"Relevance," the Agora, and Directing a Center for Teaching and Learning

Mary Jo Finney

Abstract


The role of a director of a Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is complex, requiring multidimensional skills in a context unencumbered by the governance of any one academic unit but in service to all. This narrative essay delineates how one director navigated the role guided by the concept of relevance and the goal of fostering a collective agora to build community. Toward this agora, the director expanded the CTL’s patronage to include events relevant to senior faculty and administrators, enacted new models of teaching support, engaged in research on teaching with junior faculty, and established a publication for scholarly debate. Reflection reveals that the directorship had relevance to the author’s later roles as teacher and administrator through the interpersonal skills, relationships, and collaborative leadership skills cultivated.

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