The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning is in the process of consolidating their programs into one location in Sterling Memorial Library by the end of next summer.
The CTL currently runs eight programs, including the Writing Center and the Center for Scientific Teaching, at seven different locations on campus. Under the leadership of Scott Strobel, deputy provost for teaching and learning, and Jennifer Frederick, executive director of the center, the CTL has actively sought to increase collaborations among the programs, and the centralized location on campus is an important step towards that goal. Although the renovation and design plans have not been finalized, the CTL will be relocated to Sterling, occupying a 19,000 square-foot space on two floors that is currently used for the library’s administrative work.
“With a centralized location in the Sterling Library, we will have a home base where the CTL staff can come together in one place,” Frederick said. “It will also allow us to make teaching more visible and public.”
She added that consolidating so many units into one center would be very difficult without a physical space.
According to the relocation plans, the CTL will occupy the ground floor space in the library along York Street, as well as two small mezzanines that are located immediately above. Roughly 60 staff members will work within the new location.
The plan to relocate started around a year ago, and SML was chosen because the center and the library share many similarities as spaces for education and learning. Strobel said the new location would bring the center’s dedication to education physically and symbolically into the heart of the University. Furthermore, he added that the space within the iconic SML building would give the center added value and status.
University Librarian Susan Gibbons said the center could complement and enhance the library’s current functions.
“For many, the library is a key place to go for research assistance,” she said. “With the addition of the Teaching Center, my expectations are that students and faculty will think of Sterling Memorial Library as an intuitive destination for teaching, learning and research assistance.”
Although there are no official floor plans for the center yet, Frederick said she envisions several components in the design that will support its teaching efforts and enhance its presence on campus. Aside from office space for the center’s staff, the new location will have small spaces for tutoring and a reception lounge that will be open to the public.
“We want to create a welcoming space for everyone from the community to come and spend time, do readings, wait for appointments or share ideas about learning and teaching,” she said. She added that this may not be too different from the library setting but encouraged students to take ownership of the communal area.
The CTL may also feature exhibitions that showcase innovative efforts in teaching at Yale or elsewhere, as well as a technology “sandbox.” In this area, community members will be able to test out the latest technological equipment, such as Google Glass, and have conversations with experts about how they can be used for educational purposes.
The center currently runs programs geared for undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral affiliates and fellows and faculty members. Frederick said a unified space for the programs would allow the center to solve problems from different angles.
Despite the plans for consolidation, Frederick stressed that the center would continue to hold events and activities in other locations. For example, the residential colleges will retain their writing tutors, while events for graduate students and faculty would be held in locations that are convenient for the respective groups.
Given that the center will occupy a large section of SML’s administrative office, plans are already in place to relocate library staff to 344 Winchester Ave., which is located in the Science Park area of campus. This follows the relocation of 50 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library staff members and its preservation and conservation department to the same location. This move will make 344 Winchester Ave. the largest location of University Library staff at Yale.
All five students interviewed were in favor of a consolidated space for the center.
“It would be very convenient if all of the tutors were consolidated in the same area,” Peyton Nora ’18 said. She added that she had previously tried to sign up for a quantitative reasoning tutor, but the process took a long time. She added that a physical registration location may make that process easier.
In Kyu Chung ’18 said he has not made much use of the tutoring services at Yale partly because of their lack of visibility. A physical location for the tutors, he said, would help publicize the program and also make things more convenient.
The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning was formed in July 2014.