Pelzel LEARNs new role

Savannah Hernandez, Assistant News Editor

UW-Whitewater Learning Enhancement, Assessment and Research Network (LEARN) Center’s new director Heather Pelzel has many goals that she hopes to focus on during this academic year.

“One of our goals for the year is trying to draw in new people,” Pelzel said. “We have participants from every college on campus, but there could always be more. There is a bigger population out there that we could be reaching, and I’m trying to figure out formats and programs to reach more people.”

Pelzel has worked for UW-W for nine years. Before becoming the director, she was a faculty fellow, and also teaches in the biology department. She shared that being a teacher has helped her shape the goals of LEARN.

“The Center is there to help teachers improve student learning. I like to focus on the learning part more than the teaching part because you can teach all you want but if nobody learns anything it doesn’t matter.”

Pelzel said that being a teacher helped her look at LEARN from a different perspective, such as finding new ways to interact with students and practices.

“Being director pulls me out of the classroom, which is what I really like to do, but considering how I can make an impact in my classrooms, I can [also] impact my students working with the LEARN Center and have the opportunity to have an impact on [more] students.”

Pelzel believes that student needs and issues are what push LEARN to keep evolving.

“Staying connected to the students informs what we do, and our program needs to represent what is needed in the campus now,” she said.

While Pelzel is eager to reach out to students and impact students through instructors, she also wants to make sure that more instructors know that LEARN is a resource for them.

“One thing we’re digging into is [helping] part time or limited term instructors who don’t fall into the normal categories we target,” Pelzel said. “[I am] thinking of ways that we can reach out to those instructors too, because they are a really important part of our instructor group.”

LEARN has many programs and activities for instructors to take part in in order to further teaching and communication skills. Pelzel encourages all faculty on campus to participate in programs that LEARN has to offer.