In a Thursday campuswide email, University Provost Benjamin Polak announced the launch of the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), an effort to consolidate tutoring resources and increase instructional support for faculty and graduate students.
Polak said the center will provide a central location for all Yale College and Graduate School services related to teaching and learning. While the CTL currently exists only as a web-based resource, it will move into a physical space in the next 12 to 18 months and may host teaching workshops for instructors and tutoring sessions for students.
“It will be a one stop shop for teaching and learning needs,” said CTL executive director Jennifer Frederick. “The mission of the university is both research and teaching, and this is a visible sign that we support both parts of that mission.”
The CTL will include the Teaching Center, Graduate and Yale College Writing Centers, the Center for Language Study, the center for Science & Quantitative Reasoning, the center for Scientific Teaching, Educational Technologies and Yale Online. Scott Strobel, molecular biochemistry and biophysics professor and vice president of West Campus, will also serve as the deputy provost for teaching and learning.
Strobel said students will be able to use CTL’s single website instead of navigating each department website individually to find and access tutoring resources in all departments.
The center will be equally dedicated to serving the needs of faculty and graduate students: Frederick intends for the center to first be a hub for showcasing teaching excellence, then to motivate discussion and critical thinking about how teaching could be improved in both the sciences and humanities.
“It will create positive peer pressure for teachers who haven’t had to think a lot about their teaching, or haven’t been encouraged to,” Frederick said.
Teaching workshops like those the center may host, in which faculty discuss successful classroom strategies over lunch, are already a popular feature of various STEM departments, Frederick said. Similar teaching workshops could be in the works for the social science and humanities departments, Frederick said, adding that she hopes to identify teaching strategies that could function across the disciplines.
Many other universities are home to teaching and faculty support centers, including Yale, whose Center for Teaching will now exist under the CTL. Frederick said she hopes the CTL emulates innovative centers at Stanford and the University of Michigan, both of which elevate teaching to a degree not often seen at research universities.
Frederick said she and her team will survey students during the school year about how the center could serve them best and integrate their responses into their developing vision for what it will offer.
“It’s going to help us be more proactive about teaching, and less reactive,” she said.
Yale College employs 1,155 faculty members.