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Changes to Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach

January 07, 2022

To: The Campus Community
From: Michelle Effros, Vice Provost and George Van Osdol Professor of Electrical Engineering
Date: January 7, 2022

I write to announce that, after nearly a decade of service to Caltech, Cassandra Volpe Horii, assistant vice provost and director of Caltech's Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO), will be leaving the Institute to accept the position of associate vice provost and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University. Cassandra's last day at Caltech will be January 14.

Cassandra joined Caltech in 2012 as the founding director of the CTLO. Her promotion to assistant vice provost and director of the CTLO in March of 2021 recognized her leadership of the CTLO, her advocacy on behalf of outstanding teaching and educational outreach, and her commitment to Caltech's educational initiatives and priorities.

In the 10 years since Cassandra arrived at Caltech, she has championed outstanding teaching through the creation of trainings, courses, and professional development programs for the Institute's faculty and TAs as well as through conversations and interaction with students, whose insights into how the Institute might improve teaching and learning have enhanced those programs immeasurably. Cassandra and the CTLO also put enormous efforts into the development of outreach opportunities to reach K-12 students, often in partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District.

Cassandra's dedicated leadership during the initial transition to online learning in March 2020 and her continued focus in guiding and improving the Institute's response in that arena have led to the creation of the Teaching Continuity at Caltech website and the Caltech Adaptable Teaching Series. She also drove the effort to select and implement the new campus learning management system, Canvas, which provides students and instructors a single point of entry for academic courses. These and other programs have given faculty the tools to reimagine their courses and methods of teaching throughout the pandemic, and they will no doubt continue to prove useful once the pandemic has passed.

During her time at Caltech, Cassandra has been a member of the Accreditation Steering Committee, managed Caltech's open on-line courses, helped develop proposals for the Innovation in Education Fund, and served ex officio on the Feynman Prize Committee, Core Curriculum Steering Committee, Committee on Undergraduate Education, and Computing Advisory Committee. She also served on the Committee on Reconstituting On-Campus Instruction and on the Resnick Sustainability Institute Education Committee.

Upon Cassandra's departure, Susanne Hall, the director of Caltech's Hixon Writing Center and a teaching professor of writing, will step into the role of CTLO's interim director. Leslie Maxfield, the director of academic media technologies, will assume the new role of interim associate director for educational technology in CTLO. Mitch Aiken, associate director for educational outreach, will continue to lead the Institute's outreach programs. 

Beginning this term, I will chair a search committee tasked with finding a new director for the CTLO.

Please join me in wishing Cassandra well on her next venture and in thanking Susanne and Leslie in advance for their interim leadership and guidance through this period of transition.