The Council for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) is made up of representatives who guide centers and initiatives related to teaching and learning and instructional technologies. The Council serves as a peer network for its members and in an advisory capacity to the Kirwan Center. CATL aims to strengthen institutional and cross-institutional efforts to enhance teaching and learning through networking, collaboration, and sharing of best practices; build and sustain a culture of excellence in teaching and learning across the USM; and support and recognize faculty in teaching, learning, and student success.
Eric Belt, MDE, is a senior instructional designer in the faculty center for teaching and learning at the University of Maryland, Baltimore as well as an educational technology doctoral candidate at Boise State University. His research interests are in communication, connectedness, and community in online courses. He holds an masters in distance education and e-Learning (MDE) from the University of Maryland University College and a BS in business administration from Towson University. Prior to joining UMB, Eric was the director of learning technology at the College of Southern Maryland and, formerly, the assistant director of e-Learning at Howard Community College. Eric has served as an instructional designer both virtually and on-campus for various community colleges across the United States. Eric brings a passion for advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning through course design, instructional communication, and faculty professional development to the center.
Director of Faculty Development for the Center for Teaching Excellence and Assistant Professor of English
: University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
Cynthia Cravens joined the faculty of UMES in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English & Modern Languages. A relentless supporter of the Humanities, she has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland Humanities Council, and, post-COVID-19, hopes to work with the National Humanities Alliance. As the inaugural Director of Faculty Development and the founder of the brand new Center for Teaching Excellence, Cravens develops and implements initiatives to support engaged instruction, meaningful assessment, and reflective evaluation. In the area of faculty development, her interests are in equity and inclusion, assessment, adjunct support and development, writing for the public, and, from a curriculum point of view, turning STEM into SHTEAM. She holds an MFA in writing from Emerson College and a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dionne N. Curbeam,
Deputy Chief Information Officer for Innovation, Development, Education, and Assessment
: Coppin State University
Dr. Dionne N. Curbeam is the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Innovation, Development, Education, and Assessment (IDEA) in Coppin State University’s Information Technology Division. In this role, Dr. Curbeam provides strategic leadership, vison, and direction to several units: Instructional Technology; IT Development and Training; Tier One Help Desk Support; EagleTech Center (Service Center, Open Computer Labs, IT Student Experiential Learning Program); Quality Assurance; and the campus website. Dr. Curbeam has been instrumental in spurring faculty innovation, increasing adjunct faculty’s technology usage, transforming lab spaces to improve the student experience, expanding opportunities for students to learn about campus technologies, advancing virtual reality technologies, enhancing university’s staff professional development opportunities, revamping Tier One campus support, and guiding the campus through a significant website redesign project. Dr. Curbeam has won several awards (three-time Blackboard Catalyst Award winner, Maryland Daily Record’s VIP List, Woman of Color Rising Star Award, etc.), presented at numerous conferences (EDUCAUSE, Online Learning Consortium, Blackboard, etc.), and earned multiple certifications (Quality Matters Peer Reviewer, Quality Matters Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator, etc.). Dr. Curbeam – who holds an Ed.D. from Bowie State University, M.A. degrees from Towson University and University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a B.S. degree also from Bowie – has professional and research interests in change management, technology adoption, organizational communication, and the impact of technology for student success. In addition to her high-impact career, Dr. Curbeam enjoys volunteering with various organizations, travelling, walking trails, and cheering for the Baltimore Ravens. Follow Dr. Curbeam on Twitter @dc_tech.
Director of the Center for Inclusive Teaching & Learning (CITL) and Associate Professor of Biology
: St. Mary's College of Maryland
Samantha Elliott is the founding Director of the Center for Inclusive Teaching & Learning (CITL) and Associate Professor of Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). She received her B.S. in Biology from Furman University and her Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After an NIH-funded postdoctoral position at Duke University, Elliott joined the faculty at SMCM in 2006. Her interests in biology education led to a research residency through the NSF-funded Biology Scholars Program (2008-2009) and a pivot to pursuing biology education research as her primary scholarship. Elliott has wide-ranging interests related to student learning, inclusion and diversity in the classroom, and course- and programmatic-level assessment. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (2015-2019), a fellow (2012) and mentor at the Project Kaleidoscope Summer Leadership Institute, and has been a Leadership Fellow in the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) since 2016. Elliott has also acted as a consultant for numerous education-related grants and given workshops for international audiences.
Eva Garin is a Professor at Bowie State University where she serves as Director for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She also serves on the National Association for Development Schools (NAPDS) Leadership Team and is Co-Editor of their publication, PDS Partners: Linking Theory and Practice. Garin is a past chair of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) PDS Research SIG. Her research interests include teacher inquiry and inquiry into the college classroom and professional development for teachers and university faculty. She is a frequent presenter at both the NAPDS and AERA national conferences. Her publications include book chapters and scholarly journal articles on literacy, professional development and teacher inquiry.
