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About Us

Learn about the Teaching Commons team and our efforts to bring people together.

About the Stanford Teaching Commons

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The Teaching Commons website is part of Stanford's Teaching Commons, a multi-faceted initiative to sustain a vibrant culture of teaching and learning for everyone at Stanford University.

Our diverse coalition of cross-campus partners from over a dozen programs strives to advance teaching and learning, support continuous growth, and build collaborative partnerships. We amplify the expertise and impact of our partners by promoting each other’s work, providing a forum for coordination, and contributing time and resources to assist one another.

A brief history of the Teaching Commons

Teaching Commons will be familiar to many at Stanford. The first iteration of the Teaching Commons was a flagship website project created in 2013 by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), while in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) and the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL).

In 2015, CTL and VPOL joined with others to form a new unit, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL). While many groups, including VPTL and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), were active users of the Teaching Commons, traffic to the site gradually declined, PWR created its own website, and by 2020 the web-hosting platform was also outdated.

In 2020, the rapid transition to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect opportunity to restart the Teaching Commons website. Over the summer of 2020 a collaborative team of higher-education professionals from CTL, VPUE, and beyond, with skills in technology, learning design, communications, and professional development, worked to rapidly redesign and develop content for the Teaching Commons website, using a crowdsourced, collaborative approach to create an impressive and effective range of resources supporting Stanford’s pivot to remote teaching.

The year 2020 also saw the emergence of the TEACH series of professional development programs and the rapid growth of academic technology-related communities of practice (CoP). These efforts similarly leveraged a collaborative crowdsourced approach to support effective teaching and learning. 

In 2021, as Stanford resumed in-person instruction, the three teams behind the Teaching Commons website, TEACH events, and the Academic Technology CoP, joined together to establish a broader partnership with the mission to more comprehensively support a culture of excellence in teaching and learning. 

In 2022, the Teaching Commons continued to build on its successes with expanded and revised resources on the Teaching Commons website, the annual in-person TEACH Conference and quarterly online TEACH Symposia and the network, events, and resources of the Academic Technology CoP. As of early 2024, TEACH events became Teaching Commons events.

Three areas of focus

The Teaching Commons ecosystem includes the Teaching Commons website, professional development events, and Teaching Commons communities of practice.

The Teaching Commons website is where all members of the Stanford community find resources, consider solutions, and explore strategies curated from across the university to enhance their teaching and learning practices.

Professional development events feature innovative teaching ideas, opportunities to ask and answer questions, and a place to build community across campus for all Stanford community members.

Teaching Commons communities of practice bring colleagues together around shared interests in teaching and learning. Part of the larger Stanford Communities of Practice ecosystem, these communities have the added benefit of amplification, connection, and support from the Teaching Commons.

The Teaching Commons team, 2023

The Teaching Commons is made possible by the work and dedication of multiple teams of contributors from across the university. 

Teaching Commons Leadership Team

  • Cassandra Volpe-Horii (CTL)
  • Kenji Ikemoto (CTL)  
  • Kimberly Hayworth (LTS)
  • Michael Rouan (CTL)
  • Christine Alfano (PWR)

Events Team

  • Andrei Baltakmens (CTL) 
  • Carlos Seligo (HumBio/CTL)
  • Cassandra Volpe Horii (CTL)
  • Christina Fajardo (GSE) 
  • Hollie Fortkamp (SIS)
  • Kenji Ikemoto (CTL)
  • Michael Rouan (CTL)

Teaching Commons Website Team

  • Alison Brauneis (GSB)
  • Andrei Baltakmens (CTL)
  • Beth Seltzer (GSB)
  • Cassandra Volpe Horii (CTL)
  • Christine Fajardo (GSE IT)
  • Cyndi Berhtram (Digital Education)
  • Deila Bumgardner (School of Medicine) 
  • Hollie Fortkamp (IntroSems)
  • Jon Jamieson (GSB)
  • Kenji Ikemoto (CTL) 
  • Kenny Ligda (CTL) 
  • Kimberly Hayworth (LTS)
  • Kristin Arguedas (CTL)
  • Mae Bethel (GSE IT)
  • Paige Coleman (Learning Technologies & Spaces)

We also recognize the hard work and expertise of many people who have contributed to the Teaching Commons in previous years, without their support this resource would not exist.

Join the Teaching Commons team

The success of the Teaching Commons depends on the efforts of individual team members contributing toward our common goal. We are a diverse, dedicated, and compassionate community of educators who welcome all members of the Stanford community. Join our team to partner with like-minded colleagues, share resources and expertise, bring visibility to your work, and develop yourself professionally. To learn more contact us at TeachingCommons@stanford.edu.