Center for Teaching and Learning

Robyn Dunbar and a student


The Teaching Commons and the Center for Teaching and Learning are now part of a new organization, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, or VPTL.

We are joining with colleagues from the former Academic Computing Services, the Classroom Technology Group within the Office of the Registrar, and Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL) to support teaching and learning at Stanford in a richer and more integrated way.  More about VPTL's creation.

Please visit VPTL's online home at for more information.

What we do

Mariatte Denman lecturing in front of a whiteboard.

What we believe

Robyn Dunbar and Professor Julie Kennedy

In its broadest terms, our purpose is to promote excellence in teaching at all ranks and excellence in student learning inside and outside the classroom. Our goal is to see teaching equally valued with research as a professional commitment of faculty and teaching assistants and to provide the training and resources to make excellent teaching possible. Effective teaching encompasses more than just the transmission of subject matter, however. Excellent teaching, first of all, gains the students' attention and convinces them of the importance of what is being taught and learned. It goes on to communicate not only information and concepts but to develop powers of analysis, synthesis, judgment, and evaluation, all in a context of considered values. When teaching has truly succeeded, students leave with an ability to learn, question, and commit on their own.

Tim Randazzo speaking at a CTL event

Our goals for student learning are complementary—that students not settle for just learning the "stuff" or enough "stuff" for a decent grade. They should be training their minds and sensibilities for a lifetime responsibility of critical, independent thought and commitment to personal and community goals. They should have high expectations of their own efforts and of their teachers' efforts. They should see learning as extending far beyond the classroom to most of what they experience.