Photo by Kartik Kini

In July 2013, Dr. Peter Ludovice was appointed the Director of the Center of Academic Enrichment, located on the second story of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons (CULC).

Previously, he had led ThinkBig programs on applied humor, participated in ‘This I Believe’ and currently teaches a GT 1000 seminar on Chemical Engineering through this organization. As the Center is in charge of Freshman Experience, the GT 1000 classes and the ThinkBig programs, a large number of students will benefit from the office during their Tech careers.

“It is an organization that enriches the academic experience but… not in the normal way. We often think of [that] as something that is inside of class. So this enriches the academic experience outside of class, and sometimes in class, but in a strange way,” Ludovice said. “And those range from… Freshman Experience… to help you find a group of friends and colleagues to keep you from locking yourself in your dorm room and becoming addicted to Halo 4… and The GT 1000 freshman seminar is to help you navigate academics at Tech and not be so afraid of your instructor. ”

The learning and living components are merged for upperclassmen who reside in the living-learning communities of ThinkBig, which he describes as “an open-ended learning experience.”

Under his leadership, the programs this semester have been geared toward uniting the student body regardless of major. Around Oct. 16th, the Center’s OpenForum program will host Roald Hoffman, who, in addition to winning the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has published two collections of poetry.

Ludovice is also integrating preexisting interests with his new role. In cooperation with Charlie Bennett, the Undergraduate Programming and Engagement Librarian, Ludovice produces the weekly humorous podcast “Consilience,” described by iTunes as “the intersection of science and the humanities after all the lights start blinking and the cars crash into each other and everyone is screaming but no one is hurt because they were all wearing seatbelts.”

In the long-term future, Ludovice plans to expand the horizons of Tech students even further.

“The number of programs on invention, innovation and entrepreneurship has grown exponentially,” Ludovice said. “So getting people to experience both research and innovation outside the classroom is another thing we’re doing.”

While the office manages the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and the Inventure Prize competition, Ludovice hopes to introduce two new programs in the next few years: the X-Degree program that would allow students to plan their own course of study and the option of adding “Service Learning” as a degree designation.

“Service learning is where you will go out and do open-ended entrepreneurship to aid nonprofit groups,” Ludovice said.

While students at Tech are notorious for spending long hours in the library studying and playing video games, Ludovice’s guidance of the Center of Academic Enrichment is one step toward subverting this reputation.