Roshini Ramachandran

Staff Highlights – Roshini Ramachandran

Roshini Ramachandran

Taking a risk to move across the world from Chennai, India, where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, Roshini Ramachandran came to the United States to earn her PhD at the University of Georgia. She is atrained Chemist who has always been interested in teaching, training and active-learning. Undoubtedly these passions started early in life from the guidance of her mother. “My mom taught me what active learning is when she didn’t know that term.” When she was younger, her mother’s actions showed her that she could connect with and experience the things she was learning about with little effort. Another inspiring thing to note about her mother is that her career path was not linear. She experienced success in diverse fields like Zoology, Teaching, and Journalism. This example taught Roshini that she could do anything she chooses.

Roshini originally came to UCLA for a teacher/scholar research program to study nanoparticle chemistry. She has since gained impressive rapport with her students, who overwhelmingly appreciate her teaching style and insight. One student commented, “(Roshini) is always prepared and knows exactly what she is talking about. Her discussions really challenge you to think and have helped me grow both in my teaching abilities and in science.” And another agrees, “Professor Ramachandran genuinely cares about her students (multiple office hours, one-on-one appointments, feedback/evaluation surveys) and has multiple resources (LA worksheets, practice tests) to help her students succeed.”

It was here at UCLA that she met Alex Spokoyny, her (favorite) research mentor who has been very encouraging and supportive in navigating her own career path. This path has led her to be hired at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching as Academic Administrator for the Assessment of GE FSI Program. The acronym GE FSI refers to the General Education courses that are part of the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry.

For her first task, Roshini was looking at GE FSI specific courses to see if students are getting the skills they need and completing course objectives and desired program outcomes. “It is my first time taking on a project of this magnitude,” but she is excited, and especially glad to be working on it with both Adrienne Lavine and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald. This project was on such a large scale of data collection that it also enlisted the help of other CAT Department volunteers to go to the classrooms directly and encourage and instruct students on how to complete the survey. With these efforts Roshini was able to exceed her expectations of projected response rates and draw her conclusions of the effectiveness of the GE FSI courses from a rich data pool.

To learn more about Roshini, and her leadership, teaching, and research, please also feel free to visit her personal website: She is a valuable member of the CAT Team who we expect to see more brilliant insight from in the future.

Daniel Tran

Staff Highlights – CCLE’s Daniel Tran

Daniel Tran

For over 25 years, Daniel Tran has operated both in front of and behind the scenes to manage and deliver some of UCLA’s most critical services. Behind that IT curtain you will find  not only a very accomplished IT professional, but also a fascinating and very accomplished person in areas outside his profession. He will never tell you this himself, but Daniel Tran is doing some amazing things at UCLA and in his life!

So who is that masked man behind the CCLE Home technology curtain? For starters, Daniel is someone who has arguably had the greatest impact of a single individual on the core mission of undergraduate teaching and learning at UCLA since CCLE went into full production ten years ago. Why? As CCLE Home’s Systems Engineer, Daniel makes sure CCLE runs 24/7/365 by monitoring, maintaining, fixing, updating, and equipping the servers and their systems, the CCLE application, and all the integration points CCLE has with single sign on, registrar data, MyUCLA Gradebook, and third-party services like TurnitIn and Kaltura, to name a few. Anyone in IT will tell you that systems engineers work long, sometimes unpredictable hours, to reliably deliver the services UCLA students and instructors rely on at all hours of the day.

With that kind of always on-call work demand, you might expect Daniel to enjoy low-output pursuits in his personal life. And yes, Daniel does enjoy restoring old electron tube audio equipment and working on analog circuits.

But 24/7/365 systems upkeep doesn’t stop Daniel Tran from some amazing high-output pursuits, most notably endurance cycling, where you ride long distance over a day or multiple days. Distances can be “double century” (200 miles in a day within a certain time limit) or literally crisscrossing various countrysides on routes of 600km, 1000km, or even 1200km. Daniel’s proudest achievement is completing the prestigious Paris-Brest-Paris “randonneur,” a route of 1200 km (746 miles) that he completed in just under 80 hours. He’s also been inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame for having completed 50+ double centuries.

“I love cycling since my college days,” says Daniel. “I didn’t have a car back then so the bicycle was my only mode of transportation and I fell in love with it. I got back into cycling 6-7 years ago because I have more free time and I also wanted to change to a more healthy lifestyle.”

Some of Daniel’s favorite rides were to the top of Mt. Haleakala, rising 36 miles from sea level to 10000 feet on Maui’s highest point, and in the French Alps along iconic Tour de France routes.

Typically, Daniel rides about 200 miles/week, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s been cut in half. Not able to travel or participate in in-person cycling events, Daniel has turned to Virtual Double Centuries, completing three of them in the past three months either on a smart trainer or riding any outdoor route that meets the required distance and elevation gain. His next virtual doubles are the Southern Inyo Moonlight Double, and the Carmel Valley Double. Which should put him in good form for “the toughest 48 hours in sport,” the Silver State 508 Race: 508.8 miles, 22,574 feet of climbing and covering Reno to Eureka and back within 48 hours.

“Cycling to me is therapeutic. I relax my mind. During the day, I enjoy the outdoor scenery. During the night, I enjoy the night sky and the tranquility. From time to time, I also think about technical work problems on my ride.”

Physics students remote experience

CAT Grant Contributes to Remote Learning Success for Physics Labs

In Spring 2019, CAT awarded an Instructional Improvement Major Grant to Professor Katsushi Arisaka, Professor Jay Hauser, and Dr. George Trammell in Physics & Astronomy for a proposal titled “New Development of Hands-on Physics Laboratory for Scientists and Engineers: Revising Physics 4AL and 4BL.”

The proposal was for revisions to the current Physics 4AL and 4BL courses. These courses are amongst the largest lab-based undergraduate education programs at UCLA, offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Through upgrades to Physics 4AL and 4BL, students will be better equipped to:

  • Problem solve and build solutions as the next generation of scientists and engineers.
  • Understand and apply fundamental principles of physics in the context of rapid technological advancements in daily life.
  • Demonstrate mastery of the latest computer hardware and software tools.

The following three specific concepts are emphasized:

  • Designing new labs with clear scientific aims, based on well-defined top-down hypotheses.
  • Taking full advantage of the latest data collection technology, such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
  • Data gathering and analysis using modern and mainstream computer programming, such as Python-based JupyterLab.

With the COVID-19 situation and move to remote instruction, the professors and TAs were able to utilize these revised concepts and tools to quickly convert their labs to a remote format.

Read about the Remote Instruction Experience from the lab instructors, TAs, students


Student Perspectives on Remote Learning in a Large Organic Chemistry Lecture Course

A recent article by Roshini Ramachandran, CAT’s Assistant Director of Curricular Initiatives, and a colleague in the Chemistry department focuses on student perspectives and instructor insights on remote teaching/learning in CHEM 14C.

The study details the efforts taken in remotely teaching a large organic chemistry lecture course in the midst of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights the instructor’s best practices combined with student perspectives to tackle the various challenges associated with remote learning. The authors hope that this work can assist faculty in remotely teaching their future courses, and contribute to the information being collected globally regarding remote learning in this new situation.

Roshini Ramachandran is the Assistant Director of Curricular Initiatives at UCLA’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She leads the assessment of UCLA’s General Education Foundation of Scientific Inquiry (GE FSI) curriculum and conducts education research to enhance teaching and learning in STEM. She also teaches undergraduate chemistry courses and enjoys mentoring undergraduate students on independent research projects.

