Penn State Intercom......April 11, 2002

Organizational changes announced
in Undergraduate Education

In order to strengthen the University's commitment to the improvement of teaching and learning, Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson has announced a reorganization of several units that have been active in connecting and supporting faculty and graduate assistants who rely on the resources that are encompassed in these services.

On July 1, the Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning (SIIL), the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), University Testing Services (UTS) and the Teaching and Learning Consortium (TLC) will be folded into the Schreyer Institute under the leadership of Renata Engel, the current director of the SIIL. Engel will report to John Cahir, vice provost and dean for Undergraduate Education. These changes are a direct result of the strategic planning process that was completed in January. Several of the individual strategic plans and discussions gave strong endorsement to the University's efforts to improve teaching and learning, and suggested that a consolidated effort would give it even greater visibility, effectiveness and national recognition while maximizing cost effectiveness.

"There is a remarkable group of people and a synergy of resources available in these units," according to Cahir, "and the reorganization that is being implemented will better position the University to respond to the needs of faculty as they adapt their teaching to the changing learning environments of Penn State students."

Erickson noted that John Brighton's three years of service in creating the TLC and involving more than 100 faculty, students and administrators in its work has provided a great deal of momentum to the University's efforts to enhance the environment for teaching and learning.

"We're very grateful to John for giving his prestige, high energy and effective leadership to the task of making Penn State an even more vibrant, active learning community," said Erickson.

Linkages of other types to the Schreyer Institute also will be forthcoming. In particular, the Teaching and Learning with Technology unit, headed by John Harwood, senior director in Information Technology Services (formerly Computer and Information Systems) will work closely with the Schreyer Institute on the application of technology to improve teaching and learning. World Campus instructional development will draw on the resources of the Schreyer Institute as well.

President Graham B. Spanier cited these moves as a bold statement of Penn State's commitment to teaching and learning, and to raising the quality of both undergraduate and graduate educational experiences, while using University resources wisely and well.

Cahir will conclude a distinguished career of scholarship in teaching, research and service on Sept. 30.

"John Cahir will be a tough act to follow," noted Erickson. "These organizational changes that he has helped to bring about will ensure the continuation of strong support for excellence in teaching and learning." A search for the vice provost for Undergraduate Education position will commence later this month.