xavier University of Louisiana
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Julaine Fowlin

Executive Director, Office of Instructional Technology and Faculty Resources, Medical University of South Carolina
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Marina Smitherman

Director, Center for Academic Excellence & Associate Professor of Biology, Dalton State College
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Tracie Addy

Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning; Director of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CITLS), Lafayette College
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Victor Benassi

Former Faculty Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, University of New Hampshire (UNH)
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Meet the Experts

Chris Hakala

Chris Hakala

Course design and faculty development

Chris is the Director of the Center for Excellence on Teaching, Learning and Scholarship and Professor of Psychology at Springfield College, USA. He has over 20 years' experience as a professor and Center Director in higher education institutions. Over the years, Chris's research has focused on reading comprehension, teaching, and learning, effective faculty development and assessment. In addition, Chris has been invited to present at many conferences around the country as well as dozens of colleges and universities on topics ranging from reading narrative text to how to effectively manage large classes, or how to engage students in ways that maximize student learning.

C. Edward Watson

C. Edward Watson

Leadership in Higher Education

C. Edward Watson, Ph.D. is Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation and Executive Director of Open Educational Resources and Digital Innovation with the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). At AAC&U, he leads national and state-level advocacy and policy efforts to advance quality in undergraduate student learning. Before joining AAC&U, Dr. Watson was the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia (UGA) where he led university efforts associated with faculty development, TA development, learning technologies, learning spaces, and SoTL. He has recently been quoted in the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Campus Technology, EdSurge, Consumer Reports, UK Financial Times, and University Business Magazine and by the AP, CNN, and NPR regarding current teaching and learning issues and trends in higher education. He is also the author of Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes (Jossey-Bass).

Todd D. Zakrajsek

Todd D. Zakrajsek

The science of learning

Todd D. Zakrajsek, PhD, is an associate professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), USA and Director of five annual Lilly Teaching Conferences. Todd was a tenured associate professor of psychology and established or led faculty development efforts at three universities before joining the UNC School of Medicine. 

James M. Lang

James M. Lang

Small teaching

James M. Lang is the author of six books, the most recent of which are Distracted: Why Students Can't Focus and What You Can Do About It (Basic Books, 2020), Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, 2nd Edition (Jossey-Bass, 2021) and Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (Harvard University Press, 2013), and On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching (Harvard UP, 2008). James is a former Professor of English and Director of the D'Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption University, he stepped down from full-time academic work in 2021 to concentrate more fully on his writing and teaching. He writes a monthly column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education; his work has been appearing in the Chronicle since 1999.