April 6, 2014

My new job: Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives

I am excited to start a new job on campus as Associate Provost of Learning Initiative and Executive Director of the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center.

For those of you wondering why I would give up the world's best job as a professor developing the future of interactive computing technologies: Technology is on the cusp of significantly changing the way that people experience higher education (actually, it already has - from MOOCs to GitHub to YouTube and StackExchange, Twitter, Skype & Google docs...). Now it is poised to change the classroom experience as well. I see this role as an opportunity to apply all that I have learned from my work in the field of HCI over the past 20 years directly to the campus that I love and want to see thrive. From enhanced user experiences to analytics that balances transparency and privacy across multiple stakeholders, this is HCI's time to improve our campus. And if you want to know how I got to this point, then learn about the HCIL - the world's best HCI research group: http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/. (Oh, and of course I can always revert to being a regular faculty member if this doesn't work out...)


Dear University of Maryland Faculty:

I am pleased to announce the formal establishment of the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC) and the appointment of Professor Benjamin B. Bederson as the new Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives and founding Executive Director of this new center.

The TLTC will be the hub on campus that brings together support, incentives, infrastructure, assessment, and innovation for the University's educational mission.  It will provide leadership around teaching and learning, including the use of technology to transform the students' and instructors' experiences, both in the classroom and in an online environment.  The TLTC will integrate the Center for Teaching Excellence from the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Learning Technologies and Environments group from Division of IT.  It will also add a campus-wide resource in assessment and learning analytics.  Together, this critical mass will further promote innovation and excellence in education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Dr. Bederson (www.cs.umd.edu/~bederson/) is a Professor of Computer Science and prior director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) and iSchool.  An ACM Distinguished Scientist, his research is on technology-enhanced education, interaction strategies, crowd sourcing, mobile device interfaces, visualization and digital libraries.  He is a widely respected innovator, entrepreneur, and scholar in interactive systems who has worked on a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects, published broadly, and founded a successful mobile apps company.

Please join me in welcoming Professor Bederson to his new position.  Many of you will no doubt hear from him in the coming months as the center is developed.  He also asked me to say that he welcomes hearing from you about your concerns and ideas about teaching and learning on campus.

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost