James Zull, Founder of UCITE

In Memoriam (1939-2019)

The University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education expresses deep sympathy to the family of James (Jim) Zull, in the event of his passing on October 27, 2019.

Zull founded UCITE in 1994 with the support of the Faculty Senate, and with major financial gifts from from former CWRU President T.Keith Glennan, Evan and Eric Nord, and S. Sterling McMillan. The goal of the center was to support and catalyze faculty activities which lead to innovative teaching and educational programs. UCITE continues to focus on faculty educational development, as we strive to empower people to learn.

Zull codified thinking and learning as products of a biological process in his seminal text, The Art of Changing the Brain (2002). Strengthening or changing biological process requires time and effort on the part of teacher and student. Former UCITE Director, Mano Singham, characterized Zull’s perspective:

[Jim] said that we should focus less on teaching and more on learning (i.e., we should pay less attention to what the teacher says and more on what students are doing because that is what influences their neural connections and determines what they learn). Our teaching efforts should be directed towards creating the conditions that make students want to put in that effort in productive ways.

Regarded a colleague, mentor, and friend by many at Case Western Reserve University, Jim Zull will be deeply missed as a member of our community. 

A memorial service for Jim will be held Thursday, November 21 at 4:00 pm in Amasa Stone Chapel (10940 Euclid Avenue). A reception will follow in the Hvorka Atrium of the Pytte Science Center (2080 Adelbert Road).