Launched in August 2012 and reporting to the Office of the Provost, the Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO) supports and integrates university teaching and PreK-12/public educational outreach through coherent approaches that foster inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Since start-up, the CTLO has worked with the vast majority of Caltech faculty, nearly all graduate students, and many undergraduates, postdoctoral scholars, and staff involved in educational endeavors, as documented in periodic reports, news stories, and videos.
Vision, Mission, and Values
Caltech's vision for educational equity and excellence, in alignment with our institutional mission, includes continuous improvement and active leadership among peer institutions and in higher education. We envision education and research as integrated, informing each other, and contributing to inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible opportunities for faculty, instructors, staff, students, and community members to learn and discover throughout their lives and careers.
The mission of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach is to work toward this vision by:
- Engaging with Caltech educators at all levels, including those focusing on designing and facilitating graduate and undergraduate courses that address Caltech learning outcomes, public learning opportunities, and preK-12 educational outreach.
- Developing expertise in educational methods that promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and are supported by sound evidence, through training for teaching responsibilities and opportunities for professional development.
- Fostering innovations and uses of instructional technology that advance Caltech's vision for educational equity and excellence.
- Building mutual partnerships among Caltech units and groups working on educational endeavors, and between Caltech and community groups and organizations such as preK-12 schools, districts, and others, to advance shared goals.
- Consulting on the design, implementation, and assessment of educational initiatives via service on committees and discussions with Caltech administration, faculty, staff, and students.
The CTLO approaches this work with commitments to the following core values:
- Focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility: The CTLO uses and advances educational practices with demonstrated potential to increase belonging and inclusion among diverse learners, as well as contribute to equitable educational outcomes among students and participants.
- Commitment to evidence-based practices: Along with assessing and using data to improve our work, the CTLO employs and shares approaches that are supported by educational research and theory, with prior studies producing strong and/or promising evidence about their effectiveness and guiding their use.
- Collaborative approach to partnerships: When working with groups and organizations, both externally in the community and within Caltech, the CTLO strives to design and implement programs with mutuality, shared benefits, and shared responsibilities suitable to each partner's unique strengths and needs.
- Encouragement for innovations: whether new in the field of educational practice, in specific academic disciplines, or in particular contexts, the CTLO encourages and supports innovation because there remains much to learn and discover in teaching, learning, and educational outreach; through innovation, Caltech contributes to such discoveries.
As a Caltech Center serving Faculty, Students (Undergraduate and Graduate), and Staff in their various roles as instructors, teaching assistants, program coordinators, mentors, and tutors, regular input and feedback is essential. We work with several groups on a regular basis:
CTLO Faculty Advisory Committee: The membership and format of this committee is currently being revised; please check back in fall 2022 for more information.
Graduate Student Committee: Caltech Project for Effective Teaching (CPET)
This Graduate Student Committee has been active since 2009; CPET runs a popular series of seminars aimed toward graduate students and postdocs, contributes to TA Orientation programs, and runs peer reviewed "Certificate of Interest In College Teaching" and "Certificate of Practice in University Teaching programs. CPET now serves as an important advisory group to the CTLO and is housed within the Center.
Undergraduate Committee: Academics and Research Committee (ARC)
This Undergraduate Committee, part of ASCIT, has a long history of active engagement with undergraduate education. The ARC Chair, Course Committee members, and the CTLO Director meet regularly, collaborating on projects and programs such as Course Ombuds-people and providing Undergraduate feedback on new programs, services, and projects.
Other Committees and Groups: The Center periodically convenes, serves on, and/or contributes to other committees and groups across the institute, e.g.:
- Educational Outreach Coordinator associated with various Divisions, Research Groups, and projects.
- Committee on Undergraduate Education (a faculty, staff, and student committee).
- Committee on Online Education (a faculty and staff committee).
- Reaccreditation Steering Committee and Working Groups, Provost's Office.
- Other offices supporting on-campus teaching such as the Hixon Writing Center, Caltech Library, Registrar, Undergraduate and Graduate Deans, Academic Media and Technologies, International Offices, General Counsel, and Vice Provost regularly convene through topical discussions organized by academic affairs and student affairs.