Associate Provost for Digital Education and Teaching Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Type: Full Time
The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) invites nominations and applications for the position of Associate Provost for Digital Education and Teaching Innovation (AP). Reporting to the Provost and serving as a member of the Provost’s cabinet, the AP will be responsible for developing and implementing a University-wide strategy for high-quality online instruction for traditional and non-traditional learners. The AP will also be responsible for leading innovation and excellence in support of on-campus teaching, learning, assessment, diversity in the curriculum, and other teaching activities across the institution. The AP will oversee faculty support services that are focused on improving teaching for diverse learners through evidence-based pedagogical strategies, professional workshops and seminars, assessment services, and impactful application of educational technologies. Units reporting directly to the AP include the University Center for Teaching and Learning (UCTL) and Pitt Online, which currently resides within the center.
Pitt seeks a visionary leader who is excited about the role of online and digital learning and who can spearhead efforts to expand access to a Pitt education. The successful candidate will guide Pitt in making significant investments in capabilities to enable continued excellence in teaching and learning and to expand high-quality online learning opportunities.
The AP provides leadership to a team of 55 staff and administers an operating budget of $5.5 million. In addition, Pitt plans investments in excess of $1 million to fund additional positions and operating costs to enable the online strategy.
The successful candidate will be an experienced leader with knowledge of effective pedagogy and an established track record in building, implementing, and managing an online education enterprise. The position also requires knowledge of effective practices in pedagogy for diverse learners and contexts, faculty professional development, and effective use of educational technologies in both online and in-person courses. Familiarity with accreditation practices and requirements and federal and state regulations pertaining to online education compliance is necessary. Expertise in negotiating academic/corporate partnerships and business arrangements in online program management is highly desirable, as is some background in market research and promotion. Teaching experience at the university level is helpful. A doctoral degree is preferred, a master’s degree is required.
The University Center for Teaching and Learning and Online Learning at Pitt
The University Center for Teaching and Learning is a service unit that provides central support for teaching, online learning, educational technology, learning space design, classroom technologies, and media services. Serving the Pittsburgh and regional campuses, the center is also home to the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching, the University of Pittsburgh Testing Center, and the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Curriculum.
The Pitt Online Services team within the UCTL provides consultation, course development, faculty support, and course/program maintenance for Pitt Online degree and certificate programs and for the Pitt Professional continuing and professional education platform. Pitt has enrolled students in fully online programs since 2009. Of the 64 graduate certificate or degree programs with online options (currently no undergraduate degree programs are fully online) some programs are fully supported centrally by UCTL and others by units within the University that have created their own online development teams and/or have contracted with external online program management providers. Still other programs are developed and supported using partnership models. A wide variety of online continuing education/non-credit programs are also offered across the institution. The AP will facilitate a shift toward a coordinated University-wide strategy that also supports the entrepreneurial nature of many academic units.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
The University of Pittsburgh is dedicated to changing internal practices, structures, and attitudes in pursuit of a more equitable and just institution. This is a comprehensive and crosscutting effort, requiring action from all areas of the University, and Pitt is committed to sustaining this transformation over time. To ensure transparency and accountability, the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion was established in 2015 to help build the University into a world-class model of diversity and inclusion defined by inclusive excellence and an environment that allows everyone to thrive. Efforts to support a diverse and inclusive faculty include a cluster hire initiative focused on Race and Social Determinants of Equity, Health and Well-being, as well as a broader Faculty Diversity Recruitment Initiative. A Latinx faculty cluster hire initiative recently concluded and additional cluster hire initiatives are under consideration. The Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers programs and resources aimed at fostering an inclusive environment within the schools of the health professions. In 2019, the University launched the Pitt Success Pell Match Program—which matches Federal Pell Grants awarded to undergraduate students on all campuses—to increase access to, and the affordability of, a Pitt education. Associated programing, such as the summer Provost Academy, and a strong focus on personalized mentoring and advising help all students to succeed in their studies.
