Enhanced Center for Learning and Teaching to launch
A teacher who loves working with young, bright people who thrives on face time with students will step into the lead role for Binghamton University’s Center for Learning and Teaching on June 1. James Pitarresi, distinguished teaching professor of mechanical engineering, has been appointed by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Nieman as assistant provost and executive director of what will be a revitalized and enhanced center focused on providing faculty with the support they need to experiment with new approaches to teaching that enhance student learning.
Pitarresi, who will continue to teach, will step down as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering to assume the new position.
“I love teaching for all the reasons we talk about, seeing the ‘I get it’ moment in their eyes,” he said. “This will be a way for me to extend beyond that and support others who are new or in mid-career who want to change the way they teach.”
The CLT emerges in a wonderful combination of visions from the provost and the Road Map’s Advancing Learning Team, said Donald Loewen, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Don (Nieman) has an incredible commitment to this. In the past, CLT has not had the resources to provide the robust support to faculty that we really need. We haven’t been able to do that comprehensively as a campus. The faculty support has largely been functioning through the good will, energy and vision of faculty volunteers through the Institute for Student-Centered Learning (ISCL) and the like.”
Recognizing that the lack of support is not ideal, Loewen said the objective in “beefing up” the CLT is to make it a faculty-centric institution again, with central support.
“The Road Map process was good for us in that it got us talking about what could happen with a reinvigorated CLT,” Loewen said.” Almost all of the things we were talking about in our Advancing Learning team flowed through the CLT.
“By hiring James, we have a wonderful opportunity to bring those things together and have the CLT be a meeting point for all of those challenge and opportunities,” said Loewen.