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Searle Center For Advancing Learning And Teaching Director to Retire

Gregory Light to step down at end of year, search will begin soon

  • Light adheres to philosophy of building capacity in others and inclusive excellence
  • Center has grown in scope, breadth and reach at all levels of the University
  • Core programs of learning aimed at faculty, graduate and undergraduate students
  • Influence of Light’s ideas on learning and teaching ‘will continue to thrive’ at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Gregory Light, who has been instrumental in innovative change across Northwestern University as the director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching for the last 15 years, will step down from that position, effective Aug. 31.

With the formation of a search committee, a search for his successor will begin soon.

Under Light, who was recruited from the University of London in 2000, the Searle Center has focused on enhancing learning and teaching at all levels of the University, substantially growing in scope, breadth and reach.

He restructured the Searle Center to focus on four core areas of learning at the University -- faculty programs, graduate programs, undergraduate programs and research and evaluation -- each led by an associate director. He has been crucial in conceptualizing and implementing wide-ranging programs, from tailored sessions and workshops, assessments and curriculum support to program evaluations across the University that focus on evidence-based learning.

“Through his tireless commitment to enhancing learning and teaching at Northwestern and beyond, Greg has done much to build community and forge connections among faculty, administrators and students,” said Ronald Braeutigam, associate provost for undergraduate education at Northwestern.

“The influence of his ideas and his commitment to advancing learning and teaching will continue to thrive and inspire members of the Northwestern community and beyond.”

Across the University, Light has collaborated on 10 major grant-funded projects, including the Gateway Science Workshop program (Mellon Foundation); Northwestern University Ventures in Biology Education (Howard Hughes Medical Institute); the CLIMB program (National Institutes of Health), the Critical Thinking in STEM (National Science Foundation) and the Palestinian Faculty Development Program.

He has served on numerous committees to enhance the culture of learning, including the University Diversity Council, the Educational Technologies Advisory Committee, the University Course and Teaching Evaluation Committee, the University Council on Assessment and Accreditation and the University Classroom Committee.

A committed educator, Light also was pivotal in the reconfiguration of the Masters of Higher Education Administration Program in 2002; he taught in the program as well as served in an advisory role for the last 13 years. He has mentored many students and colleagues throughout that time, adhering to a philosophy of building capacity in others and inclusive excellence.

Beyond his work at Northwestern, Light also has contributed extensively to the larger academic community, nationally and internationally. He is the author of “Making Scientists: Six Principles for Effective College Teaching” (with Marina Micari, 2013) and “Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: The Reflective Professional” (with Roy Cox and Susanna Calkins, 2001, and Susanna Calkins, 2009). He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, often collaborating with others throughout the University.

His most recent international projects have been in the Middle East and South America, and he has consulted with universities around the world -- on every continent except Antarctica. He has delivered more than 150 invited talks, keynotes and workshops on a wide range of topics related to pedagogy and learning in higher and professional education.

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