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Today is the first day of my new gig as the Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at our Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).

Over the next weeks and months I’ll be sharing with you what I am learning in this new role, and of course asking for your advice and counsel.

Today I’d like to reach out to ask you for help in figuring out how to learn about the world of Teaching and Learning Centers.  

The world of DCAL and Teaching and Learning Centers is not completely new to me, as I’ve been serving on DCAL’s Executive Team for a few years now. So I’m familiar with the programming and mission of our center.  

What I know much less about is the culture and community of Teaching and Learning Centers across postsecondary education.  

And while I have been asking lots of people for advice about what resources I should be accessing (thanks to all of you for your good ideas), I’m hoping that those of you who work in the Teaching and Learning Center world will share your thoughts.

Some specific Teaching and Learning Center questions:

Language: How does the Teaching and Learning Center community talk about itself? It seems cumbersome to always be writing “Teaching and Learning Center." Can I abbreviate to TLC?  (Or does this confuse everyone with the "an American girl group whose repertoire spanned R&B, hip hop, soul, funk, and new jack swing.” Is Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) always capitalized?  

Resources: What journals do Teaching and Learning professionals read? What are the top websites? Blogs? Twitter feeds? Listserves? What are the big Teaching and Learning Center conferences? What professional organization should I join? Can you point to any books about Teaching and Learning Centers?   

History: Where do I go to learn the history of Teaching and Learning Centers? Are TLC’s a discipline? A field? A department? A unit? A movement?  What are the controversies and debates in the field?   

Crossover:  How much crossover is there with Teaching and Learning Centers with other units, departments, disciplines and fields? Do Teaching and Learning people (am I saying that right?) attend EDUCAUSE conferences? Library conferences? Higher education research conferences?   

Structure: Is there a list of Teaching and Learning Centers? What does a typical Center look like in terms of staffing and size? Is the model one of a faculty director combined with a professional staff the normative organizational structure?  What is the relationship between Teaching and Learning Centers and Academic Computing Departments? Do learning designers more typically work in Teaching and Learning Centers or in Academic Computing?   

Responsibilities:  What are the range of responsibilities found in Teaching and Learning Centers? How are these responsibilities changing? How are responsibilities divided up across other campus units such as academic computing and the library? How has the growth of blended and online learning changed the roles and responsibilities of Teaching and Learning Centers?  

What Else:  What other questions about Teaching and Learning Centers should I be asking?  

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