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Michael Keller named vice provost for teaching and learning; Sarah Church to serve as senior associate vice provost

October 15, 2018
Michael Keller

Keller, vice provost for University Libraries and the University Press, will oversee the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, which supports campus-based learning and extended education.

Vice Provost for University Libraries and the University Press Michael A. Keller will assume an additional role as Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at Stanford, effective immediately, Stanford Provost Persis Drell announced. Keller will oversee the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) that supports campus-based learning and extended education.

Keller has been serving in the role on an interim basis since April 1, succeeding computer science Professor John Mitchell, who created Stanford’s first mass online learning program in 2012 and served as vice provost for six years.

As university librarian for the past 25 years, Keller has long been engaged in developing technology for teaching support, including introducing the Coursework platform in 2004. As the Ida M. Green University Librarian, he has been a national and international leader in transitioning university libraries to digital formats and an advocate for the digital sharing of information resources around the world.

Sarah Church

Physics Professor Sarah Church has been named senior associate vice provost for teaching and learning, an appointment beginning in January 2019. Church has been senior associate vice provost assisting and advising Vice Provost Harry Elam in the management of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) and on additional matters related to undergraduate education across campus since 2016.

Church, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1999, served as the director of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory from 2013 to 2016 and the deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology from 2007 to 2011.

Her research is focused on understanding how galaxies are formed and how they are evolving. As part of this effort, the Church Group is part of a consortium that is building an experiment to map the large-scale distribution of highly redshifted carbon monoxide.

Church also has a record as a dedicated teacher in the Department of Physics, focused particularly on implementing active learning methods in her classes and developing course offerings that support students who want to major in physics or other STEM fields but who may not have had the opportunity to study physics in depth in high school.

The decision to appoint Keller and Church follows the work of a faculty committee established last year to make recommendations on future directions for the organization. The task force identified six key teaching and learning goals to serve as the basis for VPTL’s mission that would support the university’s vision and goals:

1. Ensure the quality of educational experiences for all students by vigorously supporting the development and widespread use of teaching expertise and learner-centered approaches in teaching.
2. Support the integration of evidence-based practices in teaching. Support rigorous and thoughtful ongoing assessment and feedback to improve learning outcomes.
3. Support the academic success of diverse learners.
4. Develop and inspire the next generation of educators (current graduate students and postdocs) to be excellent teachers, communicators and leaders.
5. Be responsible for the development and optimal use of learning spaces and technologies to enhance education for all on-campus students.
6. Provide platforms, infrastructure, policies and oversight to support the vision of Stanford to engage remote learners, including alumni and professionals.

Drell and Keller have invited six senior professors to serve as a faculty advisory board in support of VPTL’s missions and methods.

Stanford’s long-range planning process has created a shared vision to expand its teaching and learning impact regionally, nationally and globally, Keller said.

“Teaching and learning are fundamental Stanford roles, well served by our brilliant faculty and well qualified students,” Keller said. “We are in a period of rapid innovation, and both the possibilities and expectations for advancing learning and stimulating creativity provide an exciting platform from which VPTL serves and supports the university. I am honored to contribute to this vision with the excellent VPTL staff.”