Kate Willink

Kate Willink​

Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs

Phone: 303-871-4970
Email: Kate.Willink@du.edu

I support DU with:

  • Policies and practices to support holistic faculty development at all career stages
  • Strategic vision to improve student learning, practices in teaching, course design, curriculum development, and assessment
  • Initiatives informed by research and promising higher education practices

My Job: In my roles as Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Director of the OTL, I advance and support campus-wide and unit-based programs that amplify the educational mission of the University; initiate and sustain partnerships with academic units to foster engaged teaching and learning; use innovative strategies to deepen the pedagogical knowledge and teaching effectiveness of DU faculty; and create and facilitate a holistic faculty professional development plan.

My Background: As a proud member of the DU community for the past 12 years and counting, I love engaging in initiatives that spark connection across students, staff, and faculty. During my past presidency of Faculty Senate (2016-2018), I collaborated with colleagues on strengthening faculty development initiatives and creating opportunities for faculty to lead institutional change. This experience kindled my love for leadership – an area that I never knew I would enjoy so much! As Associate Professor of Communication Studies, my research examines critical intercultural communication, and my teaching portfolio covers topics about education and change, cultural memory and imagination, and food culture. One of my greatest joys is bearing witness to the inspiring journeys of students and colleagueswho continually teach me how to learn, grow, and thrive.    

When I’m not at work: I am a flavor-forward foodie, home-making homebody, perennial and veggie gardener, flower paparazzi, and pleasure-seeking nerd. Depending upon the season and the mood, I love experimenting with recipes (especially fresh ingredients from my garden), practicing Yin yoga, finding adventure and beauty through travel, and enjoying the company of friends and family.       

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OTL Director



Virginia Pitts

Virginia Pitts

Director of University Teaching

Phone: 303-871-3291
Email: Virginia.Pitts@du.edu
Portfolio: http://portfolio.du.edu/vpitts

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Designing for significant learning
  • Student motivation and engagement
  • Student-faculty partnerships
  • Project-based learning
  • Design thinking

My job: I support faculty, students and other DU community members in learning and working together to create more engaging, inclusive, learning-rich experiences for DU students. As part of that work, I facilitate DU’s student-faculty partnership program, in which students and faculty members work together to explore student learning and engagement in the classroom.  I also lead DU’s Course Design Institute, which bring faculty members together to learn from and with each other as they design courses to have a lasting, meaningful impact on students’ lives.

My background: I’ve had an eclectic career-path, but the common thread is learning, motivation, and design. It started with a degree in Industrial Engineering, followed by 11 years as a change management consultant with Accenture, followed by a PhD at Northwestern University in Learning Sciences (which focused on learning and motivation in social contexts and the design of innovative, research-based learning environments). After receiving my PhD, I did a two-year post-doctoral fellowship studying instructional leadership in schools and the ways in which it is shared among members of a school community. I then spent four years working with National Geographic Education Programs as a professional development consultant, and teaching courses at Regis University and CU-Denver for educators pursuing their master’s degrees.  I came to DU in February 2013.  

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending as much time as I can outdoors – taking long walks with our dog Molly, relaxing in the backyard with a good book, or exploring a mountain trail.  My partner Brian and I also really enjoy exploring the neighborhoods around Denver and discovering new coffee shops, breweries, or restaurants (there’s so much here!). 

Other Links:
My DU Portfolio page

Christina Paguyo

Christina H Paguyo

Director of Academic Assessment

Phone: 303-871-6012
Email: Christina.Paguyo@du.edu
Portfolio: http://portfolio.du.edu/

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Accreditation
  • Curricular renewal
  • Program assessment
  • Program evaluation

My job: is an academic DJ who choreographs assessment in harmony with the everyday work of faculty and staff. On any given day, you will find me delivering consultations and facilitating Meetups about meaningful and manageable assessment, or designing institutes to help units develop a strategic plan for curricular renewal, or training faculty to serve as assessment consultants. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues to amplify the amazing work we do at DU, and I love helping staff and faculty discover the transformative potential of assessment!