Read the article in the Journal of Chemical Education

GE FSI by Major

Committee Update on GE FSI Assessment Project

GE FSI Responses
GE FSI by Major

UCLA Center for the Advancement of Teaching members Roshini Ramachandran, Assistant Director of Curricular Initiatives; Adrienne Lavine, Associate Vice Provost; and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald, Director of the Center for Educational Assessment, met with the GE Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (FSI) steering committee, which consists of faculty representatives from the Undergraduate Council, Faculty Executive Committee, GE Governance Committee, and GE FSI ad hoc committee. The group met to discuss progress on a project to assess UCLA’s GE FSI curriculum, with a focus on the recent UCLA-wide survey administered in Fall 2019 by CAT to collect information regarding students’ attitudes towards science (over 5000 respondents). Survey results showed that UCLA students generally have positive attitudes towards science and the utility of science in their lives, but differences can be seen in the attitudes of STEM major students, non-STEM pre-health students, and non-STEM non-pre-health students.

Elizabeth Goodhue

Welcome New Staff at CAT: Elizabeth Goodhue

Elizabeth Goodhue

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching recently hired Elizabeth Goodhue as the new Associate Director of Faculty Engagement.

Position: Associate Director of Faculty Engagement

Prior to working for CAT: She worked for eight years in the Center for Community Learning helping faculty and graduate students develop community-engaged courses and directing the center’s academic internship program.

Education: Elizabeth got her Ph.D. in English here at UCLA, after studying at the University of Arizona for her Undergraduate education. She is originally from Tucson, AZ.

Best Part of New Job: Continuing to work with faculty and graduate students while helping CAT to imagine and realize our role campus wide. There are many contexts where this may be addressed but Beth is especially excited about developing and supporting faculty-led learning communities and opportunities to support scholarship on teaching and learning. This fall, she has been working with CAT’s Learning Spaces, Design and Maintenance (LSDM) team to gather feedback on how instructors are utilizing the flexible learning spaces they have designed. The plan is to host lunches in the new year to learn from these instructors about what features they still need help using and to support both current and prospective users who want to integrate more active learning into their courses.

Most Challenging Aspect of New Position: “Balancing the diverse needs of our campus-wide initiatives as well as the focused partnerships CAT is developing.”

Passions and Hobbies: Elizabeth is a new mom to her 7-month-old son, Alejandro! She also enjoys yoga, and walks and hikes with her dog Shelly, as well as cooking and baking delicious things.

Proudest Accomplishments: Elizabeth is immensely proud of launching a 495 course on community engaged pedagogy four years ago, which was the first pedagogy course in UCLA’s new Graduate Student Professional Development subject area. She is also very proud of her publishing about pedagogy, as well as being a new mom, and being able to simultaneously transition into both of these new and important roles at home at CAT.

Production Staff Sean Cruser and Kim Cohen

Instructional Media Production Presents at All Staff Meeting

What do you get when you have two bright, talented, and enthusiastic people behind a camera? You get the staff of the Instructional Media Production (IMP) unit of CAT! This quarter’s CAT Unit Spotlight was on IMP, and true to the nature of their work, Sean Cruser and Kim Cohen made an entertaining video explaining a little bit about what they do and how they do it.

While IMP has been part of our department for over 40 years, their services originally began in the 1950’s and originally required a staff of 50 people. With the advancement of technology over the years, including video digitalization, their staff continually reduced to the point that their unit is able to do all this amazing work with only the two of them. There are a handful of other departments on campus that can offer similar services, but IMP remains a favorite among faculty due to their accessibility, large studio space, and high production values. For example, during their presentation, someone asked how the video production that IMP provides is different from BruinCast. The main difference is that BruinCast captures lectures of the instructors for students to review, whereas IMP creates original video content with high-end production values that can feature any desired content.

IMP offers many different kinds of video techniques that makes their service appealing. One well-known feature that the team uses extensively in their videos is the Green Screen technique, which allows them to film someone and place any desired images or text around or behind the speaker. Another interesting and favorite feature that instructors can make use of in a situation like this is to use what is called a “Learning Glass,” where they write information on a transparent blackboard that will make the words seem to magically hover in air to the viewer.