Stefan Gunther joins UMUC as Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs and brings to bear 20+ years of experience in academic administration for institutions as diverse as Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, George Washington University, DeVry University, Strayer University, and USDA Graduate School. At these institutions, Gunther has administered university-wide summer programs (GWU); developed new offerings for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (UVa); served as the highest-ranking academic leader in the College of Business and Management for three DC-area campuses (DeVry); and conceived and developed numerous new curriculum areas and courses (USDA). The unifying elements of all these positions have prepared Gunther well for his responsibilities at UMUC: consistently working with and supervising both adjunct and full-time faculty; serving adult learners; and developing an abiding interest in online education. Gunther holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Brandeis University (2000) and has lived up and down the Eastern seaboard since 1987 (he grew up in Germany and also attended the University of Kent at Canterbury for one year). He is married and with his wife Lisa have one daughter, Andi, who’s a first-year high school student (as well as two cats). When not working, Gunther enjoys reading, traveling, running, and watching soccer and baseball (Go Red Sox!).
Erin Hagar is a Senior Instructional Designer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she supports the Master of Science in Health Science curriculum. She has worked in the field of curriculum, instructional design, and faculty development for almost twenty years, including positions at American University, the World Bank, Montgomery Community College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She holds an M.A. in Spanish from American University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs & Director of Faculty Development Center
: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Linda C. Hodges, Director of the Faculty Development Center, was Director of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University from 2003-2009 before retiring to Maryland. She holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky and was a faculty member for over 20 years before transitioning into faculty development. Prior to coming to the McGraw Center in 2001 she was the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Agnes Scott College near Atlanta, Georgia. During her faculty tenure at two different institutions she taught a wide range of courses, participated in faculty governance, and served as department chair. In 1999 she was one of 28 faculty chosen nationally to study and assess new pedagogical approaches as a Carnegie Scholar of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She has published widely on her work in faculty development, engaged student learning, and effective teaching practices. Her special interests are in pedagogies of engagement and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Kerrie L. Kephart,
Associate Director for Pedagogical Innovation, Research, and Assessment
: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Kerrie Kephart is Associate Director for Pedagogical Innovation, Research, and Assessment in the Faculty Development Center, supporting faculty to innovate in their teaching and investigate issues of teaching and learning in their classrooms and disciplines. Her interests in faculty development include the scholarship of teaching and learning, pedagogies of reflection such as journaling and portfolio development, active learning and inquiry-based pedagogies, writing across the curriculum/in the disciplines, and discourses of teaching and learning. She holds a doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a specialization in advanced academic literacy development. Prior to joining the FDC staff, she was Director of the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, and prior to that, she was Assistant Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. In her previous positions, she conducted research studies in innovative teaching methods in the STEM fields and presented a workshop series in writing across the curriculum for faculty across all disciplines. She has also taught a variety of courses in language and literacy development, including academic writing for educators, writing the scientific article, technical communication, English as a second language pedagogy, principles of bilingual education, and discourse analysis.
Manager, Instructional Design & Delivery and Adjunct Faculty, Communication Arts
: Salisbury University
Melissa Thomas is an alumni of Salisbury University earning both a B.S. in Mathematics and M. Ed. in Post-Secondary Education with a concentration in Distance Learning from the institution. She has worked at SU since 1993 in support of instructional technology and online learning. She leads a team of Instructional Designers focusing on faculty development, pedagogical consultation, effective use of instructional technologies and quality online/hybrid course design. She is an active member of the Faculty Development and Learning with Technology committees on campus as well as a Quality Matters Coordinator and Master Reviewer. She coordinates various professional development events on campus including the annual Teaching and Learning Conference. Thomas continues her passion for teaching and engaging students by teaching part-time in the fields of Communication Arts, Information Technology and Computer Science.
Mary Warneka ,
Associate Director of Learning Experience, Teaching & Learning Transformation Center
: University of Maryland, College Park
Mary has over 20 years of instructional design and faculty coaching expertise from various contexts such as higher education, public-school administration and federal agencies. With 17 years experience managing instructional designers and design-teams to create innovative, rigorous and scalable learning opportunities, she is excited to be leading a team at Maryland and supporting innovative courses in the classroom as well as online and blended programs.
Her efforts at American University, resulted in the creation of a joint Masters in Arts and Teaching and Conflict Resolution which culminated in a conflict resolution education practicum in DC Public Schools. Her work at Girl Scouts, precipitated organizational change and provided leadership for digitizing volunteer training at the national level. As an assistant director within R.H. Smith School of Business she led both the course development and the MOOC development teams, before joining the TLTC. Now, at the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center for the University of Maryland College Park, she works with an impressive team to support faculty development and graduate instructor support programs. Mary holds a MA, Conflict Resolution Education, American University, Washington, D.C. and a BA, International Studies, minor in Russian, University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio.
Assistant Provost for the Faculty Academic Center of Excellence at Towson
: Towson University
Patricia Westerman joined the Towson University community in June 2019 as the inaugural Assistant Provost for the Faculty Academic Center of Excellence and as a tenured professor in the Psychology Department. Before starting at Towson University, she served in a number of academic, administrative, and leadership roles, while teaching for 22 years at Bowie State University (BSU). She served as Director of the BSU Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, as co-Chair of the BSU Middle States Self-Study Steering Committee, and as BSU Faculty Senate Chair. Most recently, she served as Chair of the Council of University System Faculty (CUSF) for the University System of Maryland. Westerman conducts research on innovation in higher education teaching and learning, as well as higher education leadership and mentoring.