Yesterday afternoon, the Center for Teaching and Learning opened its doors to the Brandeis community for the first time, offering a space for teachers to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Directed by Prof. Dan Perlman (BIOL), the associate provost for innovation and education, the center seeks to provide “a place where faculty, graduate students and post-docs—novice and experienced teachers alike—can share and explore ideas about teaching and learning,” according to its website.

The center opens up this week with three days of workshops, which began with an opening gala yesterday afternoon at which University President Frederick Lawrence and Perlman both spoke. Today and tomorrow, the center is hosting Indiana University Professor Emeritus Craig Nelson. Nelson has received a slew of accolades for his teaching, including being named Outstanding Research and Doctoral Universities Professor of the Year in 2000 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Nelson is also the founding president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Each day is programmed with a two-part workshop, led by Nelson, which focuses on different aspects of teaching and learning. Yesterday, the workshops kicked off with “Critical Thinking, Effective Writing, and Engagement with Social Justice: Making Deep Changes Across the Curriculum” in the Usdan Student Center International Lounge.

Today and tomorrow, two workshops will be held in Rapaporte Treasure Hall: this afternoon, a workshop titled “We know how to greatly increase student learning in any course—why don’t we do it?” and tomorrow, “A Quick Introduction to Some Fundamentals of College Teaching For Graduate students, Post-docs, and Interested Faculty.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning is located in the Farber Library, and, according to Perlman in a phone interview with the Justice, will be a place where Brandeis faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows can share and sharpen their teaching skills. “Teaching is all too often an individual sport, and it really should be a team sport,” Perlman said. “One where we’re consulting with each other, getting ideas from each other, challenging each other, rather than just treating it as ‘I do my teaching, you do your teaching.’”

According to its website, the center will regularly feature programming such as workshops, and it will also offer ongoing faculty discussion groups, one-on-one confidential teaching consultations and classroom observations. The center will also help teachers to utilize the Library and Technology Services’ resources, as well as the Office of Experiential Learning and Academic Services, its website states.

“We’re all moving in the same direction, and we all have a lot to teach other about how students learn, so the more we can share that, the better,” said Perlman.