The CATL Scholar Program

The purpose of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) Scholars program is to nurture innovative and scholarly teaching and learning. Echoing the Elon Teacher-Scholar statement, the CATL Scholar’s program is designed so that participants both engage deeply with the shared goals of our academic community and develop “the unique gifts” that each individual Scholar possesses.

Each CATL Scholar is awarded a two-year fellowship that includes compensation for two course teaching releases per year (or the equivalent amount of funding to be applied to the Scholar project) and a $2500 faculty development fund per year to be used to pay for expenses relating to the CATL Scholar’s project.


All full-time teaching faculty at Elon are eligible to apply. We anticipate that most CATL Scholar applications will be from individuals, but teams of faculty are welcome to apply.

Applicants must ensure that Scholar compensation will not affect the recipient’s status as a full-time teaching faculty member, as defined by the Elon Faculty Handbook. (see Section II-2, “Minimum Teaching Expectation”). Scholar applicants who cannot take course releases may apply funds toward other project expenses.

If you have questions about eligibility, please contact Deandra Little.

Application Process

Each fall, full-time faculty are invited to apply to the CATL Scholar Program. Typically three new CATL Scholars are named each academic year. Each CATL Scholar will have two core responsibilities:

  1.     To undertake an ambitious teaching and learning initiative that the Scholar proposes;
  2.     To work collaboratively with other Scholars on CATL initiatives.

CATL Scholar applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2016.

CATL Scholar Application
CATL Scholar Expense Reimbursement Form

For more information about the CATL Scholar program, contact Deandra Little.



Scott Windham, Associate Professor of German | Redesigning Grammar Instruction and Testing to Support Second Language Literacy

Windham’s project focuses on turning his earlier SOTL research on language learning into broader classroom practice around teaching literacy, defined in the department as “the ability to use language in specific situations to fulfill specific social purposes.” His project focuses on practices of teaching literacy that are “grounded in literacy theory and empirical evidence from student work,” and in ways that should prove transferable to other language courses. In his project, Windham will fundamentally redesign grammar instruction and testing in a way that helps students recognize why, when, and how to use particular linguistic structures, with a focus on critical analysis of culture and the self. He will involve students as native speaker peer mentors and as part of his assessment loop.


Alexis Franzese

Alexis Franzese, Assistant Professor of Sociology | Enhancing Student and Faculty Engagement and Well-Being: Bringing Contemplative Pedagogy and Positive Psychology into the Elon University Classroom

Franzese will work with a group of faculty partners to evaluate the impact of contemplative pedagogies on student well-being and learning engagement. Specifically, her project will examine whether the infusion of positive psychology strategies and contemplative teaching practices into a variety of courses and disciplines leads to an increase in students’ in-class engagement and overall well-being. Assessments will be implemented at specific points throughout the semester in faculty partner classrooms (in courses both with and without the infusion of contemplative practices) to measure the impact of the contemplative pedagogies and positive psychology strategies.

Sarah Glasco

Sarah Glasco, Associate Professor of French | Teaching Beginning French Language and Culture through the Lens of Social Justice

Glasco will infuse introductory French courses with a focus on social justice issues related to the Francophone world. Beginning language courses often provide students with a cursory introduction to cultural aspects of the language, which sometimes inadvertently serves to perpetuate stereotypes and racism. By using a social justice lens for both language and culture instruction, Glasco aims to integrate cross-disciplinary learning, project-based service learning, and undergraduate research in her classes.

Matthew Weidenfeld

Matthew Weidenfeld, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies | Reacting to the Past: The Bill of Rights and the First Federal Congress

Weidenfeld will develop a Reacting to the Past game simulating the debates in the First Federal Congress concerning the Bill of Rights. Working with student partners, Weidenfeld will conduct research and write participant roles. Once complete, the game will be piloted in a variety of settings, including classrooms at Elon and other universities, and at national conferences.


Brandon Essary

Brandon Essary, Assistant Professor of Italian | Enhancing Intellectual Climate in the World Language Classroom through Vernacular Paleography

Essary will incorporate into both upper- and lower-level language courses the transcription, translation, and interpretation of documents from Italian archives. These activities will complement traditional textbook content and engage students in the application and identification of cultural themes, grammatical structures, and vocabulary from real-world, historical situations. Student engagement with document analysis will continue beyond the classroom in monthly conversation sessions in the target language on a specific document. These paleographic activities will allow students to encounter the culture and heritage of the Italian language through both scholarly inquiry and immediately practical speaking exercises.

Barbara Gordon

Barbara Gordon, Associate Professor of English | Raising the Cognitive Bar: What Can Be Learned and Applied in Studying Model Multimodal Assignments Across the Disciplines

Gordon will explore best practices for implementing intellectually rigorous, multimodal assignments—ones combining writing, visuals, sound, and other modes of communicating ideas—in the classroom.  The project will focus on addressing the challenges faculty members currently face when assigning multimodal projects, including creating learning objectives, employing appropriate scaffolding, and determining effective grading criteria. After analyzing current scholarship and examples of multimodal writing, Gordon will create a web-based resource of models and strategies for faculty members to use when incorporating multimodal assignments into their courses.

Jen Uno

Jen Uno, Assistant Professor of Biology | Physiology Phun: Implementing and Evaluating the Use of Service-Learning in a Human Physiology Course

Uno will further develop and evaluate a service learning section of Human Physiology (BIO 264) involving Elon students and Western Alamance 6th grade students. Undergraduate students will develop inquiry-based interactive projects to bring hands-on learning to middle school students, the goal of which is to promote science literacy both on campus and within the great Elon/Burlington Community, and to develop in undergraduate students the process-oriented thinking and communication skills necessary for future careers in health science.


Cassie Kircher, Associate Professor of English | Win-Win Partnerships: Teaching Creative Writing in the Burlington Community

Kircher will focus her project on “creative writing in the community,” training Elon students in creative writing pedagogy and connecting them with teachers and students in the Alamance-Burlington School System. The project is designed to reach and inspire teachers and students at many levels and in many schools—creating a partnership that will provide an innovative teaching opportunity in the arts for Elon undergraduates and a transformative arts experience for ABSS students and their teachers, through creative writing classes and writing festivals.

Omri Shimron, Associate Professor of Music | Faculty-Student Collaboration in the Development and Implementation of Inverted-Classroom Methodologies for a Core Music Theory Sequence

Shimron will use his project to develop and implement, in partnership with students, inverted-classroom methodologies for a core music theory sequence. By shifting more student interactions with content outside the class, Shimron’s project will decrease the amount of in-class time spent in traditional lecture and increase time devoted to applying concepts, problem-solving, writing, and honing critical and creative skills.

To bridge the expert-novice divide, Shimron will work with student-partners who will provide initial feedback for course materials, critique delivery methods, and assess the impact of those methods on learning, through periodic course visits and discussions. Together with his student-partners, he will collect and analyze data on student learning and teacher change during this innovative course re-structuring.

Kathy Lyday, Professor of English
Paula Patch, Lecturer in English | Testing, Testing: Retooling Grammar Learning and Assessment for 21st Century Purposes

Lyday and Patch will develop and assess online, interactive resources for grammar instruction. The mini-courses and assessments will employ current pedagogical approaches to teaching online that allow students to work at their own pace on material designed with real, local results in mind. Initially designed for Teacher Education candidates, the online course site will eventually be available to any Elon students, faculty, staff, and alumni who might benefit from directed grammar study.

Their project most immediately solves an existing need for students in the Teacher Education program, but also addresses an anticipated need: that in a culture in which students are writing more and professionals are writing more, it provides a better way of getting students to not only demonstrate but develop grammar competency of the sort that we expect of Elon graduates. Lyday and Patch’s project will meet this need by marrying grammar instruction and 21st century technologies and pedagogies.



Kristina Meinking, Assistant Professor of Latin | Per Aspera Ad AstraA New Approach to the Elementary Latin Sequence

Kristina Meinking will use her Scholar project to explore the ways in which elementary Latin students’ learning and language acquisition can be strengthened by class structure, in-class activities, and pedagogical methods. In a traditional elementary sequence of two semesters, students proceed through the textbook at the same pace and student comprehension of the material is evaluated on a regular basis with quizzes and tests. In the model that Meinking is developing, rooted in a combination of SCALE-UP and Step-by-Step pedagogies, students instead progress at their own pace, work frequently with one another, and use class time as a workshop intended to support their mastery of the course material. Meinking aims to develop a deeper understanding of how student learning and language acquisition can be supported by and benefit from different types of instruction and the classroom environment, and to craft an ‘exportable’ model of the course to colleagues in other languages both ancient and modern.

