High-quality instruction is a core part of UCLA’s mission, and I write today to share several administrative changes that will strengthen our university’s commitment to teaching excellence.
In line with recommendations from the Administration of Teaching, Learning and Services (ATLAS) Committee (PDF), Academic Senate reports on our existing teaching and learning centers, and findings from the Educational Innovation Working Group led by Professor Emeritus J. Nicholas Entrikin, we are moving forward with plans to create a new university-wide center to support teaching and learning at UCLA. We will also begin the search for an inaugural vice provost for teaching who will lead our work in this realm.
The new UCLA Teaching and Learning Center, or TLC, will coordinate many of UCLA’s existing teaching and learning programs and expand on their important work. The center will be organized into three overlapping sections: university-wide services, disciplinary centers, and pedagogical research and innovation.
- The university-wide services section of the TLC will support instructors in their use of teaching tools and technologies as well as provide guidance in instructional design, classroom design, hybrid and online teaching, and evaluation/assessment. It will also host faculty and graduate student workshops as well as TA training.
- In collaboration with divisional and school deans, the TLC will also coordinate five specialized teaching and learning disciplinary centers, both existing and planned, that will offer expertise to support teaching practices unique to specific academic disciplines.
- The third section, devoted to pedagogical research, will bring together faculty, TLC staff and students in research teams to explore teaching innovation in higher education. The vice provost for teaching, in consultation with faculty and TLC staff, will oversee the selection of research themes and the search for funding with the goal of making UCLA a globally recognized leader in higher education pedagogy.
The creation of this new organizational structure draws upon recommendations from Academic Senate and administrative committees, extensive consultations with the broader UCLA community, and guidance from teaching and learning administrators at peer research universities. It embraces the idea that campuswide resources are necessary for certain aspects of teaching support, but that discipline-specific approaches are also key to the success of such efforts.
The new vice provost for teaching, who will helm the TLC and report to me, will be a forward-thinking leader who pushes the boundaries of what is possible in higher education pedagogy. The vice provost will identify and coordinate the many teaching priorities that have emerged at UCLA, including the need for greater equity in the classroom; use of online education and hybrid teaching; accurate assessment of teaching quality; and innovative design of teaching environments. Priorities will also be developed with input from the Academic Senate and draw upon existing efforts the Senate is leading in these areas.
Dean Adriana Galván will serve as interim vice provost for teaching, effective Oct. 1, until we complete the search for a permanent vice provost. Galván has served as dean of undergraduate education since July 2020 and has been a member of the UCLA faculty since 2008. A professor of psychology, she is co-executive director of the Center for the Developing Adolescent and is director of the Developmental Neuroscience Lab at UCLA. She has served on the Academic Senate Executive Committee, the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools and the Undergraduate Council — mostly recently as the council’s chair from 2019 to 2020. As dean, she has focused on improving teaching and learning through an internal self-review of general education in anticipation of an upcoming external review, supporting the establishment of new interdisciplinary majors, serving on the UCLA LMS Steering Committee and the UCOP Academic Planning Council, and chairing the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force Education Working Group during the pandemic. Galván will maintain her dean position even as she takes on this new role. I am deeply grateful to her for her service.
I also want to recognize and share my gratitude to Professor Adrienne Lavine, associate vice provost for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), who is stepping down from that role on Sept. 30. During Associate Vice Provost Lavine’s tenure, she instituted faculty development opportunities that have boosted teaching skills and improved the student experience at UCLA. She led CAT’s efforts to help instructors manage the transition to remote teaching during the pandemic, assisting with myriad technology needs and providing access to digital resources. Under her guidance, CAT also advocated for and supported equity-minded teaching in the remote context. She has been a valuable partner in helping to envision and establish the new Teaching and Learning Center. In the near term, oversight of CAT staff and resources will fall under the purview of the new vice provost for teaching.
Finally, I wish to thank Professor Emeritus Entrikin for helping lay the groundwork for these advancements in teaching and learning at UCLA. He is a staunch proponent of effective instruction and has been thoughtful and collaborative in his work as special assistant to the EVCP for teaching innovation.
If you have questions or input on the future of this new center, please email the EVCP Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among our peer institutions, UCLA is celebrated for its success in delivering excellent education alongside top-quality research. I am eager to see how this new structure will enhance teaching and learning on campus and look forward to partnering with our faculty and staff to bring it to life.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost