Our Leadership

Kate Willink

Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs

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

Leslie Cramblet Alvarez

Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning

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.    

I support DU with:

  • Leadership of the Office of Teaching and Learning
  • Promoting excellence in teaching, learning, and assessment across DU
  • Cultivating a strategic vision for the OTL

My Job: As Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning, I report to the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs whose office promotes faculty success and well-being in four key areas: faculty development, teaching and learning, faculty relations, and faculty life cycles. As OTL director, I provide strategic guidance for the office and nurture the OTL team’s growth and success. A thriving OTL serves faculty as life-long learners which, ultimately, supports student achievement. Critical to my work is promoting initiatives that advance the university’s educational mission and dedication to inclusive excellence. I represent the OTL at all levels of the university through collaborative relationships and committee service (CFAB, ITAC, OTL Advisory board).

My Background: As a new member of the DU family, I am excited to join this vibrant and productive community of scholars.

I have a PhD in Educational Psychology, Learning and Instruction from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I spent the last 13 years as a faculty member, earning full professor, in the psychology department at Adams State University, a Hispanic-serving Institution in rural southern Colorado. As an Educational Psychologist, my interests generally focus on the confluence of psychology and educational practice. This led to a part time administrative appointment which culminated in founding a Center for Teaching and Learning funded by a Title V grant.

My early research agenda focused on achievement motivation and goal orientation. Since, my interests have broadened to include replication, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and gender and diversity, in particular the representation of women in the psychology curriculum. I have served as a Faculty Senator and a department chair and had a leadership role in a number of campus wide initiatives including Faculty Handbook policy reform, HLC reaffirmation of accreditation, and general education curriculum redesign. My service commitments have ranged from Faculty Senator, to President of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, to Regional Vice president for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.

As an educator and researcher I am passionate about advancing inclusion and equity, open science practices, and interrogating the inclusivity of the psychology curriculum.  Now, as the OTL Director, I am enthusiastic about drawing from my identity as a scholar to support faculty growth and development full time.

When I’m not at work: I’m enjoying my husband and son, skiing, playing outside, or planning a trip. I am a lover but inconsistent practitioner of yoga and meditation and have been a yoga instructor since 2013.

Our Directors

Virginia Pitts

Virginia Pitts

Director of University Teaching

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

Director of Academic Assessment

Email: otl@du.edu

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

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Accreditation
  • Curricular renewal
  • Program assessment
  • Program evaluation

Becca Ciancanelli


Kayoung Kim

Director of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning & Faculty Learning Communities

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • The OTL Inclusive Teaching website and the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching
  • Discipline-specific inclusive teaching practice design via one-on-one consultations, department trainings and Faculty Learning Communities
  • Resources aligned with evidence-based practices in inclusive pedagogy following critical incidents in learning environments

My Job: As the Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices, I provide proactive and responsive leadership, direction, and programming that advances the University of Denver’s commitment to Inclusive Excellence and Inclusive Pedagogy. I create, implement, and assess strategic faculty development opportunities; online resources; and consultations for faculty members, academic administrators, academic departments, and allied offices.

My Background: My educational training started at Harvey Mudd College where I received a BS in Chemistry. Following my love for teaching, I completed an MA in Teaching Secondary Science from Colorado College and engaged in high school teaching in Aurora for three years. I then chose to return to the chemistry lab and completed a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from CU Boulder. Combining my passion for teaching with my desire to focus on social justice issues, I worked for a multicultural academic community building a STEM program. In the most recent swerve in my windy career path, I helped launch the new Center for Teaching & Learning at CU Boulder, bringing my expertise in supporting low income, first generation and underserved students in the classroom to faculty development and support in inclusive teaching. 

My research interests include the investigation of metacognitive strategies in large and small STEM classrooms and bringing community-based performance to equity-focused dialogues designed to impact one’s ability to recognize and interrupt microaggressions.

When I’m not at work, I am either hiking with my dog, in the kitchen with my children and partner trying out new recipes, or exploring productive failure as I learn how to play jazz on the keyboard in our basement music studio.


I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Promoting a culture of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (a systematic, data-driven, scholarly inquiry into student learning) at DU 
  • Assisting faculty and staff with all phases of SoTL research projects, from the development of project ideas and research design, selection of materials, analysis and interpretation of data, to presentation and publication of findings 
  • Collaborate with faculty partners and OTL staff on planning, delivering, and facilitating Faculty Learning Communities 

My Job: As the Director of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Faculty Learning Communities, I work to shape a wide variety of programs that promote teaching, learning, and scholarly excellence across academic disciplines. In particular, I lead to inform and promote the culture of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at DU as a form of scholarly teaching, and support faculty with all phases of their SoTL research process. I also collaborate with faculty partners and OTL staff to deliver and facilitate programs for faculty learning communities in my work to support faculty members at all stages of their professional development.  

My Background: My educational training is in psychological science. I received a BA in psychology from Yonsei University, Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the OTL, I have been a faculty member in the department of psychology and education at the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, and in the department of psychology at Tennessee State University.   

My research expertise lies in the field of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and my work has focused on effective instructional practices, particularly on High Impact Practices (HIP), curriculum development and instructional technology, peer learning, and learning outcomes assessment. Most recently, my research efforts have been focused on trauma-informed teaching practices and best practices in online learning.   

Over the years, I have actively led initiatives to promote inclusive excellence in leadership and support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion matters. As an educator, I am committed to advancing teaching excellence and promoting accessible, inclusive, and effective learning experiences for students. As a SoTL researcher, I am dedicated to continuing data-driven inquiries on equitable teaching and learning in higher education.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children. We pride ourselves on being eclectic foodies, and we are always doing one of these things – cooking, experimenting with recipes, eating, or watching all the cooking shows. I am also a ski bum and greatly enjoy visiting the snow-covered mountains with my family for some quality downhill skiing.   



Terri Johnson

Senior Faculty Developer

Phone: 303-871-7884 Email: Terri.Johnson@du.edu

Megan Haskins

Faculty Developer of Integrative Learning and High Impact Practices

I support DU faculty and staff with:

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

My Job: As a Senior Faculty Developer 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 cat. 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

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • High-Impact Practices 
  • ePortfolios 
  • Online teaching strategies 


My Job: As a Faculty Developer, I collaborate with faculty across the institution to develop, implement, and assess high-impact practices and integrative learning. This includes participating in one-on-one consultations, facilitating synchronous workshops, and developing resources to foster and support innovative teaching and learning.  


My Background: I earned a BA in Literature and an MEd in Administration of Higher Education from Auburn University. In my previous role, I worked with students on professional communication, digital identity, and ePortfolios. Additionally, I collaborated with faculty to design and implement high-impact practices across the disciplines. From these experiences I bring a focus on reflective practice, digital communication, and a collaborative approach to faculty development. My pedagogical interests include Communities of Inquiry, Task-Based Professional Development, and Writing to Learn.  


When I’m not at work, I’m likely exploring new hikes with my husband and daughter or enjoying a cup of coffee at a local café. 

Lexi Schlosser

Faculty Developer of Online Learning

Phone: Email: Lexi.Schlosser@du.edu

Alex Martinez

Academic Technology Specialist

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Online & Remote Teaching and Learning Strategies

My Job: As the Faculty Developer for Online Learning, I provide an array of support around online and remote teaching and learning. I work closely with our team of Instructional Designers to provide quality support for faculty. I share best practices by facilitating online teaching and learning workshops, webinars, and short courses. I am also available for faculty consultations around instructional design, canvas support, and online teaching and learning strategies for engagement and beyond.

My Background: I have a BS in Human Development and Family Sciences and M. E.D. in College Student Services Administration, both from Oregon State University. While at OSU, I worked in student support roles as well as faculty-facing support and organizational roles. These experiences have provided me unique perspectives regarding online teaching and learning. My pedagogical approaches align best with Student-Centered Learning, Universal Design for Learning, and Reflective Practice.

When I’m not at work, I am often outdoors enjoying hiking, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, or walking my sweet and ever so feisty Yorkie Aspen. Indoors you can find me deeply engaged in a new creative outlet including writing poetry, drawing, painting, or collaging. 

Other Links:
Visit the Canvas Instructor Guide
Check out the OTL Teaching Tool Kit

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Kaltura Video Management
  • ZOOM Instructional & Tech Support
  • Instructional Video
  • Multimedia Instructional Design
  • Website Design & Management

My Job: My position as an IT consultant is focused on video management, web technologies, and multimedia instructional design. I’m the primary Kaltura video administrator which means I provide tech support, establish metadata guidelines and training.  I also provide instructors and staff training on ZOOM. I have conducted over 100 ZOOM training sessions and have written several ZOOM how-to articles.

My passion is instructional video production and management. Instructional videos are a powerful learning medium. A well-design instructional video can improve learning and support adults with disabilities.  I have authored many how-to articles for our OTL Ed-Tech Knowledge Base

My Background: I have been teaching at DU for 15+ years. My courses include Web Application Development, Web Information Architecture, and Web Content Management. In my spare time, I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and going camping with my family. I graduated with a Masters’s degree in Organizational Learning & Instruction Technologies from the University of New Mexico. 

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

Bobby Baca Photo

Bobby Baca

Business Analyst – IT

Ellen Hogan

Accessibility Technologist For learning and instruction

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Respondus
  • Kaltura
  • DU Assessment
  • DU Portfolio

My Job: Serving as Business Analyst for the Office of Teaching and Learning, I am responsible for primary system administration and configuration of various enterprise-level academic technologies. I also act as liaison between the OTL and Information Technology.  I assist both the OTL and IT by using data analytics to evaluate processes, determine requirements and deliver data-driven recommendations and reports to leadership and stakeholders. 

My Background: I have a BA in Sociology from New Mexico State University and MS in Applied Sociology from Texas State University.  I am also a certified Scrum Master and have used this agile framework to help guide development teams in both academic and non-academic settings.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy many different outdoor activities, which include backpacking, fly fishing, camping and hiking. I particularly love playing music with friends. I have played the guitar for over 20 years and have recently started playing the mandolin. I also volunteer with a couple of different non-profit organizations based in the Denver metro area.

Other Links:

OTL Canvas Page

Canvas Community

Respondus Support Page

IT Strategic Goals & Initiatives Page

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Accessibility for Learning and Instruction
  • Understanding the Student Accommodations Process
  • Assistive Technology and Alternate Format Text (AFT) Knowledge and Practice

My Job: As the Accessibility Technologist for Learning and Instruction, I collaborate with faculty across the institution focusing on accessible course design and implementation of student disability or medical-related accommodations. I can support faculty in accessibility and the remediation of course content and materials. This includes participating in one-on-one consultations, facilitating workshops, and developing resources to foster and support accessibility and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  

My Background: I earned a BA in Special Education with a focus in Learning and Behavior and a minor in Psychology from Illinois State University. I am currently enrolled as a candidate for the Masters of Higher Education in the Morgridge School of Education here at the University of Denver. I spent the beginning of my career as a Special Education teacher for students between 6th-12th grade. I spent my time in the classroom teaching a diverse population of students while utilizing low to high tech assistive technologies, disability-related accommodations, and alternate format texts. I am interested in furthering the connection of UDL to accessibility and inclusive practices in order to meet student diverse needs with greater ease.

In my previous role in the Disability Services Program (DSP), I supported students throughout the accommodation process. I have knowledge and experience in implementing student accommodations, utilizing assistive technologies and facilitating production and remediation of Alternate Format Text (AFT). Additionally, I collaborated with faculty on the implementation of accommodations across courses and disciplines. I look forward to continuing to connect with DU faculty and supporting accessibility.

When I’m not at work,  I like to enjoy time with family and friends, or cozying up with a good book and coffee.


Tracy Debellevue

Instructional Designer for Inclusive Teaching Practices


Jeffrey Schwartz

Instructional Designer

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Provide real-time update, design and technical support, and resolve user experience issues on all Inclusive Teaching Practices online platforms  
  • Provide course development and maintenance assistance to the OTL Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices and review courses for alignment with established standards of quality and accessibility 
  • Ensures clear and streamlined building of designed courses in Canvas course containers. 
  • Project management of course designs, course quality tracking and review, and Inclusive Teaching Practices website 
  • Create tutorials and documentation for educational technologies. 

My Job: As an Instructional Designer for Inclusive Teaching Practices, I work collaboratively with the OTL Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices, OTL staff and DU faculty members to implement programming that advances best practices for 21st century teaching and learning. 

My Background: I have a BS in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University and an MA in Public History from Northern Kentucky University.  I hold certifications in Quality Matters – Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) and Quality Matters Coordinator.  I have worked as an Instructional Designer for Colorado Mesa University for 4 years as well as Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and Colorado State University and Oklahoma State University in various educational support roles.   I am a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and enjoy teaching Native American beadwork and heritage studies.

When I’m not at work I enjoy photography, camping, trying out new restaurants and travel with my partner and kids. 

