Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Online Learning

The Provost convened the Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Online Learning (PFACOL) in early 2013 to help Columbia navigate the changing landscape of online education and play a key advisory role in shaping the University’s future strategy in online and digital learning.

The Committee issued its first report in September 2014 (click here to download the report). The leading recommendation of the Committee is that Columbia should create a University-wide Center on Teaching and Learning with a mandate “to provide support for schools, departments, faculty, and graduate students in all aspects of teaching, including the use of educational technologies.”  The report affirmed that more effective and coordinated deployment of University resources, in concert with existing school-based teaching centers, would make it possible for such a center to serve as a catalyst for enhancing the classroom experience.

In response to the Committee’s recommendation that the University provide support for faculty in this area, the Office of the Provost has launched a Request for Proposals (click here to access the RFP page). The RFP invites faculty to apply for funding to support redesign and delivery of courses using innovative, technology-rich pedagogy and learning strategies. A key goal of this fund is to measure the effectiveness of these designs, delivery methods and learning strategies, and to improve instructional delivery and learning outcomes of Columbia University students from all disciplines.

PFACOL 2016-2017

  • David Madigan, Arts & Sciences, Co-Chair
  • Soulaymane Kachani, Office of the Provost, Co-Chair
  • Melissa Begg, Biostatistics
  • Omar Besbes, Business
  • Adam Cannon, Computer Science
  • Don Davis, Economics
  • Bill Emicke, International and Public Affairs
  • David Helfand, Astronomy
  • George Hripcsak, Biomedical Informatics
  • Garud Iyengar, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
  • Gita Johar, Business
  • Matthew Jones, History
  • Shantanu Lal, Dental Medicine
  • James Lee, Surgery GI/Endoscopy
  • Perry Mehrling, Barnard
  • Janet Metcalfe, Psychology
  • Sharyn O’Halloran, University Senate
  • Craig Schwalbe, Social Work
  • Jason Wingard, Professional Studies
  • Rafael Yuste, Biology


  • Beryl Abrams, Office of the General Counsel
  • Gaspare LoDuca, Information Technology
  • Maneesha Aggarwal, Information Technology
  • Sandesh Tuladhar, Office of the Provost
  • Maurice Matiz, Center for Teaching and Learning