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Dr. Melinda Maris, New Director of Center for Teaching and Learning

Southern Vermont College (SVC) has announced that Melinda Maris, Ph.D., will join the staff as Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) on Feb. 1. Maris, an award-winning teacher and scientist, will also serve as Associate Provost for Student Success and Associate Professor of Biology. As head of the CTL, she will manage the College’s TRIO Student Support program.

Maris comes to SVC from Vesalius College, a liberal arts college in Brussels, Belgium, where she was the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, the founding Director of Student Learning and Educational Development, and an Assistant Professor of Biology.

“We are delighted to welcome Mindy Maris,” said James White, Provost and Dean of the College at SVC. “Her experience in using evidence-based methods and research to improve how students learn—having established five new teaching and learning support centers at different institutions over the course of her career—will contribute greatly to our community and to enhancing and enriching our students’ learning.”

Maris received her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University in Georgia. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, where she has continued to teach since 2008. She also holds a B.S. degree in biology from the College of William and Mary.

Since earning her doctorate, Maris has held faculty positions, student support positions, and faculty development positions at a wide range of institutions around the world, from organizations for gifted children to community colleges to liberal arts colleges to medical schools, providing her with insight into the teaching and learning needs of diverse learning environments. Prior to working at Vesalius College, her post was Inaugural Learning Strategies Specialist and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry on the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Maris was attracted to SVC because the values of the College aligned with her values. “I could see that SVC is a place where the members of the community truly live their values, particularly with regard to their commitment to student success,” Maris stated. “I was also so impressed by the warm community, and I really wanted to be a part of that community.”

Maris is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named a Biology Scholar by the National Science Foundation and the American Society for Microbiology, a Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Humanities/Arthur Blank Teaching Fellow. She has also been awarded grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to implement transformative, experience-based science courses.

Since 1978, SVC’s Center for Teaching and Learning has helped thousands of students in their quest to achieve a college degree. As the primary office of academic support at the College, the CTL provides a wide range of services that help students get the most out of their college education. The CTL also houses TRIO, a federally-funded program designed to provide enhanced support to targeted individuals—the first in their families to go to college, from low-income households, and/or having a documented disability—as they progress towards graduation.

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