Other Links: 

ITP website – https://operations.du.edu/inclusive-teaching 

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Pedagogy
  • Course design
  • Educational technology support

My Job: As an Instructional Designer, I work with academic directors, faculty developers, and instructors to provide support for courses in all modalities. I am available for 1:1 training consultations, as well as providing course development and technology assistance for faculty.

My Background: I have a BA from Colorado State University and a MFA from Emerson College.  I have been with the University of Denver since 2016. As Lead Faculty in University College’s Professional Creative Writing Program, I have designed, developed, and taught 23 online and hybrid courses. Before coming to DU, I taught in first year writing programs for five years at universities in Massachusetts. My other experience in higher education includes offering training and support first year faculty, giving conference presentations about research, instructional technology, and creative writing, and serving on First Year Writing Program assessment committees. I also write fiction, and my stories have been published in Mythic: A Quarterly Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, Wild Musette, and Beyond Imagination.   

When I’m not at work, I am amusing my son with all manner of silly faces and voices, cooking, writing, and stargazing.


Paula von Kretschmann

Instructional Designer of Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Vincent Tango

Instructional Designer

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Accessibility & UDL
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusive (DEI) Pedagogy
  • High Impact Practices (HIPs)
  • Educational technology support

My Job: As the Instructional Designer of Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), my role is to elevate equal access for all students, by supporting leadership and faculty in campus-wide initiatives, education, awareness, and operationalizing equity support structures. I also work closely with the office of Disability Services Program (DSP), the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX and the Information Technology (IT) department to implement cohesive efforts around Accessibility & UDL. I provide 1:1 consultations, instructional support and personalized departmental workshops. My role also extends to collaborating and nurturing efforts whenever possible with other institutions, including being an active member at the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

My Background: I received my BA from the University of Colorado, Denver in Psychology & Neuroscience, with a focus on Human Centered Design. Currently I am a graduate student at the DU Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science, pursuing my MS in Information & Communications Technology. Prior to my current role, I’ve worked at other higher education institutions as an Assistive Technology Specialist providing personalized trainings for students, faculty, staff and other instructional designers. I have served in several campus wide committees focusing around technology implementations with learning management systems, and due to my expertise I am also a consultant providing technical services to other higher institutions including the University of Colorado system and the Colorado Community College system (CCCS). Prior to higher education, I worked as a Web Developer for over 10+ years.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy gardening, camping, hiking and the great outdoors. At home, I am surrounded by my three cats, four chickens and my husband. On the other spectrum I also enjoy gaming environments, astrophotography, learning about artificial intelligence and environmental conservation.

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Pedagogy
  • Course design
  • Educational technology support
  • Teaching resources

My Job: I work with academic directors, faculty developers, and subject matter experts to provide support for online, hybrid, and hyflex courses with best practices for online pedagogy and instructional technology. I am available for 1:1 consultations, course development, unit support, and technology assistance for faculty.

My Background: I have an EdD in Higher Education from the Morgridge College of Education, an MDiv from the Iliff School of Theology, and a B.S in Health and Physical Education from West Chester State University. For my doctoral research project, I conducted an in-depth embedded case study examining the community of inquiry framework and how community is constructed in in hybrid graduate courses. In addition to instructional design, I also teach as adjunct faculty at University College in the Bachelor Completion Program and the Graduate Communication Management program. Before DU, I served at the Iliff School of Theology in enrollment management, student affairs, and admissions and recruitment. I also had the opportunity to serve as the “Journey” Director for distance learners where my focus was on building cohort formation and promoting best practices for online instruction.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy recreational cycling, relaxing with friends and family, being outdoors, and taking walks with our rescue chihuahua mix.


Genet Leist

Administrative Assistant

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Teaching and learning technology
  • OTL events and services

My Job: I partner with faculty to provide technical and instructional assistance for their teaching practice. I also support the OTL with special projects.

My Background: I earned my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New York University and am currently working on my MA in the Curriculum and Instruction program with the Morgridge School of Education here at DU. During my undergraduate career I worked with NYU Student Life programs supporting students and staff which inspired my interest in progressive pedagogy, curriculum design, and the student experience.

When I’m not at work: I am usually studying, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. I love checking out new hikes, attending my local farmers market, and biking through my neighborhood. You can also find me checking out live music in the area or on the search for a good cup of coffee with friends.


