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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Teaching, Learning and Technology director leaves Stony Brook network

    “Life is what happens when you are making other plans,” said Graham Glynn, the former assistant provost and director of Teaching, Learning and Technology who has been credited with helping shape Stony Brook University to be what it is today.

    “That is my favorite all-time quote,” he said.

    Over the past five years, Stony Brook has become integrated with the online community, creating a multimedia platform to better serve both students and faculty alike. Without the contributions of the now former-assistant provost, Stony Brook may not have been as interconnected as it is today.

    A piercing buzzing sound followed by a robotic woman’s voice echoed in the empty office where Glynn cleared out his office. His belongings were packed neatly in boxes and properly identified, much like his accomplishments at Stony Brook.

    “There are two criteria for success: confidence, which can only be changed by success, and preparation, which has been my focus here at Stony Brook,” Glynn said.

    Glynn, who has been at Stony Brook since 2006, is considered the father of the Teaching, Learning and Technology web source that bridges gaps between departments to allow support teams to be easily accessible. Glynn can be considered a self-made expert within his niche of technology and learning because during the time of his ascension in the field, there was no expertise to be had.

    Glynn began his studies in pharmacology and biochemistry at University College in Dublin, Ireland. He moved to the United States in 1985 to attend Kent State University to obtain his Ph.D in Neuroscience. When asked why he chose Kent State University, Glynn said “Because they had archery as a club and in Ireland, that was my sport.” After five years at Kent State University, Glynn graduated and was quickly offered a job at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Facility. While working at the facility studying brain activities within animals, Glynn became entangled with the Internet, which led him into his current career.

    “At the time in the early nineties when I was doing my research [at Parke-Davis], there were no expertise in integrating work done in the field to the Internet,” Glynn said.

    Glynn became captivated with the possibilities of the Internet and productivity. He also developed some allergies to the animals he was working with which further pushed him to change fields. From that point on, Glynn worked at Ferris State University in Michigan, Creighton Pharmacy and Health Professional School in Nebraska, Open University in the United Kingdom, Penn State University and finally here at Stony Brook, implementing his philosophy of the importance of the Internet in teaching and learning.

    Patricia Aceves is the Director of the Faculty Center at Stony Brook, which Glynn created through the TLT web service. Her position is key to the “support of faculty professional development in pedagogy, assessment and technology to improve teaching and learning.” This position is the mark of what Glynn tried to achieve at Stony Brook.

    Aceves said Glynn’s greatest contribution is the Online Course Evaluation system that allows students to conduct multiple surveys on teaching and learning.

    On a more personal note, Aceves said Glynn was a pleasure to work with. He was a great colleague and had a very strong work ethic.

    “As an Irishman, he doesn’t give up easily and is headstrong and determined,” Aceves said.

    One of the key changes that Glynn tried to make here at Stony Brook was the method in which performance and preparation are evaluated. He felt that he could not fully accomplish those goals at Stony Brook because of the nature of the university.

    “At a large university like Stony Brook, the goals are usually more into the research aspect rather than trying to focus on the teaching”, he said. Glynn also said how difficult it was to administer changes that he thought would benefit both students and staff alike.

    “Leading faculty to change is like herding cats, it very, very difficult to do,” he admitted. He explains that in an institution such as Stony Brook, the faculty are “like independent consultants” and in order to make changes you need to influence the individuals, which becomes a challenge.

    Glynn’s next post will be as Vice Provost at Mercy College, where he believes his vision may be easier to accomplish and more accepted.

    When asked if he had tried to actualize some of his vision, there was a ten-second pause followed by, “Getting Stony Brook to change course is like trying to move an aircraft carrier.” He said there are competing priorities within Stony Brook, which he believes is very natural for a research university. He makes his move into Mercy College, located in New York, which is a private not-for-profit college, in hopes that Mercy has a better balance between focusing on research and the improvement of teaching and learning.

    The provost at Mercy College, Michael B. Sperling, is highly anticipating his arrival.

    “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Graham Glynn to Mercy College as vice provost,” Sperling said. “Dr. Glynn is an exceptional scholar and experienced academic leader who brings a deep and distinguished record of accomplishment from several outstanding universities.”

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