Our Leadership

Kate Willink

Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs

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

Photo of Leslie Alvarez

Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning

Phone: 
Email: Leslie.Alvarez@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.    

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

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

Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices

Email: otl@du.edu

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Comprehensive research-based faculty consultations to assess, design, and implement inclusive pedagogical practices across all disciplines of study and learning environments.
  • Creating and providing formative resources aligned with best practices in inclusive pedagogy to faculty and academic administrators following critical incidents in learning environments.
  • Addressing critical aspects of course design, classroom management, and assessment of teaching and learning to best align with best practices in inclusive pedagogy.
  • Real-time collaborations with academic leaders and partnering offices across campus (e.g., ODI, EOIX, CLIE) to develop and/or update faculty supports around specific campus incidents that may arise, and for which there are no existing up-to-date resources.
  • Serving on and consulting with search committees related to the advancement of Inclusive Excellence at DU.

My Job: 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.

 

 

OUR INSTRUCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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. 

Faculty Developer of Online Learning

Phone:
Email: Lexi.Schlosser@du.edu

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

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

OUR INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN TEAM

Photograph of Christine Hood

Instructional Designer

Instructional Designer

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Course development and curriculum planning
  • Creatively assessing students
  • Critical consciousness through humanizing, and trauma-informed pedagogie

My Job: I work with academic directors, faculty developers, and subject matter experts to support online, hybrid, and hyflex courses. My goal is to create equitable learning environments, and experiences for every student focused on high rigor and conceptual understanding. I am constantly innovating and researching online pedagogy and instructional technology. I am available for 1:1 training consultations on any topic!

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. I played varsity volleyball throughout my undergraduate years 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 three years. As a k-12 teacher, I earned my Master’s of Science in secondary mathematics education from Johns Hopkins University. I am now a second-year Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at Morgridge College of Education at DU, focusing on culturally sustaining mathematics.

When I’m not at work, I am usually studying or reading! However, when I get that nugget of time to myself, I love to craft, hike, camp, play volleyball, watch TV, and snuggle my dog. My friends and family mean the world to me. Most importantly, I have a lifelong obsession with The Chicago White Sox.

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

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

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.

Amelia Gentile-Mathew

Instructional Designer

Tracy Debellevue

Instructional Designer for Inclusive Teaching Practices

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Canvas
  • Pedagogy & Course Design
  • Educational technology support
  • Active Learning, Gamification, & Engagement
  • Teaching resources

My Job: I work with academic directors, faculty developers, and instructors to help facilitate the delivery of face-to-face, online, hybrid, and hyflex courses. I support instructors in all teaching lines at DU, and am here to help you craft exceptional learning experiences for your students. Whether you are looking for a thought-partner to advance your practice, or seeking support for Canvas 101, I can help- there is no question too big or small! I am available for 1:1 consultations, unit support, and tailored programming. Let’s collaborate!

My Background: I am an educator and life-long learner! My background is interdisciplinary with through-threads of inclusive teaching practices and active learning, grounded in trauma-informed pedagogy. My teaching experience spans from K-12, to undergraduate, graduate, and adult learners in both formal and informal education programs. I have my BA in English and BBA in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and was lucky to spend time in community with other activists and educators through a Fulbright Fellowship (Calcutta) and a Fellowship in Spirituality and Social Change (GTU Berkeley), before completing my MA in Literary Studies at the University of London, Goldsmiths. My current passion involves reading, writing, researching, and talking about anything that involves making learning more fun!  

When I’m not at work, I am learning a new skill or spending time with my spouse and our pup. You can find us playing video games, exercising outdoors, doing doggie agility courses, cooking, gardening, philosophizing, woodworking, playing instruments, moving all of our furniture around (again), or drinking coffee and reading.

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 

OUR ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

Lindsey Kline

Graduate Assistant

I support DU faculty and staff with:

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Student-faculty partnerships
  • Inclusive teaching practices
  •  

My Job: I partner with faculty to provide technical and instructional assistance in online and hyflex environments. I apply my insight to train classroom assistants across myriad departments, equipping them with the skills necessary to support professors in remote teaching and learning.

My Background: My passion for equity and education led me to pursue my Ed.S. in School Psychology at DU. My ultimate goal is to provide students with the best educational experiences possible, whether creating individualized education plans for students with special needs or ensuring students thrive in DU’s new hyflex and online learning environments.

OUR PARTNERS

Paul Michalec

Paul Michalec

OTL FAculty Fellow

Clinical Professor in the Morgridge College of Education

Pending

IRISE Post-Doc

Email: otl@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.

I support DU faculty and staff with: 

  • Collaborative research projects with and for IRISE & OTL 
  • Teaching and course development  
  • Research 
  • Inclusive pedagogies & implementations

 

Laura Sponsler

Laura Sponsler

Faculty Scholar of Teaching and Professional Faculty

Photo not available

Faculty Fellow of Equitable Professorial Experiences

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.

Michael Caston Photo

Michael Caston

Faculty Fellow of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Peer Teaching Mentor Leader

Michael Caston is an Associate Professor of the Practice in Innovation and Product Design and Development in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering department within the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Denver.  He teaches courses in product development, entrepreneurship, consumer insights, and market feasibility.

Michael is also the Executive Director of the Innovation Labs, a project-based learning center available to all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Denver.  He also serves as the Faculty Director for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community where students learn about and experience entrepreneurship and innovation through hands-on activities in a year-long program designed to introduce students to the startup-world. 

Michael is also the founder of a Product and Graphic Design Firm, CAMIC designs LLC.

CAMIC designs was formed in July 2007 and offers product, graphic, packaging, and web design to a variety of organization, from startups to fortune 500 companies: www.camicdesigns.com

CAMIC designs has also produced in-house product lines specifically for non-profit fundraising:

BalletGiftShop.com helping non-profit dance groups with their fundraising needs. 

CritterGiftShop.com – helping animal rescues groups raise money.

Lina Reznicek-Parrado is a Spanish Teaching Assistant Professor in the newly formed Department of Spanish Language, Literary and Cultural Studies (SLLCS) where she is involved in efforts to diversify curricula in Spanish and directs the Spanish Program for Heritage/Bilingual speakers. She is an educator and researcher interested in Spanish Heritage Language Pedagogy, Applied Sociolinguistics, and topics surrounding Spanish in the U.S.

Tia Quinlan-Wilder

Faculty Scholar of Assessment

Email: tquinlan@du.edu

Director of FAculty development and career advancement

I support DU faculty and staff with:
 
Tips and training for program assessment, including:
  • choosing and championing meaningful learning objectives
  • measuring (and remeasuring) student learning
  • moving beyond a “check-the-box” attitude
  • overcoming challenges in assessment
  • celebrating assessment growth and success
My job: In this role, I work with the OTL and the Director of Academic Assessment to improve assessment practices university-wide. I have been teaching at DU since 2007 in the marketing department, and I’ve been leading assessment for that unit since 2012. I am currently also the Director of Assurance of Learning for the Daniels College of Business.
 
My background: I have an MBA from DU, a BS in civil engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in biology from University of Colorado, Boulder. I practiced marketing and engineering professionally before I began teaching.
 
When I’m not at work: I enjoy traveling and watching sports with my husband and two kids, who are sometimes the ones on the field or court.
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.