Jared Del Rosso

Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning

Barbekka Hurtt

Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning

My job: I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at the University of Denver. I am also currently the faculty chair of Faculty Senate’s Teaching Excellence Task Force and a Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning in the Office of Teaching and Learning. In these roles, I support Senate’s, OTL’s, and individual faculty members’ efforts to develop holistic, reflexive, and formative approaches to course and faculty evaluation.

My Background: I teach on and research a range of topics: violence and denial, classical social theory, and urban nature. No matter the topic, I try to work with students to cultivate learner-centered and humanizing courses. We use a range of strategies in pursuit of these types of courses, including structured and unstructured discussions, role-playing activities, pedagogical games, and outdoor learning.

When I’m not at work I enjoy bird-watching, gardening with native wildflowers, and nature writing. I’m also a volunteer with several Denver-area environmental and nature organizations, including the High Line Canal Conservancy, Denver Field Ornithologists, and 350 Colorado.

My job: I am a Teaching Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at DU. I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned undergraduate degrees Biology and Kinesiology, also from UC-Boulder. I joined DU in 2015 and have taught both Biology major and non-major courses throughout my 7 years here. I have had the opportunity to develop wonderful partnerships with OTL and CCESL to expand my teaching praxis to help students learn, appreciate, and apply what they learn to broader personal and societal interests and needs and grow as scientifically literate citizens. In addition, through OTL and CCESL collaborations I have had the good fortune to integrate community engaged educational opportunities into many of my courses. My current research interests include healthy aging, intergenerational impacts on health, integration of technology in undergraduate science education, and mentoring in STEM disciplines to increase diversity and opportunity.


My Background: As a Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning, I seek to collaboratively evaluate and innovate with others at DU to improve teaching excellence, teaching evaluations and opportunities to grow professionally in the teaching space. My goal in this position will be to collaboratively develop appropriate strategies with the VPFA, OTL and faculty in all lines and at all levels of experience, to generate informed, practical and useful feedback and ideas focused on improving the faculty teaching opportunities and evaluation experience at DU.

Laura Sponsler

Laura Sponsler

Faculty Scholar of Teaching and Professional Faculty

Alison Staudinger

Director of FAculty development and career advancement

Laura E. Sponsler, Ph.D, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Denver and serves as the Resident-Scholar for Teaching and Professional Faculty.  In her role, Dr. Sponsler integrates teaching, scholarship, and service in service of the institutional mission to be a great private university dedicated to the public good.  Her work broadly examines the role of colleges and universities in creating more democratic practices for all constituents and institutionalizing the civic mission of higher education.  

Previously, Dr. Sponsler served as the founding director for NASPA’s Lead Initiative, a civic learning and democratic engagement network, and as a practitioner in service-learning.  Laura received her Ph.D. in Higher Education and M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, and has a B.S. in biology from Saint Joseph’s University.

The Director of Faculty Development and Career Advancement is housed in the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (VPFA) and works closely with the OTL on programming and initiatives that promote faculty growth and advancement across all series and ranks.
I support DU faculty and staff with:
  • Preparing for tenure, promotion, and consequential reviews, 
  • Building capacity for meaningful academic, and personal wellbeing. 
  • Sharing clear resources and building community before, during, and after DU.
My job: As Director of Faculty Development and Career Advancement, I operationalize the mission of the VPFA’s office to support faculty members in four areas: faculty development, faculty relations, teaching and learning, and faculty lifecycles. I do this by individual level consultation, small group discussions and workshops, college and campus level publications and trainings, and by informing DU policy with broader trends in higher education. Along with working at these different levels of influence, I support faculty in all series and at all ranks, and as they move through the stages of their careers into retirement. My goal is to help faculty attend to the values and activities that most inspire and energize them, while also ensuring they can hit expected milestones. 

My background: 

I joined DU at the start of 2021, so I’m still getting used to the air here. 

In my prior academic life, I was a chair and Associate Professor tenured in Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where I also was a member of the Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies departments. My PhD is in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland (2013), and my subfields are political theory and public law. All my research interests are rooted in curiosity about what types of narratives and community-building might make democratic life possible— as a geopolitical reality, in the classroom, or at a workplace. My OTL related scholarship focusing on student reading practices, and building an inclusive classroom—including the co-edited volume Teaching in the Political Science Classroom. As I acclimate, I’d like to continue SoTL work, particularly on the metaphors students use for learning, and parallel students on how faculty conceptualize their own learning over their careers.