Thomas C. Laughner, PhD, has been named the Director for the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Dr. Laughner will oversee the design, development, delivery and evaluation of the services offered at the TLC. Dr. Laughner will be responsible for the services offered through TLC which include academic courses and programs; delivery of web and distance learning tools; and the expansion of emerging technologies in simulation, testing modalities, and meeting academic requirements of accreditation agencies.
In addition, Dr. Laughner will manage the continuity of analytics and support, faculty consultations, leadership and team development, instructional design and mapping, and evaluation and assessment of student learning outcomes.
Dr. Laughner said his vision for the TLC focuses on pedagogy first.
“Right now we are really focused on technology. I want to change that focus to pedagogy first,” Dr. Laughner said. “Technology is one of many tools that can help faculty. It’s a wonderful thing and appeals to many different teaching and learning styles. It can certainly help faculty with effectiveness and efficiency, but I don’t want our Teaching and Learning Center to lead with technology.”
Instead he would like for the TLC to be seen as a resource where UTHSC faculty and students can engage on current pedagogical research and a place for the campus to come to have collaborative discussions. “As an educator, we have a full suite of tools – technology, pedagogical research, and scholarship – on how we teach students that can help faculty think about how they can reach their students and help them learn. I would like the TLC to be a place where we can have conversations with faculty one on one or in large settings about ways students can learn better. Taking advantage of the resources we have here, but also recognizing that the faculty here have a breadth of experience in this and using the Teaching and Learning Center as a clearinghouse to help faculty understand what else is going on around campus.”
The TLC will continue to work with key campus partners including the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation, the Health Sciences Library, Information Technology Services, and Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion in order to foster ideas and collaborative discussions.
Dr. Laughner joins UTHSC after more than 12 years with Smith College, a leading women’s liberal arts college in the United States. He served as director of Educational Technology Services and Information Technology Services and oversaw three areas including classroom and event support, media production, and instructional technology and design. Dr. Laughner is credited with leading a staff in creating and launching the college’s first online courses, including a course titled the Psychology of Political Activism, which garnered global enrollment.
He aligned educational technology services with information technology for the campus which resulted in increased innovations including the development of new resources and technology at the campus library and the redesign of technology offered in more than 100 classrooms. He also managed a $1 million budget for education technology services.
Prior to Smith College, Dr. Laughner held leadership roles at the University of Notre Dame, including a period directing the teaching and learning center as well as associate director for Educational Technologies. He has taught a range of courses including statistics and quantitative analysis, research methods, organizational behavior, and leadership.
Dr. Laughner earned a PhD in curriculum and instruction from Andrews University, a Master of Arts degree in education and human development and educational technology leadership from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Arizona.