Middle Tennessee State University recently dedicated the Lucinda Taylor Lea Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technologies Center in honor of the person whose vision brought the instructional support resource to fruition 15 years ago.
Lea, MTSU vice president emeritus for information technology and chief information officer, was honored at a special ceremony June 17 at the center on the third floor of the James E. Walker Library.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee praised Lea, who served the university from 1973 to 2010, for her passion in pushing for creation of the center, known on campus as the LT&ITC.
Lea was the first director of the center and later became the university’s first vice president of information technology and chief information officer.
“She was among the first to see the potential and have the vision to enhance the use of technology in the learning environment,” McPhee said. “It was the vision to establish this incredible division for our university.”
Lea thanked those who helped develop the center, which brings faculty together to develop and improve instructional methods and provides training on how to best use tools like audio/video software to enhance their classroom and online courses.
“Education, and in particular public education, has been a major focus of my life. It’s been my life story, really,” Lea said. “Technology does not make a teacher a good teacher. It’s just another tool, like a book, in the tool kit to enhance teaching and learning, because we all know that we learn in many different ways.”
Bruce Petryshak, current vice president for information technology and chief information officer, said the strength of the center is that it stems from a partnership between the university’s Information Technology Division and the Division of Academic Affairs.
“There’s an old African proverb that says ‘If you want to go fast, you go alone, and if you want to go far, you go together,’” Petryshak said, “and I think Lucinda knew that when she got the idea and the vision for this center, because it’s a partnership between two divisions. And I think that partnership really helped this area go farther.”
Dr. Tom Brinthaupt, the center’s director of faculty development, said the LT&ITC has focused on instructional and educational technologies from the beginning in 2004 as “essential” and “pervasive” in relation to faculty instructional success.
“And that came from the vision of Lucinda, and that continues to be important,” Brinthaupt said.
“If you look at any mode of delivery that any faculty member would be using — a face-to-face course, an online course, or a combination of those things — we’re using technology. … Lucinda saw that very early on.”
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)