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What do Nuclear Energy, the Peace Corps, and CETL Marietta have in common? New Associate Director Tris Utschig

Sep 21, 2016 | by Tris Utschig | Kennesaw State University

CETL Marietta is now permanently staffed! My name is Tris Utschig, and I am truly excited to be here. In this blog post I would like to accomplish three things: first, to tell you a little bit about myself; second, to explain what I am planning for CETL Marietta; and third, to offer several ways I can be of immediate service.

Who am I?

I have lived in Marietta for 10 years. My wife Kari and I love going to Marietta Square, biking the Silver Comet Trail, and hiking around Kennesaw Mountain with our two children. My kids (6th and 9th grade) attend the Marietta City Schools and keep us busy with sports and other activities.

My career in teaching began in the Peace Corps at Leklebi Secondary School in Ghana, West Africa where I taught math and science. Most recently, I spent 10 years at the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and the Office of Assessment at Georgia Tech. There, I worked with faculty across the University to help them implement and assess teaching innovations at all levels. Projects ranged from the very small (a single assignment, module, or active learning technique) to the very large (multidisciplinary grant funded projects affecting 10 or more faculty implementing innovative pedagogy in their courses).

My STEM background is a big part of the reason I was hired to serve the Marietta campus. I have two undergraduate degrees, one in physics and one in nuclear engineering, and my graduate degrees are in nuclear engineering and engineering physics. All of my degrees are from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I have taught a variety of courses for a pre-engineering associate's degree (which I developed while at Lewis-Clark State College) and for nuclear and mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. So, I understand the STEM instructional context extremely well. For my colleagues in DWAMA or other fields, I also have lots of experience working with faculty in disciplines like yours, such as with the Brittain Fellows at Georgia Tech who teach literature and writing.

What am I doing to grow CETL Marietta?

I am initiating a research-based needs assessment process to gather feedback from Marietta campus faculty and administrative leaders about what events and services will best address your needs. So, don't be surprised if I ask you for feedback this fall! I am looking forward to developing and offering those events and services starting in Spring 2017.

I am also co-leading two of CETL's flagship series workshops which will be held on the Marietta campus this fall - one November 17th on designing capstone courses and other learning experiences to facilitate integrative learning, and one December 7th on collaborative learning. You can register here.

Finally, I am taking on leadership roles for two faculty learning communities - The Research on Teaching and Learning Community that began at SPSU, and the College of Science and Mathematics Student Success Initiative.

How can I help you?

Individual consultations or classroom observations may be the most direct way to connect with me. All consultations at CETL are collaborative (we build teaching plans together that suit you), constructive (we are here to help, not evaluate), and confidential. Consultations can start as small as a conversation where I serve as a friendly ear for you to share or explore ideas about teaching and learning, or they can grow into an ongoing collaborative effort to help you implement more complex pedagogical approaches and perhaps even publish your work. I have helped quite a few faculty with Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) studies following an easy to use format[1].

If you or your unit have a specific need, I can create custom workshops to address those needs with your group. Similarly, I can help you or your unit create and implement plans to assess student learning for specific teaching innovations you may be considering, or to discover ways to assess complex student learning outcomes such as problem solving or critical thinking with well established tools[2]. Finally, I can also help with proposal development for grants with an educational component.

Please stop by and see me to learn more about how I can help you. I am located in the Library Annex, suite C-133, room C-134C. Enter at the Rotunda entrance. Or, you can stop by the CETL conference room in H-202.


  1. Savory, P., Burnett, A.N., & Goodburn, A. (2007). Inquiry into the College Classroom: A Journey Toward Scholarly Teaching, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  2. American Association of Colleges and Universities. VALUE Rubric Development Project, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Retrieved September 12, 2016, from