April 5, 2022
During her nearly 13 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Cynthia Golden has established herself—and the University Center for Teaching and Learning—as an invaluable resource for all things related to educational information technologies, teaching and learning, and faculty professional development for Pitt faculty and others in the community.
It is with deep gratitude for all that Cynthia has brought to her roles—as Associate Provost, as Executive Director of the University Center for Teaching and Learning, and as a Center Associate at the Learning Research and Development Center—that I write to share the news of her decision to step down, effective June 30, 2022. Michael Bridges, currently Senior Director of Teaching Support, has graciously agreed to serve as interim executive director of the Teaching Center effective July 1, 2022.
Cynthia came to Pitt in 2009 after serving for eight years as vice president of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit international association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. Prior to that she held CIO and senior IT leadership roles at Duquesne University, MIT and Carnegie Mellon. She is also a proud alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, having earned her MS in Information Science here.
While looking back through her time at Pitt, it’s amazing to see all the ways that Cynthia used her incredible talent, knowledge, and guidance to influence so many aspects of the teaching, learning, and scholarly activities here, from learning space design and management to media production services, from maker spaces and educational technology labs to graduate student teaching support.
Among her many accomplishments, there are several that stand out as key examples of her far-reaching impact. Importantly, she took on the development and implementation of an expanded strategy for effective assessment of teaching and ongoing support in that area. She established the nationally certified University of Pittsburgh Testing Center, and expanded the services of the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET).
In 2017, she led the rebranding, reorganization, and relaunch of the University Center for Teaching and Learning to offer enhanced support for teaching at Pitt, broadly expanding services and engaging a wide range of faculty.
She led Pitt’s efforts in inclusive teaching and created the Center for Diversity in the Curriculum, The Diversity Institute for Faculty Development, and the Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum. She also hired the center’s first director of equitable and inclusive teaching.
When we navigated a rapid pivot to remote teaching and learning beginning in the early months of 2020, Cynthia and her team not only provided vital support for the rapid deployed of remote teaching throughout the University, but also, at the same time, working collaboratively with Pitt IT and our faculty, managed the University-wide migration to a new enterprise learning management system, shifting campuses from Blackboard to Canvas.
In conjunction with the University Library System, Cynthia and her team established the Open Lab as a resource for faculty and student experimentation with emerging educational technologies and as a makerspace venue to engage in exploratory learning.
And she worked to build the Pitt Online unit within the center to support the schools’ online learning efforts for degree and certificate programs, professional learning, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at Pitt.
Cynthia has also served as a member of the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence, the Advisory Committee of the Institute for Clinical Research Education, and the Technology Accessibility Committee, as well as other academic committees and task forces related to education, information technology, online learning, diversity, and accessibility.
Many outstanding things have come about for our University campuses as a result of Cynthia’s leadership and commitment to excellence and innovation. Please join me in expressing deep appreciation and thanks to Cynthia for her dedication and service.
Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Professor of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh