CTLO Celebrates Five Years of Success

Caltech News tagged with “staff + student_life + faculty_profile + grants_and_giving”

Tucked away on the third floor of the Center for Student Services on Holliston Avenue, an office with five full-time employees has quietly transformed the ways Caltech teaches its students and future scientists.Created in 2012, the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Outreach (CTLO) was launched with ambitious goals: to improve the quality of teaching on campus, bolster instructional opportunities for students, and engage K–12 schools in educational outreach. At the time, Caltech lacked a center specifically devoted to those ends.Joseph Shepherd, vice president for student affairs, notes that five years later, though still small, CTLO has amassed a portfolio of several dozen programs that have had an outsized impact on education on campus and established itself “as an integral part of the Institute.”Cindy Weinstein, vice provost of education, notes that “the inaugural team impact award was awarded to the CTLO because it has worked effectively with faculty, students, and postdocs to enhance teaching and learning at Caltech.”The office has played a key role in improving the undergraduate core curriculum by updating teaching methods and seeking regular feedback from faculty and students about the approaches that worked best. The office also brings core and other faculty members together to discuss ways to improve the students’ experience.Several programs focus on training for faculty members and teaching assistants—including the annual fall Teaching Conference, TeachWeek, and the Faculty Summer Short Course. Other programs offer seminars and workshops featuring speakers, such as Caltech Feynman Teaching Prize winners and other guest speakers, to help teachers become more effective.Timothy Liu, a senior in electrical engineering who was the student government’s Academics and Research Committee chair for the 2016–17 academic year, says CTLO “has played a critical role in supporting and improving classroom instruction. Programs like TA training and cross-departmental discussions organized by CTLO have helped improve the classroom experience for students. Undergraduates can …

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