The UCTL leads a number of initiatives through the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Curriculum, including hosting the Provost’s Diversity Institute for Faculty Development and overseeing the Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum. The UCTL also provides a wide variety of diversity, equity and inclusion teaching resources, and offers a broad array of workshops. Over 2,300 people have attended UCTL diversity events since 2015. In Fall 2020, Pitt developed an Anti-Black Racism course with significant support from the UCTL. Much of the course content is freely available to the public.
Leadership Agenda for the Associate Provost
This position is founded in collaboration. Aligning with the University’s strategic plan, the Plan for Pitt, the AP will work with deans and academic leaders, faculty, administrators, corporate partners, and development teams to identify areas of growth in online and hybrid initiatives and build the processes, business models, and resources needed to achieve that growth. This work will include identification of opportunities to grow enrollment or expand access, creation of financial and resource plans, building teams to fulfill strategic priorities, guiding program creation, implementation and management, data collection and assessment of outcomes, ensuring regulatory compliance, and regular reporting to the Provost and other stakeholders.
The Associate Provost will implement measures to sustain the quality of the UCTL’s offerings and expand its capacity. Additional strategic priorities for the AP include:
Facilitate the development of Pitt’s overarching online education strategy.
Build out Pitt Online central services and processes to coordinate with academic units on the development, delivery, marketing, enrollment, faculty support, and learner support for online and hybrid programs.
Establish relationships with online education providers and advise academic units in instances when it would be beneficial to partner with an outside vendor.
Develop an organizational model and staffing plan to expand capacity to deliver instructional design, media, and related support for in-person and online courses.
In consultation with academic leadership, implement a process to coordinate the review and approval of new online offerings including validating market viability, establishing pricing strategies, and planning student recruitment and support.
Institute regular processes and capabilities to scan markets and propose changes to Pitt’s portfolio of online offerings to take advantage of new opportunities and further the goals of Pitt’s schools and colleges.
Lead a collaborative marketing and student support strategy for online learning that extends the University’s brand to the online education space.
Collaborate with faculty, academic leadership and Pitt IT to design and support innovative and effective learning spaces.
Extend efforts to support effective practices in pedagogy for diverse learners and contexts.
Expand capacity to assist faculty as they discover and evaluate the applicability of new technologies to teaching and learning in all modalities.
The AP will work to promote the Pitt brand and identify opportunities that advance the Plan for Pitt. They will help represent Pitt in the national and international conversation about the future of digital education and innovation in educational technology.
In collaboration with the vice provosts, deans, administrators, and other stakeholders:
Provide leadership for the development and implementation of both degree and non-degree program offerings, including non-credit to credit pathways, stackable credentials, and programs to meet the needs of the adult workforce.
Coordinate internal and external market research efforts to assess the University’s current online programs and future plans against market demand.
Develop recommendations for the evolution of marketing and recruitment strategies, in conjunction with University experts.
Coordinate collaborative efforts to design and support learning spaces.
Serve as the central relationship manager with corporate online program management (OPM) partners, in collaboration with deans and academic units.
Review current approaches for delivering digital and hybrid education and develop recommendations for how best to advance Pitt’s digital education strategy.
Identify strategies to expand capacity to provide instructional design, media and technology support to faculty teaching online and in-person.
Oversee the University Center for Teaching and Learning (UCTL), which provides a broad range of teaching support services to Pitt faculty and provides significant services to support online learning.
Develop and implement strategies to support the career development, retention and professional growth of the UCTL staff.
Facilitate the review of practices and policies for hidden bias.
Cultivate an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace.
The University of Pittsburgh
Since 1787, the University of Pittsburgh has never stopped pushing the edge of what’s possible. From research achievements to the quality of its academic programs, Pitt ranks among the best in higher education. As one of the largest institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania and one of oldest in the United States, the University is a state-related public institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. With a total enrollment of nearly 30,000 students on the Pittsburgh campus, Pitt is internationally respected as a center for learning and research that is consistently ranked by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings as the top public university in the Northeast.
