UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Ray Purdom looks back

“UNCG embraces student learning as its highest priority and provides exemplary learning environments,” says the first line of UNCG’s Vision for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Ray Purdom, who retires today as director of the University Teaching & Learning Center (TLC), has led the TLC for the last 15 years.

That vision, which he was instrumental in developing, has been at the center of the TLC during his tenure. “The faculty are committed to introducing students to the most important knowledge and research in their disciplines, fostering intellectual depth and breadth, and opening students to new possibilities for understanding themselves and the world,” it says, in part. “The faculty employ the growing body of knowledge about learning and work continually to evaluate and improve their teaching methods and materials.”

Ask him about his 15 years at UNCG, he speaks of many individuals with whom he has worked and about this vision. Many other things are mentioned or inquired about: Early development of UNCG’s online distance education offerings and its Policy on Distance Education. Creation of the Instructional Technology Consultants Program. Bringing the Lilly Conference to our campus. UNCG being the first UNC campus to have a campus-wide course management sytem (TopClass). And the first UNC campus to have its course management system (which is Blackboard) fully integrated with its student information system (which is Banner). But it comes back to the people – the faculty and the students.

The TLC has helped in the teaching and faculty development of many hundreds of faculty members – who have had an impact on many thousands of students.

The influence they’ve had is like ripples in a lake. “You never know how your influence goes,” he reflects. He tells a great anecdote: The TLC hosted a webinar on innovative student unions – one focus was on a university where the library and student union were joined. After the webinar and some discussion afterward, the university librarian at the time put forth the idea to create the current connector between the EUC and Jackson Library.

That one webinar apparently helped in bringing such an excellent idea to the fore is a perfect example of the impact UNCG individuals have, in ways big and small – often without even realizing the far-reaching significance.

By Mike Harris