Michele DiPietro

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KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Dec. 2, 2015) — Teaching others about best practices for learning-…

Georgia (Dec 2, 2015)KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Dec. 2, 2015) — Teaching others about best practices for learning-centered classrooms, Michele DiPietro, executive director of Kennesaw State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, has traveled around the world this fall – all in a matter of weeks.

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A renowned expert on learning, DiPietro is often called on by organizations around the globe, from universities to foundations, to help instructors improve their teaching skills.

DiPietro’s jet-setting adventures began in Italy in late October, where he is helping launch the country’s first teaching center at the University of Padua, the second oldest university in Italy.  He lectured, in the same auditorium as Galileo once did, and taught how to professionally prepare faculty to teach.

“I can provide the U.S. perspective, but I am also Italian and know the system and the language,” DiPietro said. “The Italians often refer to the KSU learning model as something that is sensible and viable for Italy.”

DiPietro’s qualifications, however, do not limit him to higher education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sought DiPietro’s expertise when the Foundation’s global health division was experiencing low immunization rates due to weaknesses in local training delivery.

“It’s the first time that the Gates Foundation tried something like this, getting public health content experts in the same room with the learning scientists,” DiPietro said. “I shared ideas about the determinants of learning as well as strategies to move away from the concept of training as an information dump.”

DiPietro’s strategies are based on “How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching,” a book he authored with five academic experts to bridge the gap between the technical research and practical classroom strategies.

As the leader for KSU’s CETL since 2010, DiPietro helps faculty understand how to leverage the motivation and cognitive abilities of students and how to create a productive climate for learning. 

Last month, DiPietro was recognized for his impact in the field of educational development, earning the 2015 Bob Pierlleoni Spirit of POD Award. This award is the highest honor bestowed on members of the POD Network of Higher Education, the professional society for Teaching and Learning Centers in North America. The award was presented in San Francisco during the organization’s annual meeting and is given for career achievements in scholarship and service to advance the goals of the organization, embody the values of sharing and community, and leave a lasting legacy to the field.

“Michele is a champion of faculty development on our campus especially related to teaching.  He is an effective advocate for recognizing the value of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Ron Matson, associate vice president for faculty at Kennesaw State. He oversees the allocation funds for faculty development programs dealing with novel pedagogical methods. He freely gives of his time and always has the best interests of faculty at heart.”

Expanding on KSU’s global engagement initiatives, DiPietro spent time in Tokyo, Japan training newcomers as part of the Institute for New Faculty Developers. Faculty development is mandated by the Japanese government, explained DiPietro, and as a new venture, Japan turned to the U.S. for inspiration.

DiPietro also led 40 Teikyo University faculty in a course redesign workshop and served on a panel about the future of higher education, discussing the paradigm shift from teaching-centered to learning-centered institutions.

“With no qualifying degree in the field of higher education learning development, we all need on-the-job training,” DiPietro added.   

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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