Investing in educator development

By Tabatha B. McDonald

Palm Beach State College (PBSC) recently celebrated the opening of the permanent home for its Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) at the Lake Worth campus. The center will serve as a hub for innovation, further elevate classroom instruction for students and position the college as a leader in educator development and professional learning.

Staff, faculty, students, trustees and guests packed the more than 7,500-square-foot facility Nov. 30 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The CTLE features high-tech equipment, an active learning studio, collaboration spaces, as well as offices and conference rooms with glass doors and walls. It also houses staff supporting PBSC Online. It replaces the former Professional Teaching and Learning Center, which was tucked in a small workroom inside the campus library.

Roger Yohe, vice president of innovation and strategy, led the initiative to construct a robust, forward-thinking site for the CTLE, and worked alongside faculty and various college departments, including facilities and IT, to see the project come to fruition. He said it is a result of “community and partnership.”

“This would not have happened without both,” Yohe said. “This initiative truly involved a community that understands the need for instructional excellence.”

PBSC President Ava L. Parker said the CTLE is a commitment to the faculty and staff. “We want to be an institution that supports our faculty and staff and finds ways to ensure that they can be the best that they can possibly be at their craft. I’m pleased to work at an institution that is not focused so much on research but is focused on building master instructors and teachers and really focused on teaching and learning.”

She added that with the strengthened focus on technology through the CTLE, PBSC can be an example for others to follow.

“We will be the envy of the great 28,” Parker said, referring to the institutions that comprise the Florida College System, “because not many institutions have a center like this that is so supportive of faculty and staff. We can be the leader and set the pace for everyone else with our use of technology.”

Parker also applauded staff and faculty for their drive and work on the project. “We have faculty who are curious and who are committed to working together for the success of our students, and it’s that curiosity that’s going to make this space so special.”

With PBSC approaching its 90th anniversary in 2023, Carolyn Williams, chair of PBSC’s board of trustees, said the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence continues the legacy of the college, which has worked to ensure that students are successful and served well.

“This is going to be an absolutely marvelous place for innovation and learning,” Williams said. “The best way to continuously improve teaching and learning is by supporting our faculty in the discovery of new and interesting ways to engage students during their educational journey.”

The project was funded with a portion of a Title V grant PBSC received from the U.S. Department of Education in 2020 for its Pathways to Success Initiative. English professor Matt Klauza developed the grant proposal with PBSC’s grants office.

The initiative includes four components, including the creation of the CTLE to improve the capacity of faculty to address the needs of Hispanic and low-income students. The components of the Pathways to Success initiative are in line with the college’s strategic plan goal to achieve equitable graduation rates for all students.

This article was originally posted here.

Photo by Carol McDonald.

Tabatha B. McDonald

is the news and media relations coordinator at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida.