Kate Willink

Kate Willink​

Faculty Director

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

Expertise: Provides strategic direction to improve student learning across the University by fostering innovation and strengthening practices in teaching, course design, curriculum development, and assessment.

As the OTL Faculty Director, Dr. Kate Willink oversees Office of Teaching and Learning’s long-term vision and strategic plan, working closely with the OTL leadership team to provide strategic direction to improve student learning across the University by fostering innovation and strengthening practices in teaching, course design, curriculum development, and assessment. Additionally, she provides leadership to 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: Kate is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. She received her PhD in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her work centers on critical intercultural communication with a focus on cultural memory.  In particular, she examines how performances of cultural memory shape contemporary debates over public education.  In Bringing Desegregation Home (Palgrave Macmillan 2009), Kate addresses the extent to which the everyday experiences of desegregation are entangled with broad scholarly concerns such as pedagogy, social and cultural capital, the economy, cultural memory and racism. The topics of classes she teaches include: The Long Civil Rights Movement; Critical Pedagogy and Culture; Culture and Affect; Education and Social Change; Gender, Culture, and Communication; Between Memory and Imagination; and Food Culture: Foodies, Foragers, and Food Politics.

Related Article: Willink, K. G., & Jacobs, J. M. (2011). Teaching for Change: Articulating, Profiling, and Assessing Transformative Learning Through Communicative CapabilitiesJournal of Transformative Education9(3), 143–164.

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Virginia Pitts

Virginia Pitts

Director of University Teaching

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

Expertise: Course Design, Development, and Facilitation; Creating Engaging Learning Environments; Hybrid Course Design and Delivery; Teaching Consultations; Student-Faculty Partnerships

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • course design, development, and facilitation
  • creating engaging learning environments
  • hybrid course design and delivery
  • teaching consultations
  • supporting student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

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, followed by a Learning Sciences PhD at Northwestern University.  Before joining DU, I was a consultant with National Geographic Education and taught at Regis University and CU-Denver.

Christina Paguyo

Christina H Paguyo

Director of Academic Assessment

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

Expertise: Designing assessment plans, interpreting assessment findings, incorporating assessment in grant writing proposals, reports, and manuscripts

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Designing assessment plans that are relevant, meaningful, and feasible
  • Interpreting assessment findings to improve pedagogical practices and opportunities for students to engage in rich learning
  • Analyzing organizational culture to strengthen assessment processes
  • Incorporating assessment in grant writing proposals, reports, and manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals, mainstream platforms, internal review, and accreditation

My Background:

As the director of academic assessment, I collaborate with faculty and staff to design and implement assessment practices with aims to enhance pedagogical practices and student learning. For over eight years, I have engaged with faculty, student affairs administrators, K-12 teachers, and pre-service teachers to measure and strengthen student learning through robust assessment, evaluation, and research methods. Immediately prior to joining the University of Denver, I was a postdoctoral research fellow on a National Science Foundation project aimed at cultivating inclusive engineering classrooms through experimental interventions and rigorous assessment. My professional background spans public relations, academic and student affairs, and independent research consultations with non-profit organizations, businesses, and educational institutions (K-12 schools and universities). Notwithstanding the diversity of my work experiences, the ballast of my professional trajectory is composed from three long-standing, interrelated strands of interest: equity, learning sciences, and praxis.

If you want to chat about assessment, learning, or anything else related to making DU a vibrant space for our students to thrive, please contact me! I look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Weller Swanson

Karen Weller Swanson

Assistant DIrector

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

Expertise: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Creating Engaging Learning Environments; Teaching Consultations

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Creating engaging learning environments
  • Teaching consultations

My background: I have been teaching higher education for 15 years, most recently as an Associate Professor, serving as the Director of the PhD program in Curriculum and Instruction as well as being the chair of the Regional Academic Centers at Mercer University. I also taught at George Mason University in the Initiatives in Educational Transformation Program. My research encompasses transformative education, cognitive apprenticeship, faculty professional development and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

I have an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education, and a B.S. in Biology all from Northern Arizona University. I taught middle school science and was the English as a Second Language Coordinator at Flagstaff High School in Flagstaff, Arizona. I have served on the Association of Middle Level Education’s Research Advisory Board as chair and member. I was also the Editor of Research in Middle Level Online Journal.

Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave

Associate Director for 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

Instructional Designer

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

Expertise: Course Design, Course Facilitation and Teaching Strategies, Canvas and General Educational Technology, Online Learning

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Course design and facilitation
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Canvas
  • Educational Technology
  • Online Learning

My background:  I have worked at the University of Denver since 2006, and I hold an MPS in Organizational Leadership from the University of Denver. My experiences as a student, staff member, and instructional designer have given me great perspective on effective teaching practices. I enjoy the opportunity to work with faculty, particularly in areas related to course development and facilitation, as well as effective teaching strategies.

Heather Tobin

Heather Tobin

Instructional Designer​

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

Expertise: Integrative Learning, Teaching Strategies, Reflective ePortfolios, Visual Design Solutions for Learning, Learner Experience Design, Quality Matters, General Course Design, and DU Portfolio Support.

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Course Design
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Facilitation Techniques
  • Technology Integration
  • Integrative Learning
  • High Impact Practices
  • ePortfolios (and DU Portfolio)

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 and a graduate certificate of completion in Organizational Training and Instructional Design. I am currently pursuing an Ed.D in Curriculum & Instruction with Morgridge College of Education at DU. I have also completed several Quality Matters certifications, and am a Quality Matters peer reviewer.

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

Jill Weddle

Jill Weddle

Instructional Technology Specialist​

Phone: 303-871-7882
Email: Jill.Weddle@du.edu

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Educational Technology
  • Interactivity Design
  • Course Design

My Job: I serve as the University of Denver’s primary Canvas administrator providing support, training, and general magic trickery in the technology realm. I love helping teachers brainstorm ways to add interactive elements to their classes. 

My Background: I started my career as a student worker in the instructional design department at Texas State University. Six years and a Master’s Degree in Learning Technologies later, I still get the warm fuzzies from working with faculty in the university setting. 

When I’m not at work, you can probably find me playing tennis, planning my next beach trip or re-organizing a closet somewhere.

Other Links:
Check out my upcoming Canvas training sessions
Connect with me on LinkedIn



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


Paul Michalec

Paul Michalec

Clinical Professor in the Morgridge College of Education

Email: paul.michalec@du.edu

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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