March 2, 2018


SUBJECT:    Reorganization of the Teaching + Learning Commons

The Teaching + Learning Commons ( was established in 2015 to provide campuswide leadership and integrated support for the university’s teaching and learning initiatives, and to demonstrate our commitment to the academic success of all students. Led by Dr. Gabriele Wienhausen as Faculty Director, the Commons supports educational excellence and advances faculty and student success by providing expertise and innovation in the key areas of faculty development, graduate student and postdoctoral development, undergraduate academic support and enrichment; and assessment, evaluation, and education research.

Since its inception, the Commons has created a wide range of outstanding programs, services and research to assist all members of the UC San Diego community in developing highly effective learning environments. The Commons has established a strong infrastructure supporting a wide-range of services that develop teaching skills and enhance learning: new faculty workshops, course and curriculum redesign studios, teaching with technology, teaching online, individual teaching consultations, classroom visits, assessing learning outcomes, seminars and short, dynamic discussions and workshops addressing critical classroom issues.

As the full scope and breadth of the Commons’ mission has been unfolding, we have come to realize that its original organizational structure was limiting our ability to achieve the synergistic environment envisioned for the Commons and the “vertical” integration of its work with students, teaching assistants, and faculty. Accordingly, we will be dissolving the distinct centers within the Commons, in order to remove the perceived boundaries associated with them. Commons’ staff will, instead, be encouraged and empowered to contribute their expertise broadly across the service areas of faculty support, student success and digital learning. All currently offered services and programs will continue to be provided by the Commons, without interruption. At the same time, an Associate Director for the entire organization will be appointed to support this flexible model and further enhance the excellent service for students and faculty that has been achieved in the foundational years of the Commons.

Thus, following an extensive nationwide search, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Carolyn Sandoval as Associate Director of the Teaching + Learning Commons, effective May 7, 2018. In this role, Dr. Sandoval will co-direct the Commons’ Senior Management Team and staff with Faculty Director Wienhausen, and ensure coordination and synergies within the Commons. She will play a key role in reaching out to the campus community, effectively supporting the Faculty Director of the Commons in promoting pedagogical innovations, research-based student success support initiatives, and inclusive education principles and practices institution-wide. As Associate Director, she will promote teaching and learning as ongoing and collaborative processes of inquiry, experimentation and reflection; contribute to the research on pedagogical issues that impact teachers and students in higher education; and promote a university culture that encourages the creation of inclusive learning environments in which all students can excel. Dr. Sandoval will also play an integral role in efforts to assess the impact of the Commons’ initiatives and programs.

Dr. Sandoval currently serves as Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at Texas A&M University. She will bring to UC San Diego a unique breadth of knowledge and expertise in teaching, research, assessment of faculty, staff and student development, as well as organizational and program development garnered from her more than 20 years of professional experience. She has worked as a Student Affairs Officer, Academic Advisor, Coordinator of Diversity Education, and a Visiting Lecturer in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M prior to taking on her current role. Dr. Sandoval received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Sandoval’s professional accomplishments and her national reputation as a scholar and expert in faculty development make her exceptionally well suited to serve as Associate Director of the Teaching + Learning Commons. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Carolyn Sandoval to UC San Diego as she takes on this critical role for our campus community.

Elizabeth H. Simmons
Executive Vice Chancellor