CELTSS selects new leaders
By Haley Hadge
The director and assistant director for the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship, and Service (CELTSS) for the 2021-22 academic year will be Professors Lina Rincón and Lissa Bollettino, according to an email announcement from the Office of the Provost on April 9.
Rincón is CELTSS’ current assistant director and will be the new director. History Professor Bollettino will be the assistant director.
History Professor Jon Huibregtse has directed the program for the past three years and was a member of the original founding volunteer committee that set the foundation of CELTSS in 2007.
During his time as director, Huibregtse said he played a role in maintaining the Center’s mission to promote and assist faculty members’ development of their teaching, scholarship, and creativity.
Regarding Rincón and Bollettino, he said, “I know both of those folks very well, and I think they’ll work really well together.”
According to CELTSS’ page on the Framingham State website, it is “designed to be a reflexive and collaborative resource: participants and award recipients are encouraged to pursue their interests and share their experiences with the University community through practica and collaborative events.”
CELTSS organizes and runs workshops and mentoring programs, provides individual and group research awards, and generates thought-provoking events that foster and showcase faculty engagement with a wide range of topics, according to the CELTSS page.
The directors and faculty volunteers of CELTSS run pedagogy workshops. The participants can then implement what they learned in their classrooms to foster academic excellence. The director and assistant director work collaboratively with each other in an effort to facilitate these events.
Rincón said, “I really want to do this, not only for our faculty, but especially for our students because our ability to provide support to our faculty to be better teachers, to have better pedagogy ... [will] have an impact on the experience that our students have in the classroom.”
She added, “I’m going to be able to really bridge the needs of our students with the needs of our faculty.”
Rincón said her responsibilities as director include reviewing funding proposals for faculty teaching and scholarships as well as coordinating and overseeing Faculty Development Days and writing retreats.
As director, she will help faculty “hone their practice, [and] provide them with the support and the resources they need,” as a way to encourage innovative and effective pedagogy, she said.
Bollettino said as assistant director, she will work closely with Rincón to continue to ensure and promote an environment of teamwork.
She will be functioning as “the liaison between the faculty and the administration,” she said.
As interim director, Rincón said she acquired funding for membership at the nationally renowned National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity.
One of her goals as director is to advance more anti-racism initiatives within the University, she said.
She has led conversations with 15 faculty members to open a dialogue on how to “become anti-racist – what that means in regards to our curriculum, what that means in regards to our pedagogy, and what that means in regards to our interactions with students,” she said.
Bollettino said the program is “embracing anti-racist pedagogy, so we’re actually seeing the whole student who is in front of us and meeting each and every individual student’s particular needs.”
She added that in order for students to have their voices be heard and valued, faculty need to be “equipped” with the training on how to cultivate an “active and engaged classroom” environment.
“Our students need that and they deserve that,” she said.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CELTSS pivoted to a primarily online forum.
Huibregtse said the CELTSS community and team adapted quickly to the remote format, developed programming, and coordinated with the ETO [Education Technology Office].
During this time, Rincón served as interim director.
Bollettino said, “CELTSS offers community, and this is something I think we’re all craving” given the challenging year everyone has had to endure with the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added, “We really need to be able to meet not only their academic needs, but also their emotional needs.”
The program creates spaces for meaningful conversations to take place so that faculty can strengthen their skill sets as well as broaden their knowledge base to be effective change agents for the community, she said.
“When we come together and share what we’re doing, we can really learn from one another and really improve our practice,” Bollettino said.