Faculty members have made notable advances in the humanities and sciences, earning such prestigious honors as the National Medal of Science, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, and election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. Alumni have won Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes; led corporations and universities; served in government and the military; pioneered in areas such as MRI and television; conquered Hollywood and The New York Times best sellers list; won Super Bowls, NBA championships, and Olympic medals; and been inducted into Halls of Fame. Students come to Pitt from all 50 states, three territories, the District of Columbia, and more than 100 countries.
With four regional campuses in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown and Titusville, Pitt offers a vast array of opportunities and more than 650 degree and certificate programs. More than 13,900 faculty, research associates, and staff members are employed on the Pittsburgh campus, and another 700 work at the University’s four regional campuses. Pitt offers generous health and retirement benefits and values work-life balance.
The 132-acre Pittsburgh campus, in the vibrant and beautiful Oakland neighborhood, is home to all of the University’s schools and colleges and is proximate to the highly ranked UPMC (formerly University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). Pitt has served as an integral partner and key player in driving the growth of the education and health services sector in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region.
The city of Pittsburgh is located in Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is a vibrant, mid-sized city that has the feel of a small town. Its approachability can be seen on the faces of its energetic, hard-working, and proud people. Its Gilded Age sites, including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, speak to its history as an early-20th century industrial capital. Located on the North Shore are the modern Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Science Center, Acrisure football stadium, and PNC Park baseball stadium. One can bike, walk, or rollerblade miles of riverfront trails, and soak in fantastic urban views, including the city’s famed downtown skyline. Wrapped in rivers, intertwined with trails, and packed with parks, Pittsburgh is a green and outdoor city in close contact with its surrounding countryside.
The greater Pittsburgh area is a metropolitan region of more than 2.3 million residents that encompasses Allegheny County and six adjacent counties. One-fifth of Pennsylvania’s residents live in the region. Many of Western Pennsylvania’s industries are interconnected with northeastern Ohio, effectively forming a mega-metropolitan area. Western Pennsylvania is a sports-loving community, and the University of Pittsburgh’s athletic teams are supported with great fanfare by alumni as well as longtime fans with no formal connection to the institution. With a population of more than 300,000, the strength of Pittsburgh lies in the friendliness of its people and the beauty of its landscape. In the eyes of its many visitors, Pittsburgh offers a surprising and unexpected experience, with natural beauty, unique terrain, and diverse offerings at every turn. Pittsburgh’s history and blue-collar image make the city and its inhabitants approachable and unpretentious.
A city built on innovation, Pittsburgh continues to push the envelope with major contributions in technology, education, medicine, and beyond. In fact, in 2022, WalletHub named Greater Pittsburgh in the top ten for metro-area STEM professionals. Pittsburgh also boasts a vibrant art and music scene including a renowned symphony orchestra, opera, ballet, and modern dance company—there’s always something happening in Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh hosts a high concentration of influential nonprofits, such as the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Hillman Family Foundations, Heinz Endowments and Pittsburgh Foundation and, as an international center of emerging information technology, it is home to companies such as Duolingo, one of Google’s national offices, a Facebook Reality Lab, and multiple autonomous vehicle development efforts. The city also has a long history in banking and manufacturing and is becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing.
This position requires at least 10 years of progressively more responsible leadership experience (in a senior-level role) in a teaching/learning/technology environment, and a strong familiarity with the competitive landscape of online education. A doctoral degree is preferred; a master’s degree is required. In addition, well-qualified candidates will have many of these skills and abilities:
Demonstrated success in building and managing online educational programs and a vision for the future of online learning.
Expertise in negotiating academic/corporate partnerships.
Demonstrated ability to use innovative approaches to support teaching and learning online and in-person.
Strong understanding of digital pedagogy and the applications of learning technologies (beyond the LMS or videoconferencing to include technologies such as simulations, extended reality, and the future metaverse).
Familiarity with effective practices in learning space design and support.
Demonstrated ability to build strong working relationships with internal and external partners, and to meaningfully interact with diverse populations including staff, faculty and students.
Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
Experience creating educational programs and pedagogy to meet the needs of underrepresented learners.
Ability to create, lead, and motivate high-performing teams.
A demonstrated ability to create a positive, inclusive culture
Teaching experience at the college or university level preferred