Kevin O'Mara, Professor of Management | Teaching Innovation in Business Schools

Kevin O’Mara will focus his Scholar project on developing effective methods of integrating the teaching of innovation in both undergraduate and graduate programs in business. Innovation is a highly valued topic in business education, but many business schools struggle with how to teach it to and develop it in their students. The discrepancy between the wide agreement of the need for integrating innovation within business education and the lack of it in the curriculum is the crux of this project.  O’Mara will build on his recent scholarship on innovation and creativity to develop a framework and templates to better integrate innovation within business schools, and will conduct research with students on how they best learn about innovation.

Mary Knight-McKenna, Associate Professor of Education
Cherrel Miller-Dyce, Assistant Professor of Education | Partnering with Families to Prevent Reading Difficulties in Young Children

Mary Knight-McKenna and Cherrel Miller-Dyce will develop and assess early childhood education (ECE) students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions for partnering with families to prevent reading problems in young children who are living in poverty. This project will integrate student work in a pair of service-learning courses to build sustainable partnerships with families to enhance literacy development. Knight-McKenna and Miller-Dyce will conduct a qualitative research studies of both their students’ learning and the literacy of children involved in the program. Based on this work, they plan to create and publish a model to be used by other ECE programs for preparing early childhood educators who are skilled at partnering with families for preventing reading difficulties.


Prudence Layne

Prudence Layne, Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of African and African-American Studies | Intensive Course Formats and Condensed Semesters: Examining their Impact on Teaching and Learning

The third goal of The Elon Commitment calls for “. . . the highest levels of achievement across our academic programs.” As the Elon University student demographic changes to become more heterogeneous, how will traditional course formats, support programs, and institutional policies change to meet the needs of this shifting populace and foster excellence among all students? This study proposes a partial answer to this question through an examination of teaching and learning in the condensed semester and intensive course formats, including study abroad and online experiences at Elon.  The project will explore the questions of how students learn and how they use and apply their knowledge at the end of their experiences in the condensed semester and intensive course format compared to similar content taught in the traditional fifteen-week semester. Do course format & duration make a difference in students’ academic performance and achievement? Do students learn the content of their coursework more effectively, with greater retention, or with deeper reflection than they do in an intensive format or condensed setting? How do teachers select content, learning objectives and goals across these contexts and formats?  Operating under the hypothesis that no significant differences exist in student learning outcomes and achievement in the traditional versus the condensed course format, why and how do instructors, institutions, and students choose one format versus the other?

Chad Awtrey

Chad Awtrey, Assistant Professor of Mathematics | Enhancing Students' Understanding of Calculus Through Writing

This project seeks to investigate the usefulness of the Writing to Learn (WTL) pedagogy in the teaching of MTH 121: Introductory Calculus. While WTL has been used extensively as a teaching tool in fields such as English, psychology, and medicine for many years, this approach represents an exciting innovation in undergraduate mathematics education. Instead of passively sitting through a lecture or rotely performing calculations, students engaging with the WTL pedagogy participate in a variety of writing activities (both inside and outside of the classroom), work in groups, and apply course content to explain solutions to real-world problems. In this setting, students can not only demonstrate a deeper conceptual understanding of calculus, they can also mature into more effective communicators and develop useful skills in collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. This classroom approach aligns itself with Elon's mission to “nurture a rich intellectual community characterized by active student engagement," and to provide a “challenging undergraduate curriculum grounded in the traditional liberal arts and sciences."

Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Assistant Professor of English | Authentic Collaboration: Using Scrum Methodology in the Project-Based Classroom

Over the last three years I have developed a pedagogy for collaboration that centers on Scrum methodology, a systematic project management process used by Web software companies. Because Web software development is iterative and fast-paced, Scrum was created to allow cross-functional teams to jointly plan major activities, aspects of which are then delegated to teams to plan, complete, and review. Team members meet once a day to share what progress they have made, what they will be working on that day, and what assistance they might need. Scrum builds in planning and reflection at every process phase and effectively keeps team members accountable to both their team and the larger group. I have had great success with Scrum in my own classes, and Scrum is well suited to facilitating course and project planning, providing a guiding structure for student project work, and creating a sense of accountability and authentic collaboration often missing in group projects. Because Scrum is a framework, it is not discipline-specific and can be applied to any course that requires collaboration.

This CATL Scholars project extends my existing Scrum research beyond my own classroom to the broader Elon community (and eventually beyond). The purpose and goals of this CATL Scholars project are to

  • Create a comprehensive literature review of Scrum, collaboration, and project-based learning
  • Develop portrait of academic collaboration and student beliefs about collaboration at Elon by examining national survey data and conducting student and faculty focus groups
  • Create/implement a professional development program for faculty interested in implementing Scrum in their courses
  • Carefully study students and faculty in classrooms where Scrum is implemented
  • Develop a tentative model or metric based on pre- and post- Scrum experience data to describe changes in student/faculty beliefs about the collaborative process that could be portable to assess collaborative learning in multiple ways/situations.


David Neville, Assistant Professor, German, Director of Language Learning Technologies | Using 3D digital game-based learning environments to enhance second language acquisition

The DigiBahn Project is an interdisciplinary initiative to produce a 3D digital game-based learning (3D-DGBL) environment to teach a second language and culture to advanced high school and beginning university students. Specifically, the project will prototype and test one level of a standalone 3D graphic adventure game for PC and Mac platforms requiring students to navigate a simulated German environment while meeting specific instructional goals and managing the sociocultural and linguistic demands of an assumed in-game persona. Answering calls made by the Modern Language Association to revise and revitalize the teaching of second languages and cultures at all levels through new instructional approaches and technologies, the project will develop print-based instructional materials and lesson plans to accompany the game, maintain a download website to distribute open source project materials and source code, create a community website to support players and collect feedback to drive future game development, and generate research articulating best practices for using 3D-DGBL environments in second language acquisition.

Michelle Trim, Lecturer, English | So what do students do with feedback, anyway? A project to develop a tool for faculty to understand students' uses of written feedback

This project will address pedagogical questions related to written feedback: How do students use the feedback they receive on their written work? What are the barriers hampering students’ successful assimilation of feedback into their learning processes? What about the way feedback is understood keeps students from writing well? Is the use of feedback a “threshold concept” (Meyer and Land 2003) in academic writing? Through this project I want to better understand what students do with the written feedback that they receive in order to develop strategies for understanding how students are using feedback in their classes. I will seek to discover barriers that hamper successful assimilation of feedback into students’ learning processes, including the understanding of feedback and the use of a feedback “threshold concept” (Meyer and Land 2003) in academic writing. I want to better understand the assumptions that I am making about the role of feedback in my teaching in order to learn what use it has for students. Then, I want to help other teachers ask similar questions of their feedback practices in order to help them learn how their students are using feedback. Such knowledge can increase the possibilities for how I use feedback in my classes, and can benefit how other teachers use feedback as well.

Ketevan Kupatadze, Lecturer, Spanish | Rethinking the value and nature of Advanced Composition and Grammar courses in Foreign Languages

The goal of my project is to restructure the Advanced Spanish Composition and Grammar course according to the innovative techniques of engaged and individualized teaching and learning. I would like to implement pedagogy that would offer students individual guidance and attention to enable them to start learning at the level of their present knowledge and advance at their pace. Since students face challenges with grammar, syntax and formal expression, they should be given support in and out of the classroom support adapted to their particular strengths and weaknesses. With this pedagogy, I will present content that addresses meaningful and relevant social, political, literary, and cultural issues and presents them from different angles, through a wide variety of discourses. "Engaged learning" will be at the core of the course' structure and content, addressing the need for the course components and materials to be developed as a continuum, rather than separate and/or parallel with each other. The materials created for the class, the research accompanying the project and the results obtained should provide valuable information to anyone teaching not only composition and grammar courses in foreign language, but upper level literature and culture courses as well.


Ann Cahill, Philosophy | Argumentation Step-by-Step

To develop the pedagogy of an innovative, learning-centered approach to teaching argumentation more fully and to transform it into a web-based curriculum that could eventually be shared with instructors at other institutions.

Samantha DiRosa, Art | (un) common partnerships for a common purpose: focusing on art/science relationships in the study of environmental art
To construct a cross-listed course in Art and Environmental Studies that focuses specifically on collaborations between artists and scientists and to conduct research on such collaborations as they exist outside the academy to make the course transformative, timely, and effective.




Phillip Motley and Sang Nam, Communications | Sustainable Learning In Technology Intensive Programs
To find appropriate ways to transfer technology learning to locations and times outside of the classroom so that students may master strategies for learning technology on their own, enabling them to sustain what they’ve learned beyond the limits of the curriculum.


