Because Carleton has long been an institution known for the high quality of its faculty and students, the Learning and Teaching center (LTC) was created in 1992 by a Faculty-Student Committee, with strong support from the Dean's office, to enhance learning and teaching. The essential purpose of the LTC is to develop programs to promote faculty and student reflections on and conversations about teaching and learning, thus enhancing even further the quality of student learning and faculty vitality.
The LTC is administratively under the Dean of the College. The Coordinator is a half-time tenured faculty member who, after the first year, will rotate every 2-3 years. It is important that faculty coordinators be respected by their colleagues and that they continue to teach half time. The Center has a half-time administrative assistant and several work-study student helpers. A planning grant and funding for the first three years of the LTC was generously granted by the Bush Foundation. One function of the LTC is to coordinate more closely existing programs for professional faculty development and student academic support.
The creation of the Center comes as a result of an intentional redefining of institutional priorities to focus anew on the "first mission" of the College: classroom teaching and learning. Toward this end, LTC activities involve mentoring and special programs for new faculty, consulting services and workshops for all faculty on such topics as course design and the first day of class, active learning and leading discussions, ways of giving and getting feedback for the assessment of learning (classroom research), the use of stories and cases, and the challenges of multicultural classrooms. The LTC coordinators have done extensive interviewing ("collegial conversations") in order to understand classroom culture and climate at Carleton and to encourage faculty members to be more reflective about the teaching/learning process. In these many ways, Carleton deepens its vibrant intellectual life by engaging in community conversations about the diversity of effective ways faculty and students help each other learn.
The unique focus of the Carleton LTC is the emphasis on putting "learning" first, not only in the Center's name but in involving students in programs, such as the student observer program and workshops with faculty, intended to help students become more reflective about how they learn (meta-cognition) and about how to give constructive feedback to faculty on what works to facilitate their learning. Although centrally located in Leighton Hall [currently in Weitz Center 146], with a growing library of resources and consulting opportunities, the Learning and Teaching "Center" is not so much a place as a metaphor for conversations among and between students and faculty about the "central" and primary mission of Carleton College.
Learning and Teaching Center
Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057
Original Faculty Coordinators: Peter Frederick (1992-3), Frank Morral (1993-5)