My background: Over the course of my 15-year career, I have led equity-oriented initiatives in student affairs units, coordinated PR campaigns for government agencies, acquired over $2 million dollars in education research grant monies, and co-authored publications about designing robust learning environments. From the University of Colorado Boulder I earned my PhD in education policy, and from Colorado State University I attained my MEd in counseling and BA in English. Notwithstanding the diversity of my work experiences, the ballast of my professional trajectory is composed from a long-standing passion to help people thrive and learn with their head, hands, and hearts.  

When I’m not at work: In my moonlighting hours, I am the principal investigator and founder of Data Luminaries, a small boutique firm through which I conduct external evaluations. My hobbies include singing karaoke, practicing yoga, traveling with my life partner of 20 years, and cuddling with Licorice, my 100-lb spirit animal we adopted from a non-profit organization.​

Other Links:
My DU Portfolio

Karen Weller Swanson

Karen Weller Swanson

Director of Faculty Learning Groups & Scholarships

Phone: 303-871-2993
Email: Karen.Swanson@du.edu

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Faculty learning communities
  • Teaching consultations

My job: My position supports the development of and support for faculty learning communities on a variety of topics. I consult with faculty to design courses which are based on evidence-based best practices.

My background:

I have an Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Arizona University as well as a Master’s in Secondary Education and a Bachelor’s in Biology. I have been a teacher for 25 years with 15 of those in higher education. I was an Assistant Professor at George Mason University teaching in the Initiatives in Educational Transformation Program. I most recently was an Associate Professor at Mercer University in Atlanta where I was the director of the PhD Curriculum and Instruction Program and the chair of four regional academic centers for the Tift College of Education.

When I’m not at work,  I enjoy spending time with my family in Colorado Springs, writing on Cognitive Apprenticeship, and planning trips home to Montana.

Other Links:
See upcoming OTL Events
My Google Scholar
Connect with me on LinkedIn

Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave

Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices

Phone: 303-871-4437
Email: Valentina.Iturbe-LaGrave@du.edu

Expertise: Inclusive course design and instruction; Workshops and consultations on diversity & inclusive classrooms.

I support DU faculty and staff with:


  • Recognizing and revising disparate expectations, inequitable course design elements, or stereotypical notions of students.
  • Creating lessons, courses and/or programs that are responsive to diversity.
  • Identifying and changing language and behaviors that may include some students and unintentionally exclude others.
  • Identifying and including scholarship and perspectives of underrepresented groups in their coursework.
  • Understanding, assessing and responding to the impact of implicit bias and microaggression in the learning environment.
  • Addressing specific instructional challenges related to intercultural communication, classroom management, issues of equity and privilege in the classroom, and related concerns.

My Background:

As Associate Director for Inclusive Teaching Practices I collaborate with faculty to design and implement transformative learning environments that actively recognize, assess and address diversity in key aspects of course design, classroom management and assessment of teaching and learning. My goal is to help faculty rethink curricular and pedagogical frameworks in an inclusive way that fully supports students’ intersectional identities. By doing so, practices are aligned with institutional diversity and inclusivity goals to achieve equity and enact Inclusive Excellence.

I received my Ph.D. in 19th Century Latin American Literature and a Certificate in College Teaching from the University of Colorado Boulder. I am a reviewer for To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development and serve as co-chair of the communications subcommittee for the Graduate and Professional Student Development committee of the Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. I am also an active team member of the TED Open Translation Project.

Contact me for one-on-one consultations, if you’d like me to facilitate workshops in your academic department or to schedule a meeting to answer any questions, concerns or challenges regarding issues of diversity and inclusion in your classroom.


