Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning


Founded in 2005, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) serves as a catalyst for effective teaching and engaged learning at Elon University. CATL faculty promote intentional,evidence-based, and inclusiveteaching and learning practices, contribute to University-wide initiatives related to teaching and learning, and foster the scholarship of teaching and learning at Elon University.

To fulfill this mission, CATL partners with Elon faculty, staff and students to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Foster innovative and evidence-based teaching and learning practices in a range of teaching and learning contexts
  • Develop new programming and services responsive to the needs of individual faculty and the Elon community
  • Create, share, and curate resources to advance teaching and learning,
  • Strengthen and deepen support for faculty developing integrated, purposeful careers as teacher-scholar-mentors
  • Contribute to national and international conversations about high-impact pedagogy, inclusive classrooms & pedagogy, educational development, and faculty mentoring, and
  • Conduct ongoing assessment of the Center’s work and impact.

CATL faculty and staff work according to the following values:

  • The Center’s programs and services are confidential, voluntary, formative (not evaluative), and responsive to the goals and questions of the faculty, staff or students with whom we are working.
  • All programs and services are informed by evidence drawn from research and practice.

The work of the Center is inherently collaborative, in its aims to be responsive to the broad needs, dynamic contexts, and evolving research that frame and surround teaching and learning.

The CATL Faculty Advisory Board provides insight and guidance regarding mission, programs and services.

Center Staff

Deandra Little Director (336)
Deandra LittleDeandra Little directs the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and is associate professor of English. Her teaching interests focus on US literature in the 19th and 20th centuries, life writing, and teaching disciplinary thinking and argument. Her research and publications focus on educational development in higher ed, scholarship of teaching and learning, and teaching with images and visualizations. In 2015-16, Deandra served as president for the POD Network in Higher Education, a North American association for college and university teaching and learning centers. In 2011-2014 she served as associate editor of the International Journal for Academic Development. Though happy to discuss a wide range of teaching and learning topics, she is particularly interested in course design, teaching disciplinary thinking, discussion leading, developing engaging assignments, mentoring and supporting faculty across their careers.
Mary Jo Festle Associate Director (336)

Mary Jo FestleMary Jo Festle is professor of history and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Festle’s scholarship has been in U.S. women’s history, oral history, medical history, and social movements. While she enjoys discussing most issues related to teaching and learning, she is especially interested in inclusive classrooms, course design, disciplinary thinking, mentoring, and linking day-to-day class work to course goals. Festle received the university’s 2011 Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, and she was named the Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of History in 2014.

Amy Overman Associate Director (336)

Amy OvermanAmy Overman is associate professor of psychology and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Overman is a cognitive neuroscientist and an expert in learning, memory, aging, and the brain. As a teacher-scholar, her primary research focuses on memory and other cognitive processes; she is an active mentor of undergraduate research; and she teaches courses on neuroscience and memory. Overman is interested in how cognitive science findings can be applied to improve teaching and learning. She is also interested in STEM education, faculty mentoring and career development, first-generation/first-in-family topics, transparency in teaching, undergraduate research mentoring as teaching, and the interaction of intellectual climate, social climate, and student learning.

Sarah Williams Program Coordinator (336)
Sarah Williams is responsible for logistics of the Center’s programs and events. She coordinates budgets for scholar programs, travel grants, and teaching and learning grants; she also works with on-going programs such as course design/reading groups and events such as the annual Teaching & Learning conference. She maintains the library housed at the Center and supervises student office assistants. In addition, Sarah supports the Center for Engaged Learning by coordinating logistics for summer seminars and conferences.
Peter Felten Assistant Provost (336)
The founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Peter Felten is currently assistant provost for teaching and learning, executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and professor of history. His recent publications include the co-authored books Transforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) and Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014). From 2010-2011, he served as president of the POD Network, and in 2014-2017 he is a vice president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He also is a co-editor of the International Journal for Academic Development.

See a list of previous CATL Associate Directors.


Belk Pavilion

The Center is located on the Elon University main campus in the William Henry Belk Pavilion near the corner of Haggard Avenue and N. Antioch Avenue in the Academic Village.

The campus map provides easy directions.

Mailing Address:
2610 Campus Box
Elon University
Elon, NC 27244

Phone:  336-278-5100
Fax:  336-278-5108