IMP’s versatility is also a major factor in their success. IMP can also offer every phase of video production from designing to archiving. They not only have the advantage of a large recording studio, they are also able to shoot on location. While the majority of content they are producing is for online courses, they also produce videos for many special events like our own Night to Honor Teaching, faculty research lectures, and even for a variety of clients outside UCLA.

Haines 118 After Renovation

Continued Collaborative Efforts for Amazing Classroom Renovations

CAT Learning Spaces has reached a milestone with their Summer Renovations in 2019!  This is the fifth consecutive year that their partnership with Facilities Management and the Department of Project Management (DPM) have successfully collaborated on renovation projects. Ten newly designed rooms brings the number of renovated rooms to 73 overall.  While summer is the most active time for the Learning Spaces Design team, it takes an entire year from the first day of Fall’s zero week to plan and coordinate the renovations.

Here is a quick description of the process from the first day of Fall quarter. After the Design team, led by Daniel Bustos, completes the Audio Visual Upgrades in each of the rooms, the Audio Visual Services (AVS) team, led by Chris Dutton, takes instructors through the new setup. If any issues are found, AVS tries to find the best accommodation for the instructor, which is usually a new accessory needed for the instructor’s own laptop. Classrooms are closely monitored for the rest of the year for any issues, with the introduction to these rooms repeating with each new quarter. For the remaining three months of the year, Facilities, DPM, and Manager of Learning Spaces, Rob Rodgers, meet to discuss the next set of rooms to be renovated. The new year starts off with a final decision on the building, which rooms to be renovated, and what the renovation will entail. Winter quarter wraps up with a rough design of each room; Spring brings about the finalization of their design; Summer takes on all of the approved work. Once completed, the cycle starts again.

Rob Rodgers was asked about the milestone and he said, “This year we expanded the concept of Active Learning to larger spaces, giving faculty the opportunity to promote student interaction in lecture halls. In future years, we hope to enable the same pedagogical concepts in auditoriums.”

Rob Rodgers and Daniel Bustos would like to thank the entire Design team for their perseverance over these last five years: Nivi Chandra, Rene Lopez, John Lisiewicz, Mark Baquirin, and Jonathan Castro. A special thanks to the team at AVS for handling and highlighting professor needs: Chris Dutton, Juan Halcon, Brett Roller, Don Roby, Bobby Parker, Paul Park, Abigail Foster, and all of the student workers!

UCLA Luskin Conference Center

Second Annual New Faculty Teaching Engagement

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching hosted UCLA’s second annual New Faculty Teaching Engagement on September 20, 2019 to welcome all faculty and lecturers new to UCLA. This year’s event included a special session on creating inclusive classrooms, as well as three short faculty talks by Joshua Samani (Physics and Astronomy), Todd Presner (Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies), and Genevieve Carpio (Chicana/o Studies). The day concluded with roundtable sessions featuring campus partners who lead initiatives that support teaching and learning.

We thank our partners for helping to make this year’s event such a great success. Based on data from our exit survey, 37.5% of respondents agree and 62.5% strongly agree that “In the future, faculty from my division or school should be encouraged to attend the New Faculty Teaching Engagement event.”

New Community-Engaged Pedagogy Faculty Workshops

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching is excited to announce a new collaboration with the Center for Community Learning: Community-Engaged Pedagogy Faculty Workshops.

Join us for a lunchtime discussion with colleagues engaged in various forms of community-engaged teaching and research. Our first event will be on October 23rd from 12-1:30 in Powell 186.


Community-engaged pedagogy is an approach that seeks to create reciprocal value for the learner and the community. Faculty in many disciplines have embraced this pedagogy in creative ways in a wide range of courses.

In this session, you’ll hear from colleagues to illustrate various models for this community-engaged teaching and learning: client/consulting, co-learning, research, and direct service approaches. You’ll also learn about the new draft framework for community-engaged teaching under review by the Undergraduate Council.


Andy Atkeson, Economics

Jenny Jay, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lauri Mattenson, Writing Program

Carla Suhr, Spanish and Portuguese


Shalom Staub, Center for Community Learning

Download the Workshop Series flyer