Terri Johnson

Terri Johnson

Faculty Developer, Learning Initiatives

Phone: 303-871-7884
Email: Terri.Johnson@du.edu
Portfolio: http://portfolio.du.edu/Terri.Johnson

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Course design and development
  • Teaching strategies

My Job: As an instructional designer, there are a number of ways I support faculty. I share best practices by facilitating the Teaching Online Short Course several times a year. I also co-teach Teaching@DU: A Short Course for New Faculty, which helps faculty that are new to campus learn about the resources available at DU as well as offering effective teaching strategies. I design our OTL newsletter so that faculty and staff across campus are informed about the variety of events and resources we offer here at the OTL. I am also available to meet with faculty for consultations around designing their courses and improving student outcomes.

My background: I have a BA from Smith College and a MPS in Organizational Leadership from the University of Denver. I have worked at the University of Denver in a variety of both student- and faculty-focused roles since 2006. My experiences as a student, staff member, and instructional designer have given me a unique and well-rounded perspective on effective teaching practices.

When I’m not at work, I’m often playing with my son and my cats. I also like to discover new restaurants in the Denver area.

Other Links:
View upcoming Teaching Online Short Course sessions
Check out the Course Design Repository

Photograph of Heather Tobin

Heather Tobin

Faculty Developer, Integrative Learning

Phone: 303-871-2951
Email: Heather.Tobin@du.edu
Portfolio: http://portfolio.du.edu/htobin3

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Integrative learning
  • High Impact Practices (HIPs)
  • Reflective ePortfolios (and DU Portfolio)
  • General course design
  • Teaching strategies
  • Visual design for learning

My Job: I collaborate with OTL staff members and university faculty to develop and lead trainings, workshops, and integrative learning programs and initiatives. I consult with faculty members and departments providing tools to improve student experiences and learning outcomes. I also manage the departmental website and create branding and marketing materials to enhance campus awareness of the OTL.

My Background: I have been working and teaching in higher education settings both online and face-to-face since 2002. I hold an MS in Higher Education with a specific focus on teaching and learning. As supplements to my Master’s degree, I completed additional graduate level coursework in General Psychology in Chicago, and a graduate certificate of completion in Organizational Training and Instructional Design at CSU. I am currently pursuing my EdD in Curriculum & Instruction with Morgridge College of Education at DU.

When I’m not at work, I’m typically either camping with friends and family, checking out a new craft cocktail spot, or watching Sci-Fi movies.

Other Links:
View my DU Portfolio
Check out the OTL ePortfolio Project site
Connect with me on LinkedIn

Tobin, H. (2018). Five Ways to Use ePortfolios for Reflection. The Teaching Professor.

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Faculty Developer



Alex Martinez

Academic Technology Specialist- IT

Phone: 303-871-4879
Email: Alex.Martinez@du.edu

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Kaltura Video Management
  • ZOOM Video Conference
  • Instructional Video
  • Interactivity Design
  • Website Design

My Job: My new position as an IT consultant is very focused on instructional video design and technologies. I serve as the primary Kaltura administrator providing support and training. 

My Background: I have worked at DU since 2002. 

Other Links:
Check out my upcoming Kaltura or ZOOM training sessions
My DU Portfolio page
OTL Ed-Tech Knowledge Base



John Peterson

John Peterson

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 303-871-2084
Email: OTL@du.edu

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • DU Portfolio
  • OTL connections, pathways, and events

My Job: I am the gracious hello, and welcoming smile, for all who seek to connect and grow as a teacher-scholar and lifelong learner at DU. I impart knowledge of the whereabouts of OTL staffers to the curious inquirer and active seeker. I also problem solve Canvas and DU Portfolio issues with faculty and staff.

My Background: I have a background working in nonprofits in NYC for 5 years. I have also been a running, skiing, snowboarding, and general fitness coach since 2006. I spent my childhood in absentminded agrarian farm life.

When I’m not at work, you can find me skiing, cycling, coaching CrossFit or running, practicing hand balancing, sitting by the pool, taking photographs, or trying desperately to get my dog to recall.

Photograph of Christine Hood

Christine Hood

Graduate Assistant

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Direct support to the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs

My Background:
I went to Grinnell college, a teeny tiny liberal arts school in Iowa, for my undergrad where I majored in political science and psychology with a policy studies concentration. While at Grinnell, I won a grant to implement foreign language in the local elementary school. Throughout my undergraduate years, I played varsity volleyball and was the executive director of a lounge focused on wellness and mental health! After undergrad, I worked at a public middle school in south Dallas for two years. During my first years as a teacher I earned my Master’s of Science in secondary mathematics education from Johns Hopkins University. I am now a first-year Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Morgridge College of Education at DU focusing on urban mathematics.

When I’m not at work, I am honestly usually studying or reading! However, when I do get that nugget of time to myself I love to workout, hike, play volleyball, and snuggle my dog. My Friends and family are my world, especially my 8-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew!

Nicole Perez

Graduate Assistant


Paul Michalec

Paul Michalec

Clinical Professor in the Morgridge College of Education

In his role as OTL Faculty Fellow Paul brings many skills and accomplishments to the goal of building and sustaining collegial networks on campus, especially in the formation of aFaculty Learning Community (FLC). His 25 years of teaching experience and mentoring new teachers with an emphasis on project-based learning, effective instruction, educator self-care, and experiential forms of pedagogy will provide a solid base of theory and practice for the FLC. In 2015 Paul was awarded the Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the University of Denver. He is a teaching mentor for graduate students in Curriculum and Instruction and clinical faculty in the College of Education. He is a nationally certifiedCourage to Teach facilitator and an experienced retreat leader using a professional development framework developed by Parker Palmer that highlights the role of the heart and calling when considering forms of effective instruction and paths to professional renewal. 
Paul has an established record of scholarship in the area of curriculum and instruction focusing on the inner-life of educators. His 2017 article on Deep Curriculum was awarded the Hunkins Distinguished Article of the Year in the area of curriculum by the American Association of Teaching and Curriculum. Paul has an ongoing blog (IN:SIGHT blog) where he writes essays and commentaries on the heart of education, the impact of standardization on teaching and learning, and ways for educators to recover and sustain their calling to teach. Paul can be reached at paul.michalec@du.edu for questions, conversation, and one-on-one meetings around teaching, learning, and professional trajectory questions. 
Paul will spearhead four main initiatives intended to foster a culture of community-building and greater collegial engagement on our campus: 1) monthly Heart of Higher Education conversations during the lunch hour in the OTL conference room; 2) promotingPeer to Peer Conversations–a faculty-initiated developmental opportunity entailing a deliberate conversation around professional development, career changes, and work-life balance; 3) facilitating a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) exploring the inner life of teaching and professional renewal; and 4) creating and sustaining collegial networks that allow faculty to thrive and promote a sense of belonging on campus. (See the OTL events calendar for dates and times of these initiatives).
Paul will host monthly Heart of Higher Education conversations during the lunch hour in the OTL conference room on the second Thursday of each month throughout the winter and spring quarter. These gatherings are low-key, not share or die experiences. They are intended to create a space where faculty can come together to establish mutual connections and community, share the joys and concerns of teaching in a non-threatening format, and renew the heart of teaching by slowing down and listening to each other share stories from the classroom and our campus experiences more broadly. 
He will provide quarterly how-to workshops on hosting a Peer to Peer Conversation (P2P). The intention of the P2P conversation is to promote deep professional engagement that is often missing from higher education communities because of current political, economic, and social constraints. The P2P conversations differ from other higher education conversations in that they are formally structured around key moments in the life of a faculty, focused on professional development, and are bounded by norms of confidentiality. P2P conversations are not intended to replace other forms of faculty to faculty conversations which occur in less formal settings or gatherings. Paul worked with the P2P sub-committee of the Faculty Senate Professional Development Committee on the development of the process including the writing of the manual (P2P Manual) guiding faculty through the process. 
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