Jessie Moore, Department of English | "Reacting to Language Policy"
A project designed to involve students in the development and revision of a reacting pedagogy unit for ENG 206: Intro to TESOL. Moore plans to study student learning outcomes facilitated by the reacting pedagogy. She also hopes to examine student participation in curriculum design and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

Ayesha Delpish, Department of Mathematics | "Towards a Community of Learners: A Case Study Approach to Statistics"
This project involves the investigation of the case-study approach as a teaching and learning tool as applied in MTH 212: Statistics in Application. Delphish's goal is to share/obtain perspectives on the advantages and issues with using case studies as an inquiry-based learning approach to teaching. She also hopes to explore methods of incorporating inquiry-based learning into core courses, obtain ideas for the development of case studies, and find new ways to engage multiple majors at once in an attempt to reach a positive outcome for student-centered learning.




Brooke Barnett & Ken Calhoun, Communications | "Bringing Expert and Personal Voices into the Classroom: Educational DVDs as Pedagogical Tools"
This project seeks to deveop an innovative educational DVD for use by faculty partners in different disciplines at Elon. In addition to their pedagogical purposes, the DVDs will also be best-cases for whether a documentary-style approach can be used effectively across the university as a way to pioneer an innovative approach to a common teaching problem and further Elon’s national reputation for pedagogy.


Chris Leupold , Assistant Professor of Psychology | Transformative Learning in Human Resource Management: A Multi-Unit Experiential Approach to Teaching Staffing and Selection

Alan Russell , Associate Professor of Mathematics | Scholarship in Statistics Education: Student Concepts of Distribution, Sampling, and Simulation

Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy | Understanding Philosophical Expertise: On Philosophical Evidence-Mindedness and its Development


Ashley Hairston , Assistant Professor of English | Humanizing the Law: Legal Challenges, Public Narratives, and Humanistic Priniciples

Cynthia Fair , Associate Professor of Human Services, and Pamela Kiser, Professor of Human Services | Enhancing Academic Challenge in the Human Service Internship

Sirena Hargrove-Leak, Assistant Professor of Engineering | Underwater Robots: A Model for Interdisciplinary Engaged Learning at Elon

Stephen Folger , Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Education | Practicing Clinical Decision Making with Simulated Cases: Assessing the Students' Situation Awareness


Jeffrey Coker, Biology | “Reinventing Life”: A New Paradigm for Biology Teaching and Learning
To pioneer the most engaging model for teaching and learning biology in the United States, including the futuristic nature of both the content and the pedagogical approaches. Although the content and pedagogy will stem from fundamental biological concepts and proven teaching methods, respectively, the course will attempt to stretch 10-50 years into the future in both areas.

Megan Conklin, Computing Sciences | Reacting to the Past: The Steampunk Project*
(*Project name later changed to: "Rage against the Machine: Technology, Rebellion, and the Industrial Revolution")
To develop an immersive, student-centered, game-based learning module based on the pedagogy of the established and successful "Reacting to the Past" series from Barnard College of Columbia University.This module (which I have nicknamed The Steampunk Project after that genre of alternate history science fiction) will examine Big Ideas in "technology and society" through a crucial event that happened in London in 1842: Charles Babbage lost funding to complete a machine that is now recognized as the first computer.

Anthony Crider, Physics | Testing a “Quest-Points-Level” Game Structure in the Astronomy Classroom
In popular role-playing games, players choose their own quests, receive experience points for completing them, and “level up” to become eligible for more difficult quests. This reward system, distilled into minutes, makes such games highly addictive. I propose to restructure my astronomy classes to offer students quests both in real life and the online world of Second Life. I will assess how this structure affects student learning using the Astronomy Diagnostic Test and will present my results both a national astronomy and at “serious games” conferences.

Charles Irons, History | “Other Souths”: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alamance County, North Carolina
The primary goals of this project overlap with standing goals of the Department of History and Geography. Both seek: 1. To provide meaningful opportunities for students interested in independent study or in history internships. 2. To forge meaningful relationships with community members engaged in the production of public history and to enhance Elon’s offerings in public history. 3. To train Elon students to use technology from a disciplinary perspective. 4. To assist in the digital preservation of archival material, thereby complementing our Special Collections Library’s modest holdings and multiplying institutional opportunities for archival work.