A longtime faculty member, researcher and author will head an innovative center at Colorado State University aimed at improving teaching and enhancing student learning at the college and university level.
William Timpson, professor in the School of Education since 1976 and author of three new books on improving teaching in higher education, was appointed director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. The center will open when fall semester classes begin Aug. 25. Timpson will work in the position part time so that he also may continue teaching at Colorado State.
As director, Timpson will create a network of distinguished professors from each of the university’s eight colleges, along with representatives from the School of Education and Office of Instructional Services. This network will develop and implement projects intended to improve teaching and learning and tackle issues such as applying new technologies in the classroom, teaching large classes effectively and integrating learning across a wide variety of academic subjects.
These kinds of programs can be vital in helping faculty improve their teaching and provide opportunities for colleagues to explore and discuss new approaches, Timpson said. He added that this kind of center is different than others in higher education because it is staffed by faculty members and focuses both on teaching and learning.
"Much credit for the establishment of this center must go to the faculty and campus leaders who recognized the need for such a program and pushed for its creation," Timpson said. "With a renewed interest in teaching and learning at universities worldwide, and the rich repository of faculty and student talent here, the possibilities for what we can do seem unlimited."
The center also will play a lead role in studying various issues which impact learning, such as class size. New ideas will be shared with university faculty in an effort to promote teaching improvements and innovation. Finally, the new center will serve as a clearinghouse of information for reports, books and peer-reviewed journals that are related to teaching and learning at the college and university level.
"Few faculty at the college and university levels receive feedback from their peers about teaching or get assistance on how to apply emerging theories about learning in the classroom," Timpson said. "This center can hopefully provide a forum for professors to discuss a range of issues related to teaching. These discussions can help teachers be more effective in encouraging students to engage in deeper learning."
During his tenure at Colorado State, Timpson has been involved in a number of initiatives that emphasize teaching and learning methods that differ from traditional lecture approaches. Timpson is co-founder of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, a nationally renowned program that helps K-12 teachers use creative and hands-on ways to teach math and science.
From 1991 to 1993, Timpson took a leave of absence from Colorado State to direct the Center for Teaching at the University of California at Santa Cruz, then served from 1993 to 1995 as senior consultant for academic staff development at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Upon his return to Colorado State, Timpson attended many classes and interviewed students and teachers to better understand how instruction and learning evolved over an entire semester. While working with some of the university’s best teachers, Timpson completed two books that offered a range of ideas for improving teaching and enhanced learning in higher education.
"Dr. Timpson’s extensive experience assessing teaching and learning programs both at Colorado State and other universities made him a natural choice for the position," Provost and Academic Vice President David Young said in announcing the appointment.