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Meet DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli

Downtown Raleigh skyline, framed by the State College smoke stack. Photo by Marc Hall.
Downtown Raleigh skyline, framed by the State College smoke stack. Photo by Marc Hall.

Teaching Associate Professor and DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli has dedicated herself to advancing the learning community of NC State throughout her career. Her contributions to the university have earned her awards and recognition as she’s committed to researching ways to provide support to students and faculty.

Teaching Associate Professor and DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli.
Teaching Associate Professor and DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli.

Graduating with both her master’s degree in Computing Networking and Ph.D. in Computer Science from NC State, Battestilli worked in various research positions in industry before returning to NC State to be a teaching professor. “Working in industry, I just realized that I’m really happy being here with students and learning,” she says. “I always had a vision that I wanted to teach.”

After joining the NC State faculty in 2012 and instructing a graduate-level course, Battestilli fell in love with teaching and began her search for what was next. She found herself interested in Computer Science Education Research. “We focus on best practices for teaching: what works and what doesn’t, how to make the classes friendlier, and how to increase satisfaction and happiness while increasing learning outcomes,” she says. NC State was recently cited as the No. 1 institution worldwide for Computer Science Education.

She became involved with DELTA upon receiving a Critical Path Course Redesign DELTA grant in 2018. Working with Instructional Designer Yan Shen, she applied the grant to her course, CSC 113 Introduction to Programming MATLAB, by teaching with a flipped format that ultimately prepared her for the digital materials needed to teach fully online during COVID-19. “Working with DELTA allowed me to really rethink the structure of my class: what my Moodle site looks like, how it is laid out and how my students can get to all the resources they need,” says Battestilli.

She has also participated in various programs and resources DELTA provides such as the Teaching and Learning Symposium, Summer Shorts and workshops. “Whenever DELTA does something, I learn some good tips and ideas that I can implement in my classes,” she shares. “DELTA has helped a lot of other instructors redesign their courses in computer science, so I think we have a sequence of very high-quality Computer Science courses because of that.”

Upon working closely with DELTA, Battestilli knew she wanted to expand her knowledge and expertise of teaching tools and technologies by working with a wider learning community, so she applied to be a Faculty Fellow.

“I love the DELTA Faculty Fellow meetings,” she says. “I always walk away with grea t learning ideas. I’m also learning from the other fellows because it’s a community with a lot of good tips and compassion for the students and their experiences.”

Because the Faculty Fellows program is diverse in disciplines, Battestilli found that the overlaps in these disciplines have helped in figuring out where problem solutions can be applied. “I’m in computer science, but there are things from other disciplines that I can bring to computer science that I maybe haven’t seen before,” she says.

The DELTA fellows meet throughout each semester to identify needs for the community at NC State. Battestilli has written articles, hosted workshops, assisted in testing technologies and has improved the organization of her teaching through her involvement in the program. She has grown passionate about providing students with choices for how they want to learn. She says, “Not everybody learns the same way and I believe in giving my students choices and flexibility and treating them with respect and compassion.”

Battestilli’s passion for her work and approach to teaching has proved worthwhile as she earned the Best Online Pivot Award, CSC Departmental Award for Awesome Teaching Associate Professor and was recognized as a 2021 Equity for Women Award Nominee. She also finds inspiration from her students’ feedback for her course organization and instruction.

“I love when my students ultimately say how my classes have helped them with internships and their upper classes,” she says. “It’s the most rewarding experience.”

Battestilli supports the adaptation to new technologies and advocates for diversity. “I’m passionate about increasing the participation of women and minorities in technology,” she says. “I strongly believe that technology is a huge part of our life so we need more representation from our society into the people writing the software/technology. Diversity creates a better product with different perspectives. I believe in equity and providing everyone in society with opportunities to achieve